Believe it or not, this commentator has discerned one small advantage of the Biden administration – a cornucopia of opportunities to test Stein’s Law, articulated by Nixon-Ford era Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Herb Stein.
To wit: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”
Oh. Would that “something” be raging double-digit inflation for food, fuel, and housing? Plummeting real wages? Dive-bombing stock markets and corporate earnings?
Starving once abundant, reliable, affordable fossil fuels of capital in favor of intermittent renewables for which sufficient battery storage is a physical impossibility?
Second and Third World-style shortages not just of baby formula but of other popular products, needed inputs, and even labor?
Floods of deadly fentanyl into the U.S., feeding record drug overdoses, as border agents are distracted by waves of illegal immigrants who become wards of the federal government? A 19-year high in traffic fatalities and cities overrun with homelessness and crime as demoralized and short-staffed police and patrol forces experience mass resignations?
Continued global embarrassments in the wake of in-your-face insults from Chinese diplomats and the fall of Afghanistan, now also encompassing Iranians thumbing their noses at nuclear proliferation cops, the failure to head off the invasion of Ukraine, the sorry sight of our president begging tyrants to supply the very fuels he has cut off, and open rebukes from Lilliputian regimes at a debacle of a Summit of the Americas?
One party, with traditional and social media’s slobbering support, darkly warning of “threats to our democracy” while declaring itself judge, jury, and executioner – not to mention selective prosecutor and editor of deposition clips – at show-trial hearings, plus having a respected former government official clapped in leg irons and strip-searched for resisting a patently illegal subpoena?
A 50-year low in marriages and the lowest fertility rate in history in 2020 announced on the eve of “Pride Month,” during which government and elites double down on their obsession with aberrant sexuality, courts slap down sensible attempts to restrict irreversible mutilation of teenage girls in the name of “gender equity,” and military ads eschew erstwhile GI Joe shots of men in action for images of helmets festooned with rainbow-colored bullets?
None of this can go on forever if America is to endure as an economic and military power and a stable and orderly society, can it? Mustn’t it stop?
Yeah? What’s going to stop it? A cataclysmic wake-up call like the pending insolvency of Medicare, or an explosion of deficits as interest rates rise?
Christopher Jacobs of the Federalist insists that Medicare has been functionally insolvent for years as Congress has engaged in budgetary gimmicks to cover mounting shortfalls, not to mention cuts in provider payments. (As this correspondent recently discovered to his dismay when his devoted and trusted primary care physician dropped his Medicare Advantage plan mid-year.)
And inflation means that interest rate payments as a percentage of GDP could actually fall in real terms. (Yes. Inflating away the federal debt is a thing.)
A market crash and economic collapse? The 2008 version only led to ever-more oppressive government – including the permanent, irreversible installation of federally-run healthcare.
Voter revolt? Democrats lost the most House seats in seven decades in 2010, lost 16 more and the Senate in 2014, and the whole enchilada in 2016 with the uprising that led to Donald Trump’s improbable election, an economic renaissance, and surging energy production.
Yet with their control of the commanding heights of the media, the tech monopolists, corporate America, the education system, and the culture allowing them to shout down scandal and overwhelming evidence of the greatest electoral heist of all time, Democrats had the House back within two years and control of both chambers and the White House two years after that.
So maybe progressives suffer big losses this fall. They have the same advantages going forward. What’s to stop more electoral shenanigans in 2024 and a renewed surge leftward in 2026? The primetime January 6 hearings and continuous repetition of the “Big Lie” mantra on 2020 election fraud prove the degree to which leftists can command the “bully pulpit” – bullying all opposition into collaboration or cowered silence.
A cultural backlash? Check with the doxxed Libs of TikTok diva and Ilya Shapiro, recently hounded out of Georgetown Law, on how that’s working out for them. Let’s see if reversing Roe v. Wade actually does anything to further cleanse the stain of abortion outside deep-red enclaves.
OK, but surely Americans are not going to put up with $10 gasoline and the rolling blackouts expected this very summer. Yeah? Ask Germans and Brits, whose renewable policies have led to deepened energy poverty and generated (pun intended) continuous brownouts and blackouts even as their leaders plow forward. Ask environmentalists whose animus toward eco-unfriendly but unbudgeable ethanol mandates is unrequited by policymakers. And ask young people, who have been sufficiently brainwashed into climate-phobia that they don’t think governments are doing enough about emissions.
Progressives here and abroad are proving Stein wrong. Unsustainable trends and policies can and do continue. Just look south to Venezuela, a once energy-and materially-rich nation that, despite desperate poverty, continues to be ruled with an iron hand by leftist thugs.
Here, too, it is not inconceivable that Stein’s Law will give way to a Murphy’s Law corollary: if anything is going wrong, immovable progressive policymakers can make it worse.