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2009

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O.K. Now What?
Marc Solomon

For all the excitement around this election, the cheering has died down pretty fast.  I know you feel me.

At least the Cheney cabal didn't steal it for McCain, in a last grand middle finger to our laws.

Yeah, yeah, intelligent, good-looking dark skinned guy got into office.  Not having voted for either, the color of this one's skin means nothing to me. I have felt some warm pride radiating from my African-American friends, so that's nice.  We can live it up while we can. Too bad this election marks the end of days for this nation. Not because of this one man's racial background, but because he precisely does not intend to change anything. To be fair, no one man could (but he did promise to).

It's just end of empire.

Both parties and the President-Elect, within weeks of the election of the "Change" candidate, just added a trillion dollars of debt to our nation.  Can't understand a trillion dollars?  Suppose you are one of those many American families that has gotten too far into credit card debt.  Your monthly payments maybe cover the interest.    If you did the math, you'd be paying on what you owe now for ten years, perhaps more.  Then along comes a bone-headed relative who decides to add another 10 or 20 percent to your debt overnight.  How would you feel? What could you do? You could beg your creditors to relieve some of your debt or go bankrupt.  Either way, you are left with the inability to borrow for important things, like a home. You can't build wealth for your retirement or your family. You can't start a business. You become a permanent second-class citizen. 

According to treasurydirect.gov, just before the election the national debt was 9.4 trillion. As of this writing, it is $10.6 trillion. For comparison sake, at Carter's exit in 1981 it was $1 trillion, Bush I $4.4 trillion and Clinton left us with $5.7 trillion.  Sure doesn't feel like we are getting 10 times the government services of the Carter years. So what?  Our money is in danger of becoming worthless and our biggest foreign creditor is China (followed closely by Japan).  So what do you think our options are?  What happens when they want to collect? What favors will we owe this communist country, one that occupies its neighbors, carelessly poisons our dog food and toys and in general displays a lackluster enthusiasm for human life?  What ports and national parks will they end up owning?  Will they become your boss, run your town?  Maybe we will have to fight another war to save democracy, like suppressing terrorists in Tibet?  Can't happen?  Was the first Gulf War just a "favor" to the oil sheiks?

How did we get here? 

With luck and hard work, we founded a nation that wiped the slate clean of dynasties, political and economic.  We recognized that each person has a right to create wealth, and keep it.  Our learned constitutional framers cast this idea into stone by demanding that money be made from gold and silver.  They knew that the destruction of nations came economically, and that printing of paper money precipitates the fall.  In order for free people to produce, the market must be the only decider of value and government must be muzzled.  But protection of the pristine and stark beauty of our Constitution has been a thankless task. In the years following the adoption of our Constitution, the Presidents immediately had to face and veto extra-constitutional legislation.  Yet we survived and thrived.  We outstripped the entire world in our ability to produce food, durables and ideas.  We became a economic, military and cultural powerhouse that was the envy of the world. 

Sadly, the ever-present forces of corruption ultimately got past our defenses.  While most Americans focused on their own lives, families and communities, others plotted to use the force of government.  Through subtle and not-so-subtle legislation, government was used to serve special interests, always in the cause of some group or some altruistic or jingoist motive.  Soon the Government became the doer, the people passive receivers.  Charity was no longer the place of individuals or private institutions.  Medical care had to be controlled, lest evil doctors kill us.  Professions, marriage and forms of speech needed government permission.  The results were and continue to be lousy, but the finger is always pointed at individual greed and the failure of the free market.  The talking heads make daily sport of laying the blame of the real estate crisis, the banking crisis on market economics. Yet just like in the 1920s, prior to the Great Depression, it was the government that manipulated the stock market trying to maintain a boom indefinitely. So too, did the late 20th century administrations plan to keep expanding the housing market and the lending market simultaneously further and further to those who could not afford it or proven themselves unworthy of reasonable credit terms. As it always happens when a government tries to manipulate a free market economy, the result is always, always, always a disaster.

But $1 trillion more debt is the answer.  Somehow this money isn't going to the average American who might lose her house. I certainly don't know anyone who got a deal.  No surprise that the money went to banks, the friends of the government.  Just as long as the gang is big enough asking for a handout, will they get it.  By the way, governments can't create jobs that produce value.  Who are the beneficiaries of these menial "jobs" the President-Elect means to "create"?  Anybody care to dig a ditch?  Or would you rather work for Apple?  Is this your American dream?

What has become of our nation of laws, not men? Now law is quaint, principled decisions only made in movies and morality used as  a weapon of intolerance but not respect. What kind of a nation do we have where open discussion of principles and facts, versus feel-good knee-jerk reaction, is somehow laughable?  Earlier in the 2008 campaign I wrote about Representative Ron Paul and his quest to bring the national conversation to the role of government, the principles of sound money and market economics.  He was jeered and marginalized. Notice that his words are coming true.

We The People must realize that government is causing the problems. The tricky thing is that we, along with the new whorish media, have no memory, and the time between cause and effect is long enough so the government can play both the criminals and the police.  Change is not about what the government can do, or should do.  We must take back from this arrogant ruling class the power to destroy our savings, our hopes. This nation was sufficiently distracted the last eight years by contrived threats here and overseas.  What did we get for it: humiliation in our airports, police with hoods, loss of our privacy, loss of our homes, loss of our savings, industries. 

So what happens when the new bosses and landlords become people with Chinese surnames? Then what is our response? Nationalism? Rioting in the streets? Our only course of action, while we have an option, is to return to the premises that built this single free nation in the history of the world. Not to look to the television screen, to the new boss, to the promises of the same professional liars in Washington. Look to yourself.  Be honest with your friends and neighbors about what is true. Fairness is no longer a quaint abstract concept. We have arrived in the canoe at sea with no food and if we continue evade the truth with childish protestations about fairness, we will ultimately turn to cannibalism. Only capitalism--practiced by free men and women – and its unmatched ability to produce for needs well beyond of the producer, can begin to correct the miseries of humanity.

Look into history as Jefferson did. Observe the rise and fall of the Empires, the kingdoms, the dictatorships over the centuries.  Read the words of the ancients and know that we are the same flawed human beings. We hide behind our technology, and say that in this modern world it is impossible for our nation to go under, to fragment, dissolve.  Don't kid yourself.

As I often quote the late great Harry Browne, "government doesn't work." This is not the time to wait for the government to fix our problems. We must make the far more difficult, yet only rational choice, to choose freedom of individual action and remove from government the power to wreak havoc upon our lives, jobs, businesses and money. Thanks to McCain-Feingold, only the rich can afford to mount any kind of sociopolitical movement. So unless we find a Mother Theresa who also happens to be a billionaire, this is going to take a while. Take up the challenge. Read our Constitution. Seek out and elect only those who pledge to abide by its principles all the way down to the local level. Urge your friends to do the same. If you cannot find those people, become one of those people. You can be the new founders of a reborn nation.