(An Ode to Lionel Shriver)
Back in 2021 President Biden reiterated that his proposals, unprecedented in scope and expense, represented an investment in the future with extraordinary returns that could only be evaluated over the longer, e.g., ten- to fifty-year time horizon. This perspective coincidentally facilitated claims it was paid for without new taxes, while postponing an evaluation of actual returns beyond his term in office, even if he should run and win a second term in 2024 at 82 years old.
Saving American Democracy
But it’s now a decade later and Biden is still in office. Well, not exactly in office, as he had been replaced by a hologram in late 2021, addressing the American people from his estate in McLean Virginia, purchased for $50 million cash (before GSA improvements). Following FDR’s precedent people were told that changing leaders in the midst of a crisis, and these continued to accumulate over the decade, was dangerous.
Besides, he had run virtually unopposed in the 2024 election after all those registered Republicans within a half mile of the Capitol on January 6,th 2021 had been arrested, tried, convicted and jailed for “terrorism and crimes against the State,” after which Republican voter registration plummeted.
The expanded Supreme Court, 29 Justices to accommodate race, ethnicity, gender, etc., had finally ruled on the legal concept of “disparate impact,” concluding that everything from global warming and COVID 19 to voter identification, rent collection, college admission requirements and even law enforcement represented illegal racial discrimination. The expanded Court then called an indefinite recess during the construction of a new edifice to house it.
There was really no point in holding a faux election in 2028 in any event. The progressive campaigns to eliminate the electoral college and voter ID laws to prevent “voter suppression” had both been successful, and the ongoing COVID lockdown still allowed mail-in ballots under the rules in place in 2020, so there was no need to go through the motions. The New York Times and the Washington Post, the only remaining Party sanctioned newspapers, simply announced “the will of the people.” By now, 2031, most people have long since forgotten the promises of that Biden Ten Year Plan.
Improving the Urban Landscape
The “protests” during 2020 to 2021 continued and spread to cities across the country. Having extended the injunctions against evictions in spite of the early Supreme Court decisions to the contrary (later reversed by the expanded Court), landlords abandoned their properties. Those who could moved out and the rest stopped paying. Soon, all these cities resembled Johannesburg at the end of the Apartheid regime. The first 20 stories now the exclusive domain of squatters, the higher floors remaining mostly vacant as no elevators worked. As in Joburg, the original city residents were outnumbered about two to one by immigrants from rural areas, most of whom crossed formerly international boundaries as the US border, like that of South Africa, no longer existed in reality.
As many buildings had burned down, a consequence of open wood burning cooking fires in the hallways, the vacancies proved woefully insufficient to house the influx, so the Administration reached back to another Depression-era program to provide housing while “creating jobs.” The need for public housing was so great that they resorted to the original French design of Pruitt Igoe constructed in St Louis in 1954; dozens of high-rise buildings spaced like dominoes. Like the original, these project are segregated, not between black and white, but between African Americans descended from slaves in what became the US who speak an English dialect (black), and Spanish speaking African American immigrants (Hispanic).
Initially blacks were required to spend 25% of their earned income on rent based on current policy, whereas Hispanics were granted free rent because they were not allowed to work, “saving American jobs.” This created a “disparate impact” so armed conflict arose. There were no police, a consequence of de-funding, so anarchy reigned. All commercial activity in the surrounding areas had disappeared with the exception of small bodegas selling necessities and cheap Chinese fentanyl, paid for with food stamps at the standard 50% haircut for alcohol and drugs. Food was scarce in the cities, where garden plots had sprung up in the recently denuded public parks and other vacated land.
Electrical production had shrunk as all the nuclear, oil, natural gas and coal plants had been sabotaged and shuttered, while China cornered the global market for carbon fuels. Many hydroelectric dams had also been blown up in response to environmentalist demands. Old windmills were now failing, their disposal as big an environmental issue as Yucca Mountain. Wood fires provided the only heat.
The elimination of dams replenished some underground aquifers. But China continued to import US water for a few pennies on the dollar in the form of almonds and other water intensive crops, as government pricing and distribution worked the same way for US agriculture as it had in the formerly centrally planned economies where over a hundred million people starved to death. Sewage capacity was down 80% as a result of the water shortages, but full utilization of that capacity was problematic as Russian hackers, like everybody else, would no longer accept US dollars, only the new gold backed Sino-Russo digital currency. Most raw sewage was simply dumped in the rivers and streams.
Labor, Capital and International Trade
The post WW II American Century occurred due to the wartime destruction of its potential competitors and the productivity of its capitalist system that generated the surplus to fund its national defense. China’s comparative advantages leading to huge trade surpluses reflected its willingness to indirectly import American pollution and directly its trash, while indirectly exporting surplus labor. China backtracked on market reforms during the 2020s, but the Biden Administration set wages and job requirements while socially directing investment. Trash dumps overflowed.
The Biden Administration touted 179 different “worker training” programs, to little effect as worker skill and effort had totally eroded. After the college debt forgiveness program, the Biden Administration concluded it would be a charade to charge new students, so college was made free. To achieve diversity goals, entrance requirements were dropped. And to make room for new entrants, all students were graduated in four years. So the curriculum was diverted from, e.g., engineering and science, to critical race theory and related topics of no interest to foreign students. Private business only required 10% of the college educated, but the pickings among this cohort were still slim. So the Biden Administration created jobs for millions of “community organizers,” “administrators” and “inspectors” to insure that all hiring met the new disparate impact requirements.
Some new bridges had been constructed as part of the infrastructure plan, but traffic had fallen by over 80% as a result of the fuel shortages, and in truth people were afraid to drive over the new facilities built by political cronies that failed inspection by civil engineers. Private capital had fled as the US had now dropped to the bottom half globally in “ease of doing business.”
The 1956 National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, the brainchild of General Eisenhower, also provided the exit ramp for white families fleeing urban riots during the 1960s to the suburbs. Some families stayed and tried to adapt to the new environment. But after the expanded Supreme Court ruled that suburban flight caused a disparate impact, suburbs were forcibly incorporated into cities where every street now had to reflect the racial composition of the city at large. Now whites faced a bigger decision, “should we stay or should we go.” The white population, already declining in 2021, represented a 25% minority by 2031. Many of those who could afford to had liquidated their US assets, some burning down houses that the government would otherwise confiscate, and made their way to Australia and New Zealand. Others simply packed everything they owned and crossed in to Canada. Still others formed new towns in sanctuary cities and states. These approaches mirrored that of whites leaving South Africa decades earlier. The sanctuary cities and states became self sufficient but traded where they had a comparative advantage.
President Biden had been propitious in early 2021 raising the specter of a new Civil War, but his ridiculous purported casus belli – that the disparate impact of voter identification was worse than slavery – was in fact cover for a declaration of total war by the Party in power against its political opposition. His history, that the Civil War was fought over voting rights or even freedom, was worse: the North fought to keep expropriating the hard currency duties, fruits of the cotton trade built on slavery, that accrued directly to the South.
The Biden Administration faced a similar situation. The secession, legally identical to that of the Party’s sanctuary cities during the Trump Administration, couldn’t be tolerated because the areas still under its control resembled that of an undeveloped country; lawless, unable to support itself or generate a surplus for export and hard currency payments. The President tried to federalize the state militias, but with the toppling of Robert E. Lee still fresh in their memory, they remained loyal to the states. The President then called on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but all senior military officers were locked in a secure military compound undergoing sensitivity training. By the time they surfaced, the sanctuary areas had signed treaties with their trading partners Xi Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia, the new global hegemons after the US exodus from Afghanistan proved visually worse than the overloaded helicopter falling off the aircraft carrier into the sea a half century earlier.
In truth, life under the Biden Administration had become hellish for most of the population. The concept of civil liberties had disappeared from the political lexicon as people lived on the edge of the abyss. So the former Governor Cuomo was re-called to administer the benevolent “final solution” to octogenarians, excepting those Party stalwarts now approaching 90 who had set records for living after the onset of dementia. Heroin and fentanyl were freely distributed to the rest of the population to reduce their pain and suffering and hasten their exit. The resulting air pollution was worse than that prior to the Clean Air Act of 1970.
While some Administration apologists claimed that “nobody could have seen this coming,” others deemed the Ten Year Plan a success: America’s fiscal bankruptcy achieved more global economic equality by culling the population of over-consuming over-polluting Americans. That goal should have been obvious in 2021.
Kevin Villani, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac from 1982 to 1985, has held senior government positions, has been affiliated with ten universities, and served as CFO and director of several companies. He recently published Occupy Pennsylvania Avenue on the political origins of the sub-prime lending bubble and aftermath.