Thursday, August 10, 2023

Sleep Well, Elites? You Shouldn't - by Karl Denninger

What happens when someone shows up that manages to get people pissed off enough to tell you "We'll let you have your power and water back, never mind groceries, when every single one of those H1bs and all the illegals are forced out of this country and we Americans all have our jobs back."

This is a bit "rougher" than most of my stuff, but it needs to be said.

Some background: I've lived in every economic strata except the truly, ridiculously-wealthy where whatever I wanted I had, as cost was never an object.  I've never had that kind of money, but I have had a few steps down from there, and while yes, its different, its not THAT different.  I've also been in every other economic strata including homeless -- for real.  A bad decision or two at the wrong time and you wouldn't be reading any of what I've written over the last decade+, because I'd either be in prison (still!) or (far more-likely, actually) dead.

This article out of the NY Times is true, but doesn't go far enough.  I suspect Brooks knows that too, but he had to keep half of what he knows in his mouth lest what he did write never get printed at all.  You should read it, and I'll quote just a few points and then add to them.

The ideal that “we’re all in this together” was replaced with the reality that the educated class lives in a world up here, and everybody else is forced into a world down there. Members of our class are always publicly speaking out for the marginalized, but somehow we always end up building systems that serve ourselves.

Somehow?  Oh, that was an accident?  I don't think so.  I've often written of wage and environment parity tariffs.  In fact they're one of the central features in my book Leverage from roughly a decade ago.  Do you want to know why?  Because they stop this crap when it comes to moving things overseas or across a border.  It doesn't stop them some of them it stops them all of the time, and that's unacceptable. You'll note that Donald Trump didn't actually propose or implement that, even though he had the power to do it.  Why not?  Well, you see, there's this little matter of Young Trump in the 1980s who, but for his father and said privileged class, would have blown up into a bunch of little pieces due to excess leverage that he was carrying when the economy went to crap.

He didn't but that "victory" wasn't because he was smarter.  It was because he exploited other people who were lesser and the largesse of his family.  Is that evil?  That's not for me to judge but what is for me to judge is what he did and didn't do as President.  What he didn't do was put a stop to companies in the US exploiting literal slavery in China and the DRC, which incidentally is entirely why Elon has a car company without which Tesla would not exist and neither would Solar City that he purchased.  Save me all the bullshit about being "smarter"; he exploited other people through wildly-unfair and inhumane actions -- that he didn't personally hold the whip, enslave the kids or imprison people for holding the wrong beliefs is immaterial to the fact that he wouldn't have a business today at all were it not for those things, and he DID actively exploit them and continues to.

Or, as Markovits puts it, “Elite graduates monopolize the best jobs and at the same time invent new technologies that privilege superskilled workers, making the best jobs better and all other jobs worse.”

Is that so?  Would you mind telling me exactly what set of "superskills" are involved in offshoring coding to a bunch of dudes in India who will work for $20/day and then firing the entire IT department of US companies and replacing it with H1bs, 95% of which could not code their way out of a paper bad and thus use "Stackoverflow" to dig up pieces of trash and lace them together?

That's not "superskill" it is superscam and its supposed to be illegal.  The people in the C-suites who did that aren't demonstrating intelligence -- they're brigands.  Its very easy to get rich and stomp on other people when you can break the law with impunity that is supposed to be equally enforced against all.  H1b visas, for example, are supported to be available only for skills that cannot be hired from US citizens and at higher than the prevailing wage, that is, at a penalty rate to prevent them from displacing US citizens and lawful permanent residents.  Ok, how did Disney pull that off and why would they deliberately overpay -- because they did fire people and replace them with H1bs in 2015 -- after they were forced to train said replacements.

Disney was not the only company to do this; in fact it has been the rule rather than the exception in America.  Even public utilities, such as Southern California Edison, have done it.  This is not supposed to be legal but have you seen a single person be indicted and imprisoned for it, or a single company forced to disgorge those people back to their homeland and the Americans re-hired with all their back pay and benefits, plus damages?  Never.  Not one Harrrrrrvaaardddd person has been thrown in the clink for this crap and not one company has been put out of business for doing that but it is supposed to be against the law.

Armed with all kinds of economic, cultural and political power, we support policies that help ourselves. Free trade makes the products we buy cheaper, and our jobs are unlikely to be moved to China. Open immigration makes our service staff cheaper, but new, less-educated immigrants aren’t likely to put downward pressure on our wages.

Stop with this claim of "free trade"; nothing is "free" about it when the labor is forced on the other end.  It's slavery and we allegedly abolished it in the 1860s, or did someone forget that?  It appears so -- conveniently so.

It is impossible to compete against a labor cost of zero and you know it so shut the fuck up, asshole.

As for "open immigration" it isn't immigration its an invasion of people with no skills who can be coerced into effective slavery right here because they're illegally present in the country.  So long as they shut up and take the jobs Americans allegedly "don't want to do" they can pop out a couple of kids, said kids can go to school and suck off the public teat but, the entire reason they have a job is their employer isn't paying into the tax base that would otherwise support same and neither are they.  Its a symbiotic system of theft and while Americans certainly won't pick strawberries for 20 cents an hour at a reasonable wage I bet they would -- and in a market economy that negotiation between supply and demand of labor, and working conditions, takes place and leads to a settlement because without said labor the strawberries rot on the vine, the producer has nothing and he goes bankrupt so spare me the crap about how this sort of labor exploitation is "necessary"; it is no such thing under any circumstance, ever.

But its sold to people just like you and I. How? By claiming your strawberries would be more expensive in the grocery store if they didn't do it. And you, America, lap that up. The 20 cents/qt "saved" is all the incentive you need to literally enslave others.

How cheap human life has become eh -- and not just in Afghanistan or India either -- right here, right now, in America and its Americans that have made it that way.

Having broken the law when these people come in here and then seeing their employer openly break the law along with Americans determining that a life is only worth 20 cents they might conclude that no law binds them.  Like, for example, laws that say you can't kill a young woman in Iowa because she won't go out and, presumably, sleep with you.

Yeah that happened -- remember?

What did Mr. Populist, who was President at the time, do about it and, specifically, about preventing it from ever happening again?


“The rate of single parenting is the most significant predictor of social immobility in the country.”

Indeed.  So could you explain why all those Harrrrvaaaard graduate women aren't screwing and pooping out babies like rabbits with six different men and why the graduate men aren't stuffing loads into everything that walks and has a vagina?  Have you noticed they're also not cutting off their dicks or breasts?  Oh, this is what they claim is "perfectly good, moral and reasonable for everyone" but what they actually do tells the tale; they don't believe a damned word of it and its obvious in their actions.

So why do they push this as "social policy" and "equality"?

They know if you do it that will screw both you and the kids just like the heroin dealer knows that if he gives a few free fixes you'll come back because now you're screwed.  In other words they know that if they can manage to convince you to do this you'll screw yourself and your offspring and that means they have less competition and can stand on your head and force you underwater.  They don't have to be smarter, in other words, which belies the truth: Many of them in fact aren't; they instead use their "social policy" craftwork to talk you into screwing yourself.

Does this mean that I think the people in my class are vicious and evil? No, most of us are earnest, kind and public spirited. 

That's a lie.  Those who advocate for that which they do not practice themselves and which the advocate knows will screw you if you do it are by definition vicious and evil.  Those who collude with others to push "social norms" that are intentionally destructive are worse than just vicious and evil; they're a gang of same and in any sane world we would excise that from our society like a cancer.  These people know what they're advocating for is bad news and while individual outcomes always vary the facts are what they are when it comes to the statistics so save the sanctimonious bullshit for someone who has a room-temperature IQ.

These actions are deliberate.

Trump understood that there was great demand for a leader who would stick his thumb in our eyes on a daily basis and reject the whole epistemic regime that we rode in on.

That's true but the problem is that Trump never intended to stick anything anywhere except his wang up the general public's ass.  That he did repeatedly, beginning with the three platform plank promises to cut the nuts off the medical monopolists which all disappeared on election night in 2016.  So did "lock her up" even though, ironically, what Hillary did was several times worse than what Trump is accused of and she did her level best to obstruct the investigation too.  The not-so-amusing part of the cult of Trump is that despite the fact that he cut his own nuts off in that regard by not following through nobody has turned around and said "oh go sit and spin, jackass; you had your chance and did nothing so now all I will offer up is a toast!"

But there’s a larger context here. As the sociologist E. Digby Baltzell wrote decades ago, “History is a graveyard of classes which have preferred caste privileges to leadership.” That is the destiny our class is now flirting with. 

Yeah, well, Trump isn't your problem Mr. Brooks.  You certainly have a bunch of people who are willing to do their level best to try to ruin him, even though the way they're going about it is stupid.  You can't stop someone from running for President and if he wins you can't stop him from pardoning himself either.

Its the guy or gal who shows up somewhere down the road, maybe fairly soon too, means it, doesn't give a crap about wrapping himself in bunting and finds a resonance with all the people you've screwed collectively over the last several decades -- and then starts slitting throats.

It doesn't have to be physical throats that get slit either although history, as you note, contains plenty of examples where that is indeed the outcome.  How many of you ivory-tower jackwads can run a power plant or even a wastewater processing system?  How many can run a natural gas or fuel pipeline or refinery?  Some of you can probably fly a jet, but can you all staff up ATC so you don't run into each other?  How about the millions of dudes and dudettes who drive trucks without which you have exactly nothing in any store, anywhere, and it matters not if your butler or nanny goes out to said store or you do: Its bare.

Could you even drive such a vehicle?  I probably could do so successfully, but could you?  More to the point: Would anyone try it if there was a blockade on the highway going into town with a bunch of very pissed-off citizens manning it?

What if these "populists" simply decide that NYC or DC isn't getting anything.  At all.  No power, no water, no sewer, no groceries, nothing.  "Oh they can't do that" you might say.  Oh really?

That's illegal!

So is firing your entire IT Department and bringing in a couple hundred  H1bs.

What happens when someone shows up that manages to get people pissed off enough to tell you "We'll let you have your power and water back, never mind groceries, when every single one of those H1bs and all the illegals are forced out of this country and we Americans all have our jobs back."

Until then?  No gas for you, no ambulances can run as there are no paramedics and no power at the hospital, the emergency generator is out of fuel and the truck will not come fill the tank, there's no food in the grocery store and your toilet, if you flush it, comes back up the drain in your shower.  We give no more of a shit if you die as a result than you've given if we die over the last two decades from fentanyl made in Mexico from precursors shipped in from China by the boatload and then brought across our open border which you refuse to secure, never mind all the other insults such as the opioid shipments into rural counties that you knew damn well were being used to addict and ultimately kill people.

Oh, you'll try to force those people to go back to work?


There are 330 million of said people, roughly, and fewer than a million cops, 99% of said cops don't have any power or water either and arresting and throwing in overnight lockup the guy who knows how to turn the water plant back on will not make it start.  Fold or the city goes feral in about 24 hours; all those "nice boys" who it is said "din-do-nuttin" will do whatever they want, and I'm pretty sure you won't like it.

Trump isn't the problem.

Its the next guy, or, far worse for those "in power", the possibility that it might happen organically without a leader who you can threaten with six indictments and 400 years of prison time.

Now that you've admitted to what has been done there is only one question remaining:

Are you going to double down or apologize, stop it and reverse said policies and actions?

That's what I thought.