Anchor/Passport Babies proof that People wished Britain/America had conquered the World

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 8th, 2014

Week in Review

The problem with a generous welfare state and porous borders is that they attract a lot of foreign-born people to your country to cash in on those generous welfare benefits.  Some even make the journey while pregnant so their child is born in the country with the generous welfare benefits.  And not the cruel, cold-hearted benefit-free country they are escaping.  Giving them an ‘anchor’ in the country they’d much rather live in than the country they don’t want to live in.  Their native country.

The United States has a porous border with Mexico.  And many Mexicans give birth in the United States while in the country illegally just so their child doesn’t have to grow up in Mexico.  Which when you think about is a statement on how these Mexicans feel about the ‘imperial’ United States.  They must really hate them for not taking the rest of Mexico when they won the Mexican War.  Had the Americans done so there would be no need for anchor babies.  For they would already be enjoying American citizenship south of the Rio Grande.  Based on the number of Mexicans entering America illegally, at least.

The United States isn’t the only country people want to live in.  Canada, too, is a beautiful country with a generous welfare state.  The winters are a little colder, though.  But that doesn’t stop people from trying to become Canadian citizens with anchor babies.  Only they call them ‘passport babies’ in Canada (see Canadian citizenship bill to be tabled Thursday by Susana Mas posted 2/2/2014 on CBC News).

Alexander said the proposed changes to the Citizenship Act would also aim to reduce the current backlog of applications and change the conditions for eligibility.

The government is also considering changes to tackle the problem of so-called “birth tourism” or “passport babies,” but Alexander told CBC News they would not be included in this bill.

Americans and Canadians aren’t better people.  They just live in countries that allow their people to be better.  Which is the problem in Mexico.  Not the people.  As the Americas were colonized Britain was further along in representative government than Spain.  Free market capitalism replaced mercantilism quicker in British America than it did in Spanish America.  And democratic institutions were more developed in British America than they were in Spanish America.  Such that the foundation for representative government, free market capitalism and democracy was more robust in British American than it was in Spanish America.

Because of this when the Americans gained their independence great peace and prosperity followed.  A first following a civil war.  Allowing America and Canada (later granted their independence from the British Empire) to be lands of opportunity.  With strong human rights.  Ironically, in large part to the School of Salamanca.  One of the greatest gifts Spain gave to the world.  Which is why people want to have their babies born in these countries.  So they can be as great as they want to be.  Because only representative government, free market capitalism and democracy can make this possible.  At least based on history.

But you can’t have people entering your country unchecked.  Especially if they’re coming for the benefits.  And your country has annual deficits and a growing national debt.  For adding more people to the benefits roll when you can’t afford it will transform the country from that land of opportunity people want to come to into the country they are fleeing.  Countries with high spending and devalued currencies that lead to black markets and lawlessness.  The very things people want to get away from by having their babies in the United States and Canada.

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Funding Gaps and Government Shutdowns

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 15th, 2013

History 101

The Constitution prevented the Executive from Ruling Arbitrarily and becoming Judge, Jury and Executioner

There have been funding gaps.  And there have been government shutdowns.  But not always both.  For once upon a time the executive branch stayed open for business even when the House of Representatives did not approve their bills for payment.  But that all changed in 1980 thanks to Jimmy Carter’s attorney general.  Benjamin Civiletti.

Civiletti wrote two opinions as attorney general changing the way government spends money.  The first said the executive can’t spend any money without the House of Representatives’ approval.  A strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.  His second opinion softened the first.  Giving the executive power to spend money the House of Representatives doesn’t approve of when necessary to protect life and property.  Such as funding the military.  And so grew the delineation between essential and nonessential spending.  Or what some would say essential spending and pork.

The Founding Fathers saw the damage absolute monarchies could do.  Even a constitutional monarchy with too much power.  So they separated powers.  They created three branches of government.  The executive, the legislative and the judiciary.  One branch to write the law (the legislature).  One branch to enforce the law (the executive).  And one branch to interpret questions in the law (the judiciary).  Thus preventing the executive from ruling arbitrarily and becoming judge, jury and executioner.  Like a king.

The Founding Fathers gave the Power of the Purse to the House to rein in Executive Spending

The Founding Fathers took the separation of powers further.  The House of Representatives was the people’s house.  Where the people voted in their representatives by popular vote.  But to keep a check on federal power the Senate was the states’ house (since changed by constitutional amendment, thus greatly increasing the power of the federal government over the states).  Each state in the union had an equal voice.  Thus requiring not only a majority of the people it also required a majority of the states to pass federal law.  To keep the larger urban populations from dictating policy to the lesser populated rural areas.

The Founding Fathers took the separation of powers even further.  Giving the power of the purse to the House of Representatives.  So the executive couldn’t wage costly wars.  Or expand bloated bureaucracies to reward campaign donors with patronage.  Or expand a welfare state to buy votes.  Especially since Alexander Hamilton opened Pandora’s Box with his interpretation of the necessary and proper clause.  Which expanded the scope of the federal government to include whatever it thought was necessary and proper.  Giving rise to the progressive/liberal state.  Something that would have horrified Alexander Hamilton if he were alive today to see the behemoth the federal government became.  And had he known then what would become of the federal government today he would have been a Jeffersonian.  Jefferson and Hamilton would probably still have hated each other but they would have agreed on keeping limited government limited.

Civiletti understood that the Founding Fathers meant to rein in the spending powers of the executive branch.  To meet the intent of the separation of powers they felt was essential for representative government.  A government of the people, by the people and for the people.  As Abraham Lincoln so eloquently said in the Gettysburg Address some 76 years later.  Hence his first opinion.  Which he softened with his second when it hurt his boss and the Democrat cause.  For Civiletti was a Democrat.

The Democrats want to Break the Republican Opposition and Govern Against the Intent of the Founding Fathers

Before Civiletti’s opinions there was little urgency to settle funding gaps between what the executive branch wanted and what the House would approve.  So at the end of a fiscal year the executive often continued to operate without spending authority.  Letting the durations of these funding gaps last for a week or more.  With no interruption of government services.  But after Civiletti’s opinions the government shut down nonessential services.  Which did speed up the closing of the funding gap.  For when the funding gap included a government shutdown resolving the funding gap went from a week or more to a few days.

Funding Gaps and Government Shutdowns

To date there have been 18 funding gaps that went unresolved into the new fiscal year.  One of which is still ongoing.  In the table you can see how much quicker the House and the executive branch resolved their differences with the threat of a government shutdown.  The exception to that being the longest shutdown during the Clinton administration.  Which ultimately led the way to welfare reform.  Which greatly dampened President Clinton’s costly liberal agenda.  And was the law of the land until President Obama used sweeping powers he does not have to roll back some of that legislation.

President Obama and the Democrats have called the House Republicans about every derogatory name in the book for dare trying to enforce the Founding Fathers’ separation of powers.  Saying that never before has a radical fringe held a gun to the head of the executive, took hostages, demanded ransom, etc.  But that’s not true.  Of the 18 funding gaps where the House of Representatives did not give the president all the money he wanted that president was a Republican 55.6% of the time.  So Republican presidents got their way fewer times than Democrat presidents.  And as far as hostage takers, the Democrats held the power of the purse 15 of those 18 funding gaps/shutdowns.  Or 83.3%.  So the president and the Democrats aren’t telling the truth when it comes to the historical record.  Who seem to be more interested in swinging public opinion to their side.  So they can break the Republican opposition.  And govern against the intent of the Founding Fathers.

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FT184: “If our big Democrat-controlled cities seceded from the US to form a liberal utopia they’d all become like Detroit.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 23rd, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The President basically said he doesn’t like Representative Government

President Obama recently said that some Republicans in Congress told him in private that they agree with his policies.  And would like to vote for his policies.  To do what is right for the American people.  But they won’t because they have a primary election coming up.  And if they agree with the president that will hurt them in that election if they go up against some Tea Party candidate.  And they’re afraid what Rush Limbaugh will say.  Him and his conservative extremists.

Now think about what the president is saying.  He said that these Republicans would vote for his policies if they weren’t afraid to vote against the will of the people they represent.  For if these Republicans are afraid they will lose a primary election by voting for the president’s policies that could only mean the people they represent don’t want them voting for the president’s policies.

This is very telling.  For what the president is really saying is that he could do what he wants to do if it wasn’t for representative government.  That is the big obstacle preventing him from passing policies the people oppose.  The people.  Which is why his administration is full of czars to help write and execute policy.  Because they have no elections to worry about.  And can do things against the will of the people all day long without worrying about the consequences of doing so.

If you want to see the Result of Failed Liberal Policies just look at the Big Democrat-Controlled Cities

There’s a reason why those who want to implement liberal policies like the president have to use deceit.  The nation is about twice as conservative as it is liberal (see Conservatives Remain the Largest Ideological Group in U.S. by Lydia Saad posted 1/12/2012 on Gallup).  This is why Republicans in Congress fear the Tea Party.  Because the Tea Party represent about twice as many of the people than they and their liberal friends in Congress do.

There’s a reason why the number of people who call themselves liberal has hovered around 20% for decades.  Because liberal policies are not good for America.  They are only good for the ‘connected’ class.  Those with friends in high places.  America’s aristocracy.  Who hate the Tea Party.  And most of America.  As they talk condescendingly down to them from their lofty perches in academia, the mainstream media, union leadership, Hollywood, government bureaucracies, etc.  People who are wealthier than most.  Who like to force people to live the way they want them to live through the heavy hand of government.  While exempting themselves from the laws they pass for us.  Like Obamacare.

If you want to see the result of their failed policies just look at the big Democrat-controlled cities.  Like Detroit.  Detroit was controlled by Democrats for decades.  Democrats there ushered in their liberal utopia.  They raised taxes so much to fund a massive city government that they chased business out of the city.  While layer upon layer of costly regulatory policies helped chase even more businesses away.  And with the jobs gone the people soon followed.  Now they have half the population they once did.  With their tax base imploded they are now left with unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations for their public sector that can never pay.  Sending them into bankruptcy.

Just imagine all the Good that could come from Paying an Entry-Level Worker $75,000

There are a lot of people on the left that want a federal bailout for Detroit.  They want people who have long suffered the high taxation and the job-killing legislation that caused Detroit’s problems in the first place to bail out the city.  People who do not benefit from those generous pension and retiree health insurance benefits.  And who will not benefit from a bailout.  They will only see higher taxes.  More federal debt.  Or more inflation to eat away the money THEY saved for their own retirements (if the government chooses to monetize the debt).  Just so the people in the public sector can enjoy better and longer retirements than they will enjoy.  Because they’ll have to work closer to their own death as they will never be able to save enough to enjoy a ‘public sector’ retirement if they have to pay for the public sector’s retirement as well as their own.

Here’s a thought, why not have the other big Democrat-controlled cities bail out Detroit?  Oh, wait a minute, they can’t.  Because their public sectors have left them greatly indebted, too.  These cities are irresponsibly running up debts that they never will be able to repay.  No matter how much they raise taxes and implement new taxes.  There’s never enough.  In fact, in creating their little liberal utopias they have chased a lot of business, and their tax base, out of their cities.  Yet these cities vote overwhelmingly Democrat.  Perhaps these cities should band together.  If they are so much more enlightened than the rest of the knuckle-dragging Neanderthals in this country perhaps they should secede from the US.  Declare themselves city-states.  And join a federation with other Democrat city-states.  Then they can live like they want to live.  And tell the rest of us (the 80% or so who don’t think like they do) to go someplace warm but not at all pleasant.

They could raise taxes on everyone to really redistribute wealth.  They can do away with drug laws.  Lessen the severity of our criminal laws so there isn’t such a disparity of offenders in our jails.  Make it a hate crime to criticize anyone who isn’t a conservative.  Have government-funded birth control, abortion and morning-after pills.  Government-funded housing.  Government-funded food.  And government-funded health care.  They can outlaw profits and force businesses to maximize the social good.  Raise the minimum wage to a true living wage.  Say, $75,000 a year.  Just imagine all the good that could come from paying an entry-level worker $75,000.  There would be no more student loan debt.  For there would be no reason to go to college to become engineers, doctors, nurses, dentists, paramedics, pharmacists, etc.  Wouldn’t that be lovely?  Wouldn’t you love to work and live in a city where you could do any kind of drug wherever you wanted?  Even while you were cooking food in an entry-level job?  Where there was no punishment for breaking the law?  And no one was so puritanical to tell us not to have sex as often or with as many people as we wanted?  Wouldn’t women love this?  Sure, there would be an epidemic of venereal disease but there would be free health care to treat that (if anyone still worked hard to learn to become a doctor, nurse, dentist, paramedic or pharmacist, that is).  Can you just see these utopian city-states?

Actually, you can see it right now.  For I dare say anyone wanting to open a business or raise a family would NOT want to do so in a city like this.  The jobs would leave first.  Then the people.  Imploding the tax base.  Until you’d have nothing but Detroits dotting the landscape of this utopian federation of liberal city-states.  This is what the president and those in the 20% want.  While of course exempting themselves from this world.  Living in their gated fortresses.  Comfortably.  Where they’ll blame the people who abandoned their utopian city-states as unpatriotic.  Who wouldn’t have fled if it wasn’t for the Tea Party.  Rush Limbaugh.  And, of course, George W. Bush.  Who the left will never tire of hating.  Or blaming.

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The US without Obamacare is in the same Financial Mess as the UK who already has the NHS

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 17th, 2013

Week in Review

The British Empire ruled the world for a century or more.  And they did that with representative government.  Capitalism.  And free trade.  Making the empire very wealthy.  And strong.  Allowing it to rule the world.  The devastating costs of World War I pretty much put an end to that.  And after World War II they nationalized health care.  With the NHS.  And some industries.  Becoming a social democracy.  Like much of Europe.  Labor strikes and power outages were so common in the Seventies they called it the British disease.  It was difficult to see the greatness that was once the British Empire.  The great nation that modernized the world.  Farming advances.  Representative government.  The Industrial Revolution.  Capitalism.  The things that built the great nations of the world today.  Things you didn’t think about when you looked at Britain in the Seventies.  Lady Thatcher brought some of that greatness back.  Improved the economic well-being of the nation.  But it didn’t last (see Osborne must make tax open and honest by Matt Sinclair posted 3/17/2013 on The Telegraph).

The Government is still spending nearly half of our national income. No country has ever financed that except by imposing punishing taxes on families making quite ordinary incomes. The alternative of making the numbers balance by taxing the “one per cent” just isn’t grounded in reality. First, there aren’t enough of them. Second, they won’t sit around like obedient little cash cows, and placidly continue to invest in this country, as we confiscate their incomes or levy swingeing property taxes on their homes.

Then there is the longer-term problem of demographics. Everyone is worrying about economic growth in the next quarter. But as the population continues to get older, none of our leaders seems to be asking how we are going to pay for the big NHS and pensions bills that are likely over the next quarter of a century.

Public spending has already reached its limits: our levels (at 49 per cent of GDP in 2012, according to the OECD) are higher than those in Germany, and could soon eclipse those of Sweden. The extra pressure caused by an ageing population means the existing system is unaffordable.

Sounds familiar.  Currently total government spending in the U.S. at all levels of government is approximately 40%.  Government at every level is trying to raise taxes. Even on those making ordinary incomes.  The government talks about making those who can afford to pay more (the 1%) should pay more.  But there aren’t enough of them.  Even if you take everything they earn.  We have an aging population, too.  And we have a system that is unaffordable as well.  There is really only one difference between the UK and the US.  The UK has national health care.  They have the NHS.  While the US is working towards a national health care.  Starting with Obamacare.  Which means things will get far, far worse in the US.  Far worse than they are in the UK.  Especially with the US having five times the population the UK has.

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FT159: “There’s more to know than most people know.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 1st, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Some want to Lower the Voting Age despite our Teens’ Penchant for Making Poor Decisions

Parents can’t tell their kids anything.  Because they know everything already.  Despite doing a lot of stupid stuff.  They smoke cigarettes.  Do drugs.  Binge drink.  Drink and drive.  Have unprotected sex.  And a whole lot of other things that can have lasting consequences.  Consequences such as cancer.  A drug addiction.  An arrest for driving under the influence.  An arrest for vehicular manslaughter.  Catching a venereal disease.  Becoming a single mother while still in high school.  Or becoming a single mother with a venereal disease.  While still in high school.

Teens and young adults have a history of making poor decisions.  Why?  Is it because they are stupid?  No.  It’s because they are young.  Inexperienced.  And grow up in an environment that tells them they are far wiser than they are.  As they grew up people constantly told them that they are smart.  They are wise.  And that we need to listen to what they say.  For they are our future.  Some even wanting to bring them into the political process earlier.  By lowering the voting age.  Which is an odd thing to do.  Considering their penchant for making poor decisions.

Of course kids are all for lowering the voting age.  For if they could vote earlier there would probably be more than 2 states that have decriminalized marijuana by now.  And they could lower the drinking age, too.  For let’s face it kids are going to binge drink no matter what we say.  Just as they are going to smoke marijuana and have sex.  So we might as well help them do these things.  And lowering the voting age will be a step towards making that happen.

The Founding Fathers wanted a Government of the People not a Ruling Elite in a Faraway Place telling them what’s Best for Them

So we know what kids want.  Less parenting.  And more fun.  They want the freedom to enjoy whatever they want to enjoy.  And believe they are enlightened like our Founding Fathers were when they wanted the freedom to do what they wanted to do.  Of course, the Founding Fathers’ Enlightenment was a lot different from that of the kids’ today.  The Founding Fathers were interested in science, economics and religious freedom.  They were familiar with the history of Greece and Rome.  Magna Carta.  The Protestant Reformation.  The English Civil War.  They were proud of their membership in the British Empire.  The most enlightened and free empire, or country, in the world.  Thanks to their representative government.  But when Parliament did not let them have any representation in that house while passing laws to govern them, well, they didn’t love the British Empire as much as they once did.

The Founding Fathers weren’t fans of mercantilism.  Then the dominant economic policy of the day.  European powers fought each other for colonies.  Their colonies shipped raw materials back to the mother country.  Who then used them to manufacture finished goods.  That they then sold to the world.  And to their colonies.  Keeping the net flow of gold and silver flowing to the mother country.  While exporting more finished goods than they imported.  With the state helping a few well-connected domestic businesses.  Keeping the state coffers flush with money.  While the people paid higher prices than they normally would have paid.  Thanks to those government policies favoring the well-connected businesses.  Basically like what China is doing today.  Maintaining a strong export economy with cheap labor.  That doesn’t benefit the Chinese masses all that much.  Creating basically two Chinas.  The rich in the cities.  And the poor and impoverished everywhere else.

The Founding Fathers wanted liberty.  Political liberty.  And economic liberty.  Laissez-faire capitalism.  Where the people taking the greatest risk profited the most.  Not the state.  They wanted a limited federal government.  Just large enough to protect the nation.  To treat with other nations.  Those things best suited for the federal government.  While the vast majority of power belonged to the states.  Closer to the people.  And not in some distant land.  They wanted a government of the people.  Not a ruling elite in a faraway place telling them what’s best for them.  That’s why they fought for their independence from a distant power in the first place.  The British Empire.  And they sure didn’t want to trade one distant power oppressing them for another.  They didn’t want money corrupting the federal government.  They wanted the seat of financial power and the seat of government power separated.  For the greatest abuses of power came when wealth joined power in the Old World capitals.  London.  Paris.  Madrid.  Thomas Jefferson wanted the federal capital as far from the bankers and merchants in New York as possible.  Which is why they placed the new federal capital in a swamp on the Potomac River.

Sadly, those who Know the Least often determine who Wins Elections

Those who have studied history understand how the United States came to be.  And what made it the world’s number one economic power.  Laissez-faire capitalism.  Free trade.  Sound money.  In particular the gold standard.  They saw history prove Say’s Law.  Supply creates its own demand.  No one demanded personal computers or the Internet.  But when those who brought these to the market place showed how wonderful they were demand soon followed.  They saw history prove David Ricardo’s comparative advantage.  How free trade lets nations produce what they do most efficiently and trade for what they don’t.  Thus increasing the economies of all nations trading freely.

People who know history understand that the prevalent economic policy today, Keynesian economics, is a failed policy.  For Keynesian economic policies are more like mercantilism than free market capitalism.  Calling for more government intervention into the market.  Inflationary monetary policy (i.e., printing money).  As well as tax and spend fiscal policies so the government can redistribute wealth.  So the government can choose winners and losers.  Not the free market.  Policies that all go against what made America the world’s number one economic power.  The Seventies, a time when the Keynesians got everything they wanted when President Nixon decoupled the dollar from gold, saw double-digit inflation, high unemployment and a stagnant economy.  Everything the Keynesians tried failed to improve the economy.  In fact, their policies only made the economy worse.  And the only thing that pulled us out of the stagflation and misery of the Seventies was Ronald Reagan.  Who embraced the classical economic policies that made America the number one economic power in the world.  Laissez-faire capitalism.  Say’s Law.  David Ricardo’s comparative advantage.  Sound monetary policy (i.e., noninflationary).  The policies we call Reaganomics.

People who study history know this.  But teens and young adults?  Those more interested in drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and having sex?  They haven’t a clue about economics or their history.  Yet they often determine elections.  Sad but true.  And it’s just not teens and young adults who don’t understand economics or know their history.  Thanks to the hippies of the Sixties moving into education most people coming out of our public schools don’t.  For the hippies of the Sixties changed the curriculum.  To help them in their quest to destroy capitalism.   By dumbing down the curriculum.  So it’s easier for Keynesians to keep passing the failed policies of the past.  To help them keep expanding the size of government.  To turn this nation back to what the Founding Fathers fought to get away from.  The mercantilism of the Old World.  Of present day China.  Where the few in power have all the power.  And all the wealth.  All because people think they know more than they know.  And vote as if they know everything they need to know.  But there’s more to know than most people know.  And, sadly, those who know the least often determine who wins elections.

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2012 Endorsements: Thomas Jefferson

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 17th, 2012

2012 Election

When the Radicals attacked Parliament and the King’s Ministers Jefferson’s Summary View attacked King George

When Thomas Jefferson entered politics he was still a quiet and shy awkward young man.  He was not the public speaker Patrick Henry was.  And did not enjoy being in the spotlight.  That said he was incredibly book smart.  When he was in college he spent up to 15 hours a day reading.  And another 3 hours practicing his violin.  Which probably explained why he was quiet and shy.  And not a real lady’s man.  His first love was and always remained his books.  And it was this insatiable thirst to read and learn that made him one of the greatest writers of the Revolutionary era.  It was also where he was most comfortable.  For it was something a quiet and shy young man could do best in his solitude.

After earning a law degree he went into law.  Then he won a seat in the Virginian House of Burgesses.  And joined the opposition against the taxing efforts of British Parliament.  As well as their regulation of trade.  Going so far as to join a boycott of British imports.  Unless it was something really nice that he really, really wanted.  For he was a bit of a dandy who enjoyed the finest fashions, furnishings, wines, pretty much anything French, etc.  If it was fashionable in high society Jefferson probably had it.  But you wouldn’t believe he was a dandy by his writing.  For he wrote some powerful stuff while still in the House of Burgesses.  Especially his A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774).  Published at a time when there was a lot of friction between the colonies and the mother country.  As furious debate raged about Parliament’s right to tax and regulate trade in the colonies.  To summarize his Summary View Jefferson stated, “The British Parliament has no right to exercise authority over us.”  Like many of the Revolutionary generation, Jefferson did not like some distant central power imposing their will on them.  But Summary View went even farther.

At the time most British Americans still wanted to be subjects of Great Britain.  They just wanted the same rights subjects living in England had.  Namely, representation in Parliament.  Denied that they attacked the dictatorial powers of Parliament.  And the king’s ministers.  But they didn’t attack King George.  Jefferson did.  When the other radicals attacked Parliament and the king’s ministers Summary View attacked King George.  While the other radicals wanted fair and equal treatment as subjects of the British Crown Jefferson was already moving beyond that.  He was ready for independence from the British Crown.  For he had no love of monarchy.

The States drafting their own Constitutions was a de facto Declaration of Independence

Much of the trouble in the colonies began with the Stamp Act of 1765.  But in Summary View Jefferson said their problems went further back.  To 1066.  To the Norman Conquest of England.  A time when, according to the Whig interpretation of history that Jefferson had read, things changed.  All land belonged to kings after 1066.  Not to the people.  But before the Norman Conquest there was the Saxony model of government.  Tracing its lineage back to Saxony Germania.  Along the North Sea.  Where once upon a time in a mystical place the good people of Saxony enjoyed representative government.  A beautiful system of government under which people lived in harmony and bliss.  Until feudalism came along.  And kings arose.  Who snuffed out these old ways.  So Jefferson hated all monarchies.  The nobility class.  And birthrights.  He didn’t believe in the divine rights of kings.  To him they were just a bunch of bullies who came along and changed the rules of the game by force for personal gain.  And King George III was no different.

When Peyton Randolph left the Continental Congress Jefferson replaced him.  At the time he was a very minor player in Virginian politics.  But his Summary View created a reputation that preceded his arrival.  And he was warmly welcomed.  Especially by the more radical elements.  The Americans had not yet declared their independence but they were already at war with Great Britain.  Blood was spilled at Lexington and Concord.  And General Washington was now in command of the Continental Army then laying siege to the British in Boston.  More importantly, some states were already drafting their own constitutions.  To form new governments to replace the royal government.  Which to many (including Jefferson) was the most pressing business.  As it was a de facto declaration of independence.  Which was even more important than the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.  Something the more senior members delegated to the junior member from Virginia.  Because they had more important things to do.

In May and June of 1776 Jefferson’s mind was back in Virginia.  And he wrote three drafts of a new constitution for Virginia.  His constitution was similar to the future U.S. Constitution.  It included a separation of powers.  A 2-house (i.e., bicameral) legislature.  An independent judiciary.  And, most importantly of all, a WEAK executive.  Leaving political power in the hands of the people via their representatives in the legislature.  There would be no royal governors or kings in the new state government.  Just pure self-government.  Just like in that mystical place where the Saxons lived in harmony and bliss.  And so it would be in Virginia.  There would be democracy.  At least for the people who owned property and paid taxes, that is.  For if you wanted to tell government what they could do you had to have skin in the game.  And pay taxes.  But after taking care of this Virginian business he got around to writing the Declaration of Independence.  And that thing that no one wanted to waste their time doing?  It became the seminal document of the United States.  Making Jefferson a superstar among the Founding Fathers.  In posterity John Adams regretted that he didn’t waste his valuable time to write it.

If Jefferson were Alive Today he would likely Endorse the Republican Candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan

After the Americans won their independence Jefferson accepted a diplomatic post in France where he accomplished little.  Jefferson championed open markets and free trade.  And he worked tirelessly with the French to adopt a free trade agreement.  So cheap raw materials (like Virginian tobacco) could flow to France.  And cheap manufactured goods could flow to the United States.  But the political reality in France stymied him.  The French refused to lower tariffs so they could protect their domestic markets.  Not to mention that those high custom duties allowed corrupt officials to pocket more for themselves.  His only success in France was a Dutch loan John Adams secured while Jefferson was tagging along.  Adams understood the complex world of international finance.  Jefferson did not.  Other than large sums of money tended to corrupt people.  Custom agents.  And governments.  So it was a wise thing to keep the centers of finance apart from the center of government.  Which is why the federal capital is in Washington DC and not in New York City.

Jefferson was in France during Shay’s Rebellion.  An armed protest against new taxes imposed by Boston.  Those in the fledgling government worried about suppressing this uprising (the Continental Congress had few resources other than to ask states for contributions) to prevent the collapse of the new nation.  While Jefferson said, “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive…I like a little rebellion now and then.”  And, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  It is its natural manure.”  Later, serving as Secretary of State in the Washington administration, he battled with Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton over the size of government and the meaning of the Constitution.  Hamilton wanted to expand the power of the federal government to help jumpstart America into becoming a mighty empire like the British Empire.  With the government partnering with the private sector.  Pooling great amounts of capital together to build incredible things.  While Jefferson wanted all Americans to be yeoman farmers physically working their own land.  With as small a federal government as possible.  And one that spent as little money as possible and remained debt-free.  In fact, when he was president he slashed spending so much that the nation could barely afford the navy to protect its shipping from the Barbary pirates.

So it is pretty clear that Thomas Jefferson hated big government.  He spent his entire political life trying to limit the power and scope of government.  To make government as impotent as possible.  To the point where he even supported a little rebellion every now and then to keep government in its place.  What would he think of the federal government today?  It would probably make him physically ill.  The spending?  The debt?  The federal register?  These would make him long for the responsible governing of King George.  And his pro-American policies.  If he were able to vote today he would vote for the lesser of two evils.  And that would be the party of limited government.  To stop the out of control growth of the federal government.  And hopefully reduce its size.  If Jefferson were alive today he would likely endorse the Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for president and vice president.

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FT139: “The political debate has evolved from no taxation without representation to representation without taxation.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 12th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

Because the Romans debased their Silver Coin they Required the People to Pay their Taxes in Gold or in Kind

High government spending caused the fall of the Roman Empire.  When the Roman Empire no longer expanded through military conquest it could no longer use the spoils of war to pay for the cost of empire.  Which presented some fiscal problems.  As the empire was never bigger.  Covering most of the civilized world.  Which they needed to protect with a vast army.  And governed through a vast bureaucracy.  Both of which cost lots of money.  Lots and lots of money.

So how did they replace the spoils of war?  Taxes, of course.  Starting small.  And growing lager.  To pay for the cost of the expanding state.  Government bureaucrats.  City improvements.  Food for the poor.  Food for the army.  And, of course, the mighty Roman legions.  Later, as citizens avoided serving in the Roman legions, the Romans turned to hired mercenaries to guard the frontier.  And the problem with sprawling empires?  They have very long borders to protect.  And that ain’t cheap.

To help pay for all of this the Romans turned to some bad monetary policy.  In addition to taxation.  Because their tax revenue just wasn’t enough.  So they started debasing their silver coins.  Putting more and more lead into the coins.  And less and less silver.  But this caused another problem.  Inflation.  As the currency became worth less it took more of it to buy anything.  So prices rose.  Making the silver coin pretty much worthless for taxes.  So the Romans required that people to pay their taxes in gold.  Or in kind.  If you grew wheat you gave a percentage of your harvest to the state.  If you made shoes you gave a percentage of all the shoes you manufactured to the state.

A King ruled over the Landed Aristocracy who Lived the Good Life as long as they were Loyal to their King and paid their Taxes

As the tax burden grew small business declined.  Small farmers and manufacturers said enough was enough.  They were working more for the state than for themselves.  So they quit their businesses and worked for someone else.  Because it was easier.  But this caused another problem for the Romans.  No one was making the stuff the Roman Empire needed anymore.  Food and manufactured goods were becoming scarce.  Which made it difficult to maintain their armies on the frontier.  And to provide the massive welfare state in the cities.  So the Romans addressed this problem with new laws.

If you didn’t like working your farm or your business and giving all the proceeds to the state, tough.  You no longer had a choice.  And neither did your children.  If you made shoes you were going to continue to make shoes.  And when you no longer could make shoes your children would continue in the trade.  Those working on farms became attached to the land.  And could never leave.  Regardless of who owned the farm.  If you farmed you would forever farm.  As would your children born on that land.  Allowing the landowners to raise their crops.  And pay their taxes.

So this led to a few rich landowners.  And impoverished masses working the land.  Sound familiar?  This would evolve into European feudalism.  Medieval manors.  The landed aristocracy (the few).  Peasantry (the many).  And, of course, kings (the one).  The basis of medieval governance.  Lasting thousands of years.  Where a king would rise to rule over the landed aristocracy.  Who he allowed to live the good life as long as they were loyal to their king.  And paid their taxes.  The nobility received certain privileges for this arrangement.  While the peasantry considered themselves lucky if they didn’t die from hunger.  And everyone lived happily ever after.  If you were lucky enough to be the one.  Or the few.

Representation without Taxation allows Government to Spend as Irresponsibly as They Please

Up until the 1200s a lot of France belonged to England.  Or, rather, the English nobility.  The barons.  But King John changed all of that.  For he liked to do what kings are wont to do.  Conquer.  And he tried to conquer a lot.  Only he wasn’t very good at it.  He blew a lot of the nobility’s taxes on failed adventures.  And lost a large chunk of France in the process.  So the taxpayers, the ones bearing the brunt of the king’s follies, reigned in King John’s powers.  The barons made John place his great seal on Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215.  Which didn’t do a whole lot at the time.  But it ushered in the era of representative government.  And taxation only with representation.

England would become a constitutional monarchy with Parliament to limit the power of the king.  To sit in Parliament you had to have skin in the game.  That is, you had to be a taxpayer.  For this was taxation with representation.  Where those paying the taxes had a say in how the government spent those taxes.  And only those who paid the taxes.  To keep governments from irresponsibly spending those taxes.  A new system of governance that changed the world.  One that once people experienced they demanded for themselves.  As the American colonists demanded.  When Great Britain wanted to tax the Americans even though they had no say in how the British government spent that money.  Something very un-English.  And something that would become very un-American (which led to American independence).

For awhile, at least.  For soon governments found a way to return to their dictatorial ways.  By getting around that annoying taxation only with representation.  Which governments found insulting to their privileged status.  For it galled them that they had to let these taxpayers limit their powers.  But what choice did they have?  Governments must take money from others to establish their nobility.  As it was no longer their divine right to take what they wanted.  Thanks to those barons in 1215.  And Magna Carta.  Which opened the sluice gates to a lot of limitations on absolute power.  But two can play at that game they found.

Their answer?  Representation without taxation.  Allow people to vote who have no skin in the game.  To help the government take what they want.  And to spend it as they wish.  By simply giving those who don’t pay taxes government benefits.  Who will always vote for those who promise to give them more government benefits.  And if you get enough people on these government benefits you can overcome any limitations the taxpayers try to enforce on you.  Currently in the U.S about half of the population pays no income taxes.  While the top 10% of all earners pay approximately 70% of all federal income taxes.  So you have approximately 50% of the population who pay no taxes voting on tax policy for the 10% who pay most of the taxes.  Allowing government to spend as irresponsibly as they please.  Like in pre-Magna Carta days.  Thanks to representation without taxation.

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FT124: “Liberals use the courts to give them what the people won’t.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 29th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

Magna Carta led to Constitutional Monarchy and Representative Government

Medieval kings liked doing as they pleased.  From living well.  To expanding their kingdoms by force.  Or trying to.  As kingdoms got larger, though, this was more difficult to do.  Because the larger the kingdom got the more food they had to produce.  And kings didn’t feed their kingdoms from their castle vegetable gardens.  They needed the wealthy and powerful landowners.  Who owned the land.  Grew the food.  And provided the kingdom’s wealth.

These landowners made land valuable.  By growing food on it.  As famine was no stranger during the Middle Ages there was nothing more important than growing food.  Those who did became wealthy.  And their estates became mini kingdoms.  With lots of peasants working the fields.  And lots of soldiers to defend their land.  And to fight for their king in times of war.  Kings needed to maintain good relationships with these wealthy landowners.  To keep them supporting their kingdoms.  And to prevent any one of them from rising up and challenging the king for his throne.

King John of England was hurting his relationships with the wealthy landowners.  He fought a lot of expensive wars across the English Channel in France.  Which required high taxes on the English landowners.  The barons.  Worse, King John lost a lot of his battles in France.  Losing the barons some of their Normandy lands.  So the barons were becoming a little disgruntled with their king.  And they rebelled.  Eventually forcing the king to place his Great Seal on Magna Carta.  Limiting his powers.  It didn’t change things much at the time.  But it would lead to constitutional monarchy.  And representative government.

The Patriots of 1776 were none too keen on Creating a New Central Power

Kings don’t like limits on their power.  King John would go on to renounce Magna Carta.  And got the Pope’s approval to not honor the promises he made with the barons.  But these barons sowed the seeds of representative government in England.  And the Western World.  Greatly influencing the Founding Fathers in America.  Whose Constitution placed great limits on the government’s power.

The Americans were having some problems with their Articles of Confederation.  The sovereign states were taking care of themselves.  Sometimes at the expense of the other states.  Or the new nation.  And the new nation wasn’t making much progress in the international community.  A bit of a laughing stock to other nations.  Who were all sure it was only a matter of time before the American colonies would be British again.  For once the war was over there was little united about the states anymore.  So James Madison urged a meeting of the several states to revise the Articles of Confederation.  To help make a more perfect union.  And to move the new nation forward.  They met in Philadelphia in 1787.  And caused a firestorm.  For they didn’t revise the Articles.  They threw them away.  And wrote a brand new Constitution.

This inflamed a lot of the Patriots of 1776.  Who had voted to sever the bonds from a distant central power about a decade earlier.  And they were none too keen on creating a new central power to replace the one they just banished.  It took awhile but with the presence of George Washington and some words from Benjamin Franklin, two of the most trusted and experienced Americans who sacrificed a lot in securing their independence, they completed their task.  It wasn’t a perfect document.  But it was the best they were ever going to produce considering the sectional differences in the country.  And they sent it to the states for ratification.  James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay helped to secure ratification by writing a series of articles that we know today as the Federalist Papers.  Some of the finest Constitutional scholarship ever written.

As Few as Five People in Black Robes can Fundamentally Change the Nation

Key to the Constitution was the separation of powers that restricted the power of the new federal government that no one trusted.  There was a legislature to write law.  An executive branch to enforce law.  And a judicial branch to interpret law.  To make sure that the other two branches did not violate the Constitution.  Such a system would have really crimped King John’s style.  For the law was above all the people.  Including the executive.  He could only do the things the laws allowed him to do.  And the things the laws allowed him to do he could only do if the legislature agreed to pay for them.  It was a system of checks and balances that helped the nation to grow while maintaining personal liberty.

King John would have been particularly irked by the legislature.  Made up by representatives of the people.  Who enacted legislation that was in the best interest of the people.  Not him.  Fast forward to modern times and you find history littered with people who wanted to expand their power only to have that representative body of the people foil them.  Ruling elites.  Modern aristocrats.  Those who feel an entitlement due to a superior education.  A superior bloodline.  Or simply like-minded people who would rather have the days of unlimited power like they had in Medieval Europe.  Before the barons had to muck up the works with Magna Carta.

Over time they learned how to bring back some of the old ways.  The easiest way was just to get people to vote for them.  And they did this by giving them a lot of free stuff.  But there were some things that they just couldn’t bribe out of the people.  So they turned to the courts.  And did a little legislating with activist judges.  Sometimes bringing a suit all the way to the Supreme Court to create a law where there was no law.  Abortion is now legal even though there was never any federal legislation addressing it.  While there was plenty of state legislation forbidding it.  Until seven men in black robes overruled the will of the people in those states.

The Supreme Court is powerful.  For as few as five people in black robes can fundamentally change the nation.  Which is why presidential elections are so important.  Because presidents nominate judges to the Supreme Court.  And those on the Left depend on the timely deaths and/or retirements of Supreme Court judges so they can nominate activist judges.  To get a majority on the high court to rule in their favor on bad law.  Such as Obamacare.  An unpopular law.  A law the majority of the people want repealed.  A law that became law only with subterfuge (the mandate is not a tax).  A law that clearly violated the Constitution (forcing people to buy something).  Yet five people in black robes just fundamentally changed the nation by voting that Obamacare was Constitutional (the mandate is a tax).  Which just goes to show you that where there is a will there is a way.  A way to rule like a king.  Against the will of the people.

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The Irish Parliament begins Debate on Bill that will Provide Limited Access to Abortion

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 22nd, 2012

Week in Review

Representative government transferred the power from the privileged few to the people.  And once they did things got better for the people.  Because the government started serving the people instead of the people serving the government.  And to keep it that way representative governments introduced separations of powers.  And checks and balances.  They created legislative bodies to write laws.  Where legislators represented the people in proportion to the population.  So laws represented the will of the people.  And not minority interests. 

Of course, this made it difficult to pass some laws.  Especially those that went against the will of the people.  So some found a way to get around the will of the people.  By legislating from the bench.  Where instead of needing a majority of hundreds of legislators you only needed a majority of a handful of judges.  Which has been the legislative tool of choice for liberals to write laws.  Using the judiciary to write law that they could not write in the legislature.  Violating the separation of powers.  And going against the will of the people.  Such as making abortion legal in countries where the majority oppose it.  Like the United States.  And Ireland (see Ireland Takes Up Bill on Abortion Access by DOUGLAS DALBY posted 4/18/2012 on The New York Times).

One of the most deeply divisive issues in Irish society was reignited Wednesday night when the Irish Parliament began debate on a bill that would provide for limited access to abortion.

As in the United States, it was the Supreme Court here that legalized abortion, although in strictly limited circumstances. But in the 20 years since the decision in the “X Case,” successive governments have shied away from enacting the legislation needed to carry out the order…

“We believe that it is only a first step for abortion to be legalized in Ireland in all circumstances. We have waited long enough,” Ms. Daly said. “Over 100,000 Irish abortions have taken place in Britain for many different reasons, none of them easy, all of them valid. The hypocrisy, injustice and expense of having to travel to England for terminations, away from family and friends, is a disgrace.”

But in this conservative and Catholic nation, sentiment against abortion runs strong, and over the past few months anti-abortion groups have been pressuring politicians to oppose the bill, and are confident it will be defeated.

Governments shy away from putting abortion in the hands of the legislature.  Especially in countries with large Catholic populations.  Which is why there are no abortion laws on the books in the U.S. or Ireland.  Just Supreme Court rulings that created an abortion law from the bench.  As Supreme Court justices typically serve for life they don’t have to worry about the political fallout of their decisions.  Which gives some a green light for judicial activism.  Giving them leeway to disagree with laws they don’t like.  Or creating laws they like that the people don’t.  They can do this.  Legislators can’t.  Which is why they shy away from abortion law.  Because a legislator usually has another election to try to win.  And that isn’t easy to do when you go against the will of the people.  As many found out in the U.S. after they voted for Obamacare.  And lost their jobs in the 2010 midterm elections.  Because they not only acted against the will of the people but against their own constituents.

Ireland is a Catholic country.  And they take their Catholicism pretty seriously.  Which is why so many Irish hate the English.  Who are Protestant.  If you’re not familiar with this history read up a little on it.  Perhaps looking up some names like Elizabeth I, James I or the Earl of Stafford.  Then you’ll get a feeling for the love between Irish Catholics and English Protestants.  So the Irish are Catholic.  And fiercely so.  They stay true to their Catholic beliefs.  Which includes an absolute opposition to abortion.  Which is why there is no abortion law in Ireland.  Only a Supreme Court decision.  Until now, perhaps.  As the Irish legislature is now debating this subject.  What will the Irish Catholic do?   Whatever they do one thing is for certain.  It won’t make the issue any less divisive.

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Third Party

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 1st, 2011

Politics 101

Representative Government changed Government to Serve the People instead of the Other Way Around

Politics can be confusing.  And dirty.  Which tends to put most people off.  Many only get involved during big elections.  And even then voter turnout can be low.  In addition to the confusion and dirt there’s a feeling of apathy.  Nothing ever changes.  And they feel that it really doesn’t matter if they vote or not.  So many don’t.

They feel that it doesn’t matter who you send to Washington.  Because once there even the honest become corrupt.  Republican.  Or Democrat.  They’re both the same.  Rich and powerful.  Joining other rich and powerful.  In their little games.  So this feeling of apathy is understandable.

But politics matter.  Because it is and always has been a power struggle.  And understanding the essence of this power struggle is important.  For throughout time this struggle has been between competing oppressors who wanted to establish minority rule over the masses.  So the few could live comfortably at their expense of the many.  And it was like this for a long, long time.  Until representative government.  When government began to serve people.  Instead of the other way around.

Third Party Candidates often Rise up from Voter Apathy and Anger

Of the two major political parties, one is for the growth of government.  And one is for limiting the growth of government.  One is for higher taxes.  One is for lower taxes.  One is for higher regulation of the free market.  And one is for rolling back excessive regulation.  One is for transferring wealth from the private sector to the public sector.  And one is for leaving wealth where the wealth creators created it.  In the private sector.  One party serves those within the party (by growing government).  And one party serves the people (by limiting government).  Disagree?  If so I’m guessing you still know which party we’re talking about.  Even if you do disagree.

So there is a difference between the two major parties.  Sometimes it’s hard to see because of the game of politics.  Winning elections.  And many believe the way to win elections is by buying votes.  And both political parties do this.  Spend a lot of taxpayer money on projects for their home district to make their constituents happy.  Grateful.  And, hopefully, in a ‘return the favor’ frame of mind at election time.  But to get pork for your district you often have to let others get pork for their districts.  A little you vote for my pork and I’ll vote for your pork.  Which puts a lot of people off when it comes to voting.  Gives them the feeling that all politicians are the same.  And leads to all that apathy.  Setting the field for third party candidates.

So what is a third party candidate?  They are many things.  But one thing they are not is this.  Winners.  Because they don’t win elections.  Third party candidates often rise up from that voter apathy.  And anger.  Fed up with their party, they split and form a third party.  Thinking they know how best to beat the opposition candidate.  Because they know what single issue will carry the election.  Or so they think.  But all they do is help the opposition candidate they so loathe to victory.  By splitting the vote against the opposition candidate.  Because they don’t think.  They feel.  And let their passion for a singular issue overcome rational thought.

The Majority of Voters Vote to either Expand or Limit the Role of Government in our Lives

And then you have the fringe ideologies so far out of mainstream thought that they don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning a national election.  Such as the Green Party.  The Reform Party.  The Libertarian Party.  The Socialist Party USA.  The International Socialist Organization.  The Socialist Labor Party of America.  The Socialist Workers Party.  The Communist Party USA.  The People’s Front of Judea.  The Judean People’s Front.  The Judean Popular People’s Front.  And, of course, the Popular Front of Judea.  Splitter!

Okay, the Judean stuff is from a scene in the classic movie Monty Python’s Life of Brian.  But it illustrates as well as belabors the point.  Third party candidates are destined for failure.  Because there’re too many of them.  And they don’t differentiate themselves enough to make significant numbers of people leave either of the main two parties.  At least they haven’t yet.  And probably never will.  Though, surprisingly, Ross Perot came closer than most to winning a presidential election.  But he and his Reform Party soon faded to political oblivion.  Which was far less surprising.

You see, the majority of voters don’t base their vote on these fringe, single issues.  Or extreme ideologies.  Instead they vote to either expand the role of government in our lives.  Or vote to limit the role of government in our lives.  For more of a nanny state.  Or less of a nanny state.  For a Democrat.  Or a Republican.  It’s that easy.  And with the large amount of voter apathy and anger that’s enough politics in their lives.  Either the Democrat bum if you want more free stuff.  Or the Republican bum if you are optimistic but expect to be disappointed later.  When you see your limited government candidate expand government, albeit smaller than what the Democrat candidate would have done.

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