|The following article was first written in 1998. I am relinking it here not so much as to say “I told you so”, but to point out that the long term economic future of the United States was obvious, or should have been obvious, to the people who are awarded lofty degrees and paid huge salaries to comprehend such things. Instead, the economists persisted in explaining away the visible signs of gathering troubles and earned their salaries by justifying why the policies that robbed the poor to give to the rich should continue unabated.
|United States Congressional Record – March 17, 1993 – Vol. #33, page H-1303 – Speaker- Rep. James Traficant, Jr. (Ohio) addressing the House:“Mr. Speaker, we are here now in chapter 11. Members of Congress are official trustees presiding over the greatest reorganization of any Bankrupt entity in world history, the U.S. Government. We are setting forth hopefully, a blueprint for our future. There are some who say it is a coroner’s report that will lead to our demise.”
Imagine for a moment that someone inherits a farm. Let’s say that the farm has good topsoil, a good well, good breeding stock, good seed, and excellent farm equipment in good repair. Prior to passing into the control of the present owner the farm did a good business selling vegetables, meat, and dairy products to the local market, and it made a small profit.
But let us suppose for a moment that the present owner of the farm doesn’t understand farming, or isn’t even really interested in learning. The present owner has no objection to standing around looking good, so he stays at the farm, standing in front of it, looking good to passers by.
Of course, the bills still come in, so our farmer puts them on his credit card. When that bill comes due he uses another credit card, Then another. Pretty soon the interest payments alone are higher than his bills and the banks get nervous and call him. No problem. Our farmer sells the tractor, takes the money around to the various credit cards, the food store, the utilities, and pays off all his bills. Then he stands around in front of the farm looking good to passers-by, the lord of his domain.
Well, the bills still come in. Again the credit cards get loaded up. So, this time our farmer sells the harvester. Then later on, the cattle, then the chickens, then the seeds, then he leases the well to his neighbor and finally sells the top soil from his farm to another farm down the road whose soil is getting tired. The cash is taken around to the various creditors, the food store, the utilities, etc.
Now at this point, our farmer thinks everything is okay. The bills are paid, he has a little cash in his pocket, and everything is fine.
Of course, you know better. The farm simply does not exist any more; it’s just an empty lot with a few buildings, and soon they will be gone as well. The path from the farmer’s present condition to seizure of the property for unpaid taxes is a foregone conclusion, even if the farmer doesn’t look far enough ahead to see it.
Poor, dumb, stupid farmer.
That farmer is our government, and our business leaders.
Just as our hypothetical farm has lost its soil, livestock, seed, and farm equipment, America has lost its manufacturing ability. Short sighted business leaders, with as little interest in manufacturing as our farmer had in farming, decided their own personal bonuses would be higher if they simply sold their factories rather that ran them. After WW2, the 27 American TV companies including Zenith, Emerson, RCA, GE, etc. led the world in TV technology. Then, the owners of the patents on TV technology decided they didn’t need to dirty their hands by actually making the TV sets themselves any more, and they started selling licenses to manufacture, which the Japanese bought.
By 1987, the only remaining American TV company was Zenith. The patent holders get their money, but the American products which can be sold overseas are gone, along with the jobs to make them. (Today Zenith is owned by a Korean electronics company.)
The same happened in high-tech electronics. The integrated circuit was invented in the United States. But rather than focus on selling integrated circuits, the companies that owned that technology sold the machines to MAKE integrated circuits around the world, and now America sells very few chips anywhere. The patent holders have their money, but the cash flow from sales of manufactured goods, and the jobs that go with them, are gone. When Seymour Cray needed custom chips for his supercomputers, he had to order them from Japan.
The same thing has been happening in aviation. The airplane was invented in the United States, and through the 60s, we sold a lot of them around the world. But lately, all aircraft sales to foreign countries involve “offsets”, a portion of the core technology that gets licensed to the purchasing nation and gets manufactured there. Bit by bit, the core technology gets bled off, taking with it jobs, and cash flow from the sale of those manufactured products. Along the way, the rights to manufacture American inventions outside America leak away on a steadily increasing basis. Even the mighty F-16 is now being manufactured overseas, under license.
To cover the loss of manufacturing jobs, our government has invented the catch phrase “service economy”. This is the idiotic notion that we don’t need to actually sell manufactured products; that we can grow and prosper our nation by doing each other’s laundry for a fee. To conceal the loss of manufacturing jobs, the government has legislated into existence thousands upon thousands of useless paper-shuffling jobs, and declared their necessity by fiat. The most obvious is the income tax which has been so obfuscated by the government that half of you had to rely on an outside expert to figure out just what all those incomprehensible words really meant. By this device, the government has replaced those jobs that made products to sell with an equal number of jobs that produce nothing whatsoever of any worth, except to keep the unemployment figures down. This over-burdening of the American people with gratuitous regulations and paperwork has accomplished nothing except to obfuscate the loss of manufacturing jobs, and to transform the American character from innovators and inventors creating new products to that of minor clerks, peeking under each other’s seat cushions for lost change.
So, with most of our manufacturing now gone, just what DOES America make? Trouble, mostly. With 4% of the world’s population and 18% of the economy, we have 50% of all the lawyers, all looking to make a killing by looting those few industries that still call America home (like Microsoft). Kids don’t want to be scientists and engineers; they’ve seen how little such people are valued in our country. Based on recent history, kids see the “big bucks” are in corporate law, specifically investment banking, leveraged buyouts, greenmail, junk bonds, in short what other countries describe as “trying to make money grow by shaking it side to side”.
With America’s ability to actually produce products that can compete on the open world market in decline, it’s no wonder that the balance of trade is the problem it is. Nobody buys our export products because we just don’t make that many any more, and like or not, we have to buy our appliances from the people who make them, which are NOT Americans. (When Ampex invented the VCR, they didn’t even bother trying to find an American company to make it, they immediately sold the rights to Japan).
So, what do all these countries on the plus side of the trade imbalance do with their surplus billions? Well, they have been loaning it right back to us!
Our government engages in a practice politely called “deficit spending”. Other terms which would aptly describe the practice include “counterfeiting” and “check kiting”, but it all comes down to the same thing; spending money one does not actually have.
What would be a prison offense for a normal citizen was rendered legal for the government by the Federal Reserve Act. This was not a popular piece of legislation. In fact the Democrats had campaigned in 1912 on a platform of rejection of the creation of a private bank in charge of a fiat money system. Nevertheless, on December 23, 1913, taking advantage of the absence of congressmen opposed to the creation of a fiat monetary system during the Christmas break, the Federal Reserve Act was passed.
Years later, during the great depression, Congressman Louis T. McFadden (who served twelve years as Chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency) asked for congressional investigations of criminal conspiracy to establish the privately owned ‘Federal Reserve System’. He requested impeachment of Federal officers who had violated oaths of office both in establishing and directing the Federal Reserve — imploring Congress to investigate an incredible scope of overt criminal acts by the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve Banks. McFadden even suggested that the Federal Reserve deliberately triggered the great stock market crash of 1929, in order to eventually force the passage of the Emergency Banking Act of March 9, 1933, which suspended the gold standard.
In describing the FED, McFadden remarked in the Congressional Record, House pages 1295 and 1296 on June 10, 1932:
“Mr. Chairman, we have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal reserve banks. The Federal Reserve Board, a Government Board, has cheated the Government of the United States and the people of the United States out of enough money to pay the national debt. The depredations and the iniquities of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal reserve banks acting together have cost this country enough money to pay the national debt several times over. This evil institution has impoverished and ruined the people of the United States; has bankrupted itself, and has practically bankrupted our Government. It has done this through the misadministration of that law by which the Federal Reserve Board, and through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it”. (full article HERE)