Saturday, August 01, 2009


545 vs. 300,000,000
Republicans & Democrats Alike - No One Is Blameless


Charlie Reese has been a journalist for 49 years. Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

. You and I don't propose a federal budget, the President does.
.. You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations, the House of Representatives does.
. You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
. You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
. You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does..

One hundred Senators, 435 Congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices, 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country..

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.

Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly back to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.
If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it's because they want them in IRAQ .
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to:
. bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish;
. to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject;
. to regulators, to whom they give power to regulate and from whom they can take away this power.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they took an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses -- us!

Provided voters have the gumption to manage their own employees, we should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

What you do with this article now that you have read it is entirely up to you, though you have several choices:

1. You can send this to everyone in your address book and hope "they" do something about it.
You can agree to "vote against" everyone that is currently in office, knowing that the process will take several years

and ask your representative to vote in TERM LIMITS.
3. You can decide to "run for office" yourself and agree to do the job properly.
4. Lastly, you can sit back and do nothing or re-elect the current bunch of selfish professional politicians.

It is our choice.

JIM'S RESPONSE: Nah. I blame us- we the people. Any time a person running for office has dared to tell the truth- in 1980, when George H. W. Bush derided Ronald Reagan's proposals to increase defense spending and cut taxes, while claiming that the "Laffer curve" would magically cause the budget to balance, he called it "voodoo economics." Reagan beat Bush for the Republican nomination, Bush then got on board (no more cries of "voodoo economics" from him even when he ran for President again and won in 1988), and the deficits went up sharply during the Reagan Administration after relatively low annual deficits (see below) under Carter.

In 1984, when Walter Mondale ran against Reagan and said in a national debate that the only way to balance the budget and end the deficits which had burgeoned under Reagan was to raise taxes-- "he won't tell you this; but I will" is my recollection of what Mondale said-- he lost every state in the country except Minnesota.

In 1992, Bush the elder lost after he had made his infamous "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge, then discovered during actual governing that it would be irresponsible not to raise taxes in the wake of unexpected expenditures on such frivolities as an unnecessary invasion of Panama, the S & L bailout (after Reagan years of deregulation and "go go" banking practices), a Wall Street meltdown as a result ("greed is good" was the mantra of Michael Douglas' character in the movie, "Wall Street" which, like the movie "The China Syndrome" which I attended the night before the Three Mile Island nuclear near disaster, eerily appeared at the same time as the great crisis hit), and an unnecessary war in Kuwait (you have to read the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie's remarks to Saddam Hussein just weeks before Hussein launched his invasion in 1990 under the mistaken belief that the U.S. would do nothing and let him annex Kuwait to Iraq).

In 2000 when George W. Bush said that 1+1+1=2 (those were trillions) and that he could increase defense spending and give away the surplus (back to the taxpayers) and keep the budget balanced (we were running a surplus for the first time in decades at that point and actually contemplated paying off the national debt), he got away with it, voters ignored or applauded Bush's apparent total lack of intellectual capacity to govern responsibly, and he won (well, maybe) the election.

In 2004, Bush promised that by the end of his second term- 2008- he would cut the deficit (not the debt, just the annual amount by which outgo exceeded income) in half. He won the election, and deficits went up to historic levels.

By the end of 2008, this country faced an economic meltdown not seen since the Great Depression, and the powers that be said that deficit spending on a massive scale was the only way to save the country- then instead of pouring the money into jobs programs, mortgage relief, and infrastructure repair, most of it went to banks- who ending up paying out millions in bonuses for almost destroying the country.

Here's a few facts on the budget deficits over the years to put this all in perspective:


( as it happened, Ronald Reagan was far and away the worst president at deficit reduction and budget discipline- and he had a Republican Senate his first six years, 1981-1986, so you can't blame a Democratic Congress for the out of control budget deficits and tripling of the national debt. But in sheer numbers, George W. Bush added $5 trillion, mostly through his incompetence, again with a Republican Congress- both houses, his first six years, 2001-2006, except for a brief year- 2001-2002, when the Senate was run by Democrats.)

When discussing the relative impact of Republican and Democratic presidents on spending and deficit and debt reduction (deficit being the amount that spending exceeds income in one year, while the national debt is the total of all amounts owed by the Federal Government at any given moment), it is helpful to have the facts, courtesy of the United States Treasury Department. As the late Senator Patrick Moynihan famously said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions- but not their own facts. Here are the facts. You can draw your own conclusions:

When Jimmy Carter came into office January 20, 1977, the national debt was about $620 billion. When he left office and Ronald Reagan took office January 20,1981, the national debt was under one trillion dollars (about $907 billion, an increase of $287 billion, or 46%, which was an 11.5% increase each year in office). When President Reagan left office in 1989 and his vice president, George H. W. Bush succeeded him, the national debt had more than tripled to $2.8 trillion dollars ($2.1 trillion additional debt in 8 years- a 230% increase, or about 29% per year). When George H. W. Bush's term ended and Bill Clinton took office January 20, 1993, our total national debt was $4.2 trillion ( $1.4 trillion more, an increase of 50% in 4 years, 12.5% per year). When President Clinton left office and George W. Bush took office on January 20, 2001, our total national debt was $5,727,776,738,304.64 (rounded to $5.7 trillion- an increase of 36%, about 4.5% per year). When President Bush left office January 20, 2009, it was $10,626,877,048,913.08 (a $5 trillion increase to $10.7 trillion- an 88% increase, 11% increase per year).

The last four full years of Clinton's presidency, from September 1996 to September of 2000, the national debt increased from $5.3 trillion to $5.7 trillion, a $400 billion increase ($100 billion per year), a less than 10% total increase in the national debt during those years (2.5% per year). In terms of slowing the increase in the national debt, those were the best four years out of the last 32 years.

So, at the end of the day, it's us. We the People. We pretty much get the government we deserve. If our representative votes against common sense and fiscal responsibility but can brag at election time that he got us a few government projects built in the state/district, and he can vow to lock up every criminal forever (regardless of cost) and buy billion dollar boats and planes that the military does not want and does not need- then we have no one to blame but ourselves when we ignore their lack of character, their history in office, and vote them back in (tough on crime! strong national defense! cut all of your taxes!- now that's fiscal responsibility, American style.) It's kind of like every election day the nation gets drunk or stoned and then wakes up the next morning to realize who we brung home last night- and we're stuck with them for two, four, or six years. Then we do it all over again.



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