But why should we honor a man who betrayed his people and his nation? Why does the Veterans Administration support the traitors' child, 150 years after the wars end?
The trouble with Memorial Day and higher education is similar. You have to ignore the particulars to appreciate them. Take out the inconvenient details. Remove the embarrassing facts. Often what is left is sterile nonsense. Every Memorial Day editorial tells us that our veterans fought for 'freedom.' Yet, in not a single one of America's wars was an enemy preparing to reduce our freedom. The huns wanted Alsace, not Pennsylvania. The poor Philippinos intended no subjugation of Indiana. And what about the Nicaraguans? Nobody even remembers the shackles they were meant to clamp onto American wrists. But after every victory, we know what happened next; the doughboys and grunts came home to higher taxes and more prohibitions.
What you learn in college is the way things are 'supposed to' work. But few things in real life are as simpleminded as they're 'supposed' to be.
Our government is not run by or for the people. Government is merely a way one group of people - the insiders - take advantage of other people - the outsiders. You can call it a democracy or a dictatorship, it hardly matters. It can be gentle and broadly tolerable or brutal and widely detested. What makes it a government is that it has a monopoly on the use of violence; ultimately, the insiders use it to get what they want.
As for the economy, you have learned how it is a capitalist system. You have been told that it needs regulation by the SEC, the Fed, the Justice Department, the FDA, the FTC and other agencies to keep the capitalists honest. You have been lied to.
It's not a capitalist system; the feds took the capital out 40 years ago. Now, it depends on cronies and credit. It's a corrupt system, in other words, the product of collusion between industry and the agencies meant to regulate them. Its real purpose is to transfer more wealth and power to the insiders.
William Baumol understood. He guessed that prices for manufactured goods would go down - because there was a lot of competition - while prices for locally-produced services would go up. That's why your TVs are cheap...but your health care has become so expensive; health care can be more closely controlled and manipulated by the insiders. It is largely protected from competition and distorted by third parties who pay the bills - including the government and insurance companies.
This also helps explain why a university education is 8 times more costly than it was in 1978. Because, as I explained on Friday, college was optional to a decent income in the '70s. Now, it's almost obligatory.
When everything is rigged, the riggers have the money and the power. Lobbyists, lawyers, accountants, administrators... Whether you want to take a business public...or just build a house...you come face to face with someone who can stop you, with paperwork, legal razz-ma-tazz and nauseating administration. You need to play the game too.
More to come... including the Cantillon Effect...and Intertemporal Discoordination. You'll find out what they mean: (hint...you're 'screwed')
Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.