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El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele Warns of U.S. Tax Illusion and Economic Decline at CPAC

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El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele. Photo by Casa Presidencial El Salvador, under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain, via Flickr
El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele. Photo by Casa Presidencial El Salvador, under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain, via Flickr
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On February 22, 2024, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele delivered a blunt warning to the United States during his address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the National Harbor in Oxford Hill, Md. In his passionate speech, Bukele urged Americans to recognize the dangerous economic decline within their nation and act before it’s too late.

“When I talk to my conservative friends right here, they always tell me that the problem is high taxes, but they’re wrong,” Bukele declared. “Of course, high taxes are extremely high here in the United States. I give you that. You’re right in that, but that’s not the real problem.”

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According to Bukele, the real issue is that the high taxes imposed on Americans aren’t actually funding the government. Instead, he revealed that the U.S. government relies on Treasury Bonds, essentially paper, to finance itself. “And who buys the treasury bonds? Mostly the Fed. And how does the Fed buy them? By printing more money. But what backing does the Fed have for that money being printed? The treasury bonds themselves?” he asked.

Bukele highlighted that this creates a self-reinforcing cycle, with the government financing itself through “money printing paper backed with paper.” He went on to underscore the gravity of the situation:

“So basically, you finance the government by printing money out of thin air. Someone could ask, ‘Well, so if the government can print the unlimited amounts of money out of thin air, why do they collect taxes?’ The theory would make sense, right? If they can print unlimited amounts of money, why would they need taxes for?”

Bukele provided a blatant answer to this rhetorical question: “The real problem is that you pay high taxes only to uphold the illusion that you are funding the government, which you are not.”

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He warned that this bubble, sustained by printing money, will inevitably burst. “If most Americans and the rest of the world were to become aware of this farce, confidence in your currency will be lost. The dollar will fall. And the Western civilization with it,” Bukele stated.

Bukele’s speech at CPAC drew considerable attention. He called on Americans to acknowledge the perilous state of their nation’s finances and address the systemic issues contributing to economic instability. He encouraged decisive action to prevent a potential collapse that could have dire consequences not only for the U.S. but also for the global economy.

His simple assessment stressed a growing concern shared by many economists and political commentators regarding the sustainability of U.S. monetary policy. Whether his warning will spur significant changes in U.S. fiscal management remains to be seen. Still, Bukele’s address at CPAC certainly drew attention to the critical economic challenges facing the United States.

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