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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wisdom and Decisions

I've been doing some reading on Original Intent - information on how our nation was supposed to be run per the Constitution.  Not surprisingly, I kept running into quotes from James Madison.

In the last post ("More Nannyism Comin' Your Way"), part of what I discussed was how the federal government is giving local police departments these $300,000 BearCat armored urban assault vehicles.  This "gift" is synonymous with the federal government paying for housing, food, and education for individuals - it's just at the government-to-government level.

It's all about welfare.  Pick the term you want to use, but that's what it boils down to.  There are always strings attached and intended/unintended consequences.  Nothing is free.

Enter James Madison, stage right:
"With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."
My argument against folks that pull the "general welfare card" is that it is painfully clear what the framers intended and the states required by the inclusion of the tenth amendment.  Basically, it says if a specific power wasn't granted to the federal government, they've got to butt out.

How's that working out for you?

It's like the tenth amendment is viewed as some sort of suggestion.  Consider it if you've got nothing else to do.  

A horribly obscene percentage of our federal government is flat-out unconstitutional.  Not even close.  Yet, the Big Government folks from both parties keep feeding the beast and adding to its bloat.

I don't see anything that's going to stop it.

As I dug around, I found another quote, also from Madison.  This was part of a speech he gave during the very first Congress regarding the consideration by the federal government of a proposal to provide cod fishermen with a subsidy -
"If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands;
they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury;
they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union;
they may assume the provision of the poor;
they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads;
in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress....
Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America."
It numbed me.  With the exception of a national religion (unless you count Cronyism), what other horror envisioned by Madison has not been realized?

Goodness, where is Madison's wisdom nowadays?  This guy got it.

How can this corruption ever stop?

I don't think it will.

Look at the "logic" that is employed by these Big Government socialists.  Sheila Jackson Lee is arguing that if the unconstitutionally enacted ObamaCare were repealed, we would be depriving citizens of their life and liberty.

Ow.  That hurts my head.

Let that sink in:  The government exercised powers not granted by the Constitution.  But if the fruit of those unconstitutional powers is revoked, the revocation would result in the unconstitutional denial of rights of the recipients of those ill-gotten fruits.

The real world equivalent would be requiring a thief to return stolen goods to the rightful owner.  "By taking the money from the poor robber and returning it to the rich capitalist pig, you are depriving this person of their Constitutional right to care for themselves.  Government would be taking away his ability to feed his family!  Oh, the horror!"

Absurd, yet little will likely change.

Here's the punch line for this post:  I'm changing my tune with regards to federal bailouts (Huh?  Where the hell did THAT come from?!).

I'm now all for them.

Here's how I got there - we're toast as a Constitutional Republic.  When the vast majority of the federal government isn't legal, and the inclination is to continue growing and adding additional powers (i.e., ObamaCare, Cap and Trade, etc.), I don't think anything will change for the better, at least not in my lifetime (and I'm guessing I have at least 30+ years to go).

I know that our federal deficit will continue to grow.  Even if by the grace of God the growth stopped today, it is so obese, so unwieldy, it will never be paid off.  And I'm not even talking about the hundred trillion or so dollars  in unfunded liabilities like Social Security and Medicare.

I know that my government will continue to devalue our currency.  I know that all of the money I've paid into this system will never benefit me, or at best, will be heavily discounted.

I know this pile of crap is going to be laid at the feet of my children.

So, I want the bailouts to continue for one reason:  To buy me time.  Keep the balls in the air as long as you can, DC.

My hope is that those morons in Washington have the requisite skills to keep this circus intact for a few more years while I build a future for my wife and my kids.  One that has no need for a 401(k) check that can be "managed" by the government, or Social Security check doled out when I'm deemed worthy, or a Medicare card that will allow me to wait for months for routine exams.  A future that has little or no need to avail itself of the handouts from the government.

Oh, I'll have all of those things, and will suck them dry at every opportunity, but I don't want my family dependent upon them.

My kids are going to eventually be saddled with our horrific debt, and I want them to be able to thrive and prosper despite that.

I realize that this is very VERY selfish.  I don't know what to tell you other than, that's absolutely correct.  I've come to this point from a past perspective that if you played by the rules, you were rewarded for your efforts.

Naive, I know.

But the rules changed.  Socialism slowly but surely crept into every facet of our lives.  When I was in my twenties and starting my career, welfare was for the truely needy, and was largely paid for locally.

I could deal with that.  While I wasn't "constitutionally aware" at that age, I figured that if a city or county wanted to house and feed its poor, that was OK by me.  If you didn't like that, you could vote out the bums.

In the big-money political contests, I don't have that option any longer.  At least at the state and federal level, our representatives are elected by the masses.  All you need are the people who are getting the handouts to out-vote the people who are paying for the handouts.

While I have a glimmer of hope that the Tea Party folks recently elected to federal office will slow the bleeding, I've come to know that most of them will fold when pressured.  Deals will be cut, government will continue to bloat, and nothing much will change.

So why keep banging my head against that wall?  We all need to use our time more effectively to plan and prepare our families for what is coming, not what we Hope and Pray will happen.

It's not going to get better, folks.  It can't.  We're too far buried to ever hope to dig out.  It's got to crash under its own weight before we can rebuild.

Accept The Challenge

You need to be your own landlord.   You need to be your own food store.  You need to be your own bank.  You need to be your own police force.  You need to be your own doctor.  You need to be your own utility company.

All of these things won't be possible for all of us.  Money, time, energy - life - gets in the way of our plans.

We've got to look past a few months or years, and look decades ahead.  For instance, storing 2 years of food is a short-term view.  You need to know how to produce your own food for the rest of your life, and the lifespan of your family.

You need to learn how to produce surplus consumables that can be sold/bartered/traded for goods and services you can't produce yourself.

You need to exercise, eat right, maintain your body and limit risky activities so you don't end up in an ObamaCare approved facility.

If you've got the resources, get some precious metals while you can.

You need to know how to shoot straight.

The focus is self-sufficiency to the greatest degree possible, with the understanding that it's unlikely you can provide for all of your needs.  Someone, sometime, is going to have a product or service you need.  Have desirable skill-sets that will allow you to fill in the holes in your plans.

Use this time we have to buckle down.  Of course, we all hope and pray it won't happen, but it's a childish dream to expect otherwise.

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Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


suek said...

Interesting article. On another blog, the phrase from the Declaration of Independence came up: All men are created equal.
I countered with "all men are created equal under the law" - which is how I have understood it. Did some I don't know where the "under the law" part came from - other than the obvious ... that we are _not_ all equal. Thought some more.

Here's the statement:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I note that there is no period after self-evident. Likewise, there is no period after equal. It is one continuous thought. It says to me that all men are created equal _in that_ they are ... etc.

If, for example, all men are created equal, why did the Founders later state that the accused is entitled to be judged by a jury of his peers? Are we not _all_ peers, if "all men are created equal"? Does that mean that a man accused of murder must be judged by murderers? (although that would assume the judgment, wouldn't it!)


Your points are well taken. I'd like to tell you you're nuts, over reacting, that things will come right eventually...but I don't see how we can take the steps backwards either. Part of it is the fact of population density. When population reaches a certain point, there _must_ be a certain amount of dependence upon a regulating modulating authority.

You've got longer than I have. If I've got 15 years left, I'll count myself lucky. Now is the time to try to help my kids see the way.

My son recommended the book "The Last Centurion" to me. It's a pretty good novel, although I suspect he had some hidden urge to educate his mother on the variety of military 4 letter words. Still - if you can get past the first couple of chapters (and for most under the age of 50 or so, it shouldn't be a problem), and if you have some familiarity with military jargon and equipment - it's a timely read. You'd probably enjoy it.

suek said...

And by the way...that recommendation is on topic.

Anonymous said...

Predictably the politicians are recommending huge cuts in military spending (which is one of the few constitutional mandates the federal government has) but no one is mentioning cuts in the varios forms of welfare. The federal government spends in excess of $1 trillion a year on welfare and the states spend about an equal amount as well. If our congress does not do more to cut non-descretionary spending there will be another effort to throw them all out of office in 2012.

suek said...

Here's a fairly short article today that addresses the nub of the problem: (at least imo)

Chief Instructor said...

Sue, I had to check, but "jury of peers" is not mentioned in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. I think it's fallen into our common understanding of what the Sixth Amendment means. The same as "separation of church and state" with the First Amendment.

When population reaches a certain point, there _must_ be a certain amount of dependence upon a regulating modulating authority.

Interesting point. Because the state intercedes into the care and nurturing of individuals, they lose the ability and drive to care for themselves. There is no need to cure your own hunger (and hunger is a GREAT motivator).

I'll see if I can download a copy of the Last Centurion on to my Nook. Lot's of stuff to read already....

"Gotta do" article - wow, very interesting about the lady that does the Rhodes Scholarships - seeing that our college students aren't being taught to think.

They're being taught to follow, not challenge, the ideology with which they're presented. Obey and follow, not challenge and lead.


Anon 6:36 - I just broke out my crystal ball, and here's what's going to happen: Deficit will grow, inflation will soar, all those bad things will happen between now and 2012. Repubs will take control of both houses of congress and the white house.

Tag, you're it.

The crystal ball shows to alternative universes, both which end up in the same place -

In the first universe, there is no way the Repubs will actually buckle down and cut spending on unconstitutional programs, so deficits will continue to grow, blah, blah, blah.

In the second universe, they make the cuts, and The Dependent Class and their handlers promptly vote them out of office, so the deficits will continue to grow...

Either way, we're toast. Use the time we've got to prepare.

suek said...

>>they lose the ability and drive to care for themselves.>>

Certainly one possibility. I was thinking more along the lines of apartment buildings. Cities - who maintains the street and sidewalk in front of same. What is the water to dispose of waste? You can't really have each apartment owner responsible for same - or even each apartment building owner. In other words, when you reach a certain density, we all have to "just get along" or there is anarchy. If you're out in redneck country, if you want water, you dig a well. If you don't have a composting toilet, you dig a septic field - or get yourself an old fashioned outhouse. Your choice. In the cities, that would result in conditions like 3rd world cities. Of course, once you start with urban infrastructure, you start with the taxes, etc. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the problem is that once your money dispensers find out that .02 per dollar rakes in some significant dough, they get greedy and magnanimous with other people's money. That's a very human problem. It seems we'd rather pay the extra pennies on the dollar than take the time to keep our city fathers on the straight and narrow.

suek said...

Best link I could come up with...

suek said...

Food for thought:

Chief Instructor said...

Wow. I hadn't heard about them just blowing off the court ruling.

Hmm. If they get to disregard the laws, doesn't that set a precedence for the rest of us?