The Meaning of Bidenomics

Everyone senses that the American economy under Joe Biden is in a rut. Inflation is at a 40-year high. Energy prices are skyrocketing. The prices of all goods and services going up. Meanwhile, the administration does little to alleviate these regular everyday problems. This is by design.

Since the Industrial Revolution there have been two approaches to economics. One, sometimes called laissez-faire, is really a decentralized form of economic organization and productivity in which individuals, civil society, and private organizations have broad freedom to act as they see fit. There is little centralized oversight, limited bureaucracy, an emphasis on entrepreneurial risk and reward. The economic activity from this decentralized approach benefits all and empowers individuals and civil society.

The other, which goes by many names, is a centralized system of top-down controls where a single leader or the organs of the federal state make most -- if not all -- of the decisions. Moreover, all independent or private organizations, insofar that they might still exist, operate under the subjugated dictates of the central authority either corporate, government, or an alliance of both. The economic activity from this centralized approach benefits the planners, bureaucracy, and established corporate powers.

We know the second system under different names: socialism, communism, fascism, national-socialism, the welfare-state. All are the same, roughly speaking, regarding the top-down control system that a centralized system of economics seeks to establish.

This is precisely what the Biden administration, their apparatchiks, and the proponents of the Green New Deal seek: a thorough top-down command-control system of the economy. Whether in the more benign bureaucratic-managerial form of the modern welfare-state of the West, or the more viciously brutal socialistic, fascistic, or communistic cousins, the goal remains the same: centralized command-control.

By permitting economic malaise, the Biden administration deliberately seeks to punish the independent spirit of American freedom in order to subjugate it to its federal vision of regulatory control (that’s what regulation is always about). After a while, the despondency of Americans suffering under an economic crisis will look somewhere to find alleviation for their pain. It is at this critical juncture that the Bidenistas will appear as if saviors from the mountain.

The playbook will be typical. We see it already. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders blame corporate business, the oil tycoons, and the capitalist system itself for our problems. In other words, these organizations cannot be trusted to help Americans in their time of economic need.

But who can be trusted? The commissars of the command economy that Biden and his allies seek to construct. Since private business and the free market cannot be trusted, the government and their lackeys will step in as the faces of salvation.

“Trust the government and its plan” will be the new mantra, the new ideology. In falling for the façade, freedom will be squeezed out, the spirit of civil society diminished (as civil society is a threat to the federal state), and entrepreneurial ambitions crushed as much as possible because those darn entrepreneurs may hold beliefs contrary to the political zeitgeist and the idol of “progress.”

The Biden administration does want to help us. They just think we’re too stupid to know how to help ourselves.

This paternalistic, indeed, deeply authoritarian and elitist approach considers itself as the only arbiter of knowledge and goodwill. The public’s beliefs run contrary “to their own interest.” (How often do we hear this phrase?) Only the government and its army of bureaucrats and lobbyists know how to properly help us: by forcing us into submission to their will and vision.

Economics is predicated on vibrancy and competition. But vibrancy and competition threaten the universal vision of the future that progressives want to build. This is often forgotten and never stated in political discourse.

We who are conservatives are conserving the vibrancy and competition within civil society, between states and businesses. We do so not because civil society and the free market is more efficient than the government (though it often is) but because a vibrant civil society and market competition is a manifestation of individual and social health and well-being. It is a good sign for society to be filled with entrepreneurs, private businesses, and independent social gatherings. And if a decentralized entrepreneurial economy is also more efficient, that’s the frosting on the cake.

So long as our country has that vibrancy and internal competition, the government and their cronies are the odd man out at the party. They didn’t get the invitation. Nor did they ever want the invitation. So the party is crashed and turmoil ensues.

By permitting economic turmoil, the command-control system presents itself as the “return to normalcy.” But it will be a “new normal.” A new normal that doesn’t allow a return to the vibrancy which centralized economics finds repulsive.

The trick of Western totalitarians has been to slowly embrace totalizing control over our lives. Through small, incremental doses, the populace at large seems unaware of the erosion of freedom. One generation dies and the next generation inhabits a world less free than the past; but because they do not know the freedom of the past generation, they do not know better and accept the status quo. That generation passes away and the crises it faced permitted new incremental controls by the government which create that “new normal” for the next generation. Rinse and repeat.

Western totalitarians saw the flaw of their kindred spirits in Russia, China, and elsewhere. Too much too fast causes blowback. A little bit over a long period of time is a much better approach. They play the long game. We must see through the veil of their lies and lusts. Let us begin, then, by seeing through the façade of Bidenomics. All is going according to plan -- because the plan is to have economic turbulence in order for greater command-control from the federal government to be implemented.

Paul Krause is the editor of VoegelinView. He is the author of The Odyssey of Love: A Christian Guide to the Great Books, The Politics of Platoand contributed to The College Lecture Today and Making Sense of Diseases and Disasters.

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