Since the founding of the nation, the fundamental political issue has always been size and influence of the Federal Government and the extent to which it exercises control over state and local governments and the citizens and has the borrowing power to wage war and drive the nation into debt. In the early days, it was strong central government and central bank advocate Alexander Hamilton vs. Thomas Jefferson, champion of the decentralization and freedom of an agrarian society. That disagreement led to formation of the two party system, consisting originally of “Republicans,” favoring the Jefferson philosophy and “Federalists,” aligning with Hamilton.
Party names and alignments have changed over the decades, though they have generally been divided along the Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian philosophical positions. However, it is clear that big government advocates have clearly won the battle with a nation now having a federal government that spends around 20% of the GDP of the nation, a significant portion of it borrowed, sends a monthly check to about half the citizens, and has accumulated a debt approximately equal to GDP, not to mention the unfunded liabilities that do not show up on the balance sheet. Even worse, the USA has military forces all around the globe and has developed an addiction to war and military action, angering a third or so of the global population, attracting terrorist activity, in the process. And we quibble uselessly over whether this quarter’s GDP is higher or lower than last quarters and whether this month’s job creation is up or down from last month. That change from the agrarian small-government society of the 1700’s to the mess we have today has progressed fairly steadily through the past 250 years regardless of the dominant political party of the time. We are all to blame.
And now, fortunately, in 2016, the traditional two party system has broken down and we have an opportunity to restructure. We have been offered two deeply-flawed presidential candidates who are both big government advocates and want to be in control of rather than serve the citizens. Both candidates realize that the way to control all the citizens is to demonize the opposition and make useless promises to enough constituencies to get elected. Both promote the mistaken notion, shared, unfortunately by half or more of the citizens, that the solution to our problems lies in Washington DC while, in fact, it is Washington DC that is the source and cause of our problems. The solution lies with better education of the citizens and some simple government reforms.
The three fundamental reasons for the failure of the system are:
- the rise of professional politicians and lobbyists and the strong linkages among them, combined with the demand on elected officials for continuous fund raising, campaigning, and vote buying and the associated opportunity to get rich in government service
- the willing acquiescence of state and local governments to conditional bribes offered by the federal government in efforts to bypass constitutional limits on federal power
- evolution of a ridiculously complex tax code that leads to game playing and favor granting in search of votes.
These trends have seriously jeopardized our freedoms.
So, the party supposedly supporting small government and freedom has failed and needs to be officially be put to rest and replaced by a new party that will quit jousting at windmills, arguing over resolved issues, and will deal with the current situation. We will never return to the past but must stop the bleeding with three simple and logical and reforms:
- term limits to kill the professional politician system (See this.)
- outlawing transfers of funds from the federal to the state and local governments to kill the system of destructive bribery that has evolved (See this.)
- Elimination of tax deductions, exemptions, exclusions, and credits for both personal and corporate tax codes to eliminate the vote buying through tax favors that has become endemic to our system of government (See this.)
With those three simple reforms, politicians will never again get rich serving the people, citizens in Small Town, USA, and Rural State, USA, will stop giving up their freedoms in return for bribes, and the whole lobbying-for-tax-favors industry will die. Then we can once again begin to think about education, personal responsibility, and freedom as priorities.
There is a good chance that half the citizens of this great nation, including many current Democrats and current Republicans would join a party with such a simple platform, a platform avoiding social issues entirely in the belief that killing the current corruption in both parties and in the government itself, would eventually lead to better decisions, or perhaps no federal decisions at all, on issues in all areas of concern. But be patient. It will take decades to unwind the mess we have allowed to evolve.
Then maybe we can have a hit Broadway Musical called “Jefferson.”