Friday, December 20, 2013

Is the Obama Presidency a Disaster?

First, let me be very clear that I am NOT an Obama apologist. I am a social, political and economic progressive and civil libertarian; I have been more than a little disappointed by action or inaction of the President That being said, it must be admitted that the foundational cause of my disappoints lays not with the President but with Congress and We the People who have failed to support better candidates for elected office at all levels.

The duties and powers of Congress are laid out in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution for the United States of America. It is the failure of Congress to perform its duties that is at the root of my disappointment with government and our failure to elect representatives who are both able and willing to ensure that those duties are fulfilled in the best interest of We the People.

Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Congress refuses to collect sufficient taxes to retire its debts and pay for the operations of government. Where Congress does make provision for taxation, it does so without uniformity. There are two phrases that come to mind, one is “fiscally conservative” and the other is “fiscally responsible”.

A fiscally conservative tax policy supports and preserves the existence of a servant class. The word conservative transliterates to con- “with” + servus “servants” + -ate (forms adjective from verb) + -ivus (forms noun from adjective).

A fiscally responsible policy tax supports and preserves trust and accountability. It persuades We the People that Congress is “able to discharge obligations or pay debts”.

Where a fiscally conservative tax policy punishes the servant class and benefits the ownership class, a fiscally responsible tax policy ensures that the obligations and debts of the United States of America are satisfied by a pragmatic and fair a means as possible.

I refuse of overburden the reader with examples, but I believe it is a well established truth that the financial wealth of America is overwhelmingly concentrated at the very top leaving little to nothing for the vast majority of the people. The top 1% benefit disproportionately from their labors to such an extreme that they now possess 42% of the financial wealth of the nation. The next 4% are not far behind with 30% of the financial wealth. The bottom 80%, which is almost all of us, now shares just 5% of the financial wealth.

This class division is supported and preserved in large part by a fiscally conservative tax policy that creates loopholes in the tax code for the super-wealthy. The corporations that they own avoid paying taxes by off shoring income, capital gains which make up the largest share of their income are taxed at a far lower rate than the wages of working class people, and unbelievable tax supported subsidies for the wealthy go almost unnoticed while what remains of our middle class focus on the help we provide the lowest income earners.

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

The failure of Congress to tax its wealthiest income earners is aggravated by the fact that it ends up borrowing from them what it should have taxed from them. The great irony of this fiscally conservative and irresponsible policy is that it reduces the incentive of those who have the means to invest their accumulated wealth in productive enterprises.

Much of the borrowings of government are used to subsidize additional profits to large corporations that are already profitable. And, if government did not borrow so much, it would be almost impossible the super-wealthy and for mega-corporations to preserve their off shore earnings in US dollar denominated accounts.

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization …

Would anyone be surprised to learn that one of the best ways to earn money abroad and avoid paying taxes on it is to take advantage of treaties with complicated commerce provisions in them? The same is true in the United States where a foreign company that may ultimately be owned by American investors avoids taxes under the commerce provisions of a treaty.

And what is this, “To regulate Commerce … among the several States …”? Large corporations play the commerce rules of one state against the commerce rules of another to create income advantages for themselves. This is true in agriculture, manufacturing and financials.

Failure to regulate commerce has resulted in a flight of industry and jobs to foreign nations where labor is virtually at the wages of slavery and where the environment can be exploited without regulatory interference. 

The failure of Congress to create rational pathways to citizenship for immigrants has allowed businesses to exploit the cheap labor of unlawful immigrants AND has undercut the value of labor for lawful citizens.

The failure of Congress to prudently and fairly regulate commerce has harmed We the People in the bottom 80% for the benefit of a very few people in the top 1% or 5%.

To establish an uniform … Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States; To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures; To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

The groundwork for income inequality and economic collapse was laid when Congress, on behalf of We the People, outsourced its Constitutional duty to issue sound money (both securities and coin) for use by We the People as a medium of exchange. We no longer have the ability to exchange the value of our labor, goods or services without first renting (borrowing into circulation) money form one of the commercial banks.

A private tax is levied on every dollar in circulation (whether paper or electronic but not on coins) in the form of interest on loans. Since only the principle is ever loaned into existence, there is never enough money to pay back both the principle AND the interest. This creates an unending and upward spiral of dept.

Ironically, repaying loans without borrowing more shrinks the money supply and lays the foundation for recessions. The interest paid on loans represents a wealth transfer from the working class producers whose income is relatively low to the ownership class lenders whose high income is mind-blowing.

The interest on privately issued, debt-based money is ultimately passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices on everything. That means that the lenders earn profits on everything that money is used for even though they have nothing to do with the production of good and services.

Bankruptcy for some, perhaps many, is the inevitable consequence of a money supply that cannot meet the demands for repayment on commercial loans. There is approximately $1.19 trillion in circulating Federal Reserve Notes. In 2006, it was estimated that roughly 60% of US Federal Reserve Notes (or $450 billion) were in circulation abroad and unlikely to ever be repatriated.

How can less than $740 billion in notes extinguish an estimated $60,677.9 billion in debt? What would be left to circulate as medium of exchange? Roughly $40 billion of coin? What if the foreign currency and the coin were also used to repay debt? There would be no medium of exchange but there would still be $59,447.9 billion in debt.

Even if we applied all demand deposits and travelers checks, which we can't because of fractional reserve banking, the money supply would be zero and there would still be over $58 trillion in debt!

The math is impossible and the experiment in outsourcing our money system to the lenders may have nearly run its course.

By my study, we have been through many smaller or larger collapses in the last several decades because of this and it is the principle cause of income and financial wealth inequality. I don’t know if there is a great big collapse in our future or if we will just keep squeezing out the working class people and so that the ownership class can get wealthier.

Ultimately, we need sound money issued into circulation by We the People without creating debt.

As late as late as 1971 the US Treasury issued interest-free United States Notes as legal tender. Issuing part of the money supply as United States Notes not only reduced the tax burden but it reduced the debt and reduced bankruptcies without harming any lender or reducing the money supply which is the cause of recession.

The case for issuing $1 coins as money is closely linked to the need for additional debt-free money.

On a lighter note, the failure of Congress to act on the issue of 1¢ and 5¢ coins is costing the taxpayers money. These one-cent coins should be retired in the same manner as the half-cent was. The nickel should be replaced with a half-dime that costs less to produce.

But Congress is failing to fulfill ifs duty to establish a public medium of exchange and We the People, or at least 80% of us, are paying the price.

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

Here is the Constitutional mandate for the establishment of Post Offices and the maintenance of roads for use in mail delivery. The Post Office has operated tax free for most of its existence but profiteer and crony capitalists insist that it be outsourced. The fact is that without a publicly owned and operated post office most of the nation’s geography would not have delivery service.

Private delivery companies only make regular deliveries to the most profitable geographic areas and let the Post Office make the final delivery to areas where it would have to operate at a loss. In this manner, the public US Postal Service customers pay more to protect the profits of private delivery companies.

And what about those roads? So-called Constitutionalists have almost convinced us that there was no role for federal government in road maintenance, but the founders wrote it into the Constitution. So, why doesn’t Congress allocate sufficient money to establish and maintain roads?

Instead of doing its duty, Congress has acted to destroy the Post Office and under-fund roads. We the People loose again.

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Now there is a big, fat failure of Congress! Conservatives that are all dressed up like they love the Constitution are screaming for Congress to stop funding the sciences and the arts. Also, patent and copyright laws are no longer protecting the authors and inventors, they are protecting the corporations.

And what about that “limited time” clause? This line almost failed to make its way into the Constitution because the founders wanted to be sure that new invention and creativity would not be stifled to protect the profits of earlier inventors and creators longer than was necessary to compensate them for their labor.

Today, life itself is patented; farmers, inventors, patients and artists are being hamstrung by patent laws to protect the corporate profit-taking. Congress has failed again to act in our best interest where it has a duty to promote science and arts and write patent and copyright laws in such a way as to balance the promotion of progress while protecting invention and creativity.

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. …

Precious little is said beyond “executive power”. The duties of the President are largely “administrative or supervisory”. The president executes the laws and policies which are established in Congress.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; … he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed …

The real power of the President is the power of recommendation and approval. The duty to send bills to the President rests with Congress. Even the disapproval of a bill by the President is nothing more than a returning of the bill to Congress with objections. All of the duties beyond administration and supervision clearly lay with Congress.

But Obama …

Frankly, I am tired of hearing this crap! Stop blaming the President for the disasters that belong to Congress. 

In fact, stop blaming Congress too! You elected them and you could have done better if you had just cared enough to be involved in the process that gets them elected. 

Your minimum duty is this:

1. Be registered to vote and keep your registration current. Don't let others tell you this is to difficult; it is almost automatic for people getting a driver's license or state identification card. All you have to do is check the box! 

2. Be aware of upcoming elections as well as the candidates and the issues that will appear on the ballot. Some people think we only vote every four years but there are potentially four elections every year. A lot of candidates and issues get voted on between Presidential year General Elections. 

3. Talk to other people about upcoming elections. Word of mouth and conversation are still the best ways to promote ideas or discover what others are thinking. We can't expect to be represented by consensus builders if we aren't consensus builders.

4. VOTE! Vote in every election, not just the Presidential year General Election. Vote in candidate race AFTER you have learn more about the candidates. Vote on every ballot issue AFTER you have learned more about the issues.

Stop complaining about Obama and start focusing on your own personal duty to send someone to Congress that can work with others to do what the Constitution requires of them. And make sure that YOU are doing your duty before you complain about whether or not others are doing theirs.