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Andrew Henderson

Founder of Nomad Capitalist and the world’s most sought-after expert on global citizenship.

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Finance

Political Payback: How the US Abuses Power to Punish Business

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In a classic Hans Christian Andersen tale, two swindlers convince a vain emperor that they will create the most majestic suit of clothing for him.

So majestic, they promise, that those “hopelessly unworthy” of his excellence will not even be able to see it. Once the suit is created, the emperor and his court pretend to see this magic fabric for fear of being deemed stupid or unworthy.

In the end, however, the emperor’s arrogance is called on the carpet when a child of the local townsfolk, too young to understand the pretense, calls the king out, confirming his suspicion that he has been swindled.

That same type of swindle job is happening to businesses in the Western world today.

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Downward Spiral of Debt

Western countries that have had a grip on power do not want competition. There are monopolies in business, and there are monopolies in government. The US is among a small group of politically powerful countries that want to control all the others. 

The latest research suggests that 29% of global economies are now sanctioned by the United States. In other words, the US Government uses economic sanctions as a tool to combat threats to US interests.

However, with Democrats like Elizabeth Warren tweeting that ‘the more money you make the less ethical you are,’ in today’s anti-business western world, these attacks have shifted toward attempting to ruin anyone who creates a profit. 

And all this while the US economy is in a downward spiral of fiscal deterioration. 

Why the West Punishes the Wealthy

Pulling The Plug On The US Government’s Credit rating

In August 2023, credit agency Fitch downgraded the US Government’s credit rating to AA+ from AAA, citing last-minute debt ceiling negotiations that threaten the government’s ability to pay its bills.

Needless to say, the move was greeted with an angry response from the White House. While the ratings fall, the second in relatively short time, might seem insignificant, it’s evidence of a much deeper problem. 

The US Government is happy to punish the wealthy, but unwilling to carry the can for its own failures, preferring instead to target its political opponents and pass the blame to them.  

This isn’t the first time the US Government has taken a tyrannical line against those that speak out against it. 

In the eyes of the increasingly dictatorial west, China is the chief example of political abuse of power and violations against capitalism and human rights.

We’ve seen this sort of thing throughout history. Typically, it has been targeted at political opponents rather than creators of wealth. Governments love setting up scenarios like the Reichstag in order to flex their muscles against those that dared challenge the ruling class.

No government typifies this more than the United States.

The United States Government’s NSA spying program, for instance, is far more reaching than the most power-hungry dictator could ever imagine. Even its allies are miffed about it.

In the vein of political payback, however, the US Government’s attack on rating agency Standard and Poors a few years ago took the cake.

Political Payback In Action 

The US Government fined S&P a record $1.5 billion… and essentially bullied it into walking back its claims that it was targeted as part of a political witch hunt after downgrading the US credit rating.

You see, S&P did what everyone knew had to be done: it pulled the plug on the US Government’s AAA credit rating.

While US debt has, of course, continued to spiral out of control in the last three years, the situation then was just as dire.

American politicians had a massive public debt with an even larger list of off-the-books liabilities they managed to pretend didn’t even exist.

Despite wallowing in nearly 15 figures of red ink and printing money by the pallet, no one had been willing to say that the United States was broke.

That its predicament was unsustainable.

Until S&P came along with a long overdue ratings downgrade that actually acknowledged just how broke the United States really was, and still is.

The powers that be didn’t like this, and they set out on a witch hunt against the ratings firm, subjecting it to a lengthy investigation by the Justice Department. 

Even the mainstream media opined that such a politically motivated investigation might “keep S&P in check”.

And this wasn’t the first time this story had played out.

Imagine the irony: the same Justice Department that can’t keep track of its own weapons while en route to drug runners, going after a storied financial firm that had the balls to tell the truth.

And so for the last four years, S&P has been quite vocal in claiming that said investigation was nothing more than political payback by the then Obama administration for bruising the government’s ego on the world stage.

To our readers, it makes perfect sense. The United States government has built one of the most arrogant empires in world history. It shouldn’t surprise you in the least that the government would want revenge against a ratings agency that bruised its ego.

Even if it deserved it, for speaking out, the government bullied the company not only into paying an eye-popping $1.5 billion fine – money that will be used to fund more wars against terrorist groups the CIA created – but to also claim that their initial claim of being targeted politically was false.

While I don’t know what executives at S&P actually believe, I find it very hard to believe that they suddenly had a change of heart after four years of being under the government’s vengeful thumb.

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Here’s the bottom line: businesses that engage in any kind of political speech in the United States ought to be very, very careful how they manage their affairs.

In the same way desperate people in bad economies turn to crime, desperate governments who realize the jig is up turn to desperate measures to protect their hegemony.

Again, just as we’ve seen throughout history, this often leads to political payback against those who dare pronounce that the emperor has no clothes.

Of course, Nomad Capitalist is a prime example of a business that challenges the US Government’s dominance. Which is precisely why I am constantly looking for new ways to diversify internationally and remove ties to the United States.

I’ve seen this personally in past businesses where successful clients who spoke out against societal rules, the drug companies, or organized religion were silenced by the swift hand of the US Government.

Preparing Yourself For Whatever’s Next

While I often wonder if there is any 100% fool proof way to fully protect yourself from a large, menacing government, here are a few steps to consider:

1. Keep your business and personal bank accounts out of imperialist countries.

If you insist on using imperialist countries, at least use the ones your home country hates? If you’re an American, consider opening a bank account in China. 

While I am not aware of any action against individual S&P executives as part of the “settlement”, any attack on your much smaller business could be expanded to you personally.

2. Live overseas

If you are from an imperialist country, find one that is actually open to free speech and an open exchange of opinions, rather than one that simply pays lip service to it. This could mean a country that ardently defends free speech, or one that is so inefficient they simply don’t care or have the resources.

3. Have a second passport.

You never know when your home country’s government could cancel your passport in the interest of “national security”, leaving you stranded there for them to do as they wish to you, or stranded wherever else you may be. 

Again, look at the times in history where politically oppressed minorities who were against the “greater good” were stopped dead in their tracks.

I’m not suggesting that everyone who speaks ill of the US Government will be rounded up and sent to FEMA camps. Anything could happen, but I’m trying to focus on the here and now.

Preparing yourself for whatever crazy politicians is voted into office by an electorate on the dole is always a wise strategy.

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