USA 2017-2020: An Ungovernable Nation?

Regardless of who wins the presidency, a much larger question looms: will the U.S. be ungovernable 2017-2020? There are multiple sources of the question.

One is of course the remarkable unpopularity of the two candidates for the presidency. For all the reasons that are tiresomely familiar, whomever wins the presidency will remain deeply unpopular with roughly 40% of the adult populace.

Though we can’t say “never,” let’s say it’s “extremely unlikely” that fans of Hillary Clinton will cotton to Donald Trump, or vice versa: both candidates have been public figures for decades, and it is highly unlikely that the usual “I will serve all the people” speech given by the new president will change many minds.

It’s not too difficult to foresee not just gridlock, but angry gridlock. Neither candidate can count on even the slightest shreds of goodwill from the other party, and with bi-partisanship already dead on arrival, precisely how much governance can any deeply reviled president offer the nation?

Whether pundits like it or not, one issue that will not go away after the election is the dominance of the nation’s financial and political elite: the top .01%. As many of us in the alternative media, and to a lesser but still significant degree, in the mainstream media have been noting, the dominance of the elite class of financiers and politicos has increased in the 21st century.

I have described this in a number of ways: the state-cartel model, neofeudalism (with the bottom 95% being either debt-serfs or dependents on state bread and circuses), or the neocolonialial-financialization model: The E.U., Neofeudalism and the Neocolonial-Financialization Model (May 24, 2012).

Simon Johnson, co-author of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown and White House Burning: Our National Debt and Why It Matters to You, described this as The Quiet Coup in a seminal 2009 essay:

“The finance industry has effectively captured our government–a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.”

Regardless of who they vote for, an increasing number of Americans are coming to understand that their oppressors are not foreign “terrorists” but homegrown elites who have become wealthier and thus more powerful in the past seven years of “prosperity.”

As I have shown many times, the top 5% of households have done very very well in the past few decades, and the bottom 95% have at best clung on and at worst seen the purchasing power of their earnings plummet.

You can’t fix this without overthrowing the status quo. Policy tweaks such as “more job training,” more social benefits, tax cuts for the middle class–none of those simulacra reforms will change the dynamic or the power structure of the U.S.

And since nobody in power is going to change the status quo that so richly benefits them, the resentment of the power elites will only grow in the next four years. The other unspoken issue is that the bottom 95% are starting to see through the Ministry of Propaganda’s unrelenting spew of fake factoids and “happy talk good news”:

All the “red button” issues boil down to this: the top .01% make all the important decisions to serve their own interests; the top 5% of technocrats and professionals who have done very well for themselves in the past seven years will support the elites, and the bottom 95% are effectively powerless– not just politically, but financially.

I would argue that Simon Johnson’s financial coup is 50 years behind the governance coup in which the Deep State decided the “people” must be stripped of power lest they mess up “what’s best for them,” which is of course decided for them by the elitist organs of the Deep State, which I have sketched out here:

You see the dilemma for the elites running the nation: if they keep exploiting the nation for their own benefit, they risk a social revolution that threatens their cozy state-cartel arrangement.

But if they return some power to the people–well, the people might actually renounce the Imperial Project, endless war, saber-rattling, and elite dominance of the nation.

Regardless of who wins the election, the U.S. will be ungovernable in a period of self-reinforcing crises. All the flim-flam financial gambits that created the illusion of prosperity are falling apart, and the Imperial Project is losing its grip on the narratives and on the ground.

The only way to govern successfully is to actually solve the underlying systemic problems, but doing that requires overthrowing a corrupt, self-serving elite, the same elite that will never relinquish its power or its wealth.

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  • Gary Dalton

    Yes the nation is at a very serious position. You are right the elites will not give up money or power. I feel then very serious results will follow. Ive been seeing and reading more and more signs that God is going to start throwing rocks, the rocks are getting closer and closer. Near misses now. Ether its a total extrication or just part. Thats up to the rock Thrower. in Theres a Good Book written a long time ago that has the stories.

    • animalogic

      The Republic by Plato ? Aristotle’s The Politics ? Most works by Cicero ? Confucius ?
      All have some relevance. A bit later on, The Prince always has valuable view points. The Bible may have some use, if, of course, myth can separated from fact. Naturally, you would not be suggesting using a religious text to interpret social-political- economic
      phenomena ?

  • wildeyedliberal

    And this is why it’s time to get some 8 inch PVC and a shovel. Problem is, that is exactly the time you need to excavate that 8″ tube.

    The PTB are definitely seeming uncomfortable lately…

  • diogenes

    So, you keep saying this, as you keep saying. But, what’s your solution? Buy your book?

  • LootersParadise

    I hope you’re right about angry gridlock. My biggest fear is that Hillary, who is, except for a few easy-to-concede social policies, a conservative, will govern from the right. And that Democrats will fall in line, with the non-Tea Party GOP making up the rest of a coalition majority.

    That’s how our government will move even further to the right, and the .01% will keep their power.

    On the other hand, there are enough fractures in the GOP to prevent the opposite from happening, should Trump somehow win. Then the angry gridlock case makes sense.

  • ICFubar

    As ‘Dave’ says, “if you can’t deal with the root of the problem you can’t fix the problem.” The facts on the ground are building to a crescendo, which may culminate in a big war or a deep deep world wide depression. Either way a lot of the 95% will become dislocated and the Apex Elites have no doubt prepared and are preparing for this eventuality with solutions that will further their grip over the entire planet and all on it. Only a revolution with a new ideology will be able to unify the people enough to see it through despite all the disunity mechanisms spun by these elites and the misallocation of all the money they have created.

  • animalogic

    Although I agree with much of the diagnosis here, I’m far less sure of the conclusions: ie that the elite is corrupt/ criminal beyond reform (agreed); therefore they risk either social revolution due to their intrangenence or forced reform if they concede some power to head off “revolution”. Finally, whatever “happens” the US will become “ungovernable” due to “self-reinforcing crises”.
    1. Neither initial conclusion necessarily follows from the premise of corruption. The assumption is “uncontrolable” crisis. However, there’s no reason to assume uncontrollability. Modern States are adept at reducing crisis to the manageable or at least the appearance of such.
    2. Whatever the degree of crisis a tangible question will exist as to the US public’s capacity to exploit it for real change.
    3. This follows from 1 & 2. The US is already effectively a police-state: the law (ie: governance by “emergency” executive fiat) & instruments of repression already exist (police, security services, military & MSM/propaganda agencies). Who believes the government/s would hesitate to use them (no doubt with considerable public support).
    Whatever happens, it is vital that working people organise along strong, militant socialist principles. Failure could mean that any “self-reinforcing crises” will result in open fascism not a reformed government/ society.

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