Robert Bonomo, Contributing Writer
Introduction: Ideas and Change
America’s once vibrant Republic has morphed into an imperial oligarchy. The regime has weaved a new dogma preached faithfully by pundits and politicians of both parties. As that dogma crumbles in the face an impending economic collapse, the vast majority of citizens will be left in an ideological vacuum.
Palin or Obama, Fox or CNN, The Drudge Report or The Huffington Post; they simply affirm to their followers and viewers different shades of the same worldview. From within this paradigm it’s impossible to grasp the enormous manipulation and dysfunction that besets the nation. In the past there was sufficient diversity of ideas within the mainstream to offer adequate solutions for the challenges of the time. This is no longer the case.
A Liberal Democrat
Born in the late 1960s, Cold War mythology was very real. The Soviets were bad, the West was good yet the echoes of Vietnam left a crack in the armor of the ‘noble’ United States. Nonetheless, FDR saved the nation and American GI’s saved the world. Government was good, if not perfect. It protected us from Nazis, Communists as well as from the greed and ruthlessness of bankers, oil men, and dirty tricks. The Left was for civil rights, workers rights and sympathized with the plight of the poor.
I watched Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life and was sure George Bailey was a Democrat and Harry Potter was a Republican. Toss in a strong dose of Irish Catholicism and you get the picture.
Kennedy was good, Nixon was bad. But many thought otherwise, and saw the Democrats as the architects of big political machines and powerful unions bent on taxing, controlling and stealing from hard working people. For them, the Republican Party represented fiscal responsibility, religious values and the war on Communism.
The Reagan years were for the fiscally conservative, anti-communist Republicans a renaissance. A bizarre, sentimental journey through the present. Strangely enough, Mr. Reagan began to spend like no other peace time president in history while at the same time cutting taxes. Needless to say, the country grew and prospered and the biggest bull market in history began as the credit bubble began in earnest. Buy and hold was the mantra. Wall Street went wild, and the men from New York with slicked back hair became the ‘rock stars’ of the 80s. This fit perfectly into my world view; evil bankers and Republicans together stampeding over the ‘great civilization’ founded by FDR and his crown prince Kennedy. Little did I know that hourly wages had been falling in the US since the early 1970s and I had the honor of being part of the first generation in American history that would earn less than their fathers.
A bump on the road with the market crash in 1987 and the S&L crisis which I little understood. Almost in the blink of an eye, the Berlin Wall came down, the Cold War was over, and GWH was invading Kuwait and definitively reestablishing American hegemony in the world. Japan, after threatening to overtake the US economically, began its long fade into deflation.
Bill Clinton made his entrance, seemingly too young and impetuous to become a good President and surrounded by very bright and dogmatic folks from the Left. The waves of change that had begun before he arrived carried his administration forward into what for my generation will surely be its apex. Technology, innovation, money, growth and an angry, dogmatic right apparently jealous of his good fortune and attacking him in an unprecedented way. All of this simply confirmed my world view. Newt Gingrich and the evil Republicans against Bill and the good Democrats.
But something irked me. The Clintonites imposed their own brand of ‘politically correct’ dogma. I tried to brush it aside, but the bad taste lingered. The supposedly fiscally irresponsible Democrats even balanced the budget, Time’s cover with Rubin, Greenspan and Summers as our saviors. Low inflation and unemployment, steady growth, and a stock market that seemed to never stop. Silicon Valley replaced Wall Street as the Mecca for brains and innovation. Technology would save us all and the wise Mr. Greenspan had us fiscally under control. All was well, we won.
9/11 and Iraq
I was working for an Internet company when Election Day arrived in November of 2000. I was giving a presentation on how to use email as a tool for advertising. The media buyers were skeptical, SPAM was still something you ate. I was in Madrid at the time and actually hadn’t used my Broward County, Florida vote but I told everyone I would have voted for Gore and he was sure to win. The 2000 election only reinforced my belief in the evils of the Republican Party. Nothing good could come of it and it certainly didn’t. But up till this point I firmly believed in a two party system and was sure that our media had enough diversity to cover all angles and versions of what was happening.
Living abroad during the buildup to the War in Iraq, the true intentions of Washington were crystal clear. The administration was using the patriotic fervor of 9/11 to bulldoze the country into a war that had nothing to do with terrorists or 9/11. There was another agenda, but whose agenda? I began to hear about Neo-Cons and their strategies to re-shape the Middle East and I was sure the Democratic Party would put up the fight of its life to do what was right. They didn’t. The majority of the Clinton era stalwarts supported the War in Iraq as did both the conservative and liberal media. What had happened? What was the agenda?
Then came 2004, payback. John Kerry had a gun full of bullets and Bush a broken stick. The American people would awaken, cheered on by a duped media looking for redemption, and they would oust Bush as an usurper and war monger. But it didn’t happen. Neither the electorate nor the media was willing to really call him out. If there was ever a moment when one party should have overwhelmingly defeated the other it was in 2004. The War in Iraq was based on lies and mistruths, thousands were dead, billions spent yet no one was willing or able to point the finger at the culprits: AIPAC, the Neo-Cons and their apologists in the media. The Kerry campaign was the first campaign I ever worked for, and the experience was not only disheartening, it was eye opening.
2008 and the Meaning of Money
I must admit that even with an undergraduate degree in History, a Master’s Degree in Management, and experience working for the marketing department of a bank, I had no idea how money was created, what fractional banking was, or really what the Fed was. If you had asked me in 2006 how ‘new’ money was created I probably would have guessed that the Treasury added on a certain amount to Federal spending to increase M3. If you had asked me about the Fed, I would have guessed it was part of the Treasury, and in a true/false scenario, if asked if the Fed was mentioned in the Constitution, I probably would have said yes.
I don’t claim to be an expert on American history but I would consider myself fairly well informed and well read so I suspect I was not alone in 2006 in my ignorance. I do remember a rather esoteric friend of mine telling me a bizarre story about a funny sounding island and Congress off on Christmas holiday and the creation of the Fed. I chalked it up to conspiracy theories.
By 2006 I had recently arrived in Silicon Valley and was doing okay for myself in a online marketing job. Making a good salary, it was still impossible for me to buy the most humble of converted rental one-bedroom apartments in the area. It reminded me of my mission to Argentina to try and salvage the operations of the Internet company I worked for at that time. Thousands spent on office furniture, PR firms, big salaries but NO revenue. I knew what a bubble was firsthand, and Silicon Valley real estate had bubble written all over it. The second time in my life I came into contact with what can only be called funny money. Who in their right mind would give millions to companies with no income or people without jobs to buy overpriced houses? I had worked in a bank and had had the risk speech drilled into me. I knew bankers, and bankers weren’t stupid and never, never lost sight of risk. I was simply confused. These prices had to come down at some point or new buyers would simply not be able to afford a home. I had seen the same thing in Spain. It was very obvious but I assumed I was missing some part of the puzzle; those with access to the data had to know better than I.
By 2008 I was in New York working for an agency. The first cracks were appearing in the hull, but I, as most, had no idea how far things would collapse. Once they did, it was the first truly cataclysmic event for my generation. While 9/11, with all it horrors, did not shake the very core of the Republic; we were attacked, we would recover, the financial crisis of 2008 brought the country to its knees. The extent of the illusory wealth and almost holographic reality that Wall Street and the Fed, with plenty of cheerleaders in the media, created was extraordinary. How could so much wealth be created out of nothing, and disappear into thin air in the blink of an eye?
Goldman Sachs, Summers, Greenspan, Bernanke, Rubin and the whole host of unsavory characters once glorified as the creators of 1990s boom were finally being revealed for what they were. The elections of 2008 would certainly bring about a massive ‘house cleaning’, heads would roll. The bankers and the war mongers would finally be given what they deserve. Who better than Barack Obama to give it to them? I had been right the whole time, it was all the Republicans fault.
The Last Nail: Obama
I didn’t have a television, and hadn’t had one for a long time. The first time I saw Obama give a personal interview I was very underwhelmed. The topic was education and he seemed incredibly bland and vague for someone who had been a community organizer, whatever that really meant. But I brushed it off. He was being intentionally vague to keep the Right at bay. His rhetoric completely seduced me, and his impressive resume assured me he was much more on the ball than he appeared.
I was beginning to figure out what TARP was, and it was sickening. Anyone in America gets in over their heads with that type of arrogance always had and should get crushed, humiliated, sent out to pasture. But the bankers got a free pass after collapsing the world economy. Once in office, Obama would clean house.
He had to tell AIPAC what they wanted to hear, but as soon as he took the oath, he would set them straight and send them back to Tel Aviv in a leaky boat; it was all about getting him in. (See The End of the Republic? for more on this topic) Once in office he would make the changes he so vaguely insinuated, but could not mention. He was a Democrat, big money and foreign lobbies bent on war were the enemy; he was good and he would conquer evil. Then he was elected.
Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Tim Geitner, Rahm Emanuel, Hillary Clinton, Ben Bernanke
I learned about the Fed. I watched Bernanke buy $1 trillion of assets from the cartel that he served. The Fed Board of Governors was the most powerful organ in this country and could literally create trillions of dollars out of nothing. What right did he have to exchange $1 trillion of US currency for garbage assets from banks? Why were banks allowed to ‘create’ money? With a flick of a finger on a mouse, they could whip up in milliseconds what would take hundreds of men and women a lifetime to earn. In the name of leverage they were ‘creating money’. Why could Bernanke spend trillions as he liked, yet the President had to fight tooth and nail to pass a stimulus bill of significantly less money? Learning how money is made, what the Fed is and who runs it, and how the board is appointed made my skin crawl. (See The Myth of Abstract Money for more on this topic) From Obama or McCain never a word. Greenspan was still considered the closest thing to a living George Washington.
Learning what money was, who created it, and who the Fed was finally pushed me beyond the pale. The little spat with Israel concocted on Joe Biden’s trip to Jerusalem had all the ear marks of a straw man. Then the Rachel Corrie, one dead American and not a peep from the President. All we heard was Iran, Iran and more Iran. (See Banging the Drums of War: Iran and the Neo-Cons for more on this topic) It seemed that Wall Street and Tel Aviv were even more imbedded in the White House than under GW. In the first quarter of 2010 the five largest banks in the US had record trading profits, and not one losing day. TARP and Quantitative Easing were nothing less than a $2 Trillion bankrolling of the banks that had destroyed the world economy but were saved nonetheless. Then they miraculously returned the TARP money with new money Bernanke had given to them through Quantitative Easing just in the nick of time to cash in their bonuses. The country was reeling from unemployment and foreclosures, our armies were fighting two wars, but Wall Street was back bidding up houses on the Hamptons.
The same war mongers who had ‘invented’ the War in Iraq were doing it again with Iran. With a few exceptions (Matt Taibi, Alexander Cockburn for example) the media was giving them an incredible free ride. The right wing pundits talked about socialism, and birth certificates, the left about the Tea Party and Palin, but few if any would mention the 800lb gorillas of the Fed, fake money and the Israeli lobby.
Along the way I encountered the Russian economist Kondrieff and his economic cycles. Spring, a new time of innovation and change, Summer, consolidation and comfort, Fall, bubbles and credit induced mania, Winter, the collapse of credit, economic and political turmoil. In the late 1920s Stalin asked him to create a five year plan and he told Stalin it was not the time for grandiose plans, the world was entering into a long economic Winter, not the time to plant but rather time to hunker down, stay warm, and wait for Spring. Stalin sent him to the Gulag and later had him executed. Winter finally ended in the late 1940s, Spring lasted until the early 1960s, Summer through the late 1970s and the 1980s brought us the very long Fall extended by the unprecedented power of history’s greatest fiat currency, the dollar. Winter began on 9/11, but we didn’t get our first snow to till 2008. TARP and Quantitative Easing have kept the blizzards at bay, but they will soon be upon us.
The first major bubble I witnessed was the Internet equities bubble. People went mad bidding up page views when they didn’t know the difference between a page view and a pager. It was a very abstract bubble, futuristic, sexy and finally very painful for the investors as well as the employees of those nascent firms. The second bubble I witnessed was the real estate bubble. After the esoteric digital bust, what better place to put your dollars than brick and mortar? Wall Street pounced on it as they began marketing away the debt as fancy sounding securitized loans. Mortgages on a $500,000 McMansion wound up worth about as much a few hundred page views on Pets.com. The only safer investment than a home is a Treasury Bond. If the sun rises, your money is good. This will be the last bubble for a long, long time. Enjoy the popping sound. (See Ben and the Banker’s Big Bubble for more on this topic)
What made so much sense for me about Kondrieff was how his theories answered a very simple question. Why was my generation so lucky? No provoked wars, no conscription, no social upheavals, no major economic crisis. The truth was we were born in early Summer and came of age in a sunny, deceptive Fall. We didn’t realize that Greenspan worked his magic by cooking the books. He changed how inflation and unemployment were calculated, giving the world the impression that our economy was much healthier than it was and at the same time turning his cartel of bankers into a mega powerful, ‘too big too fail’ band of thieves. He made money out of thin air, creating massive asset bubbles he called ‘froth’. It worked until it didn’t. His faithful protégé Bernanke is shooting the last bullets from the fiat gun in defense of his cartel, but they are bouncing off the enemy like tennis balls thrown by little girls.
The valiant Kondrieff who while even in prison didn’t stop writing or thinking, gave me the context, the historic sense of where we were, and what lie ahead.
A Liberal Conscience
The last Liberal Democratic hook in me was the Liberal Conscience. I was a terribly typical exemplar of this horrid phenomenon; the weak link in every left leaner the world over. Help the weak, feed the poor, give shelter to the homeless and aid the sick. It’s seemingly The Sermon on the Mount, the essence of Christianity, but rather it’s the pious right to allow us to feel superior. It’s in the fact the origin of slavery and every totalitarian regime every dreamed up. Don’t think, don’t act, I will do it for you but better.
What most impresses me with people is the amount of vitality, greed and ingenuity they have. Unleash it, respect it, let if fly and you have a free man finding his own unique way through life. The Liberal Conscience is a cowards scheme to control and manipulate. Those who wish to control what we think, what we say, what we do with our bodies and minds do not respect their fellow humans, they find them inferior, unworthy of making decisions and living with the consequences. People will do wonderful things and wonderfully stupid things, they will live, have their moments of glory as well as their times of despair, and they will finally die. It is not for us to put each other in cages, we are not zoo keepers we are men.
A trip to Eastern Europe finally removed the hook for good when I saw the enormous potential of people, and how it was squandered by those ‘who knew’ best. Only a man knows what is best for him, and only those that truly respect and love their fellow man give him the space and air to do his bidding. The Liberal Conscience is nothing more than jackboots disguised as penny loafers.
My taste in media had always been that of the quintessential liberal. NPR, The New Yorker, The New York Times, PBS, The Atlantic, and Harpers. Gradually, as I became more informed about the Fed and read Mearshiemer and Walt, I couldn’t help but notice the incredible amount of censorship and outright propaganda that these so called bastions of American journalism spewed. I watched Jimmy Carter and Mearshiemer and Walt get mauled when they should have become the driving force behind a complete overhaul of our foreign policy. I watched them write fluff pieces on Larry Summers and send correspondents to Tehran with the only intention of bringing back the message everyone wanted to hear.
Five major corporations control almost all the mainstream media in this country. NewsCorp, Gannet, TimeWarner, GE and the New York Times Company. From CNN to Fox, ABC to NBC, The New York Times to the Wall Street Journal, never a word you hear against the Fed or Israel. They have dummied down and obfuscated to such an extent that the vast majority of Americans are convinced that there is a major difference between the two Madison Avenue bubble heads: Sarah Palin and Barack Obama. Once Americans realize that the only difference between All Things Considered and Rush Limbaugh is the cars their listeners drive will they be able to call a spade a spade and demand change. They may have their differences about who can get married, mosques and birth certificates but you will never hear NPR, CNN, FOX, Glen Beck or the puppet de jour directly address why we are fighting the War in Iraq and preparing for one in Iran, or how the Fed is a cartel of bankers with a license to steal. Corporate media is simply a propaganda machine for the select few who have prostituted the Republic and turned it into a den of thieves and murderers.
The United States has become a cleptocracy parading itself as an oligarchy. But there is one thing the American people have up their sleeves, a birthright. While far from perfect, and with obvious mistakes especially regarding slavery, women and indigenous peoples, the Founding Fathers lived a moment of unique political enlightenment. They understood with rare clarity the danger that government posed, and created a Republic that let men live freely and restrained government with unprecedented vigor. The tree of liberty they planted bore abundant fruit, but the time has arrived to get out the sheers. The coming crisis, of which we have only felt the first tremors, will create an incredible opportunity for Americans to completely re-vamp their lives, the lives of their children, and possibly the future of the world by simply voting, en masse, for the Constitution that they thought they already had. The following is a potential agenda for a third party, radically Constitutional, unabashedly American.
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Debt and the Fed
The first reality that must be accepted is that the United States Government and its citizens will never be able to pay back the enormous amount of debt, public and private, that has been accumulated over the last 30 years. It is simply impossible. The country is bankrupt. Total US public debt, including unfunded liabilities, is over $60 trillion. The Federal Government has revenues in the $2.5 trillion range, and it is running a debt of about $1 trillion. In plain, American English; this dog don’t hunt. You don’t need a PHD from MIT to do the math. This of course doesn’t include private debt which brings the total to close to $90 trillion on a GDP of about $14 trillion. That is $300,000 for everyone man, woman and child in the United States. What is the solution? A debt jubilee.
We simply erase the hard drive and start over. What is created out of thin air, can be erased with the flick of mouse. Money is a store of value, and this debt does NOT represent real value, it has been invented. It is as simple as that. No shots are fired, no one dies, and no one starves. All cash, bank accounts, equity ownership and property rights are fully respected, we start over. Only those holding US Treasury Bonds will be paid a percentage of face value on the debt they hold, probably in the 30% range, but that calculation does need a PHD which I am unfortunately lacking.
Who will get the big haircut? Foreign governments who hold large stakes in US paper, but in return they will get a portion of their money back in ‘real money’, and a once again vibrant US economy. The other group to get a serious trim will be the banking cartel that organized this massive ponzi scheme, and they will be getting off very easy in the eyes of many.
The Fed is abolished as is fractional reserve banking. Banks will be refunded and become money agents, charging a spread on loans, as well as collecting fees for monetary services. The new currency will be based on a basket of commodities: oil, gold, silver and natural gas for example. Money supply will be increased only to accommodate GDP growth. Not a penny more. Legislation will be passed that will make deficit spending illegal and only possible with an 80% majority in both House and Senate in the case of a major emergency. Herman Daly writes extensively about this.
The Welfare State
For all its well intentioned origins, the welfare state must end. All citizens will be sent a check for the money they put into Social Security, with interest. A special fund will be created to maintain those citizens who are severely disable and absolutely need government assistance, and then the responsibility for those funds will be passed on to the States. The same will happen for Medicare and Medicaid, with funds set up and passed on to the States to accommodate those persons with severe needs. All other Federal agencies, HUD, the Department of Education, Health and Human Resources etc. will be shuttered. Americans will be free from the chains of debt, and from the intrusions of the Federal Government. Free to live their lives and face the opportunities and challenges life brings with the vitality and creativity that only liberty can offer.
The Federal Government will fund itself primarily with an income tax and a consumption tax. The tax code will be very simple. No taxes on the first $250,000, after that 50%. There will be no taxes on businesses or corporations, only on physical persons. Once the budget is set, a national VAT tax will be created to balance the budget. The VAT tax will be adjusted to meet the budgetary requirements of each new fiscal year. A reserve fund will be created for emergencies.
This will be a point of major contention for many but we must not get bogged down ANY dogmas. The tax code will have as its goal to foster small businesses and entrepreneurs, and limit the radical accumulation of wealth. The oligarchy we have created now has isolated power and opportunity in the hands of a select few. This tax code will open up the playing field and reign in the mega rich. No loopholes. Tax returns will have 5 lines. The IRS will be eliminated and a new National Tax Agency will be created to carry out the implementation of the new tax system.
American foreign policy must be an extension of the core rights and beliefs we hold dear. We will treat other nations with the same respect and dignity we treat our own citizens.
The United States spends more on military spending than the next 19 countries combined. We must immediately relinquish the Empire. Within one year we must close all foreign military bases and bring home all soldiers. A major foreign policy statement will be made. In the case of the Middle East, we will eliminate all foreign aid to Israel and Egypt, announce total neutrality in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and end any special relationship with Israel. We will remove ourselves from NATO as well as all other military treaties/alliances. The United States will become a bastion of neutrality. We will not involve ourselves in the internal politics of other nations and our military will only be used when WE are threatened as a nation. All of our major allies have the wherewithal to defend themselves. We will respect each nation in the world in the same way we respect each citizen of our nation.
The Alphabet Soup
The CIA, FBI, DEA, ATF, NSA, Homeland Security and any others I missed will be eliminated. The United States will renounce spycraft and espionage. Military intelligence will be handled by the existing intelligence departments of the various branches of the military.
The United States will unilaterally renounce assassination and torture of any person in the world, regardless of citizenship. A new Federal Police force will be created to enforce those crimes, and only those crimes, that a literal reading of the Constitution deems necessary. All other police activities will responsibility of the States.
With the abandonment of the Federal Welfare state, it will be up the States to decide whether they want to re-create those functions or not. Most likely, some will, and some won’t. Each state, depending on the will of the citizens of that state, can create the type of society they deem fit, and fund it as they desire. This will add diversity to the country and create healthy differences that will allow the market to decide where and under what type of governmental umbrella skilled workers and industry best thrive.
The war on drugs is a war on personal freedom that only perpetuates itself by creating massive drug cartels while turning our neighbors to the south into narco-states. (See One War We Don’t Need for more on this topic).
All Federal drug laws will be repealed, and all non-violent drug offenders detained in Federal penitentiaries will be released. It will be up to the States to decide what if any drug laws they want to have or not have.
Caveats: Campaign Financing, the Environment, Education and Space
Campaign Finance Reform
One of the most insidious threats to our Republic has come from the influence of big money on politicians. Enormous amounts of money are needed to compete, and as in sports with performance enhancing drugs, campaign contributions have warped our political system and turned elected officials into the little more than messenger boys for the mega rich.
This is a thorny issue because it runs up against First Amendment rights, but nonetheless it needs to be addressed. What happens on the State and local level should obviously be decided on that level. But for all Federal elections, a completely new system of campaign finance reform needs to be enacted.
First, an official election period needs to be established, 6 months for example. At that point, an official list of candidates must be created, and an online ballot held. The top ten candidates would receive Federal Funds, and from that time on, that is all the money they would be able to spend on their campaigns. A second cut off would occur at 3 months, with only 5 campaigns funded, and the final cut off would come at on month, with only two candidates. At each cutoff, the eligible candidates would receive new funding. This system would be paid for with a tax on advertising. A series of debates would be established and participation in these debates would be mandatory in order to receive funding.
This system would level the playing field after the ten person cutoff, beyond which, the candidates would be judged not by how much exposure they have, but by the quality of the exposure. Advertisers know the importance of reach and frequency, in effect, this system would give each finalist the same frequency and reach, the winner would then be judged on the quality of the content.
This system could have Constitutional implications that might require an Amendment process, but considering the importance of it, if needed, it should be embarked upon.
Energy and Taxes
The new Federal Government will probably be less than a third of the size it is today. But there is one challenge facing the world that only a Federal government can tackle, and that is the environment. History has shown that human greed will exhaust resources and contaminate the environment far beyond any point of repair and certain constraints must be implemented to assure that we don’t destroy our planet or exhaust necessary commodities.
The Federal Government will create a new Energy Agency. The Energy Agency will have a twofold purpose, first to investigate new technologies and fund with seed capital new clean energy ventures. It will also create clean energy installations that will directly feed the grid. It will have a goal of having the country run off 100% clean renewable energy. It will be funded by a tax on non-renewable energy sources, primarily oil, coal and natural gas. While this will skew market dynamics to a certain extent, these taxes will also put a ‘realistic’ cost on fossil fuels by taking into account the contamination costs and depletion costs.
The ‘new’ EPA will have as its goal to convert unsustainable economic activity into sustainable ones. From agriculture and manufacturing to retail, all practices must be studied for their environmental impact, and those practices that are unsustainable must be taxed to create competitive advantages for those following a sustainable model. This of course is a slippery slope, but it is a path we must endure if we are to create a healthy long-term economic model. For example, are there re-usable alternatives to plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and plastic bags? If so, tax the practices that contaminate so the cost of the product reflects its true cost, not just the cost of production. Herman Daly has also written extensively on this topic.
Education must be an entirely a State and local endeavor. Nonetheless, as a nation and a Republic we have in interest in at least setting a standard for how future voting citizens are formed and educated. The proposed system would be a national test for all 18 year olds that covered all the major areas of study: math, science, philosophy, history, economics, art, music, political science, literature, languages, the environment etc. Taking the test would be completely voluntary, but the incentive would be full university scholarships for the top 10% of participants.
A commission would be set up, an Academy so to speak, of cultural, political and business leaders to create the curriculum of the test. Hopefully this commission and the test itself would create great national debates on the key concepts we consider relevant as a Republic. This would be funded entirely with a Federal Tax on advertising. (See We Need a Standardized Exam….for more on this topic)
It’s logical that we continue to explore the Universe from a Federal level, as well as in cooperation with other nations. The exploration of Space helped define us as a nation, and it needs to be invigorated and supported so that it may continue to inspire Americans to seek peaceful adventure and exploration in the Universe.
While the military budget will be cut probably by around two thirds, a portion of that should be re-directed toward a peaceful space program.
Conclusion: Radicals and the Founding Fathers
Many will read this and immediately exclaim that it’s radical, dangerous, or fringe. It’s fascinating what people, after years of mass media indoctrination, find radical. Take for example the issue of the Cordoba House in Manhattan. This a completely fabricated issue to drive an agenda. What American would want to live in a country where you would have to show correct religious credentials before you could buy land and build on it?
On the other hand, where is the national debate on AIPAC, an organization that has immense power over our legislature and played a major role in the buildup to the War in Iraq? It’s fascinating to see how as the last combat troops leave Iraq we are not hotly debating why and how we got entangled in this war, but discussing whether someone can build a cultural center (Muslim of course) in Manhattan.
Another new hot topic will be whether to keep or let run out the Bush tax cuts. That’s akin to discussing whether to clip the nails of someone rushed to the emergency room after a major car accident. They tell us, look at the nails, not the broken limbs.
An interesting thought experiment is to imagine Thomas Jefferson, if we could magically transport him to the current period and get him completely up to date on all the issues facing the Nation. What we he have to say about our foreign adventures, our media, The Fed, the national debt and our alphabet soup agencies?
Once people regain their senses they will see that what is radical and fringe is our current political and economic situation. As a nation and a Republic we have completely lost north and the confusion wasn’t brought on randomly. The time has arrived to begin calling things for what they are. No more double speak. We must demand that our media and politicians address the problems of the nation as a whole, not just the special interests of a few uber-rich manipulators. We MUST re-establish the Republic.