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I recently passed the ten-year mark of my membership on Ricochet. I have learned a lot during that time, I just wish I could say I understand those things I have learned about. I have increased my understanding of how we got where we are by at least a magnitude, if that makes sense, but I’m not at all sure that I understand how we could have avoided the outcome we now have and if we would now be better off.
Let me just say at the outset that I think America is now in a bad place. I’m going to use my personal experience to describe part of what I’m trying to get across here. Then I will use what I have been able to observe and my interpretations of those things to augment my own experiences of life in America. This will include some commentary on social, political, and economic issues; that covers individuals and community relationships, governing , and trading transactions, to use some simple descriptions.
First, how do I know what I think I know. My formal education began when I entered public elementary school in 1944 and ended when I graduated from Georgetown University with a Master of Science (MS) degree in Accounting in 1976. This followed a Bachelor of Arts degree from George Washington University in 1970. That’s a long period because much of the later education was achieved going to night classes while being employed full-time. I also served two years active military 1961-1963. This formal educational process contributed much to how I understand the world today.
From 1959 until 2005, I was actively employed in a range of financial operations, technical, and management positions that added immensely to my knowledge based on life experience. Over the last couple of decades, I have used the internet, including Ricochet, books, and other sources to broaden my understanding of issues of interests. A major one being the policies and operations of America’s federal government following the 9/11 attacks. Those attacks and our federal government’s behavior in the aftermath particularly held my interest.
I think of myself as a Constitutional Conservative viewing our founding documents as foundational to our governing concepts. I never thought of those concepts as being extreme but rather central. Sadly, that tends to be an unpersuasive argument these days. All of my study of history has been on my own since high school and I have come to be very devoted to the founding concepts as the best governing approach ever. That conclusion does not support where we find ourselves today; why is that? From here, I will try to convey what I specifically see as where America has gone wrong, so readers should understand this is a personal view and opinion.
Some Ricochet members might already understand that I operate using a fundamental premise that organizations are highly likely to lose sight and direction of original purposes as they increase in size, influence, and control of matters in which they are involved. Bigness is bad, in most cases, and inspires corruption of purpose. How has this idea played out in the development of America’s federal government?
America’s founders established a federal government of limited powers specifically delegated in the original Constitution and Bill of Rights, with all powers not so delegated to be reserved to the States and the People. I see three actions from the year 1913 and one following the 9/11 attack as being perhaps the biggest individual events contributing to what many call the “Swamp” or the “Deep State” when referencing the American federal government today. There are some other less formal acts that contribute as well. The events from 1913 are the 16th and 17th Constitutional Amendments and the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank; the one resulting from the 9/11 Attacks is the “Patriot Act.”
The process has been on a long journey that didn’t reveal itself to many until probably economic and political events of the 1970s. That decade began with the removal of any gold standard associated with the dollar, then a recession, a Presidential resignation, an energy crisis, uncontrolled inflation, and a major confrontation with an Islamic nation. It is also the decade I got my college degrees and achieved my signatory work accomplishment, directing the implementation of Social Security direct deposit electronic payment capability to replace monthly federal government checks. It was a busy decade. It seems as if it might have been events of this decade that sparked the first major attention of those interested in national and international financial issues. Also, we saw the rise of the first concerns about global temperature changes and population growth.
HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) was created in the sixties, and EPA and the Department of Education in the seventies. This is when the federal government broadened what it was involved in and expanded its power. It is also when Congress began to yield its power to the Executive Branch through delegations to create regulatory authorities (non-elective decision-makers).
I’m not trying to write a treatise, so I’ll jump to the fact. The 16th Amendment, along with the powers granted the Federal Reserve Bank, enabled the federal government to exercise essentially unlimited taxing and spending authority. Hence, there were no financial limitations on expanding the federal bureaucracy. Well, except things like inflation, and that’s where another economic issue enters the picture.
I’m well beyond my expertise here, but I want to raise this issue so readers can research for more. Goods and/or services like homes, education, and healthcare are available to consumers for “use value ” when purchased in a trade transaction for an amount called “exchange value.” The inflation of the seventies seemed to have altered things so that housing in particular had contradictions in these values. Housing transactions moved more on “exchange value” than “use value.” Something similar started with education in the eighties and again with healthcare with the adoption of “the Affordable Care Act.” Housing loan guarantees, education loan guarantees, and the constant consolidation and increasing bigness and power of banking institutions all contribute to this international financialization of every commodity and service offered to the public.
My thesis is that big, central government and big business, and their working together is the cause of most of our problems today and we might be better off if we could undo some of these things before we go completely broke. I still think we will not come out of the downward spiral until Congress takes charge and cuts spending.
Pardon my ramble, I fully understand this puzzle as presented is missing many parts, but I do think it goes in the right direction. And I do understand that we may already be beyond a point where this is fixable.Published in