Democrats think they’ve won the lottery by having the White House.
Here in Montana, Republicans think the same since they have all branches of government.
I think both groups are in for a wild surprise.
We’re heading into a monumental dark winter, followed by a hellacious depression of our economy and our mental health.
Nationally, Democrats are going to be caught holding the bag on the massive turmoil and financial unrest we’re about to embark upon.
Here in Montana, the GOP will get stuck with the mess.
Four years from now, the Dems are going to be incredibly sick of Joe Biden...if he’s even still alive. The only people that will be more fed-up with their pick are those supporting Gianforte. I don’t think he knows what’s coming, and I don’t think his business background in hightech has in any way prepared him for the storm on the horizon.
But I could be wrong and we could be heading for the greatest economic times this country has ever seen.
Ted Schwinden was feeling pretty damn good in December 1980.
Six months earlier he’d beaten his old boss in a four-way-primary to clinch the nomination for governor, and then in November he won the general by 39,000 votes, 55% to 45%. He’d be the first governor with “ties to the soil” since Benjamin Potts had served way back in 1870-83.
Schwinden’s honeymoon period after the election lasted about a month or two. Then the hard times set in.
When Reagan took office the national debt was $934 billion but when he left it was $2.7 trillion. To Reagan, deficits didn’t matter, he just wanted to cut taxes for his rich friends. When Bush took office in 1989 he continued this, so that by 1993 we had a national debt of $4.2 trillion.
Reagan said that “government is not the solution to our problem” so he cut government spending, regulations, and revenue. There was a rapid de-industrialization in the country as manufacturing jobs fled overseas. Job growth in America in the 1980s was just 20%.
It was tax cuts for the rich more than anything that destroyed America during this time. Tax rates had been 74% to 91% for the rich but Reagan dropped this to 28%. The American middle class became the American working poor because of this.
In Montana, the 1981 legislature cut taxes by $100 million. The GOP had the Montana House that year, but the Dems had the Senate. Governor Schwinden still signed the tax cuts into law, saying that’s what the public wanted. As if the state’s coffers weren’t hit enough with that move, Schwinden went ahead and created a whole new state department, the Department of Commerce. The state’s finances weren’t any better in 1987 when he created the Department of Family Services.
Today Commerce costs us $29 million a year in the budget, while Family Services costs $84 million.
I don’t think Gianforte is going to create any more government agencies or departments, but I don’t think he’ll get rid of any, either. Once they’re in the base budget, you can’t get rid of them.
I do expect Biden to create a lot more government, specifically with his climate czar, John Kerry. We’ll pay for this with the Federal Reserve’s printing press, so we won’t have to raise taxes. Indeed, I suspect we’ll cut taxes and at the same time send out more stimulus and a lot more unemployment.
It’s not our money; it’s just paper...and we can print as much as we want of it without any kind of ramifications whatsoever, none!
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, either. We’re America, damn it - we can do anything!
Until we can’t.
And then what?
This is the wall that millions of American households have suddenly hit. For they can’t just pull the printing press out of the basement and print more money.
No, they actually have to live in reality, where choices actually have consequences and debt still has meaning and bills actually have to be paid.
This is why we know for a fact that Congress will slap something together before Christmas to both save unemployment and extend the rent/mortgage moratoriums.
Yep, kicking the can down the road.
So far we’ve spent about 8 months telling renters they don’t have to pay landlords, and chances are good we’ll extend that for another 3 to 6 months.
No, I don’t know what landlords are telling their lenders, and what those lenders are telling theirs.
And should we really worry about this? Why wake ourselves up from the land of make-believe for something so trivial?
And when those 3 to 6 months are up...then what? Kick the can a bit more, maybe another 3 to 6 months down the road.
And then what?
At what point does the adult in the room finally stand up, telling us the game has to end and it’s now time to pick up the pieces?
Will that moment ever arrive...or will it just crash into us while we least expect it, like some sneaker wave that comes upon us unawares and leaves us drenched and feeling stupid?
And if that should happen, who’s fault would that be? Did we not see this coming? The warning signs were everywhere, we just chose to ignore them.
Biden and Gianforte are riding high right now, thinking they’ve got it made. Dems nationally and the GOP in Montana are ecstatic, thinking they can’t lose.
Schwinden was feeling about the same 40 years ago. Then the recession hit, went on longer in the state than nationally, and the decade turned into a wash.
During the entirety of the 1980s, the state’s population grew by just 1.7% People just stopped coming to the state during that time. Aside from the big growth years of 1981-2 – which saw a combined 1.3% growth rate – the final years of the decade saw the state lose 1.8% of its population, or more than 22,000 people.
Let Biden and Gianforte bask in the glow of this honeymoon period, for it will not last. Maybe six months, maybe a year...maybe longer...maybe not.
The pendulum swings and the cycles turn and what came before will come again. I’d hate to be in any kind of elected office over the next couple of years. These people are in for some headaches, and I think many will slink off the stage for good before it’s all said and done.