Friday, February 2, 2018
The Political Establishment’s Betrayal of the Republic
By Murray Sabrin
The promise of America was to create a Republic in which the people would live as free and independent citizens in a compact of states – “laboratories of democracy” – with the federal government having a few responsibilities and limited role in the lives of Americans.
Before the states ratified the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin, a delegate to the constitutional convention, was asked which would it be, “a Republic or Monarchy?” Franklin was reputed to have replied, “A Republic if you can keep it.”
But it was not meant to be. America has been transformed into
a one-party system with two wings, Democrats and Republicans, who vie for political power but have the same agenda, corporate welfare for their contributors and enough welfare dollars to keep the masses in check.
In 1860 the first Republican – Abraham Lincoln – was elected president of the United States. For nearly 160 years, either a Republican or Democrat has occupied the Oval Office. With a few exceptions, Republicans and Democrats have dominated both houses of Congress. Occasionally, an “independent” has been elected to each chamber. Currently, Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont have been elected to the Senate as Independents, even though Bernie ran in the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries.
When Lincoln was elected, the national debt was virtually zero; there was no federal income tax, and a comprehensive welfare state was not on the agenda of any major political candidate. Since then, both political parties have increased the national debt to $20 trillion. The federal income tax, which was implemented in 1914 after passage of the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913, has morphed from a minor irritant to 2 percent of the population that was subject to the tax, to the incomprehensible tax code that is more than 74,000 pages long.
And the once mighty U.S. dollar, because it was as “good as gold,” has lost more than 95 percent of its purchasing power since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.
America’s minimal welfare state took a great leap under as FDR as he tried to jump start the economy as the unemployment rate jumped to 25 percent in 1933, his first year in office. Both political parties voted for a more activist federal government to stimulate the economy, which only prolonged the depression until the massive mobilization for World War II.
Three decades later President Johnson, a protégé of FDR, expanded the welfare state with his Great Society programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and committed hundreds of thousand troops to Vietnam after campaigning as the “peace” candidate in the 1964 presidential election, just as Woodrow Wilson (in 1916) and FDR did (in 1940).
After five decades of “trickle down welfarism,” more than half of the American people are receiving some form of financial assistance. Clearly, this is unsustainable as the unfunded liabilities of the welfare state are estimated to be as high as $200 trillion.
On the international front, instead of peaceful relations with the rest of the world’s nation states, our belligerent bipartisan foreign policy has given us undeclared wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and stationing of troops and military personnel in 150 countries housed in 800 bases. America’s foreign interventions since the end of World War II have cost (in 2008 dollars) several trillion dollars, virtually all of which has been borrowed.
More recently, both major parties have continued their anti-civil liberties policies by supporting the (Un)Patriot Act, which has created the greatest spying program… on Americans!
Finally, Republicans pay lip service to limited government and the free market while Democrats pay lip service to civil liberties and a peaceful foreign policy and have betrayed the American people by creating the welfare-warfare state. It is time to restore the Republic – where taxes are low tax, corporate welfare is abolished, financial independence is embraced, civil liberties are protected and the global empire is replaced with a peaceful foreign policy.
Murray Sabrin is professor of finance at Ramapo College, and is seeking the Libertarian’s Party nomination for U.S. senator from New Jersey in the 2018 race.
at 3:35 AM