Though we are switching metaphors, from a consumptive flood to a fire, bear with us, for no singular metaphor can account for the extent to which we have been savaged. For we complained that the Reagan-Bush Estate set fire to this nation on a scale far worse than the fire Nero set in Rome. The loss of jobs of middle-income home-owners and investors fired a consumption in the building trades, which in turn, fired a consumption in the financial sectors who held the bad paper on the bad real-estate and other chapter 11 proceedings, which fired a consumption of Federal aid to local communities. Remember Reagan's comment (so to reduce the scope of his planned deficit) of passing the cost of local community services back to the local communities? Reagan said, from now on, as it were, y'er on your own kid which is what Newt Gingrich and the New Congress are singing again so to save their own skins from the raging inferno and regardless of the theory that Reagan's buck-passing would reduce the cost of Federal government, what actually happened was an increase in Federal expenditures, to the detriment of the local communities who became burdened with higher taxes.
To the local communities the loss of a property tax revenue was the same as if a structure burned down, as said, and seeing as how the customary relief from the Federal Government was being shut off, the property tax revenue loss to cities such as San Francisco was staggering. To compensate for this loss in burnt structures and Federal Support, local communities raised taxes and invented new ones. That Reagan shifted the tax responsibility to the local communities and, at the same time, raised taxes and our deficit, provides further proof that he and the Old Congress should be held accountable for the debt, because they raised it under false pretenses.
The net result was the fact that Reagan and the Old Congress threw gasoline on the fire previously lit (having to do with shipping factories off-shore, deficit spending, and government reduction programs in aerospace and defense sectors).
As our local officials tried to douse the fire initiated by Reagan by raising taxes, they confronted what turns out to be a fire-storm. For major businesses and manufacturers began relocating their places of business to lower overhead areas. This is what the National Real-Estate Association survey was all about, to determine the patterns of this exodus. Seeing a collapse of the housing and industrial markets, whilst my eyes watched declining aerospace, then furniture and then yachting markets, the survey asked whether employers of all kinds (the average being of 10,000 employees) planned to move their operations and, if so, whether they would be taking their employees with them. 80% of those surveyed across the US responded that they intend to move their companies and no, they will not be relocating their employees. In simple terms they intended to abandon the communities who had been over-taxing them. Noted in the survey were favorite areas of relocation, which were, if not off-shore (or Mexico), the Pacific Northwest, Sacramento Valley, Southeast, parts of the Midwest, and to some minor degree the Southwest. Where they moved and continue to move can be discerned by the community ads in magazines which still entice companies to relocate to their area, or page 146 of The 1993 World Almanac .
So from Reagan's fire-brand, our major cities were set on
fire. Detroit was among the first to go, since by then the
automotive sector had fallen in the inferno. The automotive sector
has recovered somewhat by direct government protectionism and
the moment or respite offered through lower interest rates. Their
balance sheets fluttered back into the black for the moment, but
their percentage of the market still lags behind the levels before
Reagan and tends to match up pretty well with the relationships
earlier described on the garment industry; also, because higher
interest rates are inevitable so to drive the bond market, this
sector will again experience shortfalls.
The burning cities, if you didn't get a chance to watch the documentary, Roger and Me , are easily located, and that the fire is still raging upon them is evident by the term, "the Inner City". And these are another indicator that our economy has not been growing as the Old Regime would like us to believe.
Now all of this you can blame on the Vietnam War, if you wish; but we have shown that Nixon [1969-1974], who closed out that war, balanced his budget in 1969 and left office in 1974 with a record of a well managed budget ($6 Billion deficit in 1974, as compared to an interest outlay for that year in the neighborhood of $30 Billion). The huge deficits begun by Presidents Ford, Carter, and then, the master of them all, Reagan, are the source of our burning, rusted out cities. When Robert Vesco was pillaging the aerospace industry, Carter, with his cancellations and cut-backs of future aerospace and defense programs, set in motion the wheels which would grind up the giants of the industry. Reagan followed behind his track with a match in one hand, and, as said, then threw gasoline on us to give breadth to the inferno.
Whilst this burning (which is called "restructuring") continues to consume us, and our Congress may be looking around for someone or some other factor to blame, let us close this argument by noting how inflation (the fiery demon often used to cover up the roll-over of higher interest bearing bonds) went out years ago like a light: during Carter's administration inflation was 12.5% with interest rates averaging 11.7% (peaking around 19%); following this was Reagan's first term which had 3.9% inflation but interest rates at 11.2%. Strange? With the collapse of jobs and the financial sector, savings and purchasing power were consumed; and tightening the wrench on the economy (to mix metaphors again; sorry) was the continuing high interest rates dedicated not to slow the economy down but roll-over bonds to finance Reagan's deficit: which at the end of his first term was $184 Billion (as compared to Carter's outgoing deficit which was $70 Billion)!
In Reagan's second term inflation was kept at 4.4% (following the descent of savings, marking the continuing collapse); and interest rates subsided to 9.1%. By then Reagan's deficit was $212 Billion as against an interest outlay of $214 Billion. Now Reagan and the Old Congress justified these enormous deficits by claiming that they would result in GNP growth which would enable a pay-back of the debt. GNP figures for the years we've been tracing rose from $1,015.5 Billion in 1970 to $1,598.4 Billion in 1975; then nearly doubled in five years to $2,732.0 Billion in 1980, and doubled over the next ten years to $5,524.0 Billion in 1990.
During this period the average weekly earnings of production workers moved from $119.83 in 1970 to $345.35 in 1990. But look at this: the number of production workers in 1970 were 14 million but by 1990 they declined to 12.9 Million! During this period, and still continuing, savings have been eroded, tending to match the low 3% inflation rate; and this too demonstrates the regression in growth, that Reagan and The Old Congress not only took away jobs and growth, they taxed and exhausted American savings.
A government spokesman in a panel of experts on the MacNeil/Lehrer show earlier this year, as well as the path finding panel of experts on the MacNeil/Lehrer show of November 16, pointed out that we had reached an ideal 'full" employment level (about equivalent to the levels shortly after World War II; that is to say, we have eliminated about 70 million jobs (workers) from the population). We complained about that perception earlier this year: pointing out how seven million homeless beings in our streets do not confirm the analysis that we have reached full or any ideal measure of employment. When will we be relieved of such idiots who manipulate data to deceive the people and protect their own interests? Lacking any perception of the suffering of our communities, they sit in dark rooms counting the chits they robbed from our economy.
In the sixties and seventies when there were opportunities for production workers, one was likely to find a host of engineers, middle managers, and administrative personnel of all kinds, necessary to the production of those industries previously mentioned, which now have since been consumed in the Inferno. In a factory of 3,000 employees, as with one of the divisions I worked for in Electronic Specialty Co., about a third of the workers were production workers; and this probably is representative of the proportions of production workers to engineering and administrative for a technology based firm for that era.
In our surviving industries outside the defense and aerospace sectors, the skill levels required for production are inferior to that required in the sixties and seventies; and therefore less reliant upon the support personnel mentioned who are college educated.
Carter's and then Reagan's idea was to "retrain" the expertise of the sixties and seventies scuttled on behalf of our National Debt. But the fact is the growth in GNP which we listed above was not from production oriented jobs but in the service, health, and insurance sectors; and job transfers and retraining from the highly skilled and disciplined jobs of the past to the lower skilled jobs of the present just don't occur very easily. For some reason companies today avoid hiring people who are over-qualified. They prefer two to three years experience and college. Apart from ads for "part-time" jobs we see in the classifieds an abundance of "entry level" jobs. These New World Order requirements generally reflect down-sizing and have little bearing upon putting highly trained personnel back to work.
The new industries which were created during the Reagan era were, of course, in health and financial products, communications, and computers, some of whose expertise grew out of the defense and aerospace sectors but whose needs were far less in terms of both production and college educated middle-income personnel. Robots and computers, in fact, replaced many people in the new "factories" which now dominate the nineties.
In the health industry, including biotics, there is little opportunity for transfer of the displaced expertise scuttled by the Carter and Reagan administrations (which continue under the Bush and Clinton administrations). The fact is these sectors tend to be insular and hire only people already skilled in their sector, leaving those of us who had the skill to put a man on the moon no place to apply our knowledge. I, incidentally, began my career, as pointed out in Against Leviathan , at North American Rockwell and one of my first jobs was in support of the Apollo/Saturn program. I, in fact, had the honor of being among the first individuals to step into the first mock-up of the Apollo capsule, before President Kennedy peeked into it. Since 1981, I have, with many like me, been shuffling for a place where I can apply my skills, but the fact is few of us have been able to find that place because of what Reagan and the Old Congress did to this nation.
Now we are dinosaurs after a manner of speaking, who have the knowledge to put a man on the moon but not the knowledge required in the market today--except in computer applications, where those sectors too are dominated by factories overseas.
Many of us could apply our skills in government positions. But the consumption began first with cut-backs in government, whilst in fact government expenditures still increased 9 times in the period at hand: Federal Outlays in 1970, for instance, were $195.6 Billion and grew in 1981 to $678.2 Billion, then to $1.25 Trillion in 1990 (much of which growth was consumed by interest), and in 1992 $1.38 Trillion.
According to the 1993 1040 instruction pamphlet, 21% of the 1992 outlays were financed by borrowing. Here we can see that government expenditures tripled from Nixon's office to Reagan's. From Reagan's and Bush's administration the number tripled again! Compare this growth of expenditures to the growth in GNP we saw during those years! Our production jobs declined, throwing some seven millions of homeless people on the street, savings disappeared, , GNP grew at half the rate as the earlier era and government outlays tripled, whilst the market also tripled!
Sir, one does not have to be a financial analyst to figure out how Reagan and the Old Congress have riddled this nation. Sir, you are our witness that together with the fires already set by Reagan, previously mentioned, when he said he was cutting back on government aid to the cities, counties and states, he actually increased expenditures in that sector; and as relating to other sectors accounting for tripling outlays, we must account the cost of servicing our debt under unconscionable rates of usury, and the expansion of government bureaucracies of all types, except those which related to defense and aerospace products as mentioned.
Where in the hell was all of this money going, a growing part of which was being financed by the bond market?
Having suffered a layoff from Desert Storm, because my customers went bankrupt as mentioned, I thought perhaps I might try to get a government job. The requirements for government jobs are that one must have at least two or three years of direct experience working in government!-which is another policy prejudicial to those who were hacked up by aerospace and defense cut-backs. Thus, as Reagan began closing military bases (which continues) and other government offices, he merely created new offices, and the people in one office were shuffled to another--like Clinton claiming to reduce his White House staff (which had ballooned under Reagan) by moving the accountability of the staff from one ledger to another. The promises of these presidents and their administrations were an unabashed lie, besides the fact that they, like the demons of hell, robbed us naked.
Hence, with the cooperation of the Old Congress , Reagan and Bush transferred our productive assets offshore, ruining most productive sectors of our economy, cutting back on funds to local communities, whose demand for Federal dollars, as a result of the job base collapsing around them, was actually higher; and to service the expanding bureaucracy both Federal and local Governments increased taxes and, still seeing shortfalls because of their insatiable appetites, entered the bond market on a scale never seen before.
What happened in the Stock Exchange during this period? In 1970 there were 2.9 billion traded; in 1981 there were 11.8 billion; and in 1990 there were 39.8 billion shares traded.
The Dow Jones industrial average in 1970, as you know, was 842; in 1981, it was 1,024 (followed in 1982 by record unemployment); and in 1990 it was 2,999. At the end of 1994, the market is trying to brake before 4,000. During the Reagan-Bush years, whilst The Old Congress was setting fire to our factories and cities, they fired up (pardon the pun) the market and their own government's jobs! All this was done under the guise that inflation was eating away at our economy, though our financial institutions and investment houses themselves were being consumed along with our production capacity.
Now everyone knows that the bond market drives the stock market. And what was driving the bond market was high interest rates; and what is clear from the sketch we have made (a host of detail could be added to it) that the hand and match used to fire up the bond market, which also has been driving up our debt, was the same match and same hand which fired our cities and fueled, as it were, the hot running engine of our stock market. As said, Reagan and Bush were not alone in this evil work. The Old Congress knew all along the effects of their action (one would have to be completely stupid not to know the trends so mentioned).
During this period, Congress bought itself off (when it began to suffer pains of conscience) by allocating to themselves a wonderful pension plan, which plan, because of the disgrace they have brought to this nation, not only in their common behavior but their irresponsible service of America's needs, ought to be revoked, reclaimed, and confiscated to alleviate our debt. A more just handling of the Old Congress account would be to confiscate their entire assets--including their childrens' down to the fourth generation- -to reimburse the American people for the indignities put upon them and the assets which the Old Congress stole from them. For the parties who set this nation on fire should not be let off the hook. We plead this case based upon some principles Cicero argued, in answer to the problem of Avarice seen in Rome. We are sure that a review of his principles, with the comments from Thomas Paine, Adams and Jefferson, together with these, will allow that the direction we are following in this complaint is a just one.
A fundamental motive of Capitalism is greed, or avarice. The ancients were not unfamiliar with Capitalism. In fact they invented it. The Phonecians were perhaps the earliest masters of it. Capitalism is a fundamental of trade. We note, for instance, that even in economies which are based in sharing all material possessions in common, when they endeavor to engage in trade with other economies they must revert to capitalistic principles, where one thing is exchanged for another at a given fair market value. Now no matter how modern men have endeavored to describe the market exchange, to understand and influence the processes of supply and demand; with all their modern formulas and charts we still have to recognize the principles around which capitalism was founded. And these depended on honesty and fair play.
Tracing through the centuries, beginning even with Aristotle's dissertations (whom we also quoted), whilst recognizing the desire of profit, there was always a rule that one cannot profit at the expense of another. This follows the common rule against Usury. Among the ancients loans to families and friends should carry no interest, for instance; to others interest in modest amounts was tolerated, but there was a rule which they always applied that disdained taking advantage of one's ill fortune. Let's call it the avoidance of scalping. Scalpers are driven by Avarice, and having seen the effects of the Reagan-Bush Estate and the Old Congress , which still continue,
Cicero, Book II.22..There is no vice, then, (that I may return to the subject from which I have digressed) more detestable than avarice; more especially in great men and such as bear sway in government of a state; for it is not only mean for a man to make a prey and advantage of the commonwealth, but even impious and abominable. That oracle therefore of the Pythian Apollo, that nothing but avarice should be the ruin of Sparta, does not seem designed for the Lacedaemonians only, but for every wealthy and flourishing nation. And as avarice is thus very destructive to a state, so to appear upright and regardless of money is the most certain method those in power can make use of for procuring the love and good liking of the people: but those, who, designing to curry their favor, attempt new laws about the levelling of estates, so as to force the right owners from their lawful possessions; or propose to make creditors remit all the debts, which in justice are due to them; plainly undermine the two principal pillars and supports of the government: in the first place, concord and unity amongst the citizens, which can never be kept up whilst some are deprived of what is justly their due, and others discharged from the necessity of payment; secondly, justice, which immediately must sink into ruins, if men cannot be secured in the possession of what is their own: for that (as we before remarked) is the chief end and aim of men's gathering into societies, and building of cities, that each one might freely enjoy what is his right, without any danger or fear of being deprived of it.
Sir, somehow our capitalistic instincts became corrupted by Avarice. Now using Cicero's guidelines we can see that Reagan's Congress and the estate which continues out of that period was driven by Avarice. They gave themselves raises and wonderful benefits when they knew that the economy was collapsing. They knew that the economy was collapsing not only by the evident destruction and levelling of our cities, but the pressure upon entitlements and the need to borrow money to keep the government and their perks going.
In all this, as is commonly known, the wealthy had their burden of the taxes reduced; in fact, Multinational Corporations, in particular, paid little or no taxes; and most of our millionaires avoid paying taxes altogether. I worked for a millionaire, for instance, who would deliver a stack of receipts collected from his friends to an employee who would use them to fill out an expense report (usually once or twice a week) in the range of $2,500-$3,000 per issue. The millionaire would then write a check to the employee for the amount, who would then cash the check and return the cash to the millionaire. The petty cash he carried in his pocket week to week, Sir, was stolen from the taxes of the American people, and this kind of theft (one of many types of tax fraud) continues throughout our wealthy class.
Our government's borrowing was after this order, of falsifying
tax receipts and outlays so to offset the debt service and
stem the fury of the debt. By 1982 government borrowing had to
be increased to both service the debt and also to cover ever increasing,
tripling expenditures of the ever expanding Reagan bureaucracy.
To finance the expansion of government and debt, our government
printed bonds, and bonds, as you know, appeal to the avarice
in man. To traffic in bonds one must entice men who otherwise
might not be in the market of bonds to enter that market for the
boon in interest which could be realized out of it. In Reagan's
case, because of the huge increases in the amount of bonds issued
in the bond market (tripling in six years from $74 Billion to
$221 Billion), the financial market became dominated by Federal
borrowing interests to service the deficit. The growth of the
money supply from Carter's administration to 1993 was moderate,
tripling over the period.
So what's new here? you may inquire. By increasing outlays, being dependent upon Usury to cover increasing outlays, the Old Congress tumbled down the slippery slope of creative financing to fund the deficit, and this led to creative book-keeping practices to hide how they were financing the debt. As with crooked companies, who falsify their books to deceive creditors and tax auditors, they fabricate phony accounts and expenses which are hard to trace [re: the Iran-Contra net]; and, with reference to the need to avoid alarming the people as to the extent and consequences of our indebtedness, they simply made omissions in the budget and distracted efforts to audit them by introducing false issues, the principal issue of which was of fighting inflation, when, since 1981, deflation has been the actual experience.
Evidence of this creative book-keeping practice can be seen in all of the Federal Budgets submitted and approved by the Old Congress . We mentioned the RTC Corporation as another illustration how Reagan falsified the books of the Federal Government, and how he moved Social Security funds against the deficit account. The amount moved out of the Social Security account represented a deficit for that account, cumulative also to the deficit; in the fraud Reagan and the Old Congress misrepresented the bottom line of the US Balance Sheet: as having a smaller deficit than was actually the case. He and others behind him, with the cooperation of the Old Congress have been putting IOU's in accounts which they have been robbing so to create an illusion of a smaller deficit than actually is.
If you wish to prove Avarice look for the trailings of fraud which, after the manner of the manure pile previously mentioned, is easily detected by its smell and gross filth which, when it rains, is hard for the meanest of shepherds to avoid.
Now within this pile of Avarice steaming within the halls of our Old Congress and Presidential office is the idea that to prevent the stock market from collapsing one must feather the outlay of bonds, as it were, and cover that process up with assurances that all is well and things couldn't be greater. Well things couldn't have been greater for the stock market. The best way to keep the traders at ease (to whom Reagan was most obliged, having scuttled our industries) was to smooth talk one's way around each cycle, when the bonds had to be rolled over to pay interest on the debt and, as mentioned, to keep the Old Congress appeased, they were given a piece of the action, by adding to the borrowed funds moneys to fill their special interests. The borrowing became sort of a bribery arrangement, where the Old Congress appeased their special interest constituencies by promising them funding and then bribed themselves (with higher pensions) and then bribed the President to add their bribes into the borrowing [deficit package] for each year. And to smooth things with the stock market they covered up the reason for their interest rate hikes under the guise of controlling inflation when in fact, everyone knew from the data mentioned above that the economy was collapsing.
Sir, you know as well as I, that all of the members of Congress and the traders in the stock and bond markets all knew that what was being pawned off as inflation control, when it was time to hike up bond prices to roll over the "deficit from usury and bribery", is better described by a modern term which Generals and Bureaucrats use, which is called, Damage Control . The damage to the economy being a foregone conclusion, all that could be done was to protect the bond market, so to attract and maintain a continuing supply of bond traders. Congress claimed that by borrowing to cover their allocations they would build up the economy and the growing tax base would more than cover their borrowing. But the fact is they knew the economy was collapsing and the government outlays were expanding; that the debt was exponentially rising. Again we recall the 1983 Congressional report which showed the effects of this crisis in a chart, a facsimile of which is in Figure A3 [see Maravot's_Homepage_4.html].
Descriptions of this chart identified our National Debt following a curve in the shape of a hockey stick. As will be seen in Figure A3, the National Debt rises from about $800 Billion before Reagan entered office to a projected $9 - $13 Trillion by 1999. In 1983/84 Congress knew the debt service would before the end of the decade consume most of our tax revenues.
In 1981 the National Debt was just short of $1 Trillion, and debt service then was about $100 Billion. As seen in Table 1, were we to finance our present National Debt of $5 Trillion over 40 years, it will take 19 of those years to reduce the principal by $1 Trillion! Compare this now with what Reagan did, where he increased our National Debt by $1 Trillion in five years, when he knew at best it would take twenty years to remove it (were the increase to be financed according to conventional methods). In actual fact the Reagan increases were financed on a short-term basis, being funded by bonds, which not only forced up our annual debt service above that which would have been realized by conventional financing methods, but also their lack of principles prevented any principal reduction. So here too, on top of the other outrages having to do with increasing government expenditures whilst collapsing our economy, Reagan and the Old Congress added to the indignity by financing their stinking pile of debt through measures which only complete imbeciles could invent.
Knowing this the Old Congress continue their charade
with the bond and stock market and the American people. And whilst
we common people are brought to ruin one thing they have assured
themselves is their own prosperity. What, for instance, have
the Dole family at stake in this? Their generous pension plans
from the Treasury, House of Representatives, and now the Senate--don't
they amount to about $300,000 per year? They'll be secure in
the eventual crash, even if they weren't millionaires!
Well, we can't be too sure about the Old Congress ' social security. For when a society breaks down those who broke it have traditionally been asked in the past to account for the cost to set aright what was broken-usually it was with their estates and heads. In 1789 in France, as noted in The Second Coming of the American Revolution , the collectors and collection methods were terrifying. We repeat what Cicero says about serving justice to a government which betrays its people:
Cicero, Book II.22..firstly, concord and unity amongst the citizens, which can never be kept up whilst some are deprived of what is justly their due.. Secondly, justice, which immediately must sink into ruins, if men cannot be secured in the possession of what is their own..that each one might freely enjoy what is his right, without any danger or fear of being deprived of it.
Here Cicero had been building upon a complaint which is petty compared to the one we have been discussing. In Rome, under Caesar and Cataline, people's estates were confiscated to pay the huge debt Caesar had raised. Other forms of creative taxation were also used, such as calling in all debts before they were due, etc. Banks, for instance, during the Reagan administration, as the economy collapsed, repossessed farms and homes using this procedure. A farmer a couple of months late on his mortgage would receive a demand for payment in full. In Rome people's estates were confiscated after this manner, sometimes to pay Caesar's debt; and this was called the levelling of estates.
Avarice cannot be a part of government dealings for any reason or at any level. An effect of Avarice was ruined estates, in Cicero's times; and, in our times, ruined cities. When the people are deprived of their properties and rights to make a living, then that government which levels their rights must be abolished. Now Cicero was addressing first beginnings; we address the final result:
Cicero, Book II.21. ..But in all kinds of business, and managing affairs of a public nature, there is nothing more necessary than always to keep oneself clear and untainted, so as not to lie under the least suspicion of avarice. 'I could heartily wish,' said Caius Pontius, the Samnite, 'that Fortune had reserved me to those times, and that it had been my fate to be then born, whenever the Romans shall begin to take bribes; I should quickly have put an end to their flourishing empire.' Truly he must have waited a pretty many ages; for that is a kind of evil which but lately has begun to infest this republic.
If there is but the slightest question or indication of avarice, a public administrator is bound to avoid it. This is not, unfortunately, a rule our Old Congress ever learned.
In this day and age bribery, lying and cheating, are normal behavior for a government official. Our Congress is especially adept at these villainies.
Conferring favors is not an act to be condemned. When one confers a favor with the intention that it will be received with obligation, then we tread into the halls of corruption and these special favors soon take the form of bribes and payoffs. Listen to Cicero about this subject:
Cicero, Book 20.1 ..It is easily said and every one is ready enough to profess, that in placing their favors, they have much more respect to the merits of the person, than to his fortune in the world. This is very fairly and honestly spoken; but yet I would be glad to be shown that man who is more willing to help one that is honest and poor than to get the favor of one that is wealthy and powerful.
Cicero began this subject commenting about the bounty which can be reaped from laboring for another's good, saying:
Cicero, Book II.19.1..The civil law principally gives us opportunities of exercising this; for there is nothing more proper to get a man interest and credit in the world, than managing the law-suits of a great many persons, the assisting them with his advice, and doing for them all that he can by his knowledge and skill in that learning..
Our Congress is a body of law-makers and defenders of our system of justice. They, above all people, must be beyond avarice and dedicate their energy for the common good.
Lawmakers should hold themselves to the same standards of excellence, always keeping the common good in mind, and when there is a question as to the effects of an action, one must use as criteria those measures which balance foremost in favor of the poor, over the interests of the wealthy.
It is obvious and common knowledge--actually a sarcasm of the greatest concern--that Congress is beholden to the wealthy and powerful interest groups and bears no responsibility to the common weal. In the case of borrowing to cover debt service and the iniquities involved in covering up the scope of that scandal, how they have in fact been defending the interests of the wealthy over the interests of the poor, the rule mentioned by Cicero hits home. These scalpers who pass themselves off as the Old Congress have contemptuously--their scorn for basic Human Dignity is so horrifying, in fact--performed their acts of treason without any concern that they would be held accountable for their deeds. They have become a law unto themselves.
Now anyone associated with them, knowing that they might be caught in this arrogant display, must separate themselves from it. Here Cicero gives us some ground-rules. If you suspect deceit, fraud, or avarice, you should employ your knowledge and skill to rectify it. We have seen that voting into office men who are soon soiled by their office, rubbing shoulders with those corrupted around them, is not the answer and not, under the scope of the villainy being addressed, a proper remedy. Term Limits and other kinds of reformations proposed by the Old Congress , to mitigate the consummating indignities, also will have no consequence in turning the favors from their rich and powerful friends back to the common weal. Besides which, Cicero adds to our comment:
Cicero Book II.18..the liberality of every great man is a common kind of sanctuary for all that are needy..this way of giving, whereby captives are ransomed and the meaner folk enriched, is useful and advantageous to the public itself.
Sir, apart from all the other views we may have expressed towards you, we know that you see yourself as a great man who is known for his wisdom. The liberals of Berkeley might disagree with this somewhat, but we discount them, Sir, because they, more than any I have known, suffer from great self-esteem and this, we know, prevents their addressing wisdom. For my part, being not politically biased one way or another, as political clubs tend to become mindless after awhile, we can leave this issue on this note: that you have great faculties and resources which you can apply to the common good. We appeal to you to apply your reason and faculties in finding a way to avert the disaster infolding upon us.
We close this chapter with this bit of advise:
Cicero, Book II.18..but in every transaction of buying, selling, letting, and hiring, to behave ourselves towards our neighbors and chapmen with all the fairness and courtesy imaginable; to let go something of our strict and just rights, on certain occasions; to avoid all suits and contentions at law, as far as can reasonably and fairly be expected, perhaps I might add, and even something farther; for in several cases to deliver up one's right, is not only generous, but advantageous too.
It seems to me that Jesus Christ and Paul went to school on this; and your familiarity with this criteria ought to offer you certain advantages on how to put a remedy together. Of course whether lawmaker or citizen, all are bound by the same rules, and chief among them is for all men to account for themselves in the most honest fashion possible.
Our original proposal to you was after this fashion: for a fair audit of what has happened relative to the National Debt and for a report of it to the people; how the Old Congress [or New] will resolve it. So far we have been suggesting that the Old Congress should remit the debt. There are other alternatives, however.
Ignoring the debt, as we have seen in Table 1, and our outline herein, is not conduct indicative of responsible financial accountability. Full disclosure of the debt, in fact, is the right procedure; and then, knowing the exposure, a fair plan for paying off the debt must be discerned. First being honest with our people and their children, we know that the debt must be entirely eliminated within forty years, using an ethical foundation that the next generation must not be burdened by the debt. But as you can see from Table 1 [of Maravot's_Homepage_4.html] in the forty year plan the debt would only be reduced in twenty years by $1 Trillion, with the remaining $4 Trillion plus interest being reduced over the next twenty years. This 40 year program, as one can see, leaves our children twenty years from now with the same position we were in two years ago when I first wrote you. Since the economy has been collapsing under the weight of the debt, and it is doubtful we can make great strides in increasing the GNP to service the debt, we know that our children will, in all likelihood, be less equipped to service the debt than we were two years ago, when debt service was eating $292 Billion per year out of our income. So on a forty year amortization plan, in twenty years our children will have to raise at least $292 Billion in taxes to service the debt, above those taxes necessary to run their government. In examining Table 1 we see that between a twenty year amortization plan and a forty year plan, there is but about $90 Billion per year difference in servicing the debt. And the smaller plan involves an amortization amount which is close to what we are already liable for each year when we roll-over bonds to service the debt. Reason thus says that we would be far better off to address balancing our budget as a Debt Payoff Plan, amortized over twenty years. With this plan we will have relieved our children of the stress of our National Debt and set an example how to really balance a budget; again, following this procedure we will not have stressed ourselves anymore than we are already stressed.
Well, saving our children may be an academic proviso anyway, since the collapse will affect this generation.
Our financial markets and international concerns can't feel at ease over an inevitable collapse, whether it is against our generation or deferred twenty years against our children. They, however, will feel far more at ease on a 20 year debt amortization plan than under the present silence. So the 20 year plan should be a welcome sight to our stock and bond markets.
We think Senator Dole, by the way, is the type of man who can express himself to the wealthy, that the cost of the National Debt is going to come out of their hides eventually, so they may as well face up to it now rather than later. This sort of presentation from a man who is not known for mincing words, and thus can straighten out the misunderstandings on the deficit, could put this nation on the right track again. Now if the 20 year plan seems a bit tough to swallow, we might augment it by appealing to the generosity of those who scalped this nation since 1981.
Some time ago, when the National Debt had a chance of being eliminated through prudential fiscal management, we had a relief plan: that a special tax on the 700 largest corporations and multi-million dollar C.E.O's, which we called the 700 Club, could clear a large part of the debt; but in view of the increased exposure we expanded the plan to the 1,000 Club. Assessing these (10,000 is more justifiable) with a tax which would clear the $5 Trillion through a rough one time assessment, would relieve most of our troubles and put our economy on a path of growth rather than of desolation. When all is said and done (and done fairly against all the wealthy and some increases upon the poor middle class) this might be the only option left anyway. A sufficient amount of the debt must be instantly cleared to allow investment in jobs. The key to the success of such a hard measure is in the hands of the 1,000 Club. Consider the burden they could carry so to save their assets:
$5 Trillion /1,000 = $5 Billion each, a one time payment.
The $5 Billion could be carried interest free over five years leaving a small payment of $1 Billion each. How this could occur is as follows:
- The first year payment of the 1,000 Club would be $1 Trillion. This would reduce the National Debt to $4 Trillion, with an interest debt of about $280 Billion per year.
- The second year payment of the 1,000 Club would be $1 Trillion, reducing the National Debt to $3 Trillion, which would have an interest debt of about $210 Billion per year.
- The third year payment of the 1,000 Club would be $1 Trillion, reducing the National Debt to $2 Trillion, which would have an interest debt of about $140 Billion per year;
- The fourth year of payment would be $1 Trillion, reducing the National Debt to $1 Trillion, which would have an interest debt of about $70 Billion per year.
This, in four years, would return us to the point we were
at before Reagan entered office.
This is the simple picture. If one were to spread the burden over a larger number of corporations, according to their ability to pay, such as 10,000 rather than the 1,000 Club example, the one time payment would be:
- $500 Million each (or allocated according to ability to pay); healthy entrepreneurs and patriots famous for large grants to favorite charities and eastern block nations might split their customary grants into two portions, the larger portion being to relieve others of the 10,000 Club less able to pay, and the other to their charity.
- Not having the accurate data at hand--nor is it possible perhaps to do so because of the many anomalous budget office accounting procedures--we assume that corporate tax revenues for 1994 would be in the neighborhood of $120 Billion (10% of all tax revenues; in 1990 corporate taxes were 15%; in 1992 7 %). These tax reductions on corporations, as one can see from the continuing collapse, produced no good for the country.
- For those in the 10,000 Club program, corporate taxes could be waved during the period of National Debt payoff; and the debt reduction payments in lieu thereof could be deductible from future income for five years (or some other period suitable to the accession) [they may not enjoy this proposal because Corporate entities pay either no or almost no taxes anyway; ed. note].
- The final $1 Trillion (20%) of the National Debt of $5 Trillion could be picked up through special tax revenues against incomes in principal of the Middle Class.
Those States who can afford to make a contribution, in lieu of retribution, relieving the stress on the 10,000 Club, can themselves join the war against our National Debt by making a portion of the payment allocated to the 10,000 Club.
A straight-forward talk with the G-7, who own(ed) 20% of the National Debt ($1 Trillion), may persuade them to tear up their bonds, forgiving the debt, keeping in mind how America once came to their aid through the Marshall Plan. Such a campaign might cause others who might feel a similar obligation to tear up their bonds also; and a campaign like this, properly launched, could remove a large portion of our debt. Heirs to large and small estates, for instance, might tear up bonds held by the estates of their recently departed. If enough people were to get on the Tear up the Debt band wagon, as it were, a large portion of the debt may be eliminated reducing the 10,000 Club offering to a more chewable amount.
There are many wealthy churches who could ask for a special offering for the nation. It wouldn't be a tax, just an offering which might have gone into all kinds of pockets which are not helping the community anyway. If they own US bonds, they might wish to help the 10,000 Club by tearing up their bonds also. There is nothing like the open, giving hand of Christian Charity, to help us in times of need.
The simple plan laid out above, we believe, can be modified many ways, so to relieve the 10,000 Club burden. We should think, however that the spirit and patriotism of the 10,000 Club could reduce the debt payoff in simple terms everyone can understand, without having to get into details of high finance. Most people--even businessmen--show a blank stare when asked, "What is 7% of $5 Trillion?" and asking them what the amortization cost of the debt over 40 years would be would cause most people's hair to frizzle, as if they had put their finger into a 110 volt wall outlet. The 10,000 Club Plan, or some variation of it, should appeal to Pat Robertson, as he understands very well the effectiveness of carrying out charity drives under the auspices of a club- -how riches can accumulate overnight through it.
Even the Media, T.V., Newspapers, journals, etc. can get on the bandwagon
They can offer free Testimonial ads which might show a patriot holding in his hands torn up bonds under the heading, "I tore up my bonds to help the 10,000 Club!" Imagine a free ad in the National Review : of William F. Buckley Jr. and Senator Dole standing arm in arm, with their free hands holding torn-up bonds, reciting a similar caption! What better examples to lead us could there be than these two men tearing up the National Debt with their own hands?
The idea of our wealthiest corporations having to shoulder the debt sets an example of patriotism--which we haven't seen in some time--, and who are better equipped to set the example, or who have reaped more from the Reagan-Bush Estate [which caused the debt] than they?
The 10,000 Club have more to gain from this campaign than a continued deference of the debt.
In World War II billboards and ads of Uncle Sam appealed to our fathers to support the War effort by buying bonds. We need to get Uncle Sam to now do the reverse for a short time, appealing to patriots to tear up their bonds.
To make such a program work, the Republican Contract , which has espoused honesty and an aversion to avarice, can also add to their Contract with America that they will institute procedures to assure that the budget remain in balance thereafter, within the scope that the National Debt will be completely eradicated in twenty years.
Within a few years the American public will know the truth and panic, seeing that the interest debt is beyond their means (which was clear to the Old Congress in 1984); that the National Debt will soon bring about a collapse of our system. With the collapse will come a new regime who will talk about defaulting on the debt altogether, as some are already thinking. Sir, imagine, if you will, what will be on the next regime's minds or the wrath they are bound to carry.
Those of the Reagan-Bush Estate who benefited the most from the villainous practices of their estate, thinking they have no responsibility for the National Debt, and thinking they might sequester their money in a place safe from the wrath to come, must also consider that the next regime will have an interest in maintaining the integrity of the US government among its principal foreign partners; and no doubt those partners, in the interest of protecting their interests, would be helpful in assisting in the return of assets claimed by the next regime. Depending upon the mood of the country and its friends, the search for villains could turn out to be a witch hunt of sizable proportions, where there may be no escape for the villains and profiteers who brought ruin to this nation.
I was somewhat impressed by the right honorable Representative Gingrich's speech of November 11, as the new Speaker of the House. He let the cat out of the bag, in his pledge to identify the true deficit, and balance the budget. Since he has taken the occasion to confirm to the nation, as the new Speaker of the House, the underhanded ways the budget has been addressed, through the theft of Social Security funds, etc. by the Old Congress , it follows that he has a particular duty now to step forward and present, with Senator Dole at his side, what is involved in truly balancing the budget [sic. getting rid of the crippling National Debt altogether].
We believe that considering all of the alternatives, once the issue is broached as it really is, the 10,000 Club may be the most effective Patriot's Way in eliminating the National Debt and no doubt the least painful. For Americans are good at rallying to send donations in support of good causes, particularly in support of other nations' troubles; so getting them to turn their faces towards the trouble at home should not be that difficult.
Daunting the outlook of payment in kind. Another, the easy "scalpers" way, is to print more bonds or money, but then this would be dishonest and not in line with the Republican Contract with America and, as Senator Dole so rightly pointed out, a failure to fill their duty could cause the Republican Party to be sent into the wilderness, in exile, another forty years. But the truth of the matter is that the aforementioned villainy would not result in as pleasant an exile as they experienced before, because the stakes are higher now; and as they might yet flee into the wilderness of exile they no doubt would have many scalpers chasing them. Cicero would agree with this, the practice of payment in kind, that is.
With regard to Cicero's say in the affair, we have seen that he would order a reasonable solution, that it favor a restoration of the jobs and rights of those who have been hurt, together with elimination of the debt. In order to achieve this a New Congress and new orders of governing is in order. It may be that the New Republican Congress could provide this service; but their failure to address the matter as it is would call forth a truly New form of government, and the likelihood that it will be reactionary and carry strong anti-Capitalistic biases is probable.
Cicero, using arguments from Diogenes of Babylon and Antipater, explains how governments, just as businesses, are dishonest if they choose to cover up a matter which has serious consequences. Cicero's argument proceeds from simple grounds: in terms of a corn merchant he addresses the attitude of buyer beware, and in terms of government cover-ups he addresses underhanded dealings involving the restoration of Themistocle's government which was put to flight by Xerxes; and another argument involved a man selling a house endangered by termites and snakes-the latter of which is probably more representative of the condition of our Houses of Congress. In those common arguments of the time some scholars took the position that it may be most profitable for men to avoid disclosure, and others argued it is more profitable in the long run to disclose the true nature of the transaction. The corn merchant, who holds the only reserves during a famine but knows a ship loaded with corn from Alexandria will arrive in but a few days, may be tempted to keep his prices high until the ship arrives; but this only continues hardships against the city, so he concludes that it would be most profitable to not disclose what he knows. In the matter concerning the government in exile being given underhanded terms of restoration which are against their principles, it was argued that any restoration in an underhanded sort of way may not be the most profitable approach. The ramshackle house filled with termites and snakes presents a clearer picture. For Cicero points out, as we also support today, that a seller is obliged to reveal to the buyer the defects of the house he has for sale (which applies to the Old Congress too, since their houses have been for sale for some time). Cicero bases his opinion as follows:
Cicero, Book III.13..It is true, not to tell a thing, is not properly to conceal it; but not to tell that which people are concerned to know, merely for the sake of some advantage to yourself, I think is: and there is nobody but knows what kind of concealing this is, and who they are that make a custom of it; I am sure not your plain, sincere, ingenuous, honest, and good sort of people; but rather your shifting, sly, cunning, deceitful, roguish, crafty, foxish, juggling kind of fellows. And must it not necessarily be unprofitable for any man to lie under this, and a much longer catalogue of such black and most odious names of vices?
Now the New Speaker of the House described the Old Congress in terms which groups them under a table of characteristics noted in the bold print above; and our argument in the Quest and here, together with the common American opinion of Congress, pretty well establishes that the Old Congress was infected by deceits of all kinds.
It was pleasant to hear a news commentator compare the Gingrich New Congress speech to a reformation, as when Martin Luther nailed his terms of reformation to the door of the Catholic Church. So we can hope in this New Congress that a true reformation can take place which [we trust, because there is no conflict] will honor the long standing opinions of Cicero expressed above; and, in matters where there are arguments over what is most profitable or most disadvantageous to the wealthy or some other special group, they will be guided by the rule of full disclosure. Full disclosure is in order when it involves a thing in which the people are concerned to know. This confirms our assessment that nothing more seriously affects the present lives and future of the American people than a full audit and disclosure of the National Debt, its consequences, and most honest and responsible remedy. For we all know:
Cicero, III.12.. that a thing may be profitable, though it is base and dishonest, is one of the greatest misfortunes and calamities that could ever have happened to the life of a man.
This statement not only applies to the life of a man but also to the life of a nation.
In discussing my procedure in this presentation with The Old Man of the Sea , he questioned, with regard to the parables on what is profitable, the matter of Caveat Emptor or "Buyer Beware", drawing to my attention that it represents a standard carried forward from antiquity. I think we can all agree, according to all foundations of honest governments, that no honest government ruled thinking that "buyer beware" is a useful term for government: to the extent that "citizen beware" becomes an accepted value justifying extortion by our governors. For if this were the case, there would be no standards of excellence applying to Congress, and this would conflict with their pledge to be honest in pursuing a balanced budget, and, perhaps more seriously, compromise their ability to redeem Congress--particularly the Republican party-- back into the good graces of the people. So "buyer beware" is not a relevant expression with regard to how a people should govern themselves; and its corollary, "citizen beware", would only send us back to the orders the Athenians issued with regard to the people of Aegina: that the people of Aegina should have their thumbs cut off because they were powerful [competitors] at sea. This, says Cicero:
Cicero, III.11...was thought a profitable decree, for Aegina seemed to threaten their port, Piraeum, by reason of its nearness: but nothing can be truly profitable that is cruel, for the nature of man, which we ought to follow as the guide of our actions, of all things in the world is most opposite to cruelty.
We should not need to update this argument any further than the Nazi era, where it was demonstrated that it does not profit a government to be cruel; however, the failure of our Old Congress to see any similarity between the millions of homeless Jews of the Nazi era and our presently deprived 7 million homeless bears some concern.
That everyone may do what he thinks for his own advantage, provided it be no injury or prejudice to another person, is a foundation of the American Way. Because of this foundation we tend to be more permissive than other people, where, because of the rule, we have come to believe that rules of order themselves need not be respected. In fact an extension of this way of life is the conclusion that our preference is to question authority. On the one hand we apply the rule, accepting what others might call beastly conduct, ignoring graffiti and other manners of contemptuous behavior, but, to the other extreme, encouraging our citizens to never be afraid to question those who have authority over you, from the workplace to our government. Thus, children who had destroyed their neighborhood with graffiti can turn into profitable citizens by a willingness to expose a drug ring run out of the Chief of Police's office and the like. Says Cicero on this matter:
Cicero, Book III.10..Chrysippus, amongst a great many very good sayings, has this one in particular: 'he that is running a race ought to strive and endeavor', says he, 'as much as he is able, to get before his antagonist; but must not trip his heels up, or thrust him aside with his hands: so in life it is allowable that every one should get what is useful and convenient for his comfortable subsistence, but it is not so to take it away from other people'. But it is nowhere more difficult to keep to one's duty, than in the affair of friendship; for as not to do everything that one handsomely can for the sake of a friend so to do anything that is base or dishonest, are both of them equally contrary to one's duty. But there is one very short and yet easy rule, which may serve to direct us in all cases of this nature; and it is this: never to prefer that which only seems profitable, such as honors, riches, pleasure, and the like, before a kindness to a friend; but never to do anything for the sake of a friend that is an injury to the public, or a breach of one's oath, or other solemn engagement: for whoever does this, it is impossible he should ever be a good man...if men were obliged to do everything presently that their friends should desire of them, such agreements as these ought to be counted not friendships, but dangerous conspiracies.
..In friendship therefore, when that which seems profitable comes into competition with that which is honest, the latter should always be preferred before the former; but faith and religion should be preferred before friendship, whenever it demands anything that is not reconcilable with virtue and honesty: which one rule, if but carefully attended to, is sufficient for the purpose we are discussing, which is to discover on every occasion what are those duties which friendship requires of us.
If this rule had been part of the Congressional Rules, it would be apparent that the patronage of certain special interests would never have been an issue relating to the criticisms cited in the Republican Contract with America. The truth of the matter is that what we have reviewed thus far, as pertaining to the wily and unworthy conduct of our Old Congress , leads into very profound charges of outright conspiracy. Thus, we called the Old Congress traitors.
The problem of friendships was addressed quite thoroughly in the Federalist Papers of our founders, and it was their conclusion that the worst threat to our government would be that factions could develop which could compromise our constitutional rights. Controlling the power and influence of factions and special interests is one of the main concerns of the New Congress , according to the Republican Contract with America; and thus, we know, without further argument, that, from the BCCI scandal to others too numerous to list here, the American people and their way of life have been severely compromised and jeopardized.
Acts of concealment generally reveal cowardice. Sometimes a small act of friendship develops into compromising the rights of the people because of avarice and loathsome designs. In the case of a Chief of Police who had been implicated in a drug ring (which has not been an uncommon experience in our culture) or a mayor convicted for patronizing drug traffickers, we can see how a friendship may be corrupted to the extent that what we believe to be a government protecting our rights and homes becomes one which is preying on our rights and homes. It is this issue which comes home again with respect to the Old Congress which intended to prey upon us rather than intending to fulfill their duty towards us.
As noted earlier, with respect to the Congressional Study on the National Debt in 1983/84, there were many in Congress who saw the disgusting "hockey stick", the "J" curve, Figure A3 [re: Maravot's_Homepage_4.html] and knew its consequences then; yet they did not do what was necessary to discover the truth of the matter to the American people. Had they the courage to expose and remedy the outrage then, we would not be suffering today. Nor would we be writing this particular complaint.
We derive from the above, referring to the issue of a Watchman, and the terms applying to concealing something which you know concerns the people, that he who conceals such information is a coward. It is not prudence which drives his decision to conceal, it is avarice and under avarice resides cowardice. Here is what Cicero says on the matter:
Cicero Book I.2..whatever we go about, whether of public or private affairs, whether at home or abroad, whether considered barely by ourselves, or as we stand in relation to other people, we lie constantly under an obligation to some duties: and as all the virtue and credit of our lives proceed from the due discharge of this, so all the baseness and turpitude of them result from the non-observance of the same. Now, though this be a subject which all philosophers have employed themselves about (for, who ever dared to assume that name without laying down some instructions about duty?), yet have some sects of them given such accounts of man's happiness and misery, as destroy the very being of virtue and honesty: for he that makes anything his chiefest good, wherein justice or virtue does not bear a part, and sets up profit, not honesty, for the measure of his happiness; as long as he acts in conformity with his own principles, and is not overruled by the mere dictates of reason and humanity, can never do the offices of friendship, justice, or liberality: nor can he ever be a man of courage, who thinks that pain is the greatest evil; or he of temperance, who imagines pleasure to be the sovereign good. Which things are all so obvious and plain, that one would think they could never stand in need of a dispute..
When we get caught up in taking care of friends, when it comes to decisions involving governmental affairs, men tend to toss and turn like a tiny boat before an overpowering sea. When Congress enters such heavy seas, as it were, which are illustrated by the present predicament, rather than commanding a steady helm, they lose their nerve and, in turn, the ship is lost to the vagaries of the sea. Such predicaments are unnecessary and can be avoided if we keep in mind Cicero's opening argument, adopted from Panaetius:
Cicero, Book 1.3 [regarding the general heads of deliberating or doubting concerning any action, whether it should or should not be done]. The first is, when it is consulted or doubted, whether the action that is under consideration be honest or dishonest; in which inquiry men are often divided between several opinions. The second is when it is inquired and consulted, whether the action that is under deliberation will supply us with the pleasures and conveniences of life, furnish us with plenty of outward things, such as riches, honors, power, etc., which may put us into a capacity of doing good to ourselves, and to all those for whom we are more nearly concerned; all which inquiry comes under the general head of profit. The third ground or reason of doubting is, when that thing which seems to be profitable for us comes into competition with that which is honest; for then our interest drawing us one way, and honesty pulling us back another, the wavering mind is, as it were, torn in sunder between the two, and is racked with doubting and anxious thoughts.
Now Cicero adds to this by noting that we must consider that, with regard to what is profitable, there is the criteria, of what is most profitable; and with regard to taking the honest position, there is the criteria of following the most honest position; and then, of course, we can add another which our Old Congress liked to use, where they attempted to reconcile the profitable into an honest position; and all this only tends to divert the inquiring mind into a more uncertain, doubting, wavering body. This describes the nature of the Old Congress .
Of course in applying the criteria already noted, one should never be found wandering this way and that on an issue which clearly is to the disadvantage of the common weal.
What differentiates man from the beasts, or from being brutish, is the fact that he possesses the faculty of reason. We do not know to what degree beasts on the earth or in the sea may reason, for they have not developed the faculty to display to us the extent they can reason; nor have we been able to communicate with them to ascertain one way or another to what degree they do reason. What we do know, among all the beasts of the earth, man survives through his ability to reason, and he communicates what he discerns through his reason. In fact, through his reason he is constantly exploring and discovering new things upon which to reason; and in each new discovery he rejoices.
As reason is his forté, as it were, then we know that our bastion against brutishness and the wavering mind is that faculty by which we reason. Remember St. Neilos' [died 430 A.D] comment mentioned in our April 12, 1994 letter? that we must watch the first beginnings of an issue, knowing that we can expose wicked thoughts by comparing their first beginnings with the final results? This also was mentioned by Cicero and is a foundation of the Bhagadvad Gita . Isn't this what we do in the process of reason: comparing new issues to issues we've already seen so to not repeat the mistakes of the past? We all know that we must learn from history so to not repeat the mistakes of the past. Hopefully you will agree that with regard to the examples from Cicero thus far given, what has been perpetrated upon the American people by their Old Congress is nothing new; but the scale of the villainy as compared to that which Cicero was addressing is manifoldly higher. Thus:
Cicero Book I.4 [comparing brutes to men]..but the former are creatures endowed with reason, which gives them a power to carry their thoughts to the consequences of things, to discover causes before they have yet produced their effects; to see the whole progress, and even the first seeds, as it were, and appearances of them; to compare like occurrences with like, and by joining what is past and what is to come together, to make a just estimate of the one from the other; whereby they are able at once to take a view of their whole lives, and, accordingly, to make provision for the necessities of them. And the same force of reason makes all men by nature to love one another, and desire an intercourse of words and actions. It begets in them, likewise, a somewhat extraordinary love and affection for their own children; and strongly inclines them to frequent public meetings, and keep us societies one amongst another. For the same reason also they are very industrious to provide for the necessaries and conveniences of life; and that not only for themselves in particular, but for their wives, their children, and others whom they have a kindness for, and are obliged to take care of; which concern is very proper to rouse up the spirits, and make them more vigorous and active in business. But of all the properties and inclinations of men, there is none more natural and peculiar to them than an earnest desire and search for truth...
Whence it appears that nothing is more agreeable and suited to the nature and minds of men than undisguised openness, truth, and sincerity...
From these inclinations and instincts of nature arises and results that honesty we are seeking for; which, however little valued and esteemed it may be, is nevertheless virtuous and amiable in itself; and which we may justly say, though it were commended by no one, is yet in its own nature truly commendable.
[Book 1.5]..honesty..could she be seen in her full beauty with mortal eye, would make the whole world (as Plato has said) be in love with wisdom.
From the assessments thus far reviewed, as applicable to our Old Congress and system of government, surely you will agree we have not been governed by Human Beings, men of reason, but by creatures which are brutes and should henceforth be regarded as such. Thus, we have commented how darkness has come over the land.
Some are confused over the distinctions of sagacious inquiry and prudence. Thus, to clear this matter up we have:
Cicero, Book 1.5 ..a sagacious inquiry and observation for the finding out of truth, which may be called by the general name of prudence...
From that..under which prudence and wisdom are contained, arises the duty of seeking, contemplating, and finding out of truth, which is the proper and peculiar business of those virtues: for it is then, and then alone, that we justly esteem a man prudent and wise, when we find that he is able to see and discover the truth of things; and of an active, vigorous, and piercing mind, to give an account of the reasons of them; so that it is truth that is the proper object of both these virtues.
Sir, by all measures from the arguments we have thus far presented these past two years, all of which began with the interest of discovering the truth behind the National Debt and its consequences, no matter how we address the inquiry, following the dictates of reason we always come back to the observation that
Anyone looking upon the desiccated Old Congress and their fruitles system will conclude that rather than embodying excellence, they were in reality tricksters, relying on smoke and mirror tricks to fool the American people. Again, robbing Social Security funds, as the new Speaker of the House Gingrich admitted, to present the illusion that the deficit was being reduced was deceitful. As to other issues similar acts of trickery were followed, spending a lot of time blowing smoke on irrelevant issues when the most pressing issues were being ignored. Thus:
Cicero, Book 1.6..a great many men bestow abundance of study, and a world of pains, in very difficult and obscure subjects; and such as, perhaps, when they are found out, are of but very little, or no concernment...
No man, however, should be so taken up in the search of truth, as thereby to neglect the more necessary duties of active life: for, after all is done, it is action only that gives a true value and commendation to virtue.
We all know this, but there are men who sneak their clever designs upon us which discerning men easily see through. It is unfortunate, however, that men are easily beguiled through self-interest and through very attractive enticements which seem pleasurable, which are really self-destructive to one's own sense of integrity, his stability of family, and the welfare of his nation.
Clever men like to apply materialistic pressures on honest men to lead them down the proverbial path of destruction so to dispossess them of their assets. This path always leads to despair and human suffering. When one sees the despair and human suffering one can also see the forces behind it, that they are seeded in avarice and all those things mentioned above, and earlier, which men of all ages and systems classify as utter wickedness; and the measure of this always comes down to the fact that a people had been perverted from their nature- which is to be honest and always search out the truth-to the idea that there can be shades of grey (so to justify abuses). Thus, we have written, engaging Cicero on our behalf, who reminds us that there are reasonable and certain means for sorting out the truth or, as we have put it earlier, the ways of sorting the chaff from the wheat.
There are certain societies who have found structures by which to avoid being misled down the path of suffering. Some concluded that separation from society was the most fruitful. The monastics of Buddhism, Taoism, the Brahmins, and certain Judao-Christian sects found this path of separation most useful. But then there are many sages of history who have shown us other ways to avoid suffering in clear models which integrate responsible citizens within cities, where one is shown how to pursue one's own personal gains within a system which promotes the welfare and happiness of the general weal. These philosophers, who help us reconcile ourselves to the more hostile, beguiling environment of the cities, have themselves drawn upon the same virtues used by the monastic lives to promote our individual and collective well being.
These systems do not talk of fancy economic theories and political 'isms', but rather a more pragmatic and visual relationship to one another, one of honesty. But, says Cicero:
Cicero, Book I.6.. No man, however, should be so taken up in the search of truth, as thereby to neglect the more necessary duties of active life: for, after all is done, it is action only that gives a true value and commendation to virtue.
This, of course, is the message of the Jewish prophets and Jesus Christ and his Saints Peter and James. It is also the message of Confucius and many others, a large part of whom we have already quoted. A beguiler may use, to further his own personal gain at the expense of the general weal, the first half of the above phrase on duty to oneself without admitting the other half,
A city under siege can be torched if the watchman at the walls does not act when he sees the enemy landing, for example.
We have compared already the idea of a Watchman to a prophet to a sage and a Wise Man; through the action of a Wise Man a city or nation are warned; and if the city or nation respond to the warning they are saved.
We have also noted how the interest of a Wise Man is truth and then, using the point of view of Gandhi--reconciling that to the point of view of the prophets of Israel--that Truth is God. And regardless of all beguiling expressions to the contrary, if there is one thing all the prophets and sages agreed upon it is this, that Truth's main duty to mankind is:
Psalm 12.5..for the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy; now will I arise and set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.
This you should know by heart by now, as we quoted it often enough from Psalm 12 which also said, concerning the wicked:
Psalm 12.2, 12.8 They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak...The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
We have seen, by measure of some seven million homeless people alone, the Old Congress were wicked; and to remedy their evil deeds we need to begin exalting the truth and honest men for a change. Wise Men, by their nature, recognize these needs; and we are certain, to mitigate the suffering of our people, that a wise man following his instincts of reason will exercise his duty to his Republic in the way that it is his nature to do. We also know that a Wise Man does not put profit first but honesty first, and through his reason resolves a way by which he can do his duty with the resources by which he is known. For:
Cicero, Book I.6..In a word, the general aim and design of our thought, and application of mind, is either the attainment of such things as are honest, and tend to a virtuous and happy way of life, or else the improvement of our reason and understanding in wisdom and knowledge. And this may suffice for the first of our general heads of duty.
We began this argument with the expression that you are what you want to be. All Wise Men have wanted to be Wise Men. We recall that Socrates, when he first began his inquiry, was told by Pythian Apollo that he was already the wisest man in the world. What did he do? He investigated the truth of the matter, not believing that he was that wise.
Sir, it is the pursuit of truth which designates a Wise man; what designates a fool is a man who thought himself wise but stumbled when he saw the truth and got sidetracked.
As pertaining to the Old Congress and their system, these, in addition to being villains of the worst kind, being after the manner of brutes and inhuman, were also fools and certainly no friend of the community which was originally conceived by our founding fathers.
All the sages and prophets agree that our small family units and nations are dependent upon the values of fraternity: of loving one another and honesty, among other virtues discussed herein. They all agree that avarice destroys those needed bonds which form the fabric of human society.
Territorial Imperatives. In the last hundred years trust and virtue became confused with the territorial imperatives of the brutes and beasts. We would argue with those who hold to the territorial imperative as being the natural state of man and justifying evil, are wrong: that within human society, whose highest office is that of a wise man, the territorial imperative of a wise man is different from that of the beasts and brutes. For the boundaries of a Wise man involve reason, the search for and revelation of truth, and appropriately the faculty of common sense to do what is just and right for his land.
When friends and family get together, or nations get together, they depend upon the resolution of misunderstandings and disputes through just processes, always relying upon the council of their Wise Men to help them sort out new difficulties. The wise men, of course, are those who carry forward the field of knowledge accumulated from the past, and they feed the people with manna from that field, so that the people will stop repeating the mistakes of the past. We call this knowledge, Truth.
The epistle of Cicero on The Offices , for instance, was directed to his son, Marcus, but intended for all men, whosoever could use the knowledge to further their common weal, peace, and happiness. Such epistles, by their very nature, draw from the fathers of the past, as we have done with you, always keeping in mind the traditional view of respecting first the guidance of our fathers when we become confused as to which direction to walk. So it is that we have continued the practice with you; that in all respects we forward the spirit of the fathers' great humanity to us and our community. As in many cases between the fathers and their sons, the teachings of the fathers often appear as chastisements, for they come, as in the case of The Offices , at a time when the future of a nation is in jeopardy.
We can see from the abundance of ruins throughout the world, of great cities and monuments, that the guidance of the fathers is often neglected. A community, whose wise men are asleep at their gates, may overgraze or damage through pollution the lands upon which they depend; they may violate agreements with their neighbors or among themselves, bringing weakness and confusion within their ranks, and invite armies coming their way. Lao Tzu best explained the consequences of this:
Lao Tzu: When the Way prevails in the empire, fleet-footed horses are relegated to ploughing the fields; when the Way does not prevail in the empire, war-horses breed on the border.
Wise Men do not address the Way of a nation in terms of one kind of economic or political bias or another. What they address is a system which is neither too permissive nor too authoritative which, when all is said and done, is marked by fairness and honesty, brotherhood, and justice. A community may fold these criteria into unusual Ways. Sparta's system of barter was considered by the ancients, such as Polybius, as the most just system; the American Navaho and other Indians had their various and unusual Ways which served them as just systems. The Communal societies of Israel and Egypt had Ways which served them just systems, and Rome, the Arab Caliphates, many dynasties in Asia and Africa had their Ways, though diverse from one another, which were at times just systems. It seems clear from the study of the sages and history, that no one society seems to have cornered the market, as it were, on a Way which would be a model of justice for all nations.
It is clear from the message on our dollar bill that our forefathers thought they found that Way, for they coined their way of government as the New World Order, inscribing those words around a pyramid whose eye sees all. They also put on the other side of the dollar bill the words, In God we Trust , which we know we can translate, from the many arguments given, to mean, In Truth we Trust . We have seen from the above that that Way has been defiled by the Old Congress who not only lost the Way of our fathers but they defiled their own offices and people.
You have seen Cicero's comment as to the duties one to another of each individual in a community, that they gather together with the intentions of providing safety for themselves and also, through a group effort, each laboring for the communal good, or common weal, a better way of life.
Ultimately this reduces down to the fact that every adult must have a job. Franklin Delano Roosevelt emphasized in many of his addresses to the American people the responsibility of government to assure that everyone has a job; and he followed through on this argument, with the cooperation of Congress, by putting many American people, who were suffering and often homeless, back to work. We saw the result of his work, how it brought us out of the Great Depression .
Then the American government had a means of financing work projects, through the sale of bonds. During that time it was economically feasible to finance the debt to create jobs; and looking back we can see that it was a prudent investment in America. We saw the fruits of that enterprise most profoundly displayed the day of Germany's and Japan's defeat in WW II.
When we speak of a strong nation, it is clear from many examples from the past, that to finance strong outer fortifications, maintaining the peace, one must be strong within. There is nothing which eats away a nation's strength more than that of multitudes of jobless citizens. We viewed this when Rome freed its slaves; when, in more recent times Louis XVI neglected the jobless- paying for it with his head (along with a terrified number of aristocrats); and even we have following this the example of Napoleon, who saw the prudence of putting the vociferous jobless to work building roads and planting trees.
Fathers generation after generation remind us the proverb on idle hands. We need not repeat it and, as the history of nations testifies, idle hands usually translate into angry mobs. The Great Terror of 1789 in France is an example of what an angry mob can do. Jobs, simply speaking, stave off angry mobs. American pundits have yet to learn this, however.
When I was among the Hyperboreans, looking out the window of their high crystalline tower, I saw something which should strike terror into the hearts of those who hold contempt for them without jobs. For I saw marchers in the streets, and enterprises blockaded, and there were terrible cries of despair and rage all mixed together in a thunderous, roaring multitude.
These had no identity, except they all agreed that they were anti-Capitalists. They called themselves after this manner because they were ashamed how our government had corrupted the principles of capitalism, taking those principles (based on free enterprise) to the extreme, where our Congress introduced a Way of the most extraordinary extortions. These extortions became evident in the multitude of wretched masses forming below my window, whose singular banner upon raised hockey sticks carried the words, Never Again.
Now what policies they had or direction they took I could not see, as they passed beyond my view, obscuring their path with columns of smoke. But it was clear that they had been betrayed and tyrannized; and these marchers, having had their fill of the betrayal, merely expressed that they had to separate themselves from the indignity by calling themselves by another name. They all agreed that it would be just and fitting to call themselves as being against those things which brought about the indignity, by which means they chose the expression, anti-Capitalism, rejecting the principles of that Old Congress and government who distorted what was once a just Way of government.
Sir, from what I saw from that window on high, I don't believe that the New Congress , under the leadership of the right honorable Newt Gingrich and Senator Dole, were able to achieve a more just Way than the corrupt Old Congress they condemned. For as I watched out of the window from the crystal tower of the Hyperboreans I saw on the heels of the anti-Capitalists a regime of fierce countenance, led by a great liar and blasphemer, which threw many of the living and the dead into a long, oblong lake of fire before the Washington monument. This regime of fierce countenance was then caught up in a battle against our troop and the law of Moses Redivivus , which I perceived as follows: The battle began in the south of Jordan; and what I could see of that battle, those troops and their allies coming against us were turned upon each other and were quickly destroyed. Their bodies, after laying in the fields to rot for some days, were then trucked to a large burning asphalt pit which opened up at the Dead Sea.
Seeing these things Cicero and Mencius came forward to deliver their opinion on the matter; that through a combination of job programs (feeding the people and not the bureaucrats) and elimination of the smothering National Debt the anti-Capitalists' rage could be subdued; besides which the fierce regime following them, who divided the nation into departments, could be diverted.
Of course, in auditing the Old Congress against the Manual of Discipline, we were shocked that our nation's wisest men in and around Congress were unfamiliar with the principles of their Office; and seeing their oversight we thought it in order, for the future, to compose these fragments from the Manual of Discipline.
I hear Christmas music now. This is the most important time to consider the things we have mentioned. For we are in a Day of Hope: when wintered hearts are braced as we move back to the sun. Hoping you continue to walk with us upwards to this end, and wondering how you might apply our principles, I remain, as always,
November 14, 1994
Christ and especially the resurrection are going to remain a stumbling block and a scandal no matter what you and I think, but I find your comparison of the tower of Babel and Jacob's Ladder edifying. If Christians had a bit more sense, moreover, they would observe Simchas Torah (a useful corrective to the prideful notion that our redemption is our own doing) as well as the Christian Pentecost (St. Peter's first sermon, understood by men of many tongues).
Wm. F. Buckley Jr.
November 19, 1995
Dear Mr. Buckley,
Loved your letter of November 14, 1994, seeing that your view is one upon which we can build; but we have some comments on the Spirit which engaged St. Peter's sermon, which we discerned you didn't note, as per the enclosed.
Beam me back up to Maravot's
Beam me over to Maravot's_Homepage_2.html "Saving the Pope"
Beam me over to Maravot's_Homepage_3.html "Origins of anti-Semitism"
Beam me over to Maravot's_Homepage_4.html "The National Debt Scandal"
Beam me over to Immoral Coercion.html
Beam me over to Quest for Human Dignity