The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Coming Boom

Note that when Covid ends there’s going to be a boom. Biden is actually putting out decent stimulus (3 trillion package incoming), and it seems that elites may, as Policy Tensor  suggests, be getting the idea that fiscal stimulus is necessary and that the Fed shouldn’t strangle any good economy in its cradle. If Tensor is right, and I see some evidence he is, they also have decided to do something (not enough, but something) about climate change, in terms of industrial policy for clean energy and so on.

Since so many small businesses closed, many of those that survived, especially local ones like restaurants and bars and gyms and so on are going to see a huge surge and overcrowding or excess demand. (This is also your best chance to meet a member of your preferred gender and sexual orientation in your lifetime, odds are, if you’re still in the game.)

In Britain the Tories even are raising corporate taxes very slightly (Labour was reluctant to agree.)

So I think Tensor may be right that a chunk of neoliberal orthodoxy is falling away. Fiscal is back, central banks won’t squash it, and the world moves towards large, opposed, trade blocs. Industrial policy is coming back, as well, though it’s not yet clear to what extent.

(America and Britain putting restrictions on exporting vaccines has really taught everyone a lesson that needed to be taught about what happens when you don’t design and make necessary items in your own country.)

What hasn’t changed, yet, is the serious commitment to keep the rich really rich. Two percent is nice, but what is required is 50s style progressive taxes, an end to favoring capital gains over earned income, strict estate taxes and wealth and (in the future) windfall profits taxes. Breakups of monopolies and oligopolies are also required, but there’s some indication that Biden’s team is serious about that.

Biden’s a disaster on foreign affairs, and he’s unwilling to make permanent structural changes like increasing the minimum wage or medicare-for-all, but if he can squeeze his spending thru the Senate, he’s going to flood the system with a lot of money and a fair bit of it in forms that won’t all rush to billionaires before you get to touch it for two or three seconds on its way to someone else.

So be ready for what’s coming. All booms end and I don’t think that the core issues with neoliberalism are repudiated, but it seems likely the US may have a few good years coming.

These years won’t last if real structural changes aren’t made, (I’ll keep an eye on that and write what I see), and maybe not even then (climate change/ecological collapse) but the oncoming boom be your last chance to make some hay. Do it while you can.

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Questions, Questions, Questions (For You)


Offshoring Critical Industries Is So Harmful It Should Be Treason (Covid Edition)


  1. Effem

    The big question is will wages outpace inflation in this “boom?” Personally I doubt that.

  2. UserFriendlyyy

    That’s not Branko Milanovic. (I can’t remember his name but he is currently doing grad work under Chomsky)
    Also see my author liked comment on the article:

    Sounds great, assuming that we reach full employment so all the little people can feel it before the next election. So doubtful.

  3. VietnamVet

    For the economy to boom, the pandemic has to become a bad memory. Not likely. The fifth killer coronavirus is now endemic in the West, like HIV is in the world. It does not appear to be going away like the Spanish Flu. Cheap treatments are needed. But they will kill Big Pharma profits and will be vigorously opposed by neoliberal western technocrats. Yearly or semi-annual for-profit coronavirus jabs are likely.

    The real problem is that public health is heresy for neoliberals. Western governments are incapable of controlling the transmission of the virus; closing borders, universal testing, contact tracing, and quarantines. Coronavirus will be endemic wherever the underclasses can’t afford healthcare. Economies will never recover in the no-go quarantine areas where healthcare systems are overwhelmed (Brazil) and in war zones (Syria) where the Western Empire tries to hang-on.

  4. Jeff W

    “That’s not Branko Milanovic. ”

    It’s Anusar Farooqui.

  5. Hugh

    Fiscal is good and better now than monetary but the Fed continues monetary for the rich. Meanwhile fiscal stimulus doesn’t stay recycling among the lower and middle classes. It gets sucked upward to the rich and into nonproductive activities like the stock markets. So yes, substantially higher taxes on the rich to extinguish even more nonproductive wealth would be smart. I don’t think though Biden and the Democrats have the character or the math skills to take taxes on the rich where they need to go either to compensate for their stimulus or reduce the power of the rich.

  6. nobody

    I think this is dangerously optimistic.

    Cost-push inflation and the taboo against increasing wages is creating a high risk of stagflation. Consumption can’t hold up indefinitely in the face of a widening gap between costs and wages. When that house of cards collapses, demand collapse will trigger mass unemployment. With the taboo against businesses accepting lower profits, prices will continue to rise. The result will be stagflation.

    Further, given that the constant in elite circles is that no one ever learns anything, the likelihood of policymakers responding to stagflation the same way they did in the 1970s-80s–with 25% interest rates–is very high. This brings with it the prospect of a new depression.

    In addition to reasonably natural economic forces, there is also the prospect of elites intentionally strangling the US economy in 2022 and/or 2024 to return the Q party to complete control in Washington.

    Overall, I’m much more worried about the world’s economic prospects now than I was in 2008-09. A lot of stuff is coming together now that looks like it might have the potential to be a perfect storm.

  7. Plague Species

    Note that when Covid ends there’s going to be a boom.

    When Covid ends? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  8. Plague Species

    Meanwhile fiscal stimulus doesn’t stay recycling among the lower and middle classes. It gets sucked upward to the rich and into nonproductive activities like the stock markets.

    True, this. If you receive a stimulus check, you should be saving it to pay for your future vaccines which will no longer be free as if anything is ever truly free. Big Pharma has promised its investors, the wealthy elite in otherwords, that it plans to make a bundle off of any future Covid vaccines after this first round thus telegraphing that the wealthy elite know Covid is here to stay and herd immunity will never be achieved.

  9. Plague Species

    An important question is, if you were so inclined to destroy Wall Street, how would you go about it keeping in mind Wall Street is as notional as it is physical?

  10. anon

    Here is hoping that good things come our way, at least for a little while. I really want to see real estate prices soften, and that might happen once moratoriums end or more people are comfortable with putting their homes on the market. On the mental health front, I don’t see things getting better, and there will be regular mass shootings at schools and businesses. America will inevitably have mass shootings until gun control is addressed, but there will be people suffering from the aftereffects of COVID and being isolated for over a year.

  11. Biden sees himself as a two term president? He’s the only person in the nation who gives him a chance of even finishing one term. Sort of proving his delusional condition out of his own mouth.

    “America will inevitably have mass shootings until gun control is addressed…” Right, I won’t hold my breath. More important is anger. I have been paying attention to the public discussion in this nation for five decades, and the degree of anger is unparalleled. Even during the Vietnam and civil rights protests the anger displayed was far more limited in scope and less vituperous than what I am seeing today, and it is getting worse as the media stokes it.

  12. Plague Species

    What was the Syrian shooter angry about? Was he reading too much MOA and he snapped? Maybe so. Daily, MOA decries America in Syria and stokes so much anger in people like the Syrian shooter that the Syrian shooter feels compelled to blow away a bunch of white people shopping in a super market.

    Question, was the Colorado shooting a Hate Crime? If not, why not? A look at the victims reveals they had one thing in common — they were all white. Not even the “spa” employees in Atlanta were all Asian. No, instead, this shooting is about guns because the media and the political hacks get to frame the narrative and create and manage perception.

  13. Plague Species

    McDonald Trump is such a terrible businessman, he has murdered 544,000 Americans now and counting for nothing in return, not even his reelection where despite cheating he still lost. If he was a smart businessman, he would have insisted on a cut from the pharmaceutical companies who are making a mint off the pandemic soon to be labeled the perpetual endemic so prices can be raised 1000%. McDonald you dummy, you could have been rich as in really rich versus a welfare queen surfing on a sea tsunami of credit and debt.


  14. Hugh

    nobody, since Volcker around 1980, it has been Fed policy to suppress wages as inflationary via interest rate hikes. But in the run up to, during, and since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, the Fed has funneled trillions to banks, Wall Street, and the rich promoting unsustainable bubbles. We can manage things so that they benefit the many and not only the few. We just don’t. After 40 years of the specter of a non-existent inflation being used as cover for the rich to loot the lower 80%, color me skeptical when inflation is invoked once again to keep the many down, poor, and afraid.

  15. edmondo

    The best part about marijuana legalization is that you get these optimistic posts like this every once in a while. Then reality hits.

  16. Feral Finster

    Keep in mind that the current centrist consensus is fragile as hell at the moment.

    Could be the time to throw the masses a bone or two.

  17. js

    The problem with booms is noone can even get their mind around it. Millenials and Gen Z have never seen good times, and even much of Gen X only briefly has. What is this boom thing you speak of? So it’s hard to contemplate.

    It’s even harder to contemplate so much of that money won’t get sucked into rental increases etc., so unless one is really in a position to make hay and prosper despite that (for most this would be being under 40 with a way to get into a hot career, for a few stock speculation may pay off, if you like gambling) it may just be the rentiers who make hay off one. Sometimes the left seems a bit too much Marx a bit too little Ricardo, but rentiers suck one as dry as the capitalists.

    If one is hoping for housing prices to soften because of the end of moratoriums, it’s understandable, but if that’s the reason it will be because millions will get evicted and are in a world of pain. Buy homelessness futures!

  18. Jack

    They revamped mass shooting hysteria and the gun debate and this time tied it to an unstable Syrian – thus invoking more fear in the minds of the public about anyone from an area of the world they want to continue to fracture into a million little warring pieces. All while hopefully diverting attention as much as possible from the increasingly pathological level of wealth disparity and erosion of privacy and civil liberties.

  19. Winston


    I expected another mass shooting of some sort. When I saw that it was a “Syrian” I nearly fell out of my chair. How convenient.

    They are good. But these things don’t divert attention from the misery nearly as much as they used to, because the misery is both much more prevalent and much worse. The next step – absent substantial structural changes in the interest of the majority of the populace, which as of this moment don’t seem likely to come, though that can change quickly – will be more draconian internal security measures.

  20. S Brennan

    Not sure what this piece of disinformation has to do with Ian’s post:

    “What was the Syrian shooter angry about? Was he reading too much MOA [Moon Over Alabama] and he snapped? Maybe so. Daily, MOA decries America in Syria and stokes so much anger in people like the Syrian shooter” – Plague Species [PS]

    I hadn’t heard it reported that the “Syrian shooter” was a regular “Moon Over Alabama” blog reader, [PS] could you please post a news link that connects the “Syrian shooter” with the “Moon Over Alabama” blog. Reading the comment section over there I don’t remember a “Syrian shooter” type guy. On the other hand, “Plague Species” comments have often talked of mass murder without any prompting from Ian or anyone else…are you sure the root cause is a blog?

    Your post strongly infers that blogs that offer critical evaluations of the US’s foreign policy should be banned for safety reasons. If you read Ian’s post before this post you would see, strongly inferred, criticism of US foreign policy…surely, your commenting here is supporting such criticisms. In the interest of moral clarity, shouldn’t you eschew publications which you feel should be censored? Shouldn’t you declare that you are Shocked, SHOCKED to find critical thinking going on here! And then leave in a huff?

    BTW [PS], is censorship enough? Shouldn’t “b”, the publisher of Moon Over Alabama blog be jailed for a crime that is wholly fictitious, then extradited to the US and given a “secret” trial? A “secret” trial in which all the norms of the US judicial system are suspended to achieve a guilty plea that results in a preordained guilty verdict and having the publisher die in prison…wouldn’t that better match your, often expressed..sadistic desires?

    In fact, why stop there?

  21. Hugh

    Important to remember that covid and the bungled response to it severely disrupted and damaged the economy. A big relief package was passed and vaccine programs are up and running but we have 9 to around 11 million fewer jobs than we would have had without covid and tens of millions are behind on their rent and other payments. So if there is a boom, we should ask a boom for whom.

  22. Hugh

    A root cause of mass shooters in the US is Americans’ sick addiction to guns.

  23. different clue

    How many people did Timothy McVeigh kill at O K City? And all without a single gun or even a single bullet.

  24. different clue

    Every Boom has its following Bust. Perhaps people who get jobs and money again should spend the first year or so just having what little fun they can afford to have while fun is still affordable.

    Then from Boom Year Two and beyond, they can begin making hay. But they should make the kind of hay which can survive and support them through the next bust. And the best kind of hay they could make would be personal survivalism preparations and then local group and micro-society survivalism preparations after that.

    Perhaps this post might be a good place for people to offer some ideas on how a diffuse and dispersed population without any political power to affect decisions made by the Upper Class Occupation Regime can wage leaderless diffuse economic warfare against the Upper Class. Any ideas would be welcome.

  25. Jeremy

    Previously known to the FBI. As usual. Color me surprised. Sheesh.

    “The suspect’s identity was previously known to the F.B.I. because he was linked to another individual under investigation by the bureau, according to law enforcement officials.”

  26. Plague Species

    Wow, S Brennan, thanks for laying that out for us. It’s more elaborate than I conjectured. MOA and Putin activating America’s sleeper cell underbelly.

    My rants aren’t serious and you know it. No one is going to exterminate military higher ups when they retire. No one is going to kill the rich. That’s not how it works. The only people who get maimed and murdered by the angry and insane are those who don’t deserve it. Those who do deserve it have immunity.

    Fyi, I don’t own any weapons S Brennan but we know you do. You’re locked and loaded and ready to go and blow any day now. I’m surprised you haven’t already.

  27. Plague Species

    Jeremy, I guess this Syrian shooter wasn’t thoroughly radicalized enough for the FBI like the guy in Florida who said he was going to take the fight to the Capitol insurrectionists for what they did. If only the Syrian had threatened the insurrectionists, this tragedy could have been averted because the Syrian would have been deemed radicalized and he would have been in jail without bail and those ten white people would still be alive.

  28. Jack

    The unrelenting, all-out campaign against most all guns by a minority, and the unrelenting, all-out campaign in favor of most all guns by another minority, is how a large population with diverse but generally “moderate” opinions on guns are divided into two seemingly diametrically opposed camps. What you oppose is what you maintain and an endless kubuki dance ensues which keeps gun sales strong and donors happy and serves as another “black and white” issue* that can be used to divide the public against one another. The issue lends itself easily to media sensationalizing, satisfying another sacred revenue stream and the moguls who require it while simultaneously keeping attention away from them and the monstrous activities they advance in furtherance of their global wealth and power consolidation scheme.

    I don’t understand the fetish around guns in the US, but then I don’t understand the fetish around anything. And there are a lot of fetishes in the United States. They’re being manufactured constantly.

    *In actuality it’s a more nuanced issue, as most issues tend to be.

  29. Jack


    He was a patsy like the underwear bomber and so many others.

  30. someofparts

    No mass shootings so far in thrift shops. Wouldn’t it be droll if being too poor to shop retail had an upside?

  31. someofparts

    I’m a quaker and a socialist and I own a couple of handguns. I used one of them once to wound a stalker who came into my house and would not leave or back down.

  32. @Plague Species
    “Question, was the Colorado shooting a Hate Crime?”

    No, because he was hating, and killing, white people. Hating white people is not a crime. It is, in fact, a virtue.

  33. S Brennan

    Here’s a few factoids on the “Syrian Shooter”

    1] Brother says he was mentally ill, fellow students describe him as a nutjob…
    2] He had a recent conviction of a violent misdemeanor 2018 [I got questions on this]
    3] He took careful aim at each of his victims, no rapid fire, slow, methodical, well placed shots
    4] He did not empty either the magazine in his rifle or pistol

    So if we take the AR out this equation, do we still have this slaughter. Of course we do, that’s why pols want us to sit here and talk about ARs and not how the background check didn’t pick up the very recent violent conviction. Something that should have happened, particularly since this man had managed to gain the FBI’s scrutiny. It’s reasonable to suspect that background check was interfered with…

    Here’s a few factoids on firearm homicides:

    As you can see, you are much more likely to be killed by a knife than a rifle, using the worst year available, your chances 4.25 greater. And of rifle deaths, ARs represent a small fraction. The odds of you being murdered by a “non-military-looking-handgun” are 19 times greater than all rifles combined. Rifle homicides are a one in twenty affair. And since AR’s are far and away America’s most popular firearm it’s clear that owners of ARs are the LEAST likely to use their weapon to commit homicide.

    Here’s a factoid on mass shooting:

    According to a New York Times analysis [2017], since 2007, at least “173 people have been killed in mass shootings in the United States involving AR-15s.”

    173 in a decade, an average of 17 homicides per year, it would take 100 years of mass shootings with AR-15s to equal the number of homicide victims that knives and sharp objects produce in one year. One tenth of one percent of firearm homicides are mass shootings with ARs.

    So, with these numbers in mind, why is the government and the Ministry of Enlightenment [Media] so obsessed with addressing only 0.1% of the problem? One thing for sure, it’s not public safety.

  34. different clue

    Here are two sources of opposition to Liberal Fascist Pig gun control which the Liberal Fascist Pig gun control community may not be expecting . . .

  35. Ché Pasa

    As for the “Angry Syrian” in Boulder:

    Steroids. Betcha. Just like a whole lot of the roided up cops who came to the rescue long after Angry Syrian had been ushered away in his blood and underwear.

    The 30 or so Boulder cops who first appeared were not even robo-ed up, and the first one I saw on the livestream (who may have been the one who lost his life) had nothing, no helmet, no vest, no shield, not even a jacket against the cold. Just a big-ass gun. Which, if he was the one who died, didn’t do him a bit of good. (Ie: “Good Guy with a Gun” theory somehow didn’t work with a shooter in a position to snipe anyone he chooses…)

    Angry Syrian, btw, is… wait for it…. white. Like many residents of Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and much of the rest of the region, Angry Syrian appears to be Caucasian like all of his victims.

    So. He had easy access to guns, in a state that is notorious for massacres, was probably using steroids to bulk up (he’s short and was reportedly bullied relentlessly), and snapped.

    Why that location for his killing spree? Who knows? Friends in Boulder are shaking their heads, dumbfounded. Not that they thought it couldn’t happen there — of course it could — but there’s no obvious reason for it, nor any reason why he killed those people (except the cop) in that store, a half-hour from his home.

    And then he asked to speak to his mother.

  36. Hugh

    A whale once swallowed Noah. And all without a single gun or even a single bullet. Sick addiction, sick excuses.

    China and India each have 4 1/2 times our population. The EU 1 1/2 times. Look at all the mass shootings they have. Oh, wait…

  37. S Brennan

    Wow Ché;

    Sounds like you are pretty happy and smug that the cop got killed.

    And it also sounds like you are pretty happy and smug that you could ID the shooter as technically being white*.

    And I am pretty sure you’ll be pleased to learn that the shooter hated Trump…oh wait…that doesn’t match the narrative you’re selling does it?

    Sadly for your superimposed narrative Ché, nobody who knew him in school says he was bullied

    *Technically true but, socially false, in any event the shooter repeatedly complained about whites/racism…so we know he did not view himself as white. but hey Ché, if it fits your predetermined narrative…by all means run with it…facts be damned

  38. nihil obstet

    What does boom mean now? After WWII, it seems to have the background that most people had stable jobs with reasonable benefits (vacation and sick leave and retirement) and a family’s ability to live decently on one member in the paid labor force. There were screaming geographic, gender, and racial inequities. Then “boom” meant the worker’s ability to seek another similar job, and with the additional wages to buy more conveniences, luxuries, and status symbols.

    Today, we don’t have the background of stability. The necessities of life are precarious, especially decent jobs and health care. Additional income is needed for security. What were conveniences, luxuries, and status symbols are now really cheap. That’s sort of the reason that old men think the young are profligate, spending freely on avocado toast instead of stability. So the first manifestation of a boom should be a return to economic security for most people, extended throughout what we call protected classes. Will most people see that as a boom? We need to throttle neoliberalism in order to describe widespread prosperity as a boom in the way that our rulers describe a mania in asset prices as a boom.

  39. Ché Pasa

    Charging document says Alissa is white, so whatever. It complicates matters that otherwise would be so simple. Dude is short and of Middle Eastern descent (though white); if you don’t think that combination wouldn’t lead to bullying in high schools noted for it, that’s dandy. Wrong, but dandy.

    Anabolic steroids can really mess people up. His physical appearance was a clue that he’d been using steroids to build muscle for a while. Quite a while. Rages are part of the syndrome of abuse, and if he had underlying mental issues (according to his family) steroids could have been a compounding factor. Trump hate or love? Not so much.

    Why was he allowed to purchase a gun (semi-auto pistol) on March 16 and possess an AR-15 (“like”) weapon after being convicted of assault? Another of those peculiarities of US gun fetishism.

    Colorado needs to get right with its long history of massacres.

    By all accounts — even from people who knew him in high school in Albuquerque — Eric Tanney was close to the ideal human being no matter what he chose to do. When I saw his captain nearly burst into tears at his loss and her memories of him, it was obvious to me that he was pretty special. If he was the first cop I saw in the livestream, he was all alone, no backup visible. He wasn’t armored. He had a weapon, but that’s about all, and at one point the camera lost sight of him. I never saw him again on the livestream. He may have been the first one in the store — and got shot. A terrible thing.

    It takes quite an imagination to think I’m gleeful or smug about that.

  40. S Brennan

    Ché, if you would read the article I cited instead of endlessly blurting out the DNCs “blue no matter who” narrative you’d find out that I cited reported facts, unlike your narrative driven conjecture.

    Anyhow, I never said anything against the one thing you related that I believe to be true, if unproven, steroids…funny that. Anyway, you must think/know people never read up-thread to find out who the dissemblers are and…you might be right about that one point as well…although it does speak poorly of Ian’s audience if your low opinion of commenters here is correct.

  41. S Brennan

    BTW Ché,

    Unlike your deceitful post [aren’t they all] above this is what your said in your original post on the cop who died:

    “[steroid] cops who came to the rescue…with a big-ass gun..which didn’t do him a bit of good. (Ie: “Good Guy with a Gun” theory somehow didn’t work with a shooter in a position to snipe anyone he chooses…)”

    Which isn’t, in any way, shape, or form, what you said in your rebuttal above. Why do lie like that Ché, is your opinion of the regulars here so low that you don’t think they’ll bother to read upthread?

  42. Hugh

    If Ahmad Alissa had something like schizophrenia, its onset occurs late teens to early thirties. We won’t know until and if he is mentally evaluated.

    Also my understanding is that he was born in Syria but is a US citizen.

  43. someofparts

    The only reporter I found who covered the shootings, as in talking to people who knew the shooters, was Mark Ames in Going Postal.

  44. Joseph E. Kelleam

    2 terms for Joe? Can he even count that high?

  45. Plague Species

    It is curious they took so long to release the identity of the shooter. I believe it was purposeful to allow the narrative to take hold and cement and the narrative implies it was a white dude because only white dudes do such things. Once the perception is set, no amount of disconfirming information that comes after can change the perception. Weapons of Mass Destruction, anyone? Many still believe Saddam has Weapons of Mass Destruction and that’s why America invaded and occupied. They also believe he did 9/11 with Al Qaeda. The power of controlling the narrative.

  46. Ché Pasa

    I really haven’t read a lot about the Boulder Massacre at all. I have friends in Boulder who have shared their perceptions and opinions. I watched the 3+ hour livestream that Dean Schiller posted. I’ve seen some of the local and national coverage (though not cable). Eric Tanney (the cop who was killed) grew up in Abq so he got some feature-time on the local news.

    The narratives so far don’t tell us much. For whatever reason. I’ve gone by what I’ve seen and what people I know in Boulder have said about it.

    Yes, steroids and schizophrenia and the uncontrolled rage that goes with them can be a lethal combination — throw some gunz in the mix and it’s even more lethal.

    Abuse of steroids was for quite a while well known among police officers, though it’s not mentioned so much any more, and attempts to control it were, shall we say, limited. Uncontrolled rage — whether or not linked to steroid use/abuse — by police officers has often been linked to police brutality and use of lethal force. This is no mystery.

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Alissa was in a similar predicament, and ten people paid for it with their lives.

    How many more?

  47. Willy

    As S Brennan noted, roughly ¾ of all homicides are committed by firearms. Firearms obviously make angry little nutjobs deadlier. But simple homicide lists tend to lump all angry little nutjob mass murders in with all the overall murder rate, with most murders happening one at a time.

    I’d think that the targets chosen would be a concern. As with Columbine, no tormenting bullies or evil Powers-that-Be were shot, only innocents. Why do mass shooters in America almost always target innocents?

  48. different clue


    I suspect the mass-shooter wannabes know that the guilty and powerful are very well protected and bodyguarded and the protector bodyguards would shoot them down before they could get off Round Number Two.

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