Dateline December 2020. Let’s look back on the 2011-2020 decade, at what historians call the “Worst Decade in American History.” Totally predictable, totally denied. Back in January 2011 we made 10 predictions of a chain of events that would reach a critical mass and consume America in a torrent of “creative destruction,” crippling capitalism and other outmoded institutions, forcing new power players to step out of shadows and assume leadership in a time of extreme crisis.
“The U.S. economy appears to be coming apart at the seams,” warns Columbia Professor Robert Lieberman in the new Foreign Affairs Journal. Unemployment remains at nearly ten percent, the highest level in almost 30 years.” A long trend of “ballooning incomes at the very top and stagnant incomes in the middle and at the bottom. The share of total income going to the top 1% has increased from roughly 8% in the 1960s to more than 20% today. … a level of economic inequality not seen in the United States since the eve of the Great Depression.”
And yet, here we are being conned again, like before the 2008 meltdown. But the same crooks we bailed out. Warning: Forget all Wall Street’s hoopla about a 2011 bull market with the Dow rocketing to 15,000. Think long-term. Wall Street lost an inflation-adjusted 20% of your money the last decade. They will lose another 20% by 2020. Today’s new “Gilded Age” bubble will end in a crash worse than 1929, triggering a new depression that will wreak havoc on your retirement portfolio. Yes, Lieberman is warning of class warfare dead ahead: “Income inequality in the United States is higher than in any other advanced industrial democracy … It breeds political polarization, mistrust, and resentment between the haves and the have-nots and tends to distort the workings of a democratic political system in which money increasingly confers political voice and power.” A costly new “Civil War” makes our enemies cheer.
So here are my 10 predictions for 2011-2020, a flashback, a retrospective, a year-by-year look back from 2020 at a decade of increasing battles between the haves and have-nots, where there is no longer room for “compromise” between the two ideologies destroying America from within. “The Gap,” the divide, the greed, the entitlements, the hostilities are now so entrenched that “negotiations” are impossible and only a catastrophic 1929-style collapse of our self-destructive capitalism and a descent into economic hell will force America to restructure. Here’s the 10-year timetable:
2011. Wall Street’s super-rich spend billions to control Washington
Thanks to the conservative takeover of America’s so-called democracy the past three decades, from Reagan to Obama, our activist Supreme Court delivered the coup de grace into America’s psyche last year, overturning long-established precedent giving rich owners of zombie corporations absolute rights of live humans, a decision that would have gotten a failing grade in my constitutional law class at the University of Virginia.
2012. Super-Rich gain absolute power over Washington
That bizarre decision destroyed legalized political bribery. Now billions pass through lobbyists to politicians in all parties, with one goal: A guarantee that all politicians (President, Congress, Fed, regulators and state governments), all adhere to Reaganomics and the ideology that money talks and wealth rules. As a result, America is no longer a democracy, not even a plutocracy. America is an Anarchy. Our middle class is in a rapid spiral down into third-world status, while the rich get richer and “the gap” between the richest and the rest widens. Worse, it’s irrelevant who wins the 2012 race, because money corrupts all in Washington and Obama is already a puppet of America’s super-rich conspiracy.
next: 2013-2020 on MarketWatch