WHAT EXPLAINS AMERICA’S DECLINE? — PART 1

United States

Why I Retain Some Hope For My Country

Why do I retain some hope for my country? I am not an especially brilliant individual. Therefore, if I can understand how we have been swindled, I think most people capable of eventually reaching a similar understanding. However, I have no idea how or when the American people will reach that understanding. I just fear we are running out of time — losing the opportunity to peacefully recover the free country we once enjoyed.

What is the best evidence that Americans are slowly figuring out they have been swindled? That’s the Tea Party Revolution, that spontaneous uprising the began in the latter days of the administration of President George W. Bush. When Bush decided he needed hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out Wall Street, the truth finally began to dawn on millions of Americans. Our leaders no longer respect our Constitution or our nation’s traditions.

Does every member of the Tea Party Revolution think like me? No. Some undoubtedly have a better understanding the problems facing the country. Others just want to protect their Medicare and Social Security benefits from the ravages of a runaway, big-spending government. Many have yet to see the erosion of our Christian heritage as the core issue. Nonetheless, the Tea Party is united in one important respect. All understand that our government has become too big. All recognize big government as a threat to the rights of the citizens of this nation.

In previous series, I have written about:

Unfortunately, those posts missed an important concept.  Why? I did not understand that concept well enough to put it into words. Fortunately, when I read A Man Taking Care of His Wife and Daughter Is Now an “Alternative Lifestyle”? by Biltrix, an idea began to form.

In his post, derided a news story that treated a man taking care of his daughter as an “alternative lifestyle.” Here is how I commented on that post.

Consider this expression: the corporate mass media. Why would I use that expression?

What is a corporation? A corporation is a government creation. Unfortunately, in this era of big government, corporations no longer serve the same purpose they once had. In past, governments authorized corporations so that private citizens would have the legal means to amass capital for business projects. Now, with so much regulation and so many tax “incentives” corporations have become instruments of government policy. In fact, their survival often depends upon incestuous relationships with government officials.

So why does the corporate mass media twist and spin the news the way it does? Perhaps what is more amazing is that the news media retains any objectivity whatsoever. (from here)

When we think of government, we usually think of departments and agencies that call themselves departments of the government or government agencies. Because they seem so ordinary, we forget the incestuous ties that exist between so-called private collectives and local, state, and the federal government. In our country every type of organization now finds itself the subject of intense government regulation. If nothing else, our tax collectors demand to know how each and every organized entity collects and spends its money. Consider this ever expanding list that just covers nonprofits.

According to the IRS Publication 557†, in the Organization Reference Chart section, the following is an exact list of 501(c) organization types and their corresponding descriptions.[1]

501(c)(1) — Corporations Organized Under Act of Congress (including Federal Credit Unions)
501(c)(2) — Title Holding Corporation for Exempt Organization[2]
501(c)(3) — Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations
501(c)(4) — Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees
501(c)(5) — Labor, Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations
501(c)(6) — Business Leagues, Chambers of Commerce, Real Estate Boards, etc.
501(c)(7) — Social and Recreational Clubs
501(c)(8) — Fraternal Beneficiary Societies and Associations
501(c)(9) — Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Associations
501(c)(10) — Domestic Fraternal Societies and Associations
501(c)(11) — Teachers’ Retirement Fund Associations
501(c)(12) — Benevolent Life Insurance Associations, Mutual Ditch or Irrigation Companies, Mutual or Cooperative Telephone Companies, etc.
501(c)(13) — Cemetery Companies
501(c)(14) — State-Chartered Credit Unions, Mutual Reserve Funds
501(c)(15) — Mutual Insurance Companies or Associations
501(c)(16) — Cooperative Organizations to Finance Crop Operations
501(c)(17) — Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Trusts
501(c)(18) — Employee Funded Pension Trust (created before June 25, 1959)
501(c)(19) — Post or Organization of Past or Present Members of the Armed Forces
501(c)(20) — Group Legal Services Plan Organizations
501(c)(21) — Black lung Benefit Trusts
501(c)(22) — Withdrawal Liability Payment Fund
501(c)(23) — Veterans Organization (created before 1880)
501(c)(24) — Section 4049 ERISA Trusts
501(c)(25) — Title Holding Corporations or Trusts with Multiple Parents
501(c)(26) — State-Sponsored Organization Providing Health Coverage for High-Risk Individuals
501(c)(27) — State-Sponsored Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Organization
501(c)(28) — National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust
501(c)(29) — Qualified Nonprofit Health Insurance Issuers

(from here, but here is the IRS table)

What is the point? Organizations that work with politicians — that establish political connections with the government — receive special benefits and competitive advantages when they do so. How bad is that? Think about this question. What if an organization, even a religious organization, has to compromise its values to work with the government? Doesn’t our government reward them for doing so or punish them when they refuse?

So what will this series be about?

Do I have the answers to all these questions? Not really. The problem is more complicated than I know. I don’t really see the overthrow of our nation as a devious plot by masterminds. I just see a society slipped loose from its mooring — drifting further and further from the Truths it once held dear.

30 thoughts on “WHAT EXPLAINS AMERICA’S DECLINE? — PART 1

  1. My own view, Tom, is that God is not particularly mired in fine point disputes of constitutional law in the US of A. I doubt sincerely that God will judge people for being on one side or the other of a legal dispute over the meaning of particular phrases in the American Constitution.

    I’m old enough to have witnessed climate change in North America. I have a lot of friends my age and younger in Scandinavia who have witnessed it also. I haven’t curled up enough with the science to have a position on whether I think Man can or should try to do anything about it. I’m leaning to just going with the flow and having some confidence that things will swing back in a colder direction prior to mass extinction.

    What’s your question? If it is what I think it is, I’ve answered it several times without charging you fees or tuition. That puts you in a special, preferred category. The Hamiltonian, Federalist interpretation of the Constitution prevails. The only answer that controls reality is the one given by the Supreme Court. Social Security is constitutional. Medicare, a fortiorari, is also. Thankfully for you and me, the Founders have an amendment process. If you think Social Security or Medicare should be declared unconstitutional, push through your amendment at the earliest opportunity.

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  2. I think you’re mixing up weather with climate, Tom. I don’t think there’s any vaguely literate person who doubts that the earth is in a warming trend. The data are conclusive. How long it will last, what causes it, what can or should be done about it are the real questions.

    The Obama Administration has been more aggressive on deportations than any Administration in my adult lifetime (which extends well back into the 1960s). What is your reference point for the statement that this Administration has an “obvious desire” to have as many illegal immigrants as they can get [smiley face aside]?

    I’m not sure what your premise is on the Constitutional issue. But to the extent I can discern it, yes, it’s wrong. There are a number of elements in the Constitution that convey general powers to the federal government to execute its assigned role in the Republic. Were that not the case, we wouldn’t have federal highways, air traffic control, etc. – anything that didn’t exist in 1789. Challenges to Social Security bit the dust decades ago. It’s here to stay. That doesn’t mean there might not be policy reasons to re-structure it legislatively, but there is no constitutional issue about its validity as a lawful function of the Federal Government.

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    1. scout – According to the geologic record there have been periods where the earth got warmer and periods where the earth cooled. The conclusion is obvious. Human civilization has repeatedly filled the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and then collapsed as the oceans rose and flooded the world. That apparently explains Noah’s flood. 😉

      Frankly, there has been little change in the earth temperature in recent years. The data collected with satellite observations may or may not show a small change, but what it means depends upon politics of the viewer. If you want to amuse yourself, google global warming satellite temperature data.

      Do you think you have seen global warming? You haven’t. We all tend to think our point-of-view is somehow sacred, but it is a mistake in logic to broadly generalize our own experiences. Do you know what a “heat island” is? If not, I suggest you google that too.

      What happens to all the carbon dioxide we generate? The oceans turn it into rocks like limestone.

      Here are some links that explain the Obama administration’s immigration stats.
      http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/19/politics/deportation-record/

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/370784/obama-administration-inflating-deportation-numbers-andrew-stiles#!

      http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/66805.html

      http://blog.heritage.org/2014/03/03/lamar-smith-dhs-chief-white-house-inflating-deportation-numbers/

      You don’t want to answer my question? Too confusing? You enjoy obfuscating? Shrug.

      Because what goes around comes around, even the people who think they are benefiting from pretending the Constitution says something it does not will end up worse off. Even nothing else, God will judge them for knowingly defending such fraud.

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  3. Of those four specific points, two are hard to quantify. But what are the data on deportations under Bush v. Obama? What are the temperature data on the global climate? (I happen to be one of those who have no doubts that we are in a warming phase – the data seem very clear on that point – but doubt that there is much that man can do to reverse that).

    Of course, I am not saying that our leaders must make adjustments to the Constitution. where did you get that idea? I’m saying that it has sufficient flexibility to accommodate itself to new technologies and events that amendments are rarely necessary. Which is why I oppose a new constitutional convention. I view that as a radical liberal idea that conservatives need to oppose strenuously. Surely you, as a self-described “conservative”, are with me on that point.

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    1. Scout – After this winter, you still take global warming seriously? Given the plainly obvious desire of the Obama administration to have as many illegal immigrants in this country as they can get….. 😆

      There is plenty of data available global warming, and there are editorials out there on how the Obama administration is skewing the immigration stats.

      What is so complicated about my question? Is the basic premise wrong? Isn’t the Constitution a charter that authorizes the Federal Government with certain, specified powers. No? Then where does the Constitution authorize Social Security and Medicare?

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  4. There’s hardly a politician anywhere who likes to call taxes taxes. No surprise there.

    I’ve already instructed you at some length, at least for this medium, on the intent of the Founders to draft a document that bestowed sufficient general powers to not become ossified after 1790 by changes in events or technologies. Without sufficient general powers, the Constitution would expire every five to ten years. The Founders expressly addressed this aspect of the document. Medicare and Social Security have both been found to be within the constitutional powers of the national government.

    As I’ve reminded you before, there are many things that are lawfully provided by the national government that were totally unmentioned an unknown by the Founders. They knew that would happen.

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    1. Thank you for your instruction and your exhibitions of the art sophistry. I have especially enjoyed watching you display your impressive rhetorical abilities as you repeatedly dodge a straightforward question: where does the Constitution authorize Social Security and Medicare?

      BTW — This statement clashes directly with both the 9th and 10th amendments.

      As I’ve reminded you before, there are many things that are lawfully provided by the national government that were totally unmentioned an unknown by the Founders. They knew that would happen.

      Nonetheless, I think I understand why you keep saying our leaders must make such adjustments to the Constitution. If we repeat a lie enough times, it magically becomes the truth. Thus:
      — the globe is warming
      — the Obama administration is deporting more illegal immigrants than the Bush Administration
      — if you like your healthcare you can keep it.
      — if the Israelis give in to a two-state solution, they will have peace, not extermination
      — and so forth

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  5. I doubt that anyone saw Social Security or Medicare as programs “foisted upon the elderly.” If they were “foisted” on anyone, it was the young. I’m sure that the elderly demographic largely welcomed both programs. My earlier comment was loosely worded. The “contract” I spoke of there was made with the People, some of who were elderly and some of whom expected to become elderly and thus were willing to put aside money in the present in expectation that the program would also be there to benefit them when they became elderly.

    We’ve been over the Constitutional issues before. Both programs are constitutionally valid. You’re confusing constitutionality with your concerns over the mechanics and policy wisdom of the programs. It’s a fair argument that Social Security’s founding arithmetic has radically changed from when it was a system of many workers funding benefits for a few retirees, as opposed to the current situation where contributors and beneficiaries exist in almost equal numbers. Perhaps there is a better way. Your proposals would be of great interest, at least to me.

    But the concept that there is a societal benefit of providing for retirement and medical support for the elderly is probably still widely held in the Republic. How we go about it is a matter that can be thrashed through in the political process.

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    1. Young or elderly now given a choice, there are plenty of folks who would not pay the Social Security Tax that judges called a tax, but its proponents wanted us to believe is something else (Where have we heard that one before?).

      The Constitution is a charter that authorizes the Federal Government with certain, specified powers. Where does the Constitution authorize Social Security and Medicare?

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