Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Part 2: Why Gay Marriage and The Confederate Flag Are Meaningless Issues Relative To the Lobbyist Behind the Curtain

Later this week we will post our monthly series of political class insanity posts. Every month we gather and discussed the latest insanity, ineptness, wasteful spending, and corruption of the American political class. Unfortunately for us, over the years we have been doing this feature, every month we have needed more and more time just to cover one month’s worth of insanity.

Before we do that for July’s insanity, let’s look at some bigger picture issues that dwarf the wasteful spending, idiotic programs and laws, stupid quotes, and overall inept performance of the American class. Yes, it is important to point out how wasteful spending goes on in Washington, how government and political class programs never efficiently or effectively implement their goals, how stupid our politicians often sound when they open their mouths.
But the two topics we will discuss yesterday and today dwarf these issues. In fact, the top two social and political issues being hotly debated this these days are also nits relative to the two overarching issues we will be discussing today and tomorrow. It really does not matter what you think about gay marriage and the Supreme Court’s recent decision on it. It really does not matter what you think about the Confederate flag and what it stands for. 

Talking about them in the context of the bigger issues is a total waste of time since both issues pale in comparison to the two bigger issues. The gay and lesbian community consists of less than 5% of the nation’s population. Confederate flag supporters are probably comparable in numbers, small minorities in the country. 

But unless we address the major issue of political corruption in Washington (yesterday’s topic) and the unrelenting build up of the national debt (today’s issue) and the wasteful spending that goes with it, then who can get married and who can fly a flag of their choice will become totally, totally irrelevant in our near future since these two bigger issues affect EVERY American, not just a small minority of them.

Yesterday’s post is based on the writings of liberal former Senator and Presidential candidate Gary Hart. He is the author of 21 books and the following quotes come from his recent book, “The Republic Of Conscience.” While I have pulled out only a subset of quotes from his book that was discussed in a recent Time magazine article, I encourage everyone to go to that online Time article at:

Mr.Hart eloquently and precisely points out how our democratic processes have been thoroughly corrupted by the American political class and the media, lobbyists, and organized political entities that feast on those processes and American tax dollars and freedoms. We have discussed this corruption of the democratic processes before,both in this blog and our book, “Love My Country, Loathe My Government.”

Today’s post will use the framework laid out by Townhall writer John Hawkins in his recent article, “5 Mistakes That Will Lead To The Fall Of America.” As we discussed above, if these five mistakes are not fixed or at least minimized soon, all the other issues facing us, including gay marriage and the Confederate flag, will not matter once the economy and the democracy we currently live in collapse.

Mr. Hawkins starts out about speculating on how great civilizations failed historically. However, when getting to why America might collapse, he is pretty sure that the reason will include all or many of the following situations:

1) Unsustainable Debt: 

- By 2020, nonpartisan economic forecasters estimate that we will need 20% of the entire planet’s GDP just to finance the Federal government’s debt load.

- Within the next few years, the Federal government’s debt load will likely exceed a whopping $25 TRILLION.

- At $25 TRILLION that means that the national debt would have gone from about $10 billion to $25 billion since the end of the Bush administration through the Obama administration.

- At that time, the per person debt load in the country for each person, including newborn infants, will be about $75,000 PER PERSON. Thus, an American family of four would have to ante up $300,000 just to help pay their fair share of the national debt.

- The main culprits in this debt issue will be Social Security and Medicare (and Obama Care which is busting its budget forecasts every day) which are both already hurtling towards financial insolvency unless severe changes are made to the programs, changes that will probably be beyond the courage and will of our political class.

- And speaking of too late, Donald TRump, during his announcement that he is running for President, stated that he had analysis that the financial tipping point for the debt, that point where the country can no longer pay off its obligations, is $24 TRILLION, a TRILLION dollars less than what we discussed above.

- Now, you may not politically or personally like Trump but he is at least the first one to put a stake in the ground of when the country collapses financially. He may be wrong but until someone comes up with a better number, he is the leader in the club house. There is a number, a tipping point, and right now, $24 TRILLION is that bogey.

- But we cannot say we did not have a warning. Back in the 2012 Presidential campaign, Mitt Romney warned us what would happen if Obama was reelected: “If the president were re-elected, we'd go to almost $20 trillion of national debt. This puts us on a road to Greece.” Three years later we are on that road to both $20 TRILLION worth of debt during the Obama administration, a doubling of the country’s debt just in Obama’s two terms, and we are also on the road to Greece, which is about to face financial ruin with its debt after the July 5 Greek referendum.

- And by the way, as we have shown previously in this blog, you cannot tax the rich more to fix this problem. Consider the following simple math exercise:

  • Rather than tax Bill Gates, the richest man in America, at a higher tax rate, let’s hypothetically assume that we confiscate ALL of his wealth and give it to the Federal government.
  • If memory serves me right, his current estimated wealth is about $83 billion.
  • In today’s world, the Federal government spends about $11 billion a DAY, 365 days a year.
  • Thus, Bill Gates’ wealth could run the Federal government for less than 8 days or pay off a meager .3% of the national debt at $25 TRILLION.
  • And even if you could confiscate the wealth of America’s richest people, you would not be able to run the Federal government for a year or pay off anywhere near the amount of national debt to make a difference if we do not curtail, severely curtail, government spending.

- Mr. Hawkins concludes this section with a couple of forecasts of what the collapse will look like to which we add a few of our own:

  • Taxation will rise dramatically, affecting every American and resulting in slower and slower economic growth and less tax revenue which will require more taxation which will result in slower economic growth and which will start the inevitable Greek-like financial death spiral.
  • At some point, the political class might hit on the bright idea of inflation to cure the debt problem, using inflated dollars to pay off uninflated dollars, a strategy that is sure to fail, “our money will be inflated so much that we’ll need wheelbarrows full of greenbacks to buy a loaf of bread.” See Germany, post World War I
  • Or the political class can pull the Cyprus move where the government forcibly goes into bank accounts and steals citizens’ money to try and pay off the ever rising debt level, a move that destroys any concept that we are still living in a free country.
2) Enormous Centralized Government:

- Or as Mr. Hawkins says, The bigger the tick, the less blood there is for the dog and there is no larger collection of blood suckers on Planet Earth than our own federal government.”

- Our government has become so large, so Jabba the Hutt-like from Star Wars, formless, tyrannical, usurper of resources, that lawmakers have no clue what the ramifications will be on anything they vote on, assuming they read what the vote on.

- Government regulators and bureaucrats produce thousands of new regulations every year to justify their existence without caring how that affects economic growth or Americans. 

- As a result of this massive bureaucracy, somehow 49% of all Americans get some kind of public assistance from the Federal government. As a result according to the article, “That has not only bled the private sector and made our economy less dynamic, it has led to massive corruption.” 

- As we discussed in yesterday’s post via the Gary Hart analysis, consider the quote of P.J. O’Rourke who said, “When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.”
3) An Overly-Progressive Income Tax Code: 

- We have a massive tax code, over 70,000 pages, that no one really understands and which leads to massive tax evasion.

- We have a massive tax code that allows half of the country to not pay any Federal income taxes, forcing the other half to pay more than they should.

- We are taxed so heavily at all levels of government that Tax Freedom Day requires most Americans to work about 30% of the year just to pay their tax bills. This is not taxation, this is repression.

- And more than a few economists will tell you that the current tax code and the out of control spending it supports stifle innovation, business development, and economic growth, making it more difficult for every American to move up the economic ladder of success, a ladder that is being shredded by the Federal government’s depth and size today.

- Mr. Hawkins wonders “What happens when the tax code gets so skewed that the “takers” outnumber the “makers” in the United States? We’re getting very close to that tipping point and it’s doubtful that we’ll like the answer when we find out.”

4) Moral Decay: 

- While not directly economically related, Mr. Hawkins does spend some time on what he calls “the moral decay” of America.

- We have the largest prison population in the world on both an absolute basis and per person basis.

- Drug use is still rampant across many parts of our society.

- 41% of American births today are out of wedlock.

- But indirectly, all of these realities do hinder economic growth since it costs taxpayer money to run the biggest prison system in the world, it costs taxpayer money to fight a losing War On Drugs and to treat addicts, and it costs taxpayer money to support out of wedlock kids and their likely single parents.

5) Backward Immigration Policies:

-Our immigration policies do not encourage the best, the brightest and most economically productive immigrants to come to America.

-Instead, according to the article, “in 2010, 36 percent of immigrant-headed households receive benefits from at least one welfare program, compared to just 23 percent of households headed by U.S. natives. Among households with children, immigrant welfare households outnumbered non-immigrants by a similarly wide margin: 57 percent to 40 percent.”

- Economically, why would we want to bring someone into our country who’s going to end up on the dole when our financial situation is becoming so dangerous?

- Hawkins: “Instead of selecting the cream of the crop, the rich, the geniuses, the skilled, and people who can add to our tax base, we take pretty much anybody who has a relative here or who claims that he’d be in danger in his home country (and let’s face it, the vast majority of them are lying). This is even truer for illegal immigrants who are overwhelmingly poor, uneducated, minimally skilled and by definition, are not law-abiding people. In a world where an education and a high level of skill are becoming ever more necessary to get most jobs worth having, why import massive numbers of people who will never fit that definition to undercut poor American workers who are already struggling to climb the ladder?”

So yesterday, we talked about political corruption of Washington as guided by Gary Hart. Today, we discussed the financial corruption of America and its economy as guided by John Hawkins. In light of these comments, observations, realities, and the massive corruption they both correctly identify, worrying about who marries who and who can fly a certain flag pale in comparison. Because in the end, if all we are left with in our democracy is a new type of marriage license and a piece of cloth on a flagpole, at the expense of our economic and political freedom, then who really cares?

The people pulling the strings in this country care only about themselves. They have put up and now fan the flames of other issues to prevent anyone from focusing on the political and financial destruction they are raining down on all of us. Smarten up people, pull the curtain back on the real issues that can destroy the country, not the smaller issues that politicians use to divide us and divert our attention from the havoc they have wrought.

“If we ever pass out as a great nation, we ought to put on our tombstone: America died from the delusion that she has moral leadership.” Will Rogers.

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