The American Way of Life (Part 20 of 28)

Part 20: of a 28-part series

“Those who do work are denied a fair return for their labor by a tax system.” This was in 1981, Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address. And this is coming out of the Carter administration. Some of you may not remember that. Some of you may not have been born yet. Nevertheless, you weren’t paying taxes yet then either.

But, [we have] a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity. We need to be productive now more than ever. We’ve got debt up to our kazoo --$700 billion plus ($850 billion, actually – now they tacked on a couple of hundred more billion dollars. Once you’ve spent $700 billion, I guess another $150 billion isn’t anything. Let’s just go for broke!) And we’re going to pay for it. But it could be taken care of.

For decades we have lived in deficit spending. Individually, if we were truthful, for the last 30 years we have lived not within our means. We have charged and charged. They send credit cards to high school students nowadays. They can’t lure you to do something that you’re not disposed to do. It’s not the banks that are at fault. It’s we who have the disposition to not live within our means, and to lie on loan applications, and to fall into temptation, as it were. We’re weak, and we’ve lived in debt for so long that the balloon has had to pop.

[We’ve been] mortgaging our future and our children’s future for the temporary convenience -  now we’re going to have to get down to just cash flow. We’ll have to pay everything just by cash, which means stores will have to close, you’ll have to cook at home. No more lattes. We have been spending like a drunken sailor. There’s good debt and bad debt, alright? But you have to understand that much of what we’re in today is because of bad debt. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.

Here we are. You and I as individuals can live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why do we think that collectively as a nation we’re not bound by that same limitation? We’re going to have to hold our Congressmen and our assemblymen, both at the state level and the national level, to live within their means. Bobby Genta – I love Bobby Genta. Remember Bobby Genta? He told his assemblymen, “You live within your means. You’ll only get a $50 lunch.” He got an A+ rating. He was supposed to speak at the Republican convention, but he stayed at Louisiana as a result. But watch out for Bobby Genta. It can happen.

To be continued...

The American Way of Life (Part 19 of 28)

Part 19: of a 28-part series

No one can transcend their legal limits (and they have, every one of them) without being effectually checked and restrained by the others. And so, that’s how it was set up. That’s what we were saying. Congress – we the people – have the supreme power.

Poor Bush. He’s taken a whipping. And there’s some things he’s done that have just caused me concern, definitely. But you know what? He can’t be blamed for what Congress did. Congress has charge of all the domestic policies. Do you understand that? He has charge of our foreign policies. But what’s happening inside of this country – even the weather – is Congress’ fault, not Bush’s. We didn’t elect him to take charge of the weather- just Congress to take charge of the weather. That’s the law-making body, the body which taxes. It’s also the body that regulates banks. It came from there. It directs the domestic policies of the United States, and we’re hurting.

Look at the clauses in Article 1: “The House of Representatives should be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states.” They only have two years’ term of office. Hint, hint…alright? Some need to be fired. (I don’t mean literally.) The Senate has a six-year term. They used to be chosen by the legislatures. Now they are [chosen by] popular vote. But that’s the original idea.

All bills or raising of revenue shall visit the House of Representatives. Everything that we’ve seen go across the desk of the President to sign has been originated by Congress. Our next Executive either will veto or sign the bills. It’s up to you. Do you want more taxation signed, or do you want it vetoed? That’s the decision you have to make. And what will it mean to the economy at this low level of productivity? What will increase productivity? What will decrease it?

To be continued...

The American Way of Life (Part 18 of 28)

Part 18: of a 28-part series

Free government is founded in jealousy, not competence. We have to be jealous of our liberty. We have to be jealous of our own lives, our own property, our own businesses. “Jealous” means zealous. It doesn’t mean anything negative. It’s a good idea. You need to be zealous about your own being, your own worth, your own opinions, your own property, your own will. Keep it. No one wants it. You keep it, safe and secure. It is jealousy and a competence which prescribes limited constitutions to bind those who are obliged to trust. If we trust them, we have to bind them.

“In questions of power, let no more be heard of competence. Bind them down from mischief, by the chains of the Constitution,” James Madison said. “An elected despotism is not the government we fought for.”

We have a hundred kings over us. (No names mentioned. Just a hundred of them.) And the thing is, they have crossed the lines. They have not stayed within the bounds of the Constitution. And we have not held them accountable for it. We’re to blame for the condition of our nation -- we the people. It’s not trickle-down blame. It starts right where we are. It really is. It’s painful to look at.

Can we defy the law of gravity, and not crash and burn? We think we can until two weeks ago.

To be continued...

The American Way of Life (Part 17 of 28)

Part 17: of a 28-part series

The equal rights command, and the happiness of every individual, are not acknowledged to be the only legitimate object of government. Modern times have discovered the only device by which these rights can be secured –the device that modern man has discovered (this is modern in 1823). The most modern political invention is the Constitution of the United States. It’s a political innovation.

History climaxes at this institution called America’s form of self-government – this Constitution. It is the positive answer to despotism. It was designed to check despotism. It was designed to prevent it if at all possible. It is to put government on the people themselves -- not on the king, not on an assembly, not on a congress. Congress is not to do anything beyond the will of the elector. Every man of right here is a representative chosen by themselves. This is a phenomenon.

“If men were angels,” says James Madison, “no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls of government would be necessary. In a government which is to be administered by men over men, you have to first enable the government to control the governed, and oblige it to control itself.”

What we see here is that in the Constitution, we have written in how the rulers can control themselves, or how to check themselves – the checks and balances we have in the Constitution. Unlimited power is apt to corrupt. And who has oversight of the rulers? We’ve been hearing a lot about oversight lately. We’re supposed to have oversight, and we’re supposed to oversee our representatives. We haven’t been doing our job. We’ve not been overseeing people we have put there to represent us, and they have run amuk. And that’s where our oversight has to be – not on them overseeing us, but on we overseeing them. But we’ve lost the know-how, somehow.

To be continued...