This wonderful column by Steve McCann eloquently describes many of the problems this very web site was created to address and it is one of the most important columns of the year.
“Yet there is no sense of urgency or desire on the part of the governing class to level with the American people” – Indeed and think about it. Every politician says that they want a balanced budget, but will we ever get one again?
The United States will not reverse its descent into the abyss of financial and societal bankruptcy until the current political and governing establishment is replaced. That will not happen until the American people, who have been deliberately ill-educated and deceived, experience first-hand the early stages of the turmoil and suffering extant in Europe and elsewhere.
While professing to care for the interests of the average person, the underlying motivation for the vast majority of the governing class or Establishment is first and foremost self-aggrandizement and the acquisition of wealth. While a few may be motivated by ideology, the preponderance are not.
There are no offices on Connecticut Avenue in Washington D.C. with signs reading “The Republican Establishment” or the “The Democratic Establishment”; rather it is an amalgam of like-minded groups with one common interest: the control of the government purse-strings and the attendant power contained within.
The Republican and Democratic political establishments are made up of the following:
1) many current and nearly all retired national office holders whose livelihood and narcissistic demands depends upon fealty to Party and access to government largesse;
2) the majority of the media elite, including pundits, editors, writers and television news personalities based in Washington and New York whose proximity to power and access is vital to their continued standard of living;
3) academia, numerous think-tanks, so-called non-government organizations, and lobbyists who fasten onto those in the administration and Congress for employment, grants, favorable legislation and ego-gratification;
4) the reliable deep pocket political contributors and political consultants whose future is irrevocably tied to the political machinery of the Party; and
5) the crony capitalists, i.e. leaders of the corporate and financial community as well as unions whose entities are dependent on or subject to government oversight and/or benevolence .
The current iteration of the Democratic establishment was begun during Franklin Roosevelt’s 12 years in office as the Party chose to follow the lead of those such as Benito Mussolini in Italy, who promoted government as the source of all salvation and survival. This philosophy fit in nicely with those whose egos and drive was directed toward the aggregation of power and wealth.
The Republican members of the governing class, with the exception of the presidency of Ronald Reagan and the Republican controlled House of Representatives from 1995 to 1998, have been content since 1946 to merely slow down the big-government policies of the Democrats, while publically decrying their tax and spend policies. However, in truth, many have been comfortable with reaping the financial and ego-gratifying rewards of such indifference.
Since the1950’s this overall scenario has been tolerated and generally ignored as the nation was experiencing overwhelming and seemingly endless prosperity. The Democrats, with the tacit consent of the Republican establishment, promoted an ever-increasing litany of government programs to ostensibly help the people, under the rubric that the nation could not only afford it but was, in fact, obligated to guarantee a “decent” standard of living for everyone. Further, in the 1960’s the American left, as the Republican establishment turned a blind eye, began to dominate the education agenda. The public’s children were no longer taught American history and the importance of individual liberty; instead, the basics of capitalism and wealth creation were demonized. Additionally, the essential characteristic of a flourishing republic — a society wedded to honor, decency and integrity — was demeaned and ridiculed.
Thus the citizenry has become more willing to not only vote for whoever promises the most financial security, but they are now easily susceptible to unconscionable demagoguery and are increasingly tolerant of dishonesty as well as unethical behavior. Today, with the advent of welfare, food stamps, near endless unemployment benefits, free health care (Medicaid), and a myriad of other state and federal programs, the Democrats have succeeded in creating a virtually permanent voting bloc. One the Republican Establishment now claims, if they wish to win future elections, they must pander to as part of a new strategy of inclusion. Yet, by their acquiescence and indifference over the years, they helped create their electoral dilemma.
How have all these promises and deceptions perpetrated on the American people placed the nation’s financial future in jeopardy? Since 1956 the United States has seen a phenomenal growth in its Gross Domestic Product from $3,700 Billion (inflation adjusted) to $16,100 Billion (+335%). However, government spending at all levels has grown from $978 Billion (inflation adjusted) to $6,400 Billion (+554%) and the nation’s debt, $2,250 Billion in 1956 (inflation adjusted) is now $16,300 Billion (+625%). (source: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com)
As of today, the nation’s true indebtedness (promises that have been made for spending obligations, less all the taxes the Treasury expects to collect) exceeds $222,000 Billion. The indebtedness to Gross Domestic Product ($16,100 Billion) is a staggering 13.8 to 1. The United States is not facing bankruptcy, it is bankrupt.
Yet there is no sense of urgency or desire on the part of the governing class to level with the American people. This nation is living on the residue of the economic growth begun in the 1950’s and accelerated in the 1980’s. That tidal wave of prosperity has ebbed. The United States has entered into a death spiral of unrestrained spending, excessive taxation, printing near worthless money, and stagnant economic activity. Rather than be straightforward with the populace, the governing class is content to paper over the problem by the usual shell games of phony long-term spending cuts, more borrowing, and prevarications about the efficacy of raising taxes on “the rich.”
The true nature of the GOP establishment’s motivation has been exposed by their reaction to the Tea Party movement. This grassroots rebellion was the first manifestation of the awareness by a large portion of the American public of the nation’s problems and ultimate consequences. Despite the overwhelming success of the Tea Party working within the Republican Party in the 2010 mid-term elections, nearly all of the Republican elites downplayed their success and fell-in with the mainstream media and the Democrats in their well-worn and gratuitous aspersions against these concerned and patriotic Americans. The Tea Party movement poses a threat to not only the accumulated power of the governing class but their livelihoods, thus the concerted effort to marginalize them by any vile or preposterous means possible.
The United States finds itself in a circumstance once thought unthinkable. An ill-educated and near morally bankrupt society increasingly made up of those dependent on government combined with a governing class whose primary interest is themselves. The nation cannot, therefore, make any meaningful course correction unless and until the people finally understand they have been lied to and conned by the current establishment. That will, in all likelihood, not occur until America faces imminent collapse and the citizenry turns on those who brought the nation to its knees.