Chinese Growth on a Mountain of US Debt

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Americans must be the most gullible simpletons in the world. They will believe anything. No fantasy is too absurd. No lie is too ridiculous. Much of what they now take for granted an earlier generation would have taken for preposterous, outrageous, and criminal.

According to presidential candidate Donald Trump they are prepared to believe that China is to blame for their financial problems… No kidding. When asked what he’d do to fix the US economy, ‘The Donald’ says he’d ‘get tough with China.’

What dastardly thing are the Chinese doing? What devious, underhanded act are they committing?

Ah ha! An act of commerce! They’re delivering quality products to America at discount prices! Trump says he’ll slap a 25% tariff on Chinese-made goods.

How exactly this would be better for Americans he didn’t explain. Says our old friend Grover Norquist:

“Tariffs are not paid by the Chinese. They’re paid by Americans who buy things made by the Chinese.”

Americans are barely able to keep up with their expenses already; raising prices wouldn’t do them any favor that we can see.

But in the US, crackpot ideas are as common as democrats.

In the ’90s, Americans thought they could get rich by buying companies that weren’t earning any money. Then, they thought they could get rich by buying a house. When that went bad, they whined for bailouts and handouts. And now they think the feds are helping them by printing more money. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up!

But their delusions don’t stop there. They also believe that for the last 10 years the world’s only super-power has been at war with 372 Muslim extremists. And that somehow we’ll be safer if we let TSA agents grope our grandmothers and pat down our toddlers.

And how about this? It is obvious to the whole world that US Commander- in-Chief Obama ordered a hit squad to disappear Osama bin Laden; but in the USA, people think the SEALs were conducting a heroic military operation.

And they dumped his body in the ocean because they didn’t want to offend the Muslim brotherhood.

You have to like people who would believe something like that. They’re loveable half-wits…earnest morons with the skeptical intelligence of a puppy.

Nor does it bother them that their national financial plan is a calamity. Everyone who has thought about it for more than a second realizes that the secret to gaining wealth is to make money…save it…and invest it in new and more productive business opportunities.

And yet, the government’s financial strategy for 4 decades has been to encourage consumer spending and borrowing, a program that is sure to lead to poverty.

This strategy did not boost real economic growth in the US. But it did wonders for China. We are now on a plane, en route to Shanghai from Beijing. China is supposed to be a poor country. But there is no evidence of it so far.

Instead, there are automobiles, highways, skyscrapers – as far as the eye can see. Factories by the thousands. Warehouses. Docks and freight yards. Plants. Mills. Apartment blocks that New York would be proud of. Office towers that Baltimore would envy. Trains. Loading platforms. Bridges. Storage yards. Assembly units. Round buildings. Square buildings. Rectangles. Ovals. Low rise. High rise. The scale of activity is breathtaking. And we haven’t reached Shanghai yet.

Is there any description of China that doesn’t end in ‘st’? It has the biggest, newest, most daring and innovative buildings. It has the fastest trains…the most roads and cars. The richest. The poorest. It has everything.

It has people too… Smart, hardworking people. Instead of borrowing to boost their standards of living, the Chinese save their money in order to reduce their standard of living…boost the next generation’s.

The Chinese have already pulled off a miracle. It has only been 32 years since Deng Xiaoping opened up China to making money. In that time, the nation has gone from a third world dump to the world’s 2nd largest economy…whose growth rate continues to be shocking.

What’s their secret? China is a zombie-free zone. The ‘safety net’ is thin here. There is plenty of corruption and inside dealing, no doubt. But people work hard…save their money…and expect to live by their own efforts.

But the Chinese have gotten a lot of help from America. The feds encouraged Americans to buy things they didn’t need with money they didn’t have. The Chinese merely took the orders…and the money. Now they have the biggest stash of dollars in the world, while the US has the biggest, stinkiest pile of debt the world has ever seen.

And more thoughts…

We have just had our best airport and hotel experiences ever. Arriving at our hotel – the China World Hotel in Beijing – the staff again met us at the entrance. They greeted us by name and showed us directly to our rooms. There was no waiting to check-in. There were no lines. There were no incompetent or surly flunkeys.

Then, we drove to the huge Beijing airport – the largest in the world. There, uniformed airline employees met us at the curb…took our luggage…and whisked us through the check-in security process. The whole thing took only minutes, with almost no waiting at any step. It was a pleasure.

*** “You haven’t seen the real China,” one of our Dear Readers who has lived in China for many years explained. “You’re just looking at the top cities. It would be like going to the US and only visiting New York and San Francisco. You wouldn’t have a very good idea of what the country is like.

“If you go out to some of these second and third tier cities, you get another picture all together. They’re pretty grim. And poor. And there are still millions of people who earn almost nothing.

“These poor people keep coming to the cities to find work. The government knows it has to keep the economy growing so that these people don’t become a problem. But so far, I’ve been very impressed. The people running the country may be communists, but they’re not stupid. And to tell you the truth, this is a much better system than we have in America.

“I don’t know why the US would want to push democracy on the whole world. And I don’t know why Hillary Clinton would want to lecture China about human rights either. China isn’t intentionally killing people. China doesn’t have troops in other countries. China is minding its own business…and building its economy – just like America used to do.

“And not having a democracy is really a good thing. A benign dictatorship can make the kind of changes you need to make. That’s what they do here. They can do things that require huge capital investments but only pay off far in the future. They can do things that are unpopular, because they don’t have to stand for election every 4 years.

“That’s why the US is such a mess. We’re digging ourselves a deeper and deeper hole each year. But nobody can stop it. Because every member of Congress has to face the voters. And the people who vote are also the people who benefit from government spending – especially teachers and retirees. So you can’t fix the problem. It just gets worse and worse until it falls apart.

“Democracy is very overrated.”

Regards,

Bill Bonner
For Daily Reckoning Australia

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.
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9 Comments on "Chinese Growth on a Mountain of US Debt"

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mike
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…should a visitor to china, who is unable to wander freely as he could in america (well except for area….51 or the maternity ward at kapoliolani hawaii?) be expected to remind himself of the glowing reports of orchestras and theatre presentations at various “death”camps around germany in the 1930’s and 40’s…?…

James
Guest

Yes, because someone with an intellect like Trump said that, all Americans are simpletons. I’m sure there is nobody in the US as smart as Bill Bonner. He probably said so himself.

blame_game
Guest

BILL.

LOVE IT! thanks for not beating around the bush and telling it how it is.

“loveable half-wits…earnest morons with the skeptical intelligence of a puppy.” All those years of Oprah, Jerry Springer, The View etc……has finally caught up and infected an entire generation.

I intend to read more of your blogs from this day forth!

Fred
Guest

In a democracy you get governed by people who are good at winning elections.

Drew
Guest

@ James

He is using poetic license. Take it with a grain of salt, add a dash of context and make the idea reasonable. Ubiquitous statements nearly always contain caveats. It’s been a long time coming for the US to deteriorate, and with that comes systemic issues such as the population’s health and education diminishing. It’s a poor system, the people suffer for it and they reap what they sow.

Jay
Guest

So whats next? I heard on the news today that the US wasnts to extend its debt to 21 trillion because if they dont the whole system will collapse. But then what? Can they realistically pay off 21 trillion dollars of debt? and what if that doesnt work…What is the reality of this situation? Would the US defaulting be the highest probability scenario?

ruckrover
Guest

Problem is the USA is a plutocracy not a democracy. Lobbyists have the congressmen and congresswomen in their pockets. Wall Street bankers, Health Managed Care insurers, Big Pharma etc somehow receive a disproportionate amount of greenbacks, Big Business has become used to Capitalist Welfare.

MOJOJOJO
Guest
Bunch of nonsense. They need us to Spend spend spend. The US economy is based on deception and always will be. And thats the way we like it. You sound More Like a Socialist-republican. You like the sound of spending and more spening on Corporate welfare. Then ready to pass on your Failures by socialing it. HAHAHA. Your not funny; remember we’re in the boat together. The Vietnam war was based on the reasoning that Communism was anti-Commerce. The war based on Oil that turned out to be green Oil. So what’s next…QE3 AKA increase of Dept ceiling. MOre money… Read more »
Michael Johnston
Guest
This is a truly remarkable article. Bill Bonner, best-selling author and quintessential capitalist criticizing the largest capitalist economy and heaping praise on Communist China. Yes, while China has pursued capitalism to a large extent they are still a totalitarian regime that has a Communist foundation. Bill starts out with the premise that Americans will believe anything. No fantasy to absurd. No lie too ridiculous. And there in lies the rub. Bill has told some whoppers in his article. Whoppers, even Americans won’t fall for. Yes, I’m American and I’m not buying into this stuff. He starts off okay. To be… Read more »
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