TINA’s Legacy: Free Money, Bread and Circuses and Collapse

Every conventional “solution” to the systemic ills of our economy and society boils down to some version of free money: Universal Basic Income (UBI) schemes– free money for everyone, funded by borrowing from future taxpayers (robots, people, Martians, any fantasy will do); debt jubilees funded by central banks creating trillions out of thin air, a.k.a. free money, and so on.

Free money is compelling because, well, it’s free, and it solves all the problems created by burdensome debt and declining incomes for the bottom 95%. Just give every household $100,000 of free money that must be devoted to reducing interest, then give every household $20,000 annually for being among the living, and hey, a lot of problems go away.

But is creating money out of thin air really truly free? There are two appealing answers: yes and yes. If the Treasury literally prints money, it’s almost “free,” and if the Federal Reserve creates money and buys bonds paying near-zero yields, the money that is borrowed into existence is almost free because the interest due is so minimal.

The problem, of course, is that creating free money is not quite the same as creating new wealth. New wealth is a new gas/oil field that comes online, new cropland that produces a new source of food, new goods and services, etc.

In effect, every dollar of free money reduces the purchasing power of all existing units of currency unless the expansion of output (additional goods and services) matches or exceeds the added dollar.

This line of thinking is driven by two realities: governments have issued many promises to their citizens, employees, corporations, etc. These include pensions, medical care, backstops against losses, tax breaks, subsidies, and on and on in an endless profusion.

In order to fund these promises, governments must borrow immense sums of money that will never be paid back. The only way governments can afford to borrow immense sums that pile up oh-so quickly is if interest rates are kept near-zero for all eternity (or until the current generation of politicians retires, or the currency follows Venezuela’s currency to near-zero, whichever comes first).

As long as interest rates are kept near-zero, even $20 trillion in debt is manageable. Never mind if debt triples every few years–it’s affordable if interest rates are near-zero.

Everybody can borrow more at near-zero rates: governments, banks, consumers–it’s the cure-all to every debt burden. The problem is rates can never rise, lest the house of cards collapses.

$20 trillion at 5% interest requires an annual interest payment of $1 trillion–one-third of all federal revenue. $30 trillion at 10% interest would consume 100% of all federal tax revenues, leaving nothing for all the programs, obligations and promises of the central state.

Allow me to introduce TINA–there is no alternative to low rates forever and emitting of immense sums of new currency (not new wealth or productive output–just new currency) to fund various modern-day versions of bread and circuses for everyone.

TINA’s legacy is revealed in this chart of the Venezuelan Bolivar, which has plummeted from 10 to the US dollar to 5,800 to the USD in a few years of rampant money-emission. Free money is certainly compelling, at least to those desperate to cling to power, but sadly, newly emitted currency is never actually free.

At the height of its giveaways of free bread and endless distractions of public entertainment, Rome’s population is estimated to have been close to 1 million.

After the collapse of bread and circuses, the population of Rome eventually fell to roughly 25,000. But no worries–this time it’s different. We’ll get away with it because we buy our own debt, technology is deflationary, and so on. Simply put: the free bread and circuses will never end because we’re so powerful and nothing is outside our control.

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  • Zartan

    Why don`t you take your silly BS argument to the bankers? They got welfare, bailouts, free loans, and more to export US JOBS, while the IDIOTS ( US taxpayers) bought all of their bad investments! No, you want to kill and murder the poor. You better not be Christian: Gloves come off then!

    Banker Corps have been getting “MEGA-TRILLIONS” ( 30-Trillion for War, and 20-Trillion in bailouts) in FREE MONEY for DECADES! FREE “TRILLIONS” FOR WAR AND MURDER! FREE MONEY WHEN THEY FK UP AND SUBSIDIES GALORE! Why, Even Your Silly Corporate Health Insurance is Subsidized! Capitalism is DEAD. Only a Brain dead economist would think the US has anything even remotely modeled after capitalism. Americas economic model is a Neo-fascist Corporate Tyranny!

    Corporations EVEN GET “FREE MONEY” TO BUY THEIR OWN STOCK! Corporate Welfare is the “KING of ALL WELFARE,” but they own your Government, so they are too big to fail or Jail. HOW STUPID CAN YOU PEOPLE BE!

    You are just another “fool” brainwashed by your masters who want all that free money, and they want people to starve, while they enjoy plenty! The are Psychopaths! In case you are mathematically impaired, US currency has “Absolutely ZERO VALUE,” it is utterly worthless, and the only thing that backs it up is FAITH and the US MILITARY. Anyone who disagrees with the US Monetary GOD will be eviscerated and removed from planet earth. I bet you never thought of it that way, because you never thought . Sure, and who is going to downgrade the US government and risk being a threat to US national security? Nobody! The US government has a License “as god” to print money until JESUS returns and Nobody will do a GD thing about it.

    SO, You can either be WISE and PROFIT as a US Citizen, or YOU CAN BE A FOOL AND EARN THE REBUKE DUE A FOOL, by Not Realizing Reality! One thing is Certain, the Bankers, will Take what YOU ( the people) are too stupid to understand. Poverty can Be printed out of Existence.

    • Gary Youree

      Very good. It is nice to find another who understands the world as it is.
      I see the world as controlled by a corporate psychopathic elite who prey upon humanity. They are a sub-species who could not survive without humanity to prey upon. Alone they would quickly be reduced to one man standing.
      The majority just seem to be unwilling to put out the little effort it takes to understand the truth. Its good to know you are out there.

      • mike mace

        Two believers in the Temple of the Free Lunch.

        • Zartan

          Sorry, we are not Bankers, Fool!

        • slorter

          The only ones who truly get the free lunch are the 1%

          • Zartan

            Absolutely Correct!

            And, the Funny thing, these people ( like the poster above) hate the poor, but do not comprehend that government/corporate collusion made them POOR. They claim to be Christians, but want to take food from the mouths of the starving poor and give it to the military WELFARE Entitlements program, to bomb children all over the globe.

            I cannot wait to see what happens when they come face to face with God. Oh, and if you`re not a Christian, do not be offended, because YOU will fare better than these hypocrites! I have to attack my enemies ( False Christians) where they live.

      • Zartan


        I am glad there are people like you, still here, to recognize truth. The majority of people are indeed totally depressing and an obstacle of immense proportions for those who are intelligent enough to see the truth, have empathy, and know that there is a better way.

        • Gary Youree

          This is a little out there – but i cannot help but wonder what the agenda of those in control have in mind to maintain their control. Without a forced mutual awareness of the majority, of the common enemy and systems, they will likely take it to the next level – taking control and continuing to profit on the inevitable collapse – while competing among themselves and reducing their numbers but increasing those who remain – their power and control.

          The truth of how our world works – the corporate/US collusion to build a world empire with paper debt (and the weapons and governments they buy) has never been more obvious or easy to understand – yet the masses seem to be oblivious or in denial here in the US, much of the West, – and then – how would we know?

          Self Awareness or consciousness appear to have nothing but downside in a species divided by a small percent of the species lacking emotional rebuttal of the self. The more instinctive psychopath has only an advantage in a competitive environment – but are useless and obvious in any system that works together for the common good of humanity.

          Consciousness only has its advantage in a social species that works together for the common good of the species. Efficiency in truth, knowledge, technology, participation, etc., is essential. When divided we become a useless mess where any move cancels another out. This is unnatural and manipulated.

          By an odd unique set of evolutionary chance events our ability to manipulate our environment is insanely out of pace with our ability to communicate. I like to compare the intellectual evolution of cetaceans to humans.

          Driven since we emerged from hunter gatherer societies by only the desire to compete and control, and never a consideration to come together for the common good, they have manufactured every divide; religion, race, etc. in order to control and prey upon the vast remainder of mankind. They are the only divide we should consider – yet all voices are censured in the mass media.
          Their control and distribution of technologies by profit, not efficiency, have us stuck in their cycle of making a commodity of the remainder of mankind.
          IMO the controlling psychopaths are very aware of where this destructive path will lead – and they plan to take full advantage of it by manipulation of the armageddon most of us seem to accept.

          The inevitable global market collapse combined with world wars over resources will end in economic and near ecological collapse. The one percent will be eliminated as will some of their own as they compete for world domination. “Natural” depopulation will occur.

          Their monopoly on technology, authoritarian control over natural resources, and the coming dark age will make them appear as gods. History will become our myths while the official narrative will be re-written with them as the saviors who destroyed the corrupt governments of old.

          I think it would make a damn good movie.

          Is there hope that humanity will ever reign and come together for the common good allowing science and only the most efficient technology to lead? Will our species ever see its potential?

          Will those decadent impure psychopaths destroy those they worship? Will we recognize before, during, or after the fire – the who and how it happened?
          Is there an existing building force of insurrection within the blue collar of the MIC? Could intellectuals + muscle, from countries all over the world come together and denounce monetary systems of government, take the media technology, – and drone the fuck out of the psychopathic elite? Enough law exists to put them all on a rope.
          Anything less that a full denouncing of the existing systems would only result in another series of Marxist predicted synthesis. These are unique times. Humanity is more vulnerable to his environment than ever before. They will be vulnerable to corruption by grain and water.
          Economic collapse leading to wars are inevitable – and the best chance for an awareness of the common enemy.
          Uncontrolled destruction is the best hope – IMO

  • Tom Paine

    The person below misunderstands the article the author is sardonically explaining
    the situation not endorsing it.

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      • Zartan

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    • Zartan

      I did not read the article, because there is nothing to explain.

      There is nothing funny or cryptic about the situation. I do not read articles that attempt to disparage the poor, weak or downtrodden. I Attack. There are too many spoiled brats in America. Taking food from the Poor is Just Embarrassing! I will not be held accountable for such EVIL and there is nothing funny or humorous about the situation.

      Those who profess to be Christian, and endorse such “evil” against the POOR should have a Bloody Tuna tied around their Neck and be dumped into the Middle of the Pacific Ocean; and Instructed, “This is Capitalism and if You work REAL HARD, perhaps, you will make the DREAM!”

      The Above would be doing Gods work.
      Anyone who does not understand has a lot to learn.

  • Zartan

    What the Author does not understand is that the US government has Nuclear Weapons and the WORLDS MOST POWERFUL MILITARY. Anyone who deviates from the US government dictate will be vaporized. The World OBEYS its Master or they get Nuclear Winter. Therefore, with this Immense Power governing and protecting “its economy,” USSA can do anything it wants, because it has GOD LIKE POWERS! They finally learned in 2008, and its been gangbusters since! No downgrades, I wonder why?

    The Sad thing is that People keep thinking government books are akin to their checkbook. They ( the people) are Slaves, Government is god … this simple analogy should explain it all “very simply” so that everyone can understand. The US government can do anything, because NOBODY will dare to stand in its way. If the American people were smart ( and I am only being truthful) they would see this reality and take advantage of it. They paid for it so they should be enjoying the fruit of their citizenship! However, the banker/corps will take it all because the people are blind and lame.