If We Don’t Wake Up, It Will Be Lost: Our American Democracy

Posted by on December 29, 2012 5:24 pm
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Categories: Economy

LEE’S SUMMIT, DECEMBER 29, 2012 – In March of 2010 I wrote a piece called: “A Democracy Will Only Last Until…” based on Alexander Tyler’s work on the fall of the Athenian Republic.  Since that time we’ve seen Greece go through the turmoil of government facing reality.  We have seen Spain undergo draconian cuts simply because they can’t afford to keep providing everything to the general public.

America was different.  The America of Abraham Lincoln was not perfect by any means.  Slavery was an unsustainable abuse of human rights; rights proclaimed in our own Constitution through the words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Liberty and Freedom are words that carry an incredible burden to the individual.  I have the Liberty and the Freedom to work to feed my family; but I also have the same Liberty and Freedom not to do so and starve homeless.  The choice is mine, it is yours as well.

I have the Right to the pursuit of Happiness, but if I make the wrong choices I may never be happy.  It is not your fault or anyone else.  It is my choice regardless of where I was born, how I grew up, and if I was dirt poor, poor, or just bad off.

A French Politician and writer, Alexis de Tocqueville, was sent to the United States in the 1830’s and he wrote extensively of the American Democracy.  In his book, Democracy in America (1835), he wrote “Society is endangered not by the great profligacy of a few, but by the laxity of morals amongst all.

As I read his commentary I parse out from the word “morals” the morality of self-sufficiency, of hard work, of liberty and freedom without anarchy, of the self-governance required but not of over-governance where the government is the single source of all decisions in our lives.  Shockingly there even is morality in allowing someone to fail, dust themselves off and carry on – hopefully wiser from the painful lesson.

Right now the Fiscal Cliff controls every conversation regarding politics.  The Democrats say the problem is the Republicans, the President says it’s not his fault, and the Republicans continue to fear political and press pressure while fearing the wrath of the voters in 2 years – remember 2010?  The bottom line is that in 2 days we over the Fiscal Cliff.

Taxes are going up.

The Government has run out of borrowing power (since it ran out of money a long time ago).

The Economy will crash into a double dip recession.

Whose fault is it? Is it yours?  Is it mine?  Is it both of use and everyone around us?  Sadly the answer is: All of the above and then some.

We liked the NEW DEAL, we loved the GREAT SOCIETY.  Heck, George W. Bush doubled down and added Prescription coverage to Medicare and Medicaid.  Obama in 2010 and then thanks to the decision by Chief Justice Roberts implemented Obamacare on top of a weak economy and record deficits.

What’s the impact of the deficit and the National Debt held by the public, and by nations with cash but no loyalty to the United States.

CBO Chart Spending and the Fiscal Ramifications

Look at the CBO’s own chart (here’s the full report).  The red line is the Historical Tax Revenue based on an average of the years between 1959, and 2008 (18.1% of GDP).  So figure that if GDP is $13.8 trillion – according to the September 30, 2012 number, we have roughly $2.50 trillion to spend.  If we count every man, woman and child from birth to death we come up with a GDP per capita of $43 thousand, and a tax revenue per capita of $7,800 (keep in mind that the average household is more like 4.1 people so you can simply multiply that number by roughly four to get the true numbers per family or individual not in a family.

Based on the bribes we took from most presidents since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, Johnsons Great Society, Bush’s Prescription Drug, and Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), we’ve managed to build into our economy roughly $1.4 trillion (10% of GDP) to cover all those handouts we’ve voted for ourselves.

So, you say: “Hey!!! I’m a republican I didn’t vote for that!”  Wrong; you actually did.

We are in the days of fulfillment of the comments made back in 1835 by Alexis de Tocqueville: “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

Prior to the Great Depression there had been other deep recessions and perhaps almost depressions; but the government did not have the money to spend, nor the borrowing power to borrow the money to put in incentives.  The Economy grew by cleaning itself up.  We had to swallow a bitter tasting medicine, but we improved.  We grew.  We learned: Hard work pays of in the United States.

During the great depression we gave great marks to Roosevelt;  we re-elected him 3 times for the last and only four term president – not even George Washington, who in my opinion could have been elected two or three more times, put himself ahead of the nation to that extent.

Roosevelt may have felt justified since World War II was raging in Europe and Asia.  However, you could have made the same argument for Washington, Jefferson, Adams – the country was too fragile to pass on to the next President.  However they all adhered to the precedent established by George Washington.

However, Roosevelt kept the New Deal going by getting the Supreme Court on his side, and by outlasting all his political opponents.  The New Deal – in essence – told a large voting group: “Vote for me, I took care of your retirement with your Grand Children’s money.”  Yet, Social Security in concept should have paid for itself: You put money away for retirement; the government saves it and protects it, and then gives it back to you when you retire.  Ah, but government does not keep promises, so they used the money and now it’s almost bankrupt.

If you take away the ENTITLEMENT cost, the things that had us trade our Liberty and Freedom for Government largesse, all we need to run the government is 12% of GDP (give or take) that’s roughly $1.7 trillion.  Our taxes collect $2.5 Trillion so we’d have a $0.8 Trillion to pay down the debt with.

If we don’t wake up soon – as a nation, as individuals, as independent human beings with all our rights and responsibilities – we’re not only going to lose our Liberty but we’re also going to lose our Democracy.

If you doubt me, look at Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and for an extreme comparison read this NPR story on North Korea (Out of Desperation, North Korean Women Become Breadwinners); then let’s talk!

Respectfully Submitted

The Lee’s Summit Conservative

One response to If We Don’t Wake Up, It Will Be Lost: Our American Democracy

  1. Akron Artist January 7th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Very nice article. Alexis de Tocqueville, never knew his first name. But I have heard of de Tocqueville before, and like him and the examples of his work you have on here.

    However, I must interpret your first quote differently. Which your interpretation isn’t invalid at all.

    But, I see “morals” not of political liberty and freedom, etc. But simply this. When people are down on their luck in this country (i.e. homeless, poor, begging) what do we do? (not to say that this is unique to this time or country, people have been begging for millenia) We walk by, mock them, some beat them, I’ve even spoken to law enforcement who said, and I quote, “If I could, I’d shot every single bum, they are useless.” I was disgusted by this female police officer. What does modern society do with the old? We shove them in homes (institutionalized or on their own) and make them live on their own. In the past, the young took care of the old, almost as a sort of repayment for raising them. Modern America is not vigilant toward their government (although I believe this is changing again). Also, the unadulterated capitalism of the early 20th and 19th century which exploited individuals for all they were worth (shortly after de Tocqueville) are the loss of morals that he was writing about.

    By neglecting this moral responsibilities, to take care of the old and poor (not that one individual should take in a homeless person or anything) the government decides to take up these responsibilities. Then when the government of a vigilant public begins to do the right thing and take care of people. The public decides they no long need to be vigilant, and congress bribes the public with public money.

    Bingo, degradation of society equaling the collapse of an empire resulting from a collapse of morals. Happened time and again throughout history. It will continue to happen. It is simply the cycle of civilization, they must fall.