Beyond the Cusp

April 2, 2017

Death of Democratic Republic

 

The United States was founded as a Constitutional Democratic Republic and according to John Adams, “We have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Another comment on how a Constitutional Democratic Republic can be brought low came from Benjamin Franklin, who predicted, “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” But it is not completely the people’s selfishness that is sinking the United States and that was predicted by Alexis de Tocqueville who added this adage to the above, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Anyone care to guess which of these three problems is driving the American experiment in self-rule into the ground fastest? Kings and Queens argued against giving power to their subjects claiming that humankind was completely incapable of self-rule as their own greed and indifference to consequences of their actions and their lack of training in governance would all lead to disastrous results if not immediately, guaranteed to do so over time. People, they claimed, would tend to destroy wealth in the name of equality and that there would never be sufficient wealth to satisfy the redistributors as they would continue to destroy all concentrations of wealth in their mistaken proposals and programs meant to introduce fairness and equality until those who generated wealth were no longer sufficiently financially capable of investment and thus unable to continue to produce wealth for those pursuing fairness to steal.

 

The problems faced currently are that the government absorbed one means after another which had formerly been the purview of religious and charitable institutions. This led to two immediate results; the government was required to demean and spread suspicions that religious institutions and charities were incapable of fairness and that they were too steeped in religion to provide assistance without guilt. They made the claim that the poor need not listen to a sermon in order to receive a meal. Then came the claims that many religious institutions and charitable organizations were possibly providing substandard nutrition or preparing their meals in unsafe manner in potentially unclean environment and might spread diseases or serve contaminated food. This then led to the establishment of regulations and inspections and requirements of reports including the calorie, vitamin, fat content and immeasurable other breakdown of the meals provided to such a point that churches and charities simply gave in to government pressure surrendering their position as the provider of aid to the poor to the government as they could not continue against the power of government regulatory powers. The same occurred with providing shelter for the homeless and many other such assistances which slowly but inexorably became government programs. Food Stamps, Government Provided Shelters, Welfare, Section 8 Housing and on and on program after program and government had complete control over what had been privately provided charity which was financed through religious institutions and donations from people willing to provide funds for these causes. Now the funding comes from taxation which means that government has replaced voluntary donations with forced donations. Some have referred to this as the government playing Robin Hood taking from the rich and giving to the poor. That gets Robin Hood completely wrong as he stole from the government and returned the funds to the public from which it was taken (stolen according to Robin). The Sheriff of Nottingham and the King were not the rich, they were the government and the peasants were not only the poor but also the people who the King and Sheriff of Nottingham taxed (stole) the money (gold and silver) from and thus Robin Hood stole from the government and returned to the tax payers. Today the government is literally taking from the rich and giving to the poor through taxing the rich and returning that treasure to the poor who did not pay taxes thus it is completely not Robin Hood-like but completely separate.

 

Hunting Your Uncle Sam’s Deer Are We?

Hunting Your Uncle Sam’s Deer Are We?

 

But there is another form of gifting public treasure which is far more evil than all the previously mentioned programs and which does not actually benefit the people and is almost always left out of demands for ending government funding. This is most often referred to as corporate welfare. Government gives away many millions, no, wait, certainly billions of dollars, to numerous companies often for questionable reasons. On the web corporate welfare is defined as bestowal of money grants, tax breaks, or other special favorable treatment for corporations. This often ends up becoming taking money from the people, including those who compared to these corporations and companies are the poor, and giving to the corporations or the rich in some means. According to Cheat Sheet the eight largest recipients in ascending order are, Nike @ $2.03 Billion, Royal Dutch Shell @ $2.04 Billion, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles @ $2.06 Billion, Ford @ $2.52 Billion, General Motors @ $3.58 Billion, Intel @ $3.87 Billion, Alcoa @ $5.64 Billion and Boeing @ $13.18 Billion. Well, we can understand the General Motors as so many now refer to GM as Government Motors and apparently we can say the same for the rest of the Big Three auto motive companies from the United States. Now if one were to challenge the government, or your local Congress Critter, about these subsidies of such companies and their response would be that they are essential for the national defense, they are required in order for them to compete with companies from other nations who subsidize their industries or they might simply stutter and sputter and call on the next questioner.

 

Another area where government largess is generously spread around is in the agricultural endeavors. Farms are actually paid to raise dairy cows because before refrigeration there was the need for dairy cows to be raised throughout the United States in order for dairy products to be available in every location. But with the wonders of refrigeration, these subsidies are superfluous as now dairy products could easily be transported from the dairy states to those where such farms are economically impractical due to lack of water, grass and the other requirements necessary for raising healthy dairy cows. There are also subsidies to farms growing corn and since these have climbed to near astronomical proportions as the ethanol industry demands more corn, the acreage of wheat production has plummeted while corn has replaced wheat in many areas. This has created two problems beyond potential wheat shortages worldwide, as raising corn requires additional nutrients and more water, the demand for irrigation waters is lowering the water tables at an increased rate and runoff of fertilizer has increased causing difficulties in many river runoff areas, especially places of slower moving or stationary water as this runoff leads to poisoned fish and over growth of algae and other plants in rivers and especially lakes. Further, farms are often paid not to raise certain crops or raise certain animals in order to allow food prices to remain substantial enough for farming to show a profit. These programs end up assisting the industrial farms to a far greater degree than the family farmers they were proposed to assist. Again, the reason for these programs has been to continue to make farming profitable rather than having the rules of supply and demand to control what farmers grow.

 

There is an example of supply and demand working its magic in eastern Colorado where many farmers with some of the best topsoil grow sugar beets for a simple reason, if their crop of sugar beets is of high enough quality they will catch top dollar from the Coors brewing company to use in their production of Coors beer. The land is quite capable of growing other crops but not one which can bring such a high price as Coors offers the incentive for such quality sugar beets in order to assure themselves a ready supply locally of the requirements for their product. As for the grains for their beer, well, they are located quite near great fields of grains within a short distance including in Colorado wherever the soil is not rich enough to grow high quality sugar beets of which there is ample acreage. Still, was government not to provide these subsidies there would be some disquieting periods of economic upheaval after which there would be fewer companies in many industries and the healthiest and most efficient companies would survive? Perhaps there are a relative few companies which were necessary for military readiness but in the modern era there are very few companies who are purely reliant on military spending to survive as the demands of the private sector now has requirements of ships, aircraft and even automotive who can change some production to produce military products such as armored vehicles. Further, military production is now done on a very sparse demand with rare but occasional high demand when replacing longstanding equipment. For these demands one would likely find entrepreneurs more than willing to make bids and then invest in the necessary production facilities to produce armored vehicles while ships and aircraft already have ready manufacturers. But if such an argument could be proven to have merit, then perhaps some outlay might be called for.

 

The problem is that with corporations, people, even NGO’s all making demands on government claiming that they require the government largess, their service is worthy of government largess, or some claim is found which demands government funding combined with the elected representatives use government funds in order to buy the faithful votes of a particular constituency by warning that other political challengers would cut or end the flow of money, food stamps, housing allowances, utility payments, free stuff and so on thus buying support to keep them in office. Because the people lost their faith in religious institutions as the government spent much time, funds, advertising and editorials in parallel with increased regulations matching the claimed weakness of religious institutions and charities allowing the government to incrementally replace them in caring for the less fortunate.

 

Then they quietly over time subsidized corporations initially claiming their necessity for the defense of the country in times of war and subsequently simply arguing that the companies or corporations were necessary economically and without the “temporary” assistance, nothing ends up being temporary as once the money is outlaid it is never retracted, these companies would potentially go out of business putting some unacceptable number of employees out of work. What is really being protected is a company which is not sufficiently competitive and if allowed to go out of business it would soon be replaced by somebody with a better idea or a better means for production or something making them competitive. It might be argued that the national security requires at a minimum one company in every vital industry for the possible future protection of the nation. Where this argument hits a snag was the steel industry which almost went completely out of business as their production equipment and processes became outdated. The entire industry faced this challenge and some companies went out of business and others retooled and became modernized allowing them to return stronger than before. Some of the retooling received government assistance but this once it was a one-time outlay and not a continuous flow of revenue. Should these outlays continue the government will continue to spend more than it can possibly collect which will forever add to the deficit which will eventually cause hyperinflation which will end the time of the United States as a super power? If the government attempts to collect sufficient tax revenues to allow these payments to continue at current levels, then the entire financial system would collapse as eventually those who were being more heavily taxed would find working a fool’s game and simply join those on the dole.

 

The other choice would be to scale back payments or start terminating programs allowing those currently on support to have their funds slowly lessened eventually being terminated in some predefined period of time. Another option would be to ramp back until the payments were completely terminated on the subsidizing corporations and companies and even farming, especially the large corporate farming conglomerates. Finally, the government should deregulate the assistance from charities and religious institutions allowing them to return to what they had so adequately provided before being driven from assisting people in need. Such a return to the religious institutions serving the public and their communities and taking a greater role in their communities and the nation the United States could potentially find some returning to their religious affiliations simply because as active members in their societies, they would become relevant again. The removal of religious institutions from their community functions and relevance might have been a contributing factor to the loss of faith in the nation as a whole. Humankind is a funny animal in that he does not conscience things which serve no real purpose and religion had always been the caretaker of the needy in the United States. When government removed this function from the religious institutions and took away their function as adoption services, they made religion superfluous as government had replaced it. Without government returning valuable functions to religious institutions and private charities, then these functions will become solely the province of government and government will become the new religion, which was their intent.

 

Once this has been established irrevocably, which it has all but become, then they will work on replacing the only item not completely under their purview, parenting and raising children. The public schools are already making inroads on the parent-child relationship. In too many cities (one would be too many but in too many cites it is already occurring) it is being usurped by the schools. Many will claim we are being alarmist but we have witnessed this ourselves as have friends where the school teachers were telling their students that their parents were not permitted to punish them, ground them, deny them their rights to telephone usage, television viewing, listening to music, watching particular programs, going out with their friends and numerous other actions, then they should tell their teachers and the school would look into if this was proper and take their side against the parents. They were told that it might result in criminal charges if their parents did not do as the school would advise. The best resort of any parent facing this would be to explain to their child what it would be like in foster care or in an orphanage if Mom and Dad were forced to give them up because they went to the school claiming that their parents were being cruel and denying them rights. Explain what a right is and what is a privilege and the difference and then review the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and ask them where telephone use was a right. When they are unable to prove whatever grounding you are imposing is denial of a right, then explain that privileges can be revoked for improper acts and that is what you are doing.

 

One sad thing we must all understand is that in time populations will be controlled and even then the majority of people will be kept simply because work will have become an optional pursuit. Anything one does will earn a salary with a living wage guaranteed as long as you were to contributing in some manner, writing a blog, writing poetry, composing songs, performing music, performing comedy, acting out dramas, researching mathematics, teaching, inventing, growing grapes, brewing or whatever one desired. Of course if your desire is to go from one party to another, then you make the living wage. Perhaps we will all receive a credit card where there are different levels by color and your living standard is determined by which card you receive which would also be determined by a formula we would all know. Then there would be another choice where one applies and if accepted are sent on multi-generational spaceships out into the cosmos in some new direction or in a direction where we have received communications telling of planets capable of supporting life. This world will be the life of our children or grandchildren when artificial intelligence (AI) govern the planet, robots perform almost all job functions as they replace humans in production, retail, food service and everything else while AI robots perform prototyping, engineering, manufacturing, production facility construction, building construction, residential construction and every job with very few exceptions.

 

Aristotle, Euclid, Descartes Newton, Riemann, Einstein

Aristotle, Euclid, Descartes
Newton, Riemann, Einstein

 

Humans would still work in some fields alongside the AI systems such as theoretical sciences and hard science research as no matter how intelligent the AI systems and robots become, there is one thing which will take far more advances than we can even begin to understand, and that is an AI which has the ability to imagine, to invent things which have no logical lead-up which require illogical jumps of reason from which proofs can then be derived but only by reverse proofs. The great discoveries of history which we take for granted today were completely beyond reason such as Einstein’s theories, Riemann’s geometry, Newtonian physics, Descartes’s “Cogito ergo sum”, Euclidean Geometry and Aristotle’s philosophies and logic. AI systems may some day get to such a level as to make great leaps in thought which are independent of straight logic, but for the time being we humans are the only ones who imagine on such a scale. That is a far future, in the meantime, in order to get there we need to repair the problems of now and do so with a great urgency.

 

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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