The Great American Sell-Out

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U.S. Capitol

U.S. Capitol (Photo credit: afagen)

Both political parties are selling out the American people, and many Americans are quite happy with that. The budget deal included some tax increases, but those are not as much of a concern as a refusal to cut spending. The same massive deficit spending characteristic of the Bush 2 administration and accelerated beyond anything the country has seen under Mr. Obama will sink the children and grandchildren of Americans. The Republican Party does not have the courage to support massive spending cuts because they are more concerned with staying in power than doing the right thing.

Their fear may be justified. Americans showed that they would support someone who kept bringing in the “benefit” dollars–it is the typical attitude of most (and I mean to say “most”) contemporary Americans: “What’s in it for me?” As if that attitude is not bad enough, most Americans have the view that “I want from the government what helps me and to hell with my children and grandchildren.” Massive deficit spending cannot be sustained long-term–that is basic economics which anyone but an academic can understand. The problem is not as much political ideology as it is old fashioned selfishness. As Americans retreat into their individual worlds, the fate of their children (if they have them) becomes immaterial to their own lust for “free stuff.” Of course there is no “free stuff” that the government gives the people–that money comes from taxes. The United States sells treasury bonds to China and Japan (its main customers) which are only as good as long as the United States can pay up. So far it has, and billions of taxpayer dollars have paid the interest in the national debt. Printing more money to pay off higher deficits will only lessen the dollar’s value.

Apocalyptic books are popular these days, as is speculation about apocalyptic scenarios in real life. Although I am not one of those who store barrels of grain in my house, I understand the concern. Congress and the president will not stop massive federal spending, and when the day of reckoning comes (through China calling us on our debt, a massive loss of value of the dollar, or some other deficit-related catastrophe), it will not be pretty. The 2007 recession (which continues today despite what the mainstream media with its Obama-worship says) will look like child’s play. Now ideological liberals may think that’s a good thing since income distribution will be leveled out. To a liberal ideologue, it would not matter if the United States becomes a third world country. I do not believe most people in Congress want that, but their refusal to discipline themselves is going to damn the country to economic disaster. No money can be spent without the House of Representative’s approval. People in the House need to take their fiduciary responsibility to be good stewards seriously. Conservatives need to vote people into Congress who mean it when they call for federal spending cuts. Those in Congress who refuse to accept fiscal responsibility should be voted out.

I am doubtful that will happen–it seems that most Americans’ characters have been corrupted regarding fiscal responsibility by their own greed and selfishness, by their wanting something for nothing. The American people are being sold out, and only a few voices “crying in the wilderness” speak against the sellout. Ultimately, republics tend to disintegrate by their own hands. The hands of most Americans are wrapped around the fiscal throat of the United States, and they refuse to let go. Sadly, amputation via economic collapse may be the only way to teach them hard lessons about economic reality.

On Emigration

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United States (World Map)

Recently there has been a record number of people emigrating–that is, leaving the United States permanently for another country. Some of these individuals have sought dual citizenship; others have renounced their United States citizenship and have become citizens of their adopted country. People leave for various reasons. Many years ago, some American Communists left the country for the Soviet Union or other communist countries. Some jazz musicians, tired of the racial prejudice they faced in the United States, went to Europe, where they received a warm welcome. In the Vietnam War, young people desiring to avoid the draft went to Canada or other countries, and not all of them returned to the United States.

Today the motives for leaving the U.S. are different. The United States currently has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, as well as high income and social security personal taxes. Some parts of the country have property taxes so steep that paying them would be like making a normal house payment in the South. Since the U.S. continues to collect income tax from dual citizens overseas, some Americans have renounced their United States citizenship when they left the country–a record number last year.

Another reason people leave is fear of tyranny. The Bush Administration began a new trend toward expansion of executive power which had been limited since the abuses of the Nixon and earlier administrations. Mr. Obama has continued that trend with a vengeance. The use of “czars” over various aspects of the economy and government, the government seizure of General Motors along with the refusal to pay promised dividends to people who paid higher prices for stocks that guaranteed dividends, and attempts by the administration to circumvent religious freedom have led some of the American people to fear a future dictatorship. With Congress passing a law giving the president the right to authorize the assassination of American citizens suspected of terrorism, there is no protection for people from the use of deadly force by the government. All the government would have to claim is that someone is suspected of terrorism. Fears of even greater expansion of federal authority if Mr. Obama were reelected have led some people to consider leaving the country.

Concern about the moral and religious direction of the country is another motivation for emigration. The American people are going down the European path of secularization, with weekly church attendance down almost ten percent in ten years. A record number of Americans classify themselves as “atheist” or “agnostic,” and the percentage of elite opinion leaders who are irreligious is significantly higher than the average for Americans as a whole. One look at a link of professed atheists and agnostics among Hollywood actors reveals that many of the celebrities people worship are utterly secular in their world views. In addition, ramped promiscuity have led to record illegitimacy rates, and a high divorce rate has helped weaken the traditional family. The abortion rate has gone down from 1.5 million to 1.3 million a year, but the number of abortions remains the highest in the industrialized world. I know of at least one traditional Christian who has emigrated to Roman Catholic Poland, and I doubt he is the only one. I hear increasing talk among the traditionalists I know of the possibility of leaving the country–and this is not mere talk–some are seriously considering leaving.

Now there is no paradise anywhere on earth, no place to avoid the effects of the Fall. But when a nation has become so decadent that many people are leaving and more are considering it, it is a sad day for that nation. This is especially true of the United States, a country to which so many people still desire to come. Moral and cultural decline, as well as a frankly disgraceful administration, have finally pushed loyal Americans away–the America they see now is not the America with which they grew up. Like me, they see a nation turned upside down, in which wrong is considered right, and right is considered hate.

Personally I do not want to leave–I am a Southerner, currently living in my adoptive home of North Carolina, but born and reared in Tennessee and still a Tennessean by heart. There remain millions of decent people in the United States who “have not bowed down their knees to Ba’al.” The country is beautiful, with mountains and hills still untouched by development, farmers enjoying the fresh scent of tilled earth, families in which spouses and children love one another, churches in which people worship. There is still much for which to fight. I understand those who emigrate and do not condemn them–thoughts of emigration have crossed the back of my mind, too. But I also understand those who wish to keep fighting against the decline of traditional culture and against rapidly increasing federal power. Godspeed to both groups.

Airport Scanners and American Aversion to Risk

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Represent

Image by Jon Wiley via Flickr

See the link at

http://www.alternet.org/story/148886/%27porno_scanner%27_scandal_shows_the_idiocy_of_america%27s_zero_risk_culture

Richard Forno’s article not only points to the absurdity of the TSA’s “porno scanners,” but to the reason that many Americans are willing to accept such an invasion of privacy–the myth of a “zero-risk culture.” Forno has hit the nail on the head. Why does one poll indicate that 80% of Americans support full-body scanners? Was the poll badly done? I hope so. I hope that Americans have not bought the idea of a world without risk to the point that they would give up all their freedoms for the myth of an absolutely secure world.

When I was a child, I rode my bicycle quite a bit–without a helmet. I played in the back yard by myself. I rode in the back of my Dad’s pickup truck on the freeway on the way to the Mall. I sat on a bale of hay near the bottom of a stack as the loaded truck drove down the highway at 40 mph. Was there risk in those activities? You betcha. Should I have avoided doing those things? Hell, no. Risk is a part of life. There is a risk of terrorist attack–it would be naive to deny that. But the risk of dying of heart disease, stroke, cancer, pneumonia, the flu, auto accidents, gunshot wounds (with the perpetrators being Americans), lightening–all these risks are greater than the risk of being killed in a terrorist attack–even for frequent air travelers. Many Americans want a society that controls all risk–controls which foods people eat, what they can drink, what they can smoke, whether they can sit on the back of a pickup, how they should ride their bicycles, and whether they can fly on an airplane without being virtually stripped naked. The sad thing is that we’re all going to die anyway. There is room for common sense controls that minimize risk of harm–but to invade the most private aspects of daily life smacks of totalitarianism. The government becomes a nanny, or at worst an abusive parent, and the people become docile children. Hopefully enough pampered Americans will grow up before the country in which they were reared grows unrecognizable. The saddest thing is that so many would not care.