Commentary: On December 2, 2011 I was excoriated by a young "conservative" named Mike, who wanted to give me a hiding for my communist views on "unregulated" capitalism. He called me or more precisely my views "ridiculous" I'll let you decide who is ridiculous. His tirade was quite lengthy so I am publishing my response in 9 parts as "A series of letters from Left to Right: Dear Mike Since his attack was full of vitriol I have taken off the gloves as I see no point of entertaining his bombastic rhetoric. Parts 5-9 are in-response to the object of his real distain—my post called "Adam Smith Re-examined." Note: Due to length Part 9 is broken into 9a,9b,9c and 9d.
I have color coded my blog post that he critiqued in red—his critique in blue—and my response to his critique in black.
The Conclusion and a Commentary
And in conclusion, it is just plain stupid to argue for bigger, more expensive government, and to hope that they can ever tax enough to pay for how much they’ll spend. Every country that’s tried that has crashed and burned. Every single time. Greece is doing it right now.
ON GOVERNMENT SPENDING WHEN PRIVATE CAPITAL WON'T: The way out of every depression is to grow the economy. History proves that. It is not making draconian cuts that negatively impact the financial engine that drives the economy—"consumerism." Every dime we give to millionaires is one less dime that circulates through the economy.
Rich people don't spend at a level that will maintain the American economy[period] They are at most one percent of the total population. AND They don't create more American jobs—that's a lie—that in turn stimulates the American economy—they ship them overseas. Again current history proves that claim.
WE ARE NOT GREECE NOT EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE: Another false premise. In fact every time the Republicans run us into a ditch—Hoover in 29—it takes a democrat to get us out with the dreaded S word "stimulus" It happened in the twenties when Republicans drove us into the proverbial ditch and FDR got us out—it happened again when series of Republicans Reagan Bush one and Bush two finally two drove us off the financial cliff by spending the surplus he had to the tune of 6 trillion dollars which ironically is the exact amount of the current deficit, "stupid is as stupid does".
Let’s not repeat that, OK?
I agree—let's not repeat the moronic policies of the past thirty years—that got us in trouble in the first place—ill thought out unwarranted tax cuts for the richest among us, massive deregulation, and massive tax expenditures—welfare for corporations, and two unfunded unpaid for wars.
COMMENTARY: ON THE SIZE GOVERNMENT: As my friend Albert use to say—Mike—it's all relative. The country has grown from the time of Adam Smith and the founding fathers—from several million people to 313 million people—and the government, IS AS LARGE AS IT NEEDS TO BE—based on the idea of proportional representation and having a voice in congress—to fulfill its legitimate functions: including collecting revenue and "regulating factions"—aka. "special interests"—as my friend James Madison put it.
OR IS IT TOO SMALL? The consensus of the original mathematics used to determine fair Representation was one representative for every 30,000 people is enshrined in the Constitution.
"After the first enumeration, required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, to which number one representative shall be added for every subsequent increase of forty thousand, until representatives shall amount to two hundred, to which one representative shall be added for every subsequent increase of sixty thousand." Source: Article the First - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Let's see 313,000,000 — by 30,000 = 8,943 members to adequately represent the current population, which leaves us under represented by 8,508 seats. Even if you were to reduce representation to 1 representative for every 313,000 people which would equal 1,000 representatives that would still leave us short by 565 representatives. So much for the government being "too small."
WOW no wonder it feels like nobody is listening to me and that I don't count. The beauty of large numbers as Madison explained is that the more people in government the better because it makes it harder to "game the system."
Of course that was forestalled when the Republican congress was afraid of losing their individual power and limited the size of government to the current 435 members in 1929.
Now they can whore themselves to the highest bidders like the Koch Brothers. And, the call for an even smaller government increases the danger of killing our democracy altogether, which is exactly what the Conservatives want—when the say—"they, want a government so small that it can be drowned in a bath tub."
The problem is—"the lie"—that the government is "too big and it is the problem,"—has taken hold in the American vernacular without having been given much thought or opposition. People really are mentally lazy.
The Constitution was written to give all men their chance to be represented by the people they elect from among themselves. What's to hate about that? When the government fulfills one of its other legitimate function—of regulating special interests that prey on minorities and majorities—groups and factions—the founders referred—as "rule by the tyranny of the majority."
Without a strong a Federal Government we might still have slavery or maybe still have separate but equal as the law of the land." I remember the Civil Rights Act and the absolute hatred it engendered.
COMMENTARY: THE SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT: My BIG BEAUTIFUL Government—or my BBG as I call it—eventually freed blacks from slavery, prodded by shame of seeing children murdered and dogs attacking blacks in the south, it felt the pangs of conscience and the moral outrage in the White House and Halls of Congress and—after a tortured journey of one hundred years—through Brown v. The Board of Education—my government freed blacks from a sub standard education prolonged by the Jim Crowe laws of the south—under the so called guise of "states rights" Which claimed that each state was responsible for educating its young and is —ironically being used by the current Republican regime to argue for the dismantling of the Department of Education and a re-imposition of states rights to educate their young—because that worked so well prior the the nineteen sixties.
Finally the Constitution enforced by an energized Federal Courts System ended that shameful period in our history .
"There has been a steady growth in our government which is naturally reflected in the growth of the population of the nation. There has also been a slow steady corruption leading to crony capitalism that threatens to strangle the government of, by, and for the people with massive amounts of money.
The world is a much more complex place than it was back when the country was founded and requires the government to adapt to those changes, by continually leading us to a bigger vision than any one man can achieve on his own.
Adam Smith wrote his thesis in a day when commerce was mainly a local affair. Where neighbors lived and worked in smaller villages and everyone knew each other and were intermarried and interdependent. He could never have envisioned the complex economic systems or the size of global economy as it exists today. If history has taught us anything its that man's greed euphemistically referred to as "enlightened self interest" threatens to destroy the entire country—regulation is not only prudent its absolutely necessary.
The Original Articles of Confederation were replaced when taxes were voluntary and it became apparent that the government couldn't sustain itself by voluntary donations like a charity.
It became apparent that in order to secure—a more perfect union that a fair apportionment in representation and taxation was needed to maintain the country against the dangers they "collectively" faced. At first they tried import duties which still failed then they tried taxation on liquor which fomented a "Whiskey Rebellion" which was put down by George Washington.
Which belies your supposition that the government is "stealing" from you and that we need a "smaller government" that can be bought and sold to the highest bidders.
COMMENTARY: THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT: Capitalist say that—government should operate like a business. GOVERNMENT IT IS NOT IN BUSINESS TO MAKE A PROFIT AND NO BUSINESS OPERATES AS A DEMOCRACY—MAKING THAT NOSTRUM PREPOSTEROUS ON ITS FACE. THE GOVERNMENT WAS NEVER INTENDED TO OPERATE LIKE A BUSINESS— ITS ENTIRE raison d'etre IS TO PROTECT THE INTEREST OF THE INDIVIDUAL FROM THE TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY. That's why its purposes are at odds with Capitalism in the final analysis for reasons I have already stated. That is why—for all of their blustering about patriotism—capitalists real mission—is to buy or destroy this Democratic Republic. And thereby render individual rights a thing of the past.
THE ABSOLUTE UNEQUIVOCAL NEED FOR REGULATIONS AND THEIR RIGID ENFORCEMENT Dear Mike, Your adamantine dislike of regulation fly in the face of American History and the strenuous arguments of the founding fathers—which apparently you have never read—to the contrary. And the nature of human beings to trample the rights of others when left unregulated. Plus your false premise that tax cuts are revenue neutral are blatantly false. Human nature is such that any argument for "less" regulation is naive beyond belief.
United as a people this country has become the envy of the world by way of its enlightened vision towards a better life for everyone, not for the few but everyone. Individual's contributed greatly to this Nation but no individual built this Nation on their own—it was a collaborative effort and it was that collaborate effort in the face of extraordinary odds that made us what we are today.
Order in a civil society begs for regulations and laws that govern the behavior of those who would break faith with other Americans and calls for: 1. getting money out of politics. 2. tax reform 3. monetary reform 4. rigorous enforcement of current regulations. 5. prosecuting corruption in high offices.
Martin Luther King said: ..."while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless."
We have tried the nostrums of "trickle downism" and disastrous implementation of anti-American trade agreements—that we were told would create American jobs—they have not—they have had the opposite effect—they have savaged the American working class—and made the gap in wealth rise—only to benefit the top one percent—as in in the Gilded Age, when robber barons employed children and ran sweat shops that preyed on the poor.
The call from the Right to keep applying these failed policies in the face of the damning evidence of their complete and utter failure is the definition of insanity. And to return to them after three short years when the economy is just starting to show signs of recovery—in spite of their stubborn obstructionism—is moronic if not treasonous.
Consider that if an outside political force had done this much damage to our country—we declare them enemies and would hunt them down. They have betrayed their country and they need to be called out for those actions.
The Republicans say the government is broken—they know this because they are the ones that broke it and they are not complaining—they are bragging about it. It has been their stated intent from Grover Norquist to Rush Limbaugh who wants to "starve the beast and drowned it in a bath tub." and "hoping Obama fails" to bring back jobs and revive economy they ruined."
Clear evidence of this is the Republican "obstructionism at any cost mentality". Even bringing the Nation to the precipice of default and getting a downgrade in credit for the first time in America's history—which added billions to America's deficits.
Obama has time after time presented ideas that would create jobs only to be rebuffed and countered with "the pressing deficit problem and unreasonable paid for's" knowing full well that nobody will be talking about "the deficits" in November when they will hammer him without mercy, on only one point, and one point only— "where are the jobs?"
In conclusion its just plain stupid to argue when you don't have the facts or understand our common history to support your BS.