Monday, November 16, 2009

What happened to Fabius Maximus?

by Smitty

FM has had some thought-provoking, well re-searched and linked posts in the past. Now we get:
Rome's political class was liquidated during a generation of civil war. America's has disappeared in a decade, quietly and suddenly. As if kidnapped by aliens. This would have been perfect for 1999, the ultimate Y2K mystery.
The problem stretches back a century. We effectively have an aristocracy. One wonders, with war and plague, if Europe did not in fact have a higher turnover rate:

The Democrats have been captured by full-time campaigner, who served a few hours in the Illinois State and US Senates. The Republicans have been captured by someone with even less political experience, the Alaskan Mayor and part-time Governor Sarah Palin.
Underneath the flippant line is the sordid truth that vast power is wielded by unelected, and largely unaccountable bureaucrats. The name on the marquee, while not unimportant, is mere icing on a multi-ream hell-cake:

It's not that these are the best America has. It's just the best American's deranged national electorate will vote for. Campaigns by folks like these should be drowned in laughter, no matter how powerful the special interests backing them. That they're treated seriously shows that our ruling elites have accurately assessed us — as fools.
And so where is your systemic analysis and alternative solutions, FM? The country has sailed, since the Federal Reserve Act, 16th & 17th Amendments, towards a rendezvous with a European-style system. Only the articulate elite are allowed to speak for the country, because they have Yale or Harvard credentials. Yet their panem et circenses have produced a budget deficit so vast we hardly mention it. But that deficit is hardly a pubic hair on the national debt Cthulhu--or have you missed this?

Each mile is 5.8 billion, and a year is an hour, so that he speaks about the deficit in mile per hour terms. The whole road trip is a stacked bar graph of fiscal irresponsibility. And note the 15May09 date: an update would only suck worse. Much worse. The debt car and small ramp at Vandenberg would probably form an effective satellite launch*.

OK, so we bemoan the context and the catastrophes created. Hairshirts and flagellation all around. The Tea Parties, FM: do you support them? As the rot seems to be top-down, is there an alternative to bottom-up reform? The elites have created the mess, and are not incentivized to do more than spout platitudes.

The rise of the Federal Leviathan has corresponded with the diminish of the several States as viable entities. Do the States need to go on a Nullification rampage, since the Supreme Court, over time and with notable exceptions has been as useful as a chocolate teapot when it comes to protecting Federalism?

Walter Scott put it succinctly:
Be it better, be it worse,
Be ruled by him that has the purse.
It's more purse than party or personality. Argue with Ron Paul as you will on any number of issues, but the un-elected power of the Federal Reserve is the democratic experiment that's killing us. Who owns the monetary policy drives everything.

So the high-level Smith Plan for Un-Baking All This is:
  1. Review every Congress since 1912, coming up with a list of legislation that doesn't make sense in a 50 State situation with the minimum necessary power DELEGATED to the Federal government.
  2. Walk that list in reverse chronological order, shedding outright the various Federal agencies that don't pass the smell test. e.g. The Department of Education. Do this in a scheduled way, so that States can pick up the services their citizens deem valuable.
  3. Ratify the Federalism Amendment
The good news about the coming economic turmoil is that is promises to be severe. Severe enough that all of the people addicted to Federal entitlements, turning people into puppets. We honor no teachers but pain.

After this introduction, FM's post proves to be a thin introduction for some Max Blumenthal Palin/GOP hating. Ho hum. Those who control the money know that it really macht nichts who wins in 2012. If the American people are insufficiently adult to admit that we've all been robbed, and support the candidates with the courage to make hard, painful, taking-away-my-toys decisions, then FM is correct. The American people can't keep the Republic that Franklin helped give us.

*This is hyperbole. Stacy has a strict No Math Rule on this blog, but I'm confident this wouldn't work, though I am to experiment with a few Congresscritters we shan't name for reasons of taste.


  1. My favorite part was when Sarah dangled a fresh whole Alaska salmon in front of Oprah. Oprah obliged and ate it like a Kodiak bear.

  2. Question: Have you started on that list you mentioned in your high-level plan? That's the kind of practical, grunt research work that I (bizarrely) love. The thing is, that's a huge undertaking you're talking about. Far more than one person could do in a useful span of time. I whole-heartedly approve, and I would love to hear a slightly lower-level plan, like how you plan to implement that and what I can do to help.

  3. FM is a very bright guy. On the things he blogs about he far outshines any thing I could produce.

    What mars it all is is an unwarranted lean towards socialism as the answer to any number of problems.

    He is generally gracious in that he is not a deleter. OTOH his snark can be vicious. But I have been accused of that more than once so I guess I have to give him a pass on that. Pot, kettle, etc.

    I think Palin and Tea Parties are going to continue to elude him. At least until the 2010 elections.

  4. And for the math challenged: 53% of the House has changed after 7 (14 years)elections with a 90% re-election rate. If the rate is 85% you get a 56% replacement after 5 elections (10 years).

    The problem is not average turnover. It is safe districts where a pol can stay in the job for 30 or 40 years. Those are the people who run the show.

    I think 20 year term limits are probably a good compromise between institutional memory and reasonable turn over of the elite in Congress.

  5. @M. Simon: Twenty years? Maybe in an older, slower world. Too much happens too quickly now. The pace of the world has accelerated too much. Twenty would be better than nothing, but it does not go nearly far enough in addressing the problem. Ten years, tops.
    On second thought, that would be a reasonable limit for the Senate, which (theoretically) operates at a slower pace anyway. The House is a different story, but if you could turn the Senate back over to the States, that would be a good term limit for them. Again, there's too much that a dirty pol can do in twenty years in the House, especially with their responsibility for the republic's spending.