Saturday, July 31, 2010

Are Americans on the cusp of a Second American Revolution?

After getting back this morning from a business meeting and setting up quiet time for the kids, I started my daily task of clicking through my internet list of new outlets. I came across this link on the Drudge Report: Paper: Will Washington's Failures Lead to Second American Revolution? (http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/542171/201007301830/Will-Washingtons-Failures-Lead-To-Second-American-Revolution-.aspx). The article is written by Ernest Christian and Gary Robbins and discussed if changes by the current regime are doing "more harm than good" and if "Too many overreaching laws give the president too much discretion to make too many open-ended rules controlling too many aspects of our lives." While the article does call out, briefly, President Clinton and G W Bush it evokes a warning that President George Washington had in his farewell address in regards to public credit and the revenue source from which it is paid back. So I looked up President Washington's farewell address to gain some context, especially after the recent dust up with words being said not in full context leading to knee jerk reactions, and read firsthand the thoughts of our first US Constitutional President.

Here is a link to the entire address: http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/farewell/text.html . The consideration made in the article, by Christian and Robbins, was if Obamcare through it's "insidiously powerful" new rules and regulations; the Dodd-Frank power grab that will allow the President to "control all credit and financial transactions, rewarding friends and punishing opponents, discriminating on the basis of race, gender and political affiliation"; or the attempts by the Obama administration and the EPA "to impose by "regulatory" fiats many parts of the cap-and-trade and other climate legislation…" will lead to a "Second American Revolution." While I believe armed insurrection is a thing of the past in the United States, a sentiment among the populous may be gaining strength. The catalyst of how strong the populous movements of the Coffee and Tea Parties become lie in the decision Congress makes in regards to the expiring Bush tax cuts.

In President Washington's farewell speech he warned:

    As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue; that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

A friend of mine on Facebook recently posted an article that was spurned from Governor Tim Pawlenty's statement, "I don't think the argument can be credibly made that the United States of America is undertaxed compared to our competitors" (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/jul/29/tim-pawlenty/tim-pawlenty-says-us-not-undertaxed-compared-its-c/). To which the article posted pointed out that in a sample graph in 2007, established by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), compared the United States overall tax burden to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and ranked us with 30 other OECD countries. The results were, in 2007, the United States overall tax burden was 28% of GDP and the average of the 30 OECD countries is 36%. The authors of the article did talk to several experts to gain their take and they cautioned interpreting the results as it does not paint a complete picture without taking into consideration deficits of the countries. As William Ahern, the director of policy and communications at the Tax Foundation, cautioned about solely drawing a conclusion from the OECD chart that, "a country with a low tax-to-GDP ratio may have a substantial deficit, and in time, that deficit will put upward pressure on taxes."

Since Obama has taken office, and one can even go back to Bush's term, America has increased the deficit percentage in regards to GDP substantially. The Congressional Budget Office reports that, "Over the past few years, U.S. government debt held by the public has grown rapidly—to the point that, compared with the total output of the economy, it is now higher than it has ever been except during the period around World War II. The recent increase in debt has been the result of three sets of factors: an imbalance between federal revenues and spending that predates the recession and the recent turmoil in financial markets, sharply lower revenues and elevated spending that derive directly from those economic conditions, and the costs of various federal policies implemented in response to the conditions. (http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=116590). This is precisely what President Washington was warning us about. Our elected officials need to "cherish public credit" and understand that "to have Revenue there must be taxes" to abuse these tenets, as we have seen over the past 10 years, is an "inconvenient and unpleasant" assault on our peace, prosperities and freedoms.

Could we see a Second American Revolution? Has the ruling class embedded themselves in far enough that the only method of removal is by force? Does the current oligarchy of political power preclude Americans from making transformative decisions at the ballot box?