Friday, April 17, 2009


The recent push by the GOP to bring about a "grass roots" (and let's not pretend that the GOP is anything but the roots under whatever grass there is) by sponsoring "tea party" rallies and promoting the idea that Government must go away is a mildly interesting idea. Let's explore it beyond the hand made signs or the sound bites being thrown around by the people not "in power" at the moment.


The message being promoted is that "we the people" want an end to taxation of any kind (if one follows the logic of the position). The message is that "we the people" do not want a Government at all (if one follows the logic of the position). The message is that "we the people" want our situation to be "everyone for themselves". We either make it on our own or we simply perish (if one follows the logic of the position).

A first important question is whether or not the thousands of American citizens who attended the recent rallies or felt like they at least supported the rant actually understand the message. If these individuals truly understand the ramifications of trying to continue as a "united" group of States without a Federal or State Government in place then; WHY NOT GO ALL THE WAY?

There is absolutely no doubt that having a Government (any Government) will always involve a level of intrusion on the lives of the individual citizens of this nation. This is also little doubt that a degree of frustration will always be present with respect to the policies of our elected representatives no matter who they are. A certain level of dissent from opposing groups is not only acceptable but is a sign of a free and open society. All of these things narrow down to a matter of degree and in the end a matter of opinion.

If there is a collective opinion that there should be NO Federal Government and NO taxes that's fine and is certainly an opinion. If "leaders" like the current Governor's of Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana, Alaska, Nevada and a few others truly believe the words of their recent speeches, WHY NOT GO ALL THE WAY?

I would suggest that they be open and honest with ALL the people that reside in "their" States and fully explain their position. Do they actually want a nation that has no central Government and no taxation to fund it? Or, is their opposition centered around the current leadership rather than the institution itself? Care must be taken when attempting to "convince" the masses of the inherent evils of an organized Government. We the people may start to believe the inflammatory words to the point where we are willing to take physical action to eliminate all Government at any level.

Those expressing dissent and opposition to the level of Government spending, Government taxation and Government debt (whether it be at the Federal, State or local level) have every right to their frustrations. I feel them as well. There certainly is ample need for more prudent spending in many areas but unless there is an actual understanding of what the spending involves and unless "we the people" get the actual facts (as opposed to the typical "spin") we will never be able to obtain an informed opinion about the true state of our union. But, back to the central theme of this posting.

After all the speeches and sound bites a few fundamental questions must be addressed. If the State leaders that have promoted the call for an end to taxation or and end to Federal Government involvement in the affairs of their States let they should be willing to put these opinions to the test by conducting a vote of the citizens (who after all are the people that would be affected, right?). The "ballot" would not have to be very complicated. Just ask in a "yes" or "no" format, "Do you, as a citizen (or resident) of the State of ------------- want any and all Federal funds currently allocated to this State from any Federal agency and for any purpose to be discontinued?" The question is straight forward but should require some serious consideration by the voters. The current involvement of the Federal Government in the affairs of the individual States is complex. Highways, law enforcement, border security, health care, education, social security, disaster assistance, are among some of the areas that our Federal tax money provides and perhaps the Federal Government doesn't need to be involved with those things in the individual States. Of course, unless an exemption can be approved, the requirement for Federal taxes collected from the citizens and businesses of any States wishing to terminate all Federal funding and assistance would remain in effect. A secondary question would be; "what percent of the voters should be required to opt out of Federal Government funding or assistance to an individual State? A simple majority? Two thirds? Three fourths?

Perhaps the message of intrusive Government or excessive taxes or spending isn't actually meant to promote the elimination of the Federal Government or the elimination of ALL taxes or ALL spending. Perhaps the message is simply an expression of opinion by the political party not "in power" at the moment and isn't actually a call for an end to a centralized Government. I find it interesting that the level of national debt would be an anchor of the GOP ship. For the record, during 20 of the past 28 years we have had a republican occupying the executive branch as President. When Ronald Reagan took office the "National Debt" was just over 900 billion dollars. At the end of Reagan's two terms the National Debt had expanded to 2.6 TRILLION dollars or an increase of almost 300%. Following the four years of George H.W. Bush our National debt had expanded another 56% to over 4 TRILLION dollars. Eight years of President Bill Clinton brought the National debt up to 5.6 TRILLION or an increase of almost 40%. Then during the past 8 years under the administration of George W. Bush our National debt exploded to a total over 10 TRILLION dollars (or an increase of almost 77%). The point of posting these figures is to show that the "sudden" outrage directed at the current administration over the National debt and its expansion is simply a large distortion of the historical facts. The reality, if we are truly concerned about the "debt" to our children and grandchildren, is that "WE" allowed that situation to exist and grow to "Monopoly money" levels during the past 79 years when in 1930 our National debt stood at a mere 16.2 billion dollars. So, enough with the blame game with respect to our National debt. It has been a collective effort of all political parties and all of us.

It is "Time to Think Again" about the motivations and about just how much each of us believes in the collective of these United States. I suggest that each of us should make the attempt to learn the facts about our Federal budget and just how our money is spent and then make an intelligent decision about our future as a nation. It's always easy to complain but the process as stated at the beginning of the United States Constitution; "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America", need to be read and understood for its meaning. Of course, this has been an ongoing battle of opinion for the over 220 years. I believe the document was designed by a group of educated property owners who were primarily guided by self-interest who kept many of the principles vague because they recognized that the future world would be markedly different that the one they inhabited. Keep in mind that the draft of the Constitution completed at the Constitutional convention and submitted to the individual States for ratification DID NOT contain the "amendments" that followed that have come to be known as "The Bill of Rights" (amendments 1-10) and were added during the ratification process at the insistance of a few of the States and the input of Thomas Jefferson (then an ambassador to France), George Mason and others. Interesting!

Keep in mind, that EVERYTHING involving our Government and the extent our lives are affected by it is and always will be a matter of opinion.