Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mob vs. Snob: Let's See If I Understand This

Back in the post revolutionary period, writes Peter Lee, Alexander Hamilton was the guy that saw a critical need for the young United States. He needed to keep the loyalty of the economic elite bound to the new United States. After all, the rebellion of the colonies was based on the merchant elite becoming separated from the British homeland, and not backing the Brits 100% in the Revolutionary War.

Lee calls Hamilton's policy Mob vs. Snob.

So Hamilton's economic policy, from the Feds picking up the state debts at par to the Bank of the United States and the industrial policy, put the US government and the rich together like bacon and eggs.

It was the division of the southern and northern elites that led to the secession of the southern states, so that it took a Civil War force the southern states back into the Union.

These days the elite doesn't worry so much about secession as about runaway white populism. So the elite has formed an over-under coalition with non-white groups to form a united front against the disaffected middle class whites.

That's why the liberal elites have suddenly warmed to Hamilton, according to Lee. It was Hamilton that led the US forces against post-revolution rebellions like Shay's Rebellion. This was the elite putting down a troublesome mob.

A guy like that suddenly looks attractive to a liberal elite alarmed by the Tea Party and "Lumpenf├╝hrer" Trump. Hey, the GOP elite thought that Hispanic-friendly Rubio, Bush, and Cruz would square the circle between Hispanics and whites. Instead they failed and:
White power, as I put it, was left lying in the streets…and Donald Trump picked it up.
Oops! That wasn't supposed to happen. It has scrambled the Baldrick's Cunning Plan of the US elite and reversed, at least for a moment, the elite plan to let the white working class die of despair while the elite bought the support of the rising non-white groups with pretty baubles while keeping its power and wealth and influence safe from the stirrings of white rebellion.

So that is why the elite wants to revive Hamilton's Mob vs. Snob politics on the theory that it should make the annoying Trumpian mob go away.

But there is a problem. The elite politics of Hamilton was founded on Hamilton's genius. He had worked in the world; he had seen a war financed; he knew about Dutch finance and how to tend to the health of the state.

But our current elite is soft and foolish. It sought to teach the Middle East a lesson and yet threw away its victory; it set on a foolish real-estate boom and bust based upon a faulty credit policy of insufficient collateral and unsound borrowers. It has failed to heal the economy broken on its cheap money policies. And yet, having "barely contained disaster for the last two decades," it dares to sneer at the populism of Donald Trump. These are latecomer fans of Hamilton that do not understand Hamilton.

The success of Hamilton's policy was that his fiscal bounty for the elite ended up enriching the common man as the sound state finance of his system turned the United States into an economic powerhouse.

The failure of today's elite is that its condominium with the financial elite is not the simple windfall of Hamilton's national debt that energized the whole economy. This new deal is more the protection policy of the criminal gang. Support us and our welfare state and identity politics if you know what is good for you. That is the message for the Warren Buffets and the techno billionaires, and nobody has got the message better than PayPal billionaire Elon Musk. He has built a crony-capitalist empire with NASA-assisted SpaceX and climate-focused and subsidized Tesla.

No wonder the middle middle class is getting restless.

The only question is whether there is a real Hamilton waiting in the wings with the magic potion ready to administer to the national patient and revive its flagging spirits with a new financial and political concoction, and whether Donald Trump would know him if he saw him.

For after all, everyone was amazed when Hamilton's system blew wind into the sails of the good ship United States and set it off on a prosperous voyage for 200 years. Would today's wise men recognize a Hamiltonian genius if he walked onto the national stage?

When Ronald Reagan strode onto the national stage 36 years ago the elite knew exactly what to think. He was an "amiable dunce," and a "bellicose Cold War cowboy."  Yet he was the guy that ended the "stagflation"of the 1970s and won the Cold War without firing a shot.

It isn't clear that the elite has learned anything useful in the last 36 years. Yet it still claims the right to rule.

Let us hope that God still looks after drunks, fools, and the United States of America.

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