Responsibility lies with Congress because it is sovereign.

I have heard so much blame today being handed to our current President but it isn’t his fault if the nation is suffering right now.  It’s Congress’s fault.

Congress is the sovereign body of government in the United States.  Congress calls into being American politics by writing our legislation.  And Congress has abandoned the  goal of writing good legislation.  When Congress allows lengthy bills a thousand pages long that are full of pork to pass through the legislature it hurts the nation and it’s Congress’s fault.  When they allow think tanks to draft legislation, when they fail to even read it, and then when it hurts America, it’s Congress’s fault.  When Congress interferes with the American economy by subsidizing some industries and not others it’s Congress’s fault that we have zombie companies taking up economic space that could be better occupied.  When so many small business have gone out of business forever during and after the Great Recession, it was Congress’s fault because they harmed our economy when they deregulated banking and welcomed derivatives as an innovation that has now cost trillions of dollars and millions of jobs, not to mention damaging our real estate market.  All of that has happened without apology.  That was already bad.  But now Congress is behaving worse.

Many members of Congress have supported the Mueller investigation which isn’t a proper investigation but rather a tool to harass our President and undermine our recent 2016 election.  I hear that some members of Congress want to harass President Donald Trump even more.  When members of Congress call for more harassment they cause social strife.  When they tell people that they should harass Trump’s cabinet members or his spokespersons in public, they ratchet up violence and hysteria and it’s their fault.  We should blame them.  It’s their fault because they have failed to meet their responsibility to safeguard the nation against strife.

Congress’s job isn’t to make deals, it’s to make just laws that help everyone to have security and prosperity.  Congress has abandoned those goals as a body when they allow some members to seek strife and discord and disruption.  Where is Congressional decorum?  Where is concern for what might happen if public civility is abandoned and civil limits and boundaries aren’t respected?  We’ve already seen members of the legislature shot.  Congress members calling for discord have continued to call for even more discord and violence.  I don’t blame President Trump, I blame Congress.  Shame on Congress.  Isn’t it long past time for Congress to censure these bad actors?

When Congress members disrespect American political leaders that differ with them, it hurts America.  When they waste money on investigations that never end even without finding any fault, they hurt America.  When Congress seeks chaos instead of order, when they distract themselves from projects worthy of their attention by encouraging civil discord, they hurt America.  So much blame goes to the President but it is undeserved.  The President has only a portion of power and his portion is the smaller one.

Donald Trump has been unfairly accused and persecuted.  If any one of us was treated that way would we behave with as much patience?  You may be sure that President Trump can be rude.  He has behaved rudely because of his resistance to a lockstep press committed to politically limited discourse while the nation is already in trouble.  With our nation in trouble, we need to talk about solving problems instead of creating new phoney problems.

What about the cultural phenomenon of “virtue signaling” that has forbidden so many topics that need discussion?  What about members of the press that have acted as a chorus and an instrument of the social justice movement to shut down discourse and to distort information?  Pretending to be in favor of what might be a good thing isn’t the same thing as accomplishing something good.  Virtue signallers are a bunch of mouthy narcisists that undermine American discussions about real issues.  Turning away from honest discussions about our problems has made those problems worse.

I have listened to an unrepentant call for carbon taxes when carbon dioxide doesn’t cause global warming and global warming is a tax seeking fallacy based on computer rounding errors and false temperature readings.  I have heard demands for unlimited immigration even though that would not help our economically displaced non-participating laborers or our nation’s debt or our crime problems.  I have listened to people demanding more gun restrictions.  But there’s a failure to enforce current gun regulations, for example you may recall failures to prosecute during the Fast and Furious scandal and also the failure to prosecute felons who try to buy a gun illegally.  Notice the problem of psychotropic drug prescriptions that we find in use among mass shooters, but no public alarm or restriction of those drugs which may be to blame.  Some political groups want even more gun restrictions until they undermine the Second Amendment.  And that may be their true goal.  There’s little point in federal or state legislatures writing new legislation when there’s a failure to enforce already existing gun restrictions.  Shame on these destructive efforts that are tearing our nation apart.  So many problems are Congress’s fault because members take sides instead of reaching an accord.  Congress shouldn’t indulge in fantasy based discourse and fantasy based legislation.  It’s long past time for them to choose better leadership than the terrible and destructive kind that we see today.  Shame on Congress.

Discord has happened because political people in our nation have too much power over the American economy.  That improper power politicizes every economic opportunity and short-circuits government oversight which causes corruption and bickering between factions.  That has happened because we live in the neoliberal era which is now failing to be politically or economically healthy for America.  Do you think that rampant corruption in Congress might be helped with Congressional term limits?  What if Congress members were limited to 2 terms in the House of Representatives and 1 term in the Senate?  According to the Supreme Court it will take a Constitutional Amendment to limit Congressional terms.  Maybe the struggle to do that would help Congress get back to basics instead of trying to make deals.

If you want to understand our historically important transition from healthy to sick that has been caused by engaging in bad politics you can find out all about it in Political Catsup with Economy Fries available at Amazon.com.

 

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History helps us.

We live in the neoliberal period.  The neoliberal period is one where most of us ignore history and focus on short-term concerns.  The time we most often consider is the immediate present.  That’s unfortunate because history is important in its gifts.  They are many.

History can matter to us because it can provide a larger context to help us to understand the present day.  And it can provide lessons about what human societies tried in the past that either worked to the benefit of society or failed to work.  History can give us an appreciation of human culture and the beauty that has been produced by human beings over the generations in art, literature, science, architecture and music.  History gives us old accomplishments to admire and that gives whatever is new today a context for us to see and appreciate what we have now.  Accomplishments from people who lived before us are testified to us by artifacts that are a rich available resource of inspiration to all of us living today.

If you look at the human genome and consider that each of us holds only a part of the human potential in our own genes, history provides testimony about many different kinds of people who lived in the past.  Human beings can grasp only a part of the human heritage in the expression of each person’s talents but we can learn from the past to appreciate a greater whole.  As each of us struggles to achieve our own potential it can be comforting to imagine our small part in contributing to a greater historical whole.

As we try to understand what will help us all to achieve greater prosperity and security, there are many lessons and many comforts to be found in the history of the human past.  History is full of ideas that changed everything that had been before.  Ideas still have that transformative potential.  Political and economic history has much to recommend it.  The intricate dance between politics and economics has brought new opportunities into being.  History shows how cultures tried to overcome unavoidable setbacks.  Some of these setbacks were material and others were caused by human limitations.  People tried to outsmart their human limitations in a variety of ways.  We have tried religion, we’ve tried rationalism, we’ve tried humanism, we’ve tried computer technologies.  Hard times shaped by wars, disease and suffering have also shaped human outcomes.  Whatever happens, when we are at our best we try to overcome our foibles and celebrate each other’s opportunities which help human society to prosper.  We can’t really escape the influence of history even when we don’t understand it very well.

If you want to understand more about the history of political ideologies over U.S. history, if you want to understand why there is political discord in the present, if you want to see how we tried to prevent problems that have surfaced in the present and if you want to understand the role of government in solving problems and preventing corruption, Political Catsup with Economy Fries, available at Amazon.com is just the book that you need.

Elections during the neoliberal era.

Today is election day, Nov 6th, 2018.  If you compare the issues being discussed with those from the 2016 elections, some truth-telling is happening that couldn’t have happened without the Trump presidency.  Here’s an example.

I listened to a debate between Washington State’s Senator incumbent Maria Cantwell and challenger Susan Hutchison about climate change.  These two women gave us a chance to listen to candidates getting down to facts instead of fantasy.  Hutchison and Cantwell were sparring away.   Their points of debate revealed that they didn’t buy into the fantasy that climate change threatens us directly by altering our survivability.  Hutchison said that a carbon tax strategy wouldn’t make any difference to climate conditions which is true on the one hand, and Cantwell said on the other hand that carbon taxes might create new markets and new jobs.  So at last at least for a moment, two candidates were speaking about facts instead of fantasy.  Carbon taxes won’t fix the climate and would cost Americans a bundle.  Finally, two people from different parties said it.  President Trump did his best to end the global warming climate change fantasy, and we can already see dividends in getting down to issues that evade fantasy based determinism.

I keep hearing that the American economy is getting better.  I suppose that might be true but I would observe that any improvement is small.  The Trump Tax strategy will take a long time to alter the opportunities of Americans.  I would like to mention that a similar strategy was advocated but similar changes were never accomplished in the Obama Administration.  President Trump succeeded where President Obama failed.  At least this new tax structure stops some of the tax breaks that economic outsourcers have enjoyed in the past.  The subsidized outsourcing bonfire that burned up American jobs is a fire that has now been put out.  Now we wait to see if jobs will return.

In the meantime, I would like for the labor department to go back to a more honest assessment of employment in our nation.  Pretending that non-participating labor is voluntarily unemployed has led to amazing falsehoods about the health of our labor market.  If we acknowledge how many Americans lost their opportunity to work because of mergers and acquisitions, we might be encouraged to quickly end the easy money policies that led to the destruction of so many American jobs through buy-outs and closures.  This is one area where I think President Trump is wrong in advocating the Federal Reserve continue with low-interest rates in order to stimulate the economy.  Easy money has been destructive to most American job opportunities and it’s time let interest rates return to a more normal rate.  By the way, that’s about 5% if you check American history.  Ending low-interest rates will also curb malinvestments that have destroyed useful capital.

The stock market has been artificially stimulated by Federal Reserve policies and what goes up artificially must certainly come down naturally.  And probably soon.  But a phoney stock market doesn’t mean anything useful to most Americans.  What matters is economic opportunity, not stock valuations.  Real markets are more dynamic than a pretend market can ever be.  Real markets respond to what people need and to what they can afford.  A government stimulated phoney market can’t do that.

In addition, regulating banks more stringently could protect their solvency.  Banks should be smaller and they should have to keep more capital to back their investments.  Borrowing for risky investing should end.  Right now and until banks are properly regulated, Americans will suffer even more greatly than they did during the Great Recession if there’s a collapse of banking due to a shortage of liquidity.  The great era of gambling with derivatives should finally come to an end.

We’ve all watched the Mueller investigation wasting tax dollars.  It has also continually and unfairly threatened our good President who has been proceding lawfully according to his presidential power.  Any such investigation shouldn’t proceed without a crime to investigate.  Trump didn’t commit any such crime.  The Trump Presidency unexpectedly undermined corrupt people who benefitted from the Obama Administration.   Their crimes should be prosecuted instead of wasting money on a fake “Russia investigation” which was always just a smokescreen.  Trump’s election surprised the FBI and Hillary Clinton’s State Department.  It’s time to recognize that their corrupt power to evade prosecution should end.  It is time for Mueller to end his sham investigation of our President.  Mueller showed us all how corrupt Washington D.C. politics are.  Now we know.

Not all that long ago, candidate Trump called for an end of Empire military projects and for an enhanced military readiness at home.  We’ve seen little progress on this goal to reduce foreign based military operations which have been so lucrative for military insiders.  Vested interests in the Military Industrial Complex see hundreds of military bases as advantageous to making money on conflict even when that conflict is sometimes a fabrication.  There’s still a chance to reduce our global military presence and gradually close many of our military bases around the world.  The military industrial complex is motivated by profits more than by an opportunity to maintain global order.  President Trump is mostly right when he suggests that Europe can take care of their own borders without help from the U.S. military.  Perhaps a global space initiative would now be a better alliance among nations especially in view of progress in fusion technology.

In the coming days, let’s remember that we can improve.  However the elections turn out, Americans can do a better job at understanding what needs to happen to bring back prosperity.  When we look at where we have gone wrong we can make an effort to improve by changing and improving policies that don’t work.  There’s still a terrible waste happening in America.  What we are wasting is American know how and American talents and American jobs.  Capital doesn’t equal know how or talent or jobs.  Jobs are encouraged with financial stability in stable markets that are healthy and that make sense based on what people need and what they can afford.  Economic interventionism by Congress should taper off.  The economy can be better when politicians stay out of it.

This is the neoliberal era and if you want to understand how we got here, you can buy a copy of my book, Political Catsup with Economy Fries at Amazon.com.