Beyond the Cusp

February 10, 2013

President Obama Inadvertently Identifies Historic Economic Ailment

President Obama continued his assault on Congress threatening that they could be responsible for a murder. The victims of this Congressional threat are, according to President Obama, thousands of jobs and the continued improvement we have supposedly been enjoying in the economy. The method with which Congress will bludgeon the economy and jobs to death is the death by thousands, nay, millions of cuts via sequestration. According to President Obama, if the Congress does not accept his proposal to match any spending cuts with equal measure of tax increases through the removal of loopholes and credits, then uncountable numbers of jobs will be lost or never filled as without government subsidies sectors of the economy will relapse into a recession-like collapse. This is the fate the Congress will force on a hapless country where its people are thirsting for the continued supply of government milk to suckle and care for them supplying them with jobs and seeing to their every need. Well, at least this would be reality if those who believe in big government as the solution for everything were to have their way. What President Obama has managed to do with his threats is to point to one of the most dire situations confronting the United States today. Actually, this has been a growing problem since Franklin Delano Roosevelt and greatly enhanced by Lyndon Baines Johnson and numerous other assists along the way to the present. The pinnacle of this monster which has been built one bad idea after another was the farce that some companies, banks, investment, insurance, and other chosen favorites of those in power being sold as too big to fail and thus deserving of millions upon millions of taxpayer’s money. Since the too big to fail was not an Obama original but was inspired by the original bailout which was committed with the approval and blessings of President George W. Bush.

The problem is that such a large percentage of the economy and way too many of our major companies rely almost entirely on government largess, tax allowances, contracts, and in a surprising number of cases, their entire margin of profit. That is one of the problems which rarely is discussed when the entitlement debate comes under scrutiny. There are always numerous pundits willing to blame it on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, Food Stamps, and any of the other programs which assist individuals. When was the last time the evening news covered the amount of farm aid that goes to ADM, a huge agricultural conglomerate, or timber allotments granted to Weyerhaeuser and Georgia Pacific, or the any of the numerous generous funding of other industries or the customs, tariffs, and other regulations which are used to give advantages to the chosen few? No, the only government funding which is ever challenged are those which go to people, which many will claim are bad enough, and never those given to industrial giants and other large firms who often hold numerous politicians hostage to the funding these firms can put together come campaign time. The story about whose funding pig gets gored when the government decides to take austerity measures to avert fiscal crisis will almost always end with the piggy with the least cash affords the least protection. It is the same game as local, city, county and state governments take when they face times of economic hardship. The first cuts that are threatened are always police, firefighters, libraries, teachers, and the closing of parks and other recreational facilities. They never discuss ending their personal Lear Jet used to fly around the state, the limousines used to take them to dinners and other functions, the helicopter used to make grand entrance at public gatherings, or any of the myriad of perks many of which we regular people would never ever dream exist but are what makes their positions so prized that they make careers out of “public service”. I have always defined their “public service” as the elected potentates allowing the peasants to pay above and beyond the necessary so that they may feel their privileges to which they have become accustom.

Actually, there is a very cozy relationship between big business and big government, something which we were warned would be the end of the American experiment by, of all people, President Dwight David Eisenhower. Yep, Dwight D Eisenhower, the President who gave us such Constitutional projects as the Defense Highway Bill establishing the Interstate Road System for emergencies where it would allow the transport of any and all military transport and fast response by government and which in such times the public would be barred from utilizing, and the Defense College Scholarship Act which gave promising students scholarships in order to assure that we would have sufficient numbers of well-educated youth for use in an ever more advanced weapons and other systems which would be necessary for the competent operation of the military. President Eisenhower claimed to care about the Constitution and sold these programs not as being giveaways to the public for their private betterment or any such nonsense, these were purely programs which would supply necessary and desirable results for the competent and efficient utilization of the United States Military. So, the man who warned us about the, his words, “Military-Industrial Complex” also used the military in order to fund the interstate highway system and give student grants and scholarships because such investments were necessary for an adequate military of the future. Talk about your self-fulfilling prophesies.

The problem with a coupling of big government with big business is that such an arrangement discourages inventiveness, competition, efficiency, and eventually economic growth. If certain companies have an arrangement with government, nothing formal or written, just an understanding between the leadership of both parties and the ownership of the companies, sometimes the two are one and the same as many of our Congressional leaders are heavily invested in the same companies, then it becomes much more difficult if not impossible for a smaller company to come along and compete. As soon as a small company gets a foothold and gives the slightest of hints that they might pose a challenge, a threat to the larger established company, if that company can utilize government to change the playing field making it more difficult on the smaller company, then innovation and other possible benefits of competition are snuffed out. Imagine if the carriage industry of the horse and carriage era had an undue influence on government such that laws could be passed which made it impossible to operate motor vehicles on public roads, we would still be watching carefully where we stepped when crossing the street. Companies such as Ford, Packard, Studebaker, and others would never have been allowed to replace the horse drawn vehicles as government could have enacted laws preventing such progress. This sounds ridiculous but there were such laws implemented in some places. Motor carriages were required to have a man walk ahead of them with a flag by day and a lantern by night warning any people who were riding in their horse drawn carriages that a noisy, smelly, frightening motor vehicle was coming.

So, thank you President Obama for pointing out one of the difficulties plaguing our economy, namely that too much of our economy and too many companies are completely addicted and dependent on government monies which damages the competitiveness and equality of opportunity which damages economic progress. With your plea to the Congress, you have, likely inadvertently, made likely the strongest argument in favor of allowing sequestration to strike government spending thus cutting the effect of government on everything back in size. Perhaps, once we find we can survive just fine with less government across the boards, then we might enact planned sequestrations for the future and continue to make cuts with such abandon until government has been shrunk down to a more manageable size. Who knows, if we allow this to go far enough we might even actually return to Constitutional governance and thus return the real American dream. In case you have lost sight of the real American dream, allow us to remind you. The Founding Fathers had a new and previously unimagined idea which had never before been attempted in the history of mankind. Their revolutionary idea was that man; regular, everyday, run-of-the-mill man was capable of governing themselves. Mankind did not need a King or an oligarchy of his betters to lord over him and direct his life because without their higher wisdom and abilities the common man would be lost and all would fall to pieces in ruination. Instead, the Founding Fathers saw mankind as being fully capable of knowing what was best for him and through self-government they would be able to provide adequate, nay, superior governance than that or any potentate or collection of self-righteous individuals who placed themselves above the common man. Simply put, they did not find the simple man to be that simple. Today we are faced with a megalomaniacal governance that had run afoul of the Constitution and no longer believes in the common man but does believe that the common man must be ruled over by his superiors. We do not need superiors and anyways, you in government are supposed to be working at our pleasure, not the other way around. Read the Declaration of Independence, it is also a founding document if not the founding document. Right there it explains the place of government, to serve at the pleasure of the people having only those powers delegated to it by the people. Perhaps it is time to have a vote of the public and let the people once again decide how much government we need. That is our right and someday soon we just may exercise that right.

Beyond the Cusp

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