A Modern Modest Proposal
By Michael Ross
This article was published by Financial Sense, 2007-11-06, as a feature article.
It is a melancholy object to those who travel in this country, when they see the streets, the roads, and the buildings crowded with US citizens who are suffering from the excessive taxation, overregulation, profligate spending, and invasions of privacy perpetrated by our federal government. This constant meddling in the commercial efforts of American entrepreneurs and workers has naturally resulted in incalculable discouragement to both old and new business enterprises, as well as the gutting of America's manufacturing industry, the offshoring of countless jobs, and the overall weakening of the country's financial strength.
These manifestations of government malfeasance and ineptitude are all easily visible to those (relatively few?) citizens with the interest and the understanding to look intently. Yet there is also the hidden enemy, currency debasement — perpetrated by the Congress and the Federal Reserve working in concert, and insidiously weakening the entire US dollar edifice, like a cancer spreading remorselessly throughout the system. This monetary inflation appears to the baffled and misinformed public in the form of price appreciation, and blamed by the media upon the usual business scapegoats The ongoing currency devaluation especially hurts those Americans who by choice or necessity try to live on fixed income sources, which are only adjusted upwards according to absurdly understated government statistics.
At the same time, on the other side of the planet, the economy of China is experiencing the opposite problem: Phenomenal growth rates, with no end in sight, cause Chinese officials to fear the economic and social consequences of the inevitable bubble bursting. For years now, the Chinese government has been trying to slow down an economy and capital markets that are beginning to resemble a runaway train that could be derailed at any point, with considerable violence.
In some sense, this problem is like the proverbial man who has one foot in a tub of boiling water, and the other in a tub of ice water: His average temperature may be ideal, but that is of little comfort to him. Just as he would much prefer to experience that average temperature throughout, is it possible for us to cool off China's overheating economy, while improving the economic health of the United States, whose primary export nowadays appears to be inflated dollars?
There is a potential solution that would help alleviate both problems: Instead of sending our productive jobs to China, we could send our politicians — specifically, Congress.
This approach would undoubtedly improve the economy of the United States, because in one fell swoop we would eliminate the root cause of all new Congressional spending . With no politicians in the (Roman) Senate or the House of (so-called) Representatives, there would be no one to approve any additional pork barrel projects or other shameful reelection tactics. There would be no ready targets for special interest groups and their lobbyists. Admittedly, we would still be burdened by the existing entitlement programs, which would continue to contribute to this country's staggering national debt. But at least it would be a step in the right direction, and would allow us to begin reversing the damage caused by the forcibly emigrated politicians. After all, the first step in getting yourself out of a hole, is to stop digging.
Some Americans would object to this eminently sensible proposal, on the grounds that the country would as a consequence be lacking in leadership. (Note that no one would be so ignorant, or drunk, as to suggest that America would also then be lacking in examples of wise statesmanship, ethical behavior, campaign honesty, or respect for the U.S. Constitution.) But if the bulk of that supposed leadership consists of leading the country deeper into the abyss of international indebtedness — to say nothing of endless wars — are we not better off without such leadership?
One might wonder how long we would have to wait before the health of the nation began to improve. While we cannot be certain as to when our beleaguered country would start to enjoy greater economic robustness, the record throughout human history of the people's struggles against the oppression of government, should make clear that improved national health would be inevitable. If you have an anemic patient who is being continually weakened by blood suckers in three-piece suits, transferring the vampires to another continent would surely provide much-needed relief to their victim.
Across the Pacific Ocean, the deposed American oligarchy could begin working their tax-and-spend magic in the Middle Kingdom, discouraging the more productive members of the Chinese society, by stealing through taxes and inflation the wealth they produce — and rewarding the less productive members of that society, through welfare schemes that would make Mao Zedong green with envy. It surely would not be long before Chinese officials were no longer worried about the dangers of their economy being the out-of-control engine of the global train. Rather, their new concern would be whether their country might replace the United States as the caboose of that train, slowing everything down through increasing debt. Those officials may even wish to reverse the earlier exchange.
Thus we should act swiftly, before anyone is the wiser. With individual liberty and collective livelihood at the forefront of our aims, let us consider this modest proposal for preventing the leaders of poor people in America from being a burden to their constituents and country, and for making them beneficial to the public.
Copyright © 2007 Michael J. Ross. All rights reserved.