It’s Over. America Has Jumped the Shark

"Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many held that America might muddle along for decades more, unloved but the only serious TV show left on air"

“But the Americans who preserved or prevailed then are all long gone, as are many of the nation’s most important institutions.”

The phrase “to jump the shark” at first referenced the point at which a television program started to lose its moorings, and its audience. Specifically, it referred to the episode of Happy Days (1974-84, ABC) when “the Fonz” (played by Henry Winkler) jumped over a shark tank on water skis. Ratings for the show did stay up after the episode because there were only 3 or 4 channels available back then. Many fans, including this then eight-year-old, however, became mere viewers after that episode.

Today, though, the phrase has expanded to include any turning point eventually ending in disaster.

Lots of folks, from politicians to used car salesmen, are trying to calm fears associated with the COVID-19 pandemic by harkening back to America’s glorious past. “We” can get through this, they say, because “we” successfully traversed worse travails. The problem with that analysis is the “we” has changed. Yes, America suffered invasion and the destruction of the national capital in 1814, a long, bloody Civil War, and so forth. But the Americans who preserved or prevailed then are all long gone, as are many of the nation’s most important institutions.

Yes, some people who lived through the Great Depression and World War II are still alive but they are hardly the same people they once were. And right now they should all be indoors wearing gloves and N95s, or those gas masks that we all bought after 9-11, a terrorist attack that most of those alive today survived. But did we really do a good job responding to 9-11? We lost a lot of civil liberties and treasure fighting unnecessary wars and still suffer through ridiculous rituals at airports that protect no one

America’s currency and debt are in a similar position to post-shark Happy DaysNobody really likes it anymore but decent alternatives hardly abound. Solid currencies like the Swiss franc are too small, leaving only the currencies of a deeply divided Europe or authoritarian China as serious competitors.

The level of the national debt in absolute, per capita, and percentage of GDP terms, which can be tracked here, frightens many. In round figures, the national debt is $24 trillion, or $72,000 per person (man, woman, child) or $192,000 per taxpayer. That is 110 percent of GDP, the highest since the World War II era. And that is just the money borrowed to fund operations. Other liabilities, like Social Security and Medicare, are estimated at $77 trillion.

But the real problem is the loss of what Bill White called America’s Fiscal Constitution, a set of borrowing and budget rules first developed by Alexander Hamilton, America’s first Treasury Secretary. The idea was that the federal government should keep a lot of “dry powder” so that it could borrow to fight wars, purchase territory, and respond to shocks. To do that, it had to run budget surpluses when peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice, and hence prosperity, prevailed. But basically since World War II, America has remained at war, some shooting, some cold, some necessary, but many, like the “wars” on drugs and poverty, concocted and counterproductive. Chronic deficits resulted.

Instead of imbibing the lessons of Richard Salsman’s The Political Economy of Public Debt, America’s policymakers and pundits ignore the national debt, or dismiss it with facile, and long since exploded, myths like “we owe it to ourselves” or “we can’t default on it because we can always print money to pay it.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many held that America might muddle along for decades more, unloved but the only serious TV show left on air. But the only thing more disappointing than the irrational response of many American governments to the pandemic has been the way that Americans have acquiesced to the suspension of their civil and economic liberties on very flimsy grounds.

At 40:30 of this videoleading epidemiologist Knut Wittkowski puts it clearly: “I think, people in the United States … are more docile than they should be. People should talk with their politicians and ask them to explain” the rationale for business shutdowns, shelter-in-place orders, and other medieval responses to what he, and many other epidemiologists not on the government payroll, believe is just another annual “pandemic” that kills those with weak immune systems. The government’s response is actually making matters worse by slowing herd immunity.

As I recently argued elsewhere, America’s educational system has not prepared us for the government power grab because it does not create enough Emersonian independent thinkers or, frankly, even adult thinkers.

Due to the extreme Left bias of higher education, many of America’s college graduates remain intellectually infantilized to the point that they can do little more than Tweet ignorant hate at any idea that does not accord with Progressive mantras. 

While some older Democrats, like the aforementioned Bill White, and Peter Schuck, author of Why Government Fails So Often, are rational beings worthy of the attention and respect of all thinking beings, many young progressives appear completely rigid between the ears. They want less economic activity to “save the planet” but cannot cheer death or the pain that lockdowns inflict upon the poor. While fewer miles traveled by automobile must warm their hearts by presumably cooling the planet, the thought of all the extra hot water needed to wash hands a dozen times a day must sting a bit, along with the fact that plastic straws and grocery bags are far safer during pandemics than purportedly “green” alternatives.

Strangest of all have been progressive calls for their archenemy, President Trump, to behave in a more authoritarian manner! The statist assumption that “only government can save us” is so deeply ingrained on the Left and Right that rational calls to vitiate the economic crisis with voluntarism have not gained traction.

And don’t even get me started on the Right’s economic nationalism. Pure lunacylike calls for AUTARKY (no international flows, like pre-Perry Japan!), now attracts serious attention. And why not? Didn’t we all “learn” in college that some French and German philosophers were right about there being no truth, just power and rhetoric? Strangely, though, the descendants of the apostles of postmodernism have no trouble seeing the truth in destroying the economic lives of most Americans because some unrealistic models claimed between 10,000 and 100 million people would otherwise die.

Is America about to jump the shark? Maybe it already has. Or maybe, unlike the Fonz, it won’t even clear the tank, the victim of the weight of its own inane policies. All that is clear is that somebody is going to have to pay for this fiasco, and that somebody is “us.”

Source: AIER

  1. Digby says

    America’s currency and debt are in a similar position to post-shark Happy Days. Nobody really likes it anymore but decent alternatives hardly abound. Solid currencies like the Swiss franc are too small, leaving only the currencies of a deeply divided Europe or authoritarian China as serious competitors.

    Could be, but it didn’t seem to prevent Rosneft from switching from dollars to euros last September/October to avoid US sanctions ( ).
    And speaking of sanctions, I wonder if the original author is also aware of the way USian sanctions and brute force prevent adoption of alternative currencies (e.g. the execution of Gadhafi for his plan to replace the dollar with a gold-backed dinar).

  2. Rowdy-Yates says

    As for this
    I think, people in the United States … are more docile than they should be. People should talk with their politicians and ask them to explain”
    Americans simply cannot. I ask this question
    How does one control a nation whose government is “run by the people”? (as stated in our founding documents)
    answer: you dumb them down and guide the dumbed down population into a herd mentality promoted by the media as to what to watch and how to think. Once a population is trained not to be inquisitive or who find education boring it is almost impossible to enlighten them
    Once the mind is enslaved one does not need to enslave the body.

    Americans do not know but most importantly they do not care to know.

    It is at this point those in power can brazenly plunder and steal with complete impunity because the population does not know better.

  3. Rowdy-Yates says

    The US economy was headed for an economic crash. With skyrocketing debt including a national debt of 24 Trillion, household debt of 14 trillion which included credit card debt of 1.4 trillion, student loan debt of 1.6 Trillion, Auto loan debt of over a trillion Americans were drowning in debt

    [to put things into perspective America’s national debt in 1981 was 550 billion].

    Instead of waiting for the inevitable economic crash a preemptive strike using the convenient excuse of an Epidemic allowed the government to initiate an unprecedented act of shutting down the nation and issuing an emergency
    Under this artificial crisis the rich repositioned themselves to be the recipients of the nations wealth as it is shifted from the general population into their hands. Now wealthier by several trillion the inevitable economic crash has been hastened and their world is secure.

  4. Rowdy-Yates says

    The entire Judicial system has been shut down. There is no flexibility. It allows unconstitutional acts to be enforced without a Judge to make a ruling if these acts can be done.

    One example of theft would be a thriving business with low or no Debt and is making huge profits. the owners have no intention of selling it, but in a shutdown this same business cannot function and debts soon accumulate to such a level that this once thriving business forecloses and the bank takes possession.

    The bank sells the land and business for pennies on the dollar to those who can afford to buy it. When the shutdown is lifted the few who can buy these businesses emerge much wealthier. From oil rigs, to gold mines to retail are now changing hands to the few who come to plunder.

    When the shutdown is over businesses that survived will retool to be more automated using robots and drones. they will not hire the staff that they had before the shutdown. Outsourcing will come back with a vengeance and so will cheap foreign imports.

    Millions will be permanently unemployed. The Economic system has been rebooted to include greater automation, with an eye on Artificial intelligence and greater use of Robotic tech.

    That 1200 check could become a way to introduce Universal Basic income so that those who have no use in the economy can continue to consume. A good deal of that Universal Basic income will be recycled to return to the rich. They lose nothing and gain everything.

  5. Cushite says

    COVID-19 real name is the US Petrodollar Collapse.

    Demise of the Petrodollar and the End of American Power

    Nov 25, 2014

    The Colder War by Marin Katusa

    Marin Katusa’s blockbuster New York Times best-selling book, “The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America’s Grasp.”

    1. Mary E says

      There are many of us who agree with the fact that this Covid19 (a regular virus that goes around from time to time) is a huge and deadly cover up of the recession, turning into a depression, that is going on in the US, which cannot come to terms that its supreme entitlement/reign is over and done with….

      1. Garry Compton says

        I’ve been reading everything I can on CD-14 – China was doing lab work on animals that their people eat . They opened a Lab in Wuhan and they invited several US Universities to participate. Many US Universities are tied to CIA and US Military. No. Carolina, John Hopkins, and many others are CIA huckleberries. That first bat that everyone was supposedly eating , could not transfer a disease to humans. But the Horse Shoe Bat could, but it would take a million HS bats to infect China, unless you modify it , and then ” spike” it to SARS I. China did not do this but all their work went to the US labs and these labs are BioWeapons Labs. So , I see it that the US made SHCO-14 { HC =horse shoe} which is a ” Chimeric” { can infect man} and the mated it with SARS I to make CD-14. We don’t know what other spikes they did to the virus and that could be a huge problem.Best I can relate – after my readings. I’m surprised I could get thru to this website.

  6. ke4ram says

    America jumped the shark decades ago. 1913 might be a good guess.

  7. Natural_Texan says

    To the authors; Which were the NECESSARY Wars?

    1. XRGRSF says

      Your question caused me to have an episode of cerebral constipation. After staining mightily I finally realized that the answer was NONE; well, maybe 1812. I feel much better now; lighter, relieved, satisfied.

  8. Genghis Gobi says

    What necessary war did Amerikastan fight after WWII? The war against the aliens in Independence Day?

    1. ke4ram says

      IMO, The only war America fought that truly needed fought was the revolution,,, possibly 1812.

      But after witnessing this Covid bs I’d say those that fought for independence wasted their lives.

      1. Robert Bruce says

        The American colonists were better off staying colonists from an economic point of view. They ended up being taxed more after independence. Thus you could probably say every war this nation fought was unnecessary.

        1. Al Carbone says

          taxation WITH representation was WORSE being every interest group came crawling out of the sewers

    2. Al Carbone says

      good thing we fought WWII to save the communists who killed 60 million of their own people and sat by while chairman Mao took over china killing 200 million

      1. Genghis Gobi says

        It’s high time you went back to your fellow gibbering ignorant Nazi-worshipping racist vermin on Russia Insider, Carbone. You don’t have the minimum IQ to engage with human beings.

        1. Al Carbone says

          scumbag prove me wrong about what I stated mr canard tropestein

          1. Genghis Gobi says

            Listen, you mindless idiot: the Soviets had already won the Battle Of Moscow before Amerikastan even entered WWII, and the Chinese fought from 1931 on to 1945 almost on their own, and even then it was only in 1949 that the People’s Republic was declared. Exactly how stupid and ignorant are you?

            1. Al Carbone says

              without the millions of tons of steel and military hardware the US sent russia would have lost. the winter beat the Germans and the US supplying russia. also Germans had to worry about being attacked from the west. we abandoned chang kai shek and allowed Mao to take over

            2. Genghis Gobi says

              Tell me why the USSR sent the Sherman tanks the Americans sent off to the Japanese frontier. And why it was the Bell Airacobra which was already rejected by the RAF and relegated to the Japanese front by the Americans that were sent to the USSR. It certainly wasn’t the Amerikastanis’ fault that the USSR used it as a good low altitude tactical fighter. If you imagine, by the way, that the USSR would have lost without Amerikastani”aid”, which didn’t get going until well into 1942, you know nothing about WWII. Which obviously you don’t anyway. Apart from the fact that the question I asked, you racist imbecile, is what *necessary* war Amerikastan fought *after* 1945. English IS your first language, right? Doesn’t seem like it, since it’s my third and my comprehension skills in it are obviously far superior to yours.

            3. Al Carbone says

              stalin was begging US and Britain to hit Normandy and open up another front

            4. Robert Bruce says

              The USSR had more tanks available on June 22, 1941 than the rest of their allies combined, the same goes for aircraft. When the Japanese threat to Siberia was found out to be non existent, Stalin was able to send those forces West to help win the Battle of Moscow. The Russians had the highest quality tanks at that time with the T-34 and the KV-1, and once Russian manufacturing was set up east of the Urals to escape German medium bomber range they really cranked out the war machine. The Soviets would have won without our help. The best things we gave them were our Studebaker trucks. They did like the Airacobra as well from what I read. The rest was considered garbage.

            5. Al Carbone says

              all you listed built with US steel mostly

            6. Robert Bruce says

              Soviet tanks not at all. You can easily tell Soviet armor from the steel they were made from. It had a rough texture, not finished like our steel.

            7. ke4ram says

              May I add that the USSR had the largest most modern military in the world in 1939. The reason they done so badly in the beginning and lost so much equipment was because they were set up for an offensive war,,, no defensive plans were in place as they figured they didn’t need any. They had planned on taking Europe but German intelligence discovered the plan and Germany attacked first, damned near winning. Probably would have had it not been for the stupid Italians.

              It just goes to show you need to cover your rear before stepping out.

            8. Al Carbone says

              the Germans because of jew media NEVER got the credit for saving Europe from a communist invasion. the crippled communist FDR made up for it by giving stalin half of Europe

      2. tim says

        Its important to add that the communist leadership essentially was Jewish and it was all a ruse for the start of their plan for world domination and nothing to do with fairness for the workers. If you are not familiar with I highly recommend it a specifically the the American Pravda series.


        1. Al Carbone says

          yes Tim I go on Unz site once a week. you know Unz is a jew. remember we fought WWII to save the communists and gave china to Mao then destroyed Sen Mc Carthy as he was outing the Bolshevik jews in govt and holly wood

          1. tim says

            Hi Al thanks for the reply, yes Mr Unz has done an incredible service to humanity by helping to highlight such important topics in such a succinct way and it wasn’t that long ago I made the connection to Mc Carthy. Its incredible the brainwashing we have had and I wonder now what else we may have missed. Cheers

            1. Al Carbone says

              you are a good man Tim

      3. Marius Popescu says

        XXII was fought to make USA the world’s hegemon, which actually happened. FDR secretely pushed the Poles and the Brits to reject Germany peace proposals so that a big war could be ignited, with Germans and allies destroying each other and America, which also reaped extra benefits in the process, reaching full employment and economic boom, coming to the rescue at the end, as a the only creditor of the world and holder of 75℅ of world’s gold. Wasn’t that stupid, albeit criminal, after all. And surely enough not done for the USSR.

        1. Al Carbone says

          US would have been the top dog anyway. in the history of the industrial age nobody will ever match what the US produced in a short time gearing up for the war. remember the jew banks said there was no money causing the depression. as soon as we declared war on their enemy Germany trillions were unleashed

        2. Al Carbone says

          then the cold war bankrupted the US. Vietnam war took us off the gold standard

    3. Natural_Texan says

      Sorry I didn’t see your comments first!

      1. Genghis Gobi says

        That’s all right, this is a question anyone can ask.

  9. Rowdy-Yates says

    There is no point of reference to this shutdown. It is unprecedented. To point to depressions and wars is wrong because during the great wars there was hectic activity especially producing liberty ships, Tanks, and armament at a break neck speed by a legion of “Rosie the Riveter”. During Depressions there were clubs, entertainment, night life, gambling and cities were open
    The shutdown shuts everything down by Government decree. It has never happened in the history of America or the world.

    The shutdown is akin to using a hammer to kill a fly on a China Vase. The intention is not to kill the fly but to smash the Vase. Over 90% who catch Corona get symptoms similar to the common flu and recover. This is overkill and the only reason is to drastically change economies and shift the wealth.

    The shutdown of major economies, keeping around 3 billion at home, is for the theft of mountains of wealth. It is openly done with millions watching and commenting about it. What is amazing is that we can only comment and can do nothing about it.. We know it, and the Rich who are plundering this wealth, also know it.

    It is being done during the age of the internet where the theft of trillions can be read in dozens of articles as it takes place. It is surreal as if we are watching a bank robbery take place and no one can stop them. Such a display of power is brazen and outlandish. The propaganda blaming a virus is so feeble that it is laughable if not for the terrible theft of wealth and the epic misery these elite are willing to create for their own greed.

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