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Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Ultimately, all doomed ruling elites face the same problem: there isn't enough money to fund their take and fuel the vast machinery of power.

The politics of the U.S. boils down to one sustained pretense: politicians win votes by promising to fix problems that are the direct result of our bloated, corrupt, unsustainable Status Quo, yet they fund their campaigns by promising insiders and self-serving elites that they won't touch their Status Quo gravy trains, power and privilege.

This is of course the politics of collapse: by protecting the entrenched, self-serving elites at the top of the wealth-power pyramid, including the political class itself, the political class is condemning the Status Quo to systemic implosion.

The political class is the handmaiden of a Status Quo that is doing everything in its formidable power to fend off any change that threatens its privileged-insiders-plunder. In effect, the political class is doing what's it been paid (via tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions) to do: protect the Status Quo by any and all means available.

Throughout history, the ruling Status Quo self-destructs by refusing to adapt to changing circumstances. The real world is not static, but those in power are so thoroughly soaked in hubris and the delusions of power that they focus not on painful adaptation but on maximizing and protecting their self-aggrandizement.

Ultimately, all doomed ruling elites face the same problem: there isn't enough money to fund their take and fuel the vast machinery of power. Their solution is always the same: rather than make painful sacrifices to reduce their skim, they "print money" by one means or another: reduce the silver content of coinage, issue paper money, issue "stimulus" via central banks, and so on.

This self-serving mechanism hollows out and corrupts the economy, which consequently becomes increasingly fragile. The system's resilience (its buffers and ability to respond quickly and effectively to crises) erodes to near-zero, and one crisis or another that would have been handled in the past brings down the entire rotten edifice.

Here's the two-party system stripped to its essentials:

Here's our "leadership class" displaying their self-serving "leadership skills":

As the saying goes, follow the money:

Philanthro-crony-capitalism is a favored pretense of self-serving elites: things can go south when the plunder reaches extremes, of course...

So keep this in mind when voting in this year's elections: you'll be promised "change" but real change is impossible because the real priority is preserving a self-serving, corrupt, bloated and unsustainable Status Quo by any means available.

You'll be told what you want to hear: the problems will all be fixed within the existing Status Quo. But the existing Status Quo is the source of the problems.Pretense feeds delusion which guarantees collapse.

As a reminder of how systems become fragile and collapse:

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