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Musical Chairs in Washington, D.C.

Republicans are licking their chops over the Federal Reserve’s ostensible plans to raise interest rates aggressively in the months ahead to combat soaring prices. They view a coming big recession as a grand opportunity to win control over Congress in the upcoming November elections. 

Of course, we have gone through this political musical-chairs nonsense for decades. If the Fed is filling the balloon with newly printed money, the economy appears prosperous. Whoever is president claims credit for “good management of the economy.” Voters reward him with reelection. They also elect members of his political party to Congress. 

Musical Chairs in Washington, D.C.

But woe to any president who happens to be in office when the Fed starts to reverse course, especially in a big way, as it is ostensibly now doing. Make no mistake about it: When the inevitable recession hits, Republicans will castigate Biden for “mismanaging the economy” and call on Americans to punish him by delivering control of Congress to the Republicans.

And what if voters do that? Will anything change? Of course not. We have seen this process of political musical chairs in Washington over and over again. Nothing ever changes, at least not in any fundamental sense. 

Let’s assume that Republicans regain control over both houses of Congress in November. Let’s also assume that Donald Trump, who is himself licking his chops over the prospect of a big recession, is reelected president. 

Will anything change in a fundamental sense? Of course not. Things will be the same if Trump is reelected in 2024 as they were when he was president, if not worse.

The federal government’s debt is now over $30 trillion. It will be much more than that once the next debt ceiling is reached and raised. It won’t make any difference whether Trump is president or Biden is president. The massive spending and debt will continue to soar. And the Fed will continue to debase the currency as it prints the money to pay off that debt.

And keep in mind something else: That $30 trillion debt doesn’t include Social Security and Medicare obligations. They aren’t considered to be debts. That’s because they are simply welfare programs, just like all the other welfare programs. But as long as they are on the books, those payments have to be sent out.

There is also the massive national-security establishment that needs to be funded. The Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA are not about to let go of any of their warfare-state largess, even though they are no longer occupying Afghanistan. And neither will their voracious army of “defense” contractors. And no one in Congress is going to buck them. The hundreds of billions of dollars will continue flowing into the warfare-state trough from which all these people are feeding. 

Like I say, it won’t matter who is president or who controls Congress. It’s also worth noting that there will continue to be a vicious and destructive trade war against China and that the severe anti-Russia animus will continue to drive the federal government, regardless of who controls Congress and the presidency. There will be a continuation of the deadly and destructive war on drugs and war on immigrants, especially if the Republicans regain power. The drug-war and immigration-war police states will continue to besiege Americans. There will continue to be sanctions and embargoes against the citizenry of nations who are perceived to be “enemies, opponents, or rivals” of the U.S. Empire. There will continue to be state-sponsored assassinations, coups, regime-change operations, crises, and an ever-growing array of official enemies, including North Korea, Iran, and Cuba. 

Statists might ask how libertarianism would address or fix all these problems. But libertarianism is not a philosophy or a system that purports to fix the problems of a statist system. Libertarianism is a completely different, alternative system to the statist system that is embraced by both Republican and Democrats.

In other words, if Americans like the society in which they are living — one in which there is massive out-of-control spending, debt, inflation, state-sponsored assassinations, torture, indefinite detention, coups, invasions, crises, death, destruction, sanctions, embargoes, mandatory charity, socialism, and militarism, then all they have to do is just keep supporting conservatism and progressivism.

But if Americans want to have a society of genuine liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world, that requires an entirely different paradigm — that is, a different system entirely from the one foisted on us by conservatives and progressives. That alternative paradigm is libertarianism.

How would a libertarian system be different? Well, for starters: No more socialist mandatory-charity programs, including Social Security and Medicare. Repeal them. Repeal the federal income tax, leaving people free to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth. Legalize all drugs. Lift all sanctions and embargoes. End all trade wars. Bring home all U.S. troops and discharge them into the private sector. Abandon all foreign military bases. Dismantle the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA and restore our nation’s founding systems of a limited government republic. Separate education and the state. End the Fed and restore a system of sound money to America.

The basic question is: What do you want out of life? Do you want a crisis-filled life that continues to bring nothing but death, destruction, and crises? Or do you want a peaceful and harmonious life that brings liberty, vitality, and prosperity? The decision turns not on political musical chairs. It turns on a choice of philosophies, paradigms, and systems.

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Jacob G. Hornberger
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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