The fictional mass murderer Kevin is most often described as a psychopath and his mother Eva a sociopath in book and movie reviews, the latter defined the same as the former, but without the insanity defense, i.e., a physical brain disorder rather than a choice. President Biden isn’t suspected of any such brain disorder (although dementia has long been suspected, common for his age). But Bruce Cannon Gibney argues that Baby Boomers, those born between 1940 and 1964, are A Generation of Sociopaths (2017) based primarily on their over-consuming at the expense of future generations, a massive inter-generational injustice. He allows for exceptions, but not among the Baby Boom political leaders, of which Joe Biden was the first on the national scene.
Sociopaths are defined as narcissists with additional characteristics, among which are: superficial charm, glib, manipulative, self serving, grandiose, pathological lairs, without remorse, self-centered, untrustworthy, physically aggressive, impulsive, blaming others, lacking in empathy, break promises, an ability to avoid persecution for illegal acts, and a belief they deserve to rule the world. As a result of the Obama/Biden “Good War” over half the current population of Afghanistan was born under American protection. These and thousands of those who assisted the American occupation and their families have been left behind by Joe to meet repression, and, for many, death at the hands of his captors and other Islamic radicals. His press conferences revealed almost all these sociopathic tendencies, leaving no doubt as to the applicability of Gibney’s diagnosis.
Like Kevin, Joe is competitive among his sociopathic political peers. For sheer narcissism it would be difficult to top former President Trump, and the Clintons are unlikely to ever be surpassed in the team sociopath competition. But Joe Biden, whose first attempt to rule the world over three decades ago was thwarted by a plagiarism scandal, seeks to exceed FDR, the record holder by size of Mall Monument, as a world leader not on his foreign policy experience, but by spending his way to a risky “fundamental transformation” of the US economy and society. Should we trust in Joe, or is he the “Borax Man” (a soap salesman)?
Lost in Translation: Accountability
The Biden Administration has already passed a $1 trillion “COVID Relief Bill mostly for extending unemployment, and the independent estimates for the “human infrastructure and environment” bill is another $5 trillion including a down payment on the $100 trillion Green New Deal. The current intention is to push the entire $6 trillion through the reconciliation loophole, “reconciling” a $6 trillion Democratic 10 Year Plan (budget) with $0 Republican support). Opponents of this “go for broke” agenda argue that it is evidence of Baby Boomer sociopathy on steroids, as the next generation will certainly go broke trying to pay for it. Proponents make two counter arguments: 1. that wealth redistribution and environmental spending is compensation for prior social, racial and inter-generational economic sociopathic behavior, and 2. that opponents are anti-government laissez faire ideologues.
I’ve addressed the flaws in the arguments for economic, social and racial justice elsewhere. Gibney’s charge of massive inter-generational injustice is true but incomplete. The pay-as-you-go (pay-go) programs passed by progressives of the prior generation were better than nothing but worse than funded plans in which mandatory retirement and insurance contributions were productively invested by professional insurance companies and pension asset managers as boomers required for their own public pensions. By partially shielding themselves from the consequences of pay-go, the Baby Boom generation postponed the failure to the next generation. As with the 2008 financial system meltdown, postponing failure builds up the loss to systemic proportions. But rather than mitigate this inter-generational injustice, the Biden Plan of $6 trillion in consumption spending with payment deferred through debt and taxes doubles down.
Laissez faire reflects the 17th century advice of the French Finance Minister against helping French merchants (“let it be”), the 20th Century American equivalent of crony capitalism. While America’s Founding Fathers were aware of their contemporary Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” were they libertarian ideologues they would have proscribed government intervention at all levels, rather than just the federal government. The Constitution was established in part to fund federal infrastructure, but accountability was problematic even for its limited needs.
The genius of the original American system, is illustrated currently in the debate over ongoing unemployment subsidies. The ten states with the lowest unemployment rate are all run by Republicans who didn’t extend, the ten highest by Democrats that did. People are free to move among the states (or leave the country) to improve their circumstances. About 90% of the bi-partisan infrastructure bill funds the states, emulating the Soviet Oblast top-down funding system precisely to avoid accountability and facilitate corrupt crony capitalist spending.
The real purpose of these top down spending plans is to bail out the spendthrift technically insolvent states. States can and do go bankrupt, they just can’t legally declare it to reduce or eliminate debts, instead instituting closures (most politically popular first), lay-offs (of the non-unionized), expenditure cuts, etc. Prior to the Civil War, the Democratic Party was on the losing end of this inter-state transfer. The inadvertent reliance on the duty tax – on the fruits of southern exports produced with slave labor – to fund the crony capitalist “infrastructure” expenses of the North was the immediate cause of the Civil War (emancipation being a consequence).
The progressive approach is to inflate needs into a crisis, then propose a cure that is worse than the disease, this suppressed with overly simplistic and internally inconsistent “model simulations.”
The Green New Deal: Not Green, Not New, and Not Good
Societies have degraded their environment since the advent of man(person)kind. Sometimes they cleaned up, sometimes they adopted new technologies, but mostly they just moved on or died out. While we are currently exploring the ability to live on the moon or other planets, moving on isn’t a feasible solution to the problems predicted as a consequence of man-made global warming.
Environmental activists are on first blush strange bedfellows with the social and racial justice activists. But progressives – which includes the UN – pick the worst case to identify an immediate “crisis” they claim to have had nothing to do with making that needs their immediate action – i.e., they “never let a crisis go to waste.” There are as many model predictions for climate change as there are environmental scientists, but thus far it has saved twice as many people (from freezing) as have died (from warming). Baby boomers haven’t done much other than virtue signal and fund crony capitalists, with little and some cases perverse net environmental effect.
When the Obama Administration defined carbon as a pollutant the progressive response was essentially to require an all powerful supra-governmental organization not seen since the Communist International to both orchestrate and enforce an agreement on the elimination of fossil fuels as a source of energy. The current approach starts with an unenforceable international suicide pact, shutting down carbon energy without a viable alternative. The countries who commit to go late rarely take their promises seriously, with every intention of reneging. Crony capitalist from birth VP Al Gore arranged the Kyoto Protocol, unanimously voted down in 1998 by the U.S. Congress. Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry produced the Paris Accords that faced a similar fate. Unapproved, it represented only virtue signaling (insincere, as evidenced by Kerry jetting in for Obama’s 60th birthday bash.)
More taxes and spending on solar panels and windmills and subsidies to electric cars, many of which run on coal, only feed the crony capitalist machine. Defrocked New York Governor Cuomo closed the Indian Point nuclear plant and California’s Governor Newsom has promised to close his state’s last nuclear plant (unless he’s recalled). Thousands of dams have been removed, partly due to environmental opposition. The Democrats, like the Soviets, have only a hammer, so the response to every crisis is a nail. Eliminating carbon based fuel while destroying dams and shuttering nuclear plants would reduce American per-capita energy consumption to 19th Century levels.
The Biden environmental agenda saddles future generations of Americans, already burdened with excessive personal debt and taxation, with an unpayable international debt. The resulting domestic repression, already underway in finance and free speech, will exacerbate today’s anarchy in the streets to levels last seen in all socialist countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which left behind environmental devastation. In the wake of their environmental catastrophe, Democrats will claim “nobody could have seen this coming!’ From Afghanistan to climate change, different “crises,” same totalitarian response, same disaster, same denial.
This isn’t necessary. Carbon, solar, hydro, wind, wave, etc. are all derivatives of the sun’s nuclear energy. The US has the science, technology and manufacturing capacity to build safe, sound, environmentally pure nuclear energy for centuries to come. (Fuel may be a bit scarce as a large share of the US uranium stock was transferred to Russia per Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in return for kickbacks to the Clinton Foundation.)
Germany shuttered its entire nuclear capacity under environmental pressure, resorting to importing coal from carbon rich Russia, which has been rapidly expanding its nuclear capacity by implementing new technologies. Germany and others will follow. Policies to push carbon down where it belongs rather than up while nuclear power is phased in allow fossil fuels to be safely phased out, perhaps accelerated with a carbon tax.
Resisters to Joe’s suicidal American central plan are accused of being “climate deniers” reminiscent of cult leader Jim Jones’s admonition to his flock to drink the kool-aid. Should the U.S. follow the science or the cult leader?
The obstacle to a clean nuclear energy future is the crony capitalist control of the environmental, progressive and bureaucratic lobbies. Eisenhower, a man of character and an outstanding leader before entering the political arena, who as President opposed the military-industrial-
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.