When Benjamin Franklin was asked at the close of the Constitutional Convention, "What have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” His answer was, "A republic, if you can keep it." What has come out of the debt ceiling talks is not a republic, but tyranny on the installment plan.
We have Two Americas, to borrow John Edwards' stolen slogan. The America of the worker and the America of the government. These two Americas are on a collision course. The debt economy will destroy the America of the worker and leave only the America of the government.
The same thing already happened in Europe. The EU put the eggs of the state into one giant basket. The spending went on and now it's up to the stronger economies to pick up the tab. But the stronger economies have their limits too. Germany can bail out Portugal and Greece, but sooner or later someone will have to bail out Germany.
And who will bail out America? Forget China. The Chinese economy piggybacks on our own. The Peeps aren't funding our economic disaster out of the goodness of their hearts. We're their ladder up. And the prospect of that ladder being sawed off by irresponsible policies frightens them more than anything else. If we go down, then China goes down with us. If Europe goes down, then Russia goes down with it.
The global economy is integrated. The dollar is a global currency. And American companies are the bricks and beams of globalism. For the Third World, America is a major market. For Europe, it's big brother. Still an isolated American collapse might be survivable, but it won't be isolated. The trends bringing down America, are also taking down Europe and Japan. So when the house collapses, everything goes.
The problem began when social welfare was used to buy political support and domestic stability. Then foreign aid was employed to do the same thing internationally. Behind these two rivers was a water empire run by the vast apparatus of government tasked with dispensing the money. The men and women who could turn on the tap or turn it off. The more the money flowed, the more their influence grew.
Post WW2 the choices were easy. Widespread death and destruction in Europe made reconstruction inevitable. On both sides of the Atlantic, millions of men returned to work. A wartime economy went back into its domestic mode. Guns were traded in for butter. The war had goosed a worldwide economic depression into an artificial debt funded boom. And post-war, there were fewer men and more jobs. Booming industrial machines looking for something to do crank out.
A wounded Europe turned to more socialism for social stability. Free social services and American GI's to keep the enemy out. And global trade under the Pax Americana. And so long as profits kept growing, the whole thing could be paid for.
But while revenues fluctuate, spending rises. Once you tie social stability to social spending and international stability to international spending-- pulling the plug means taking responsibility for social unrest and global conflicts. Since the problems never really go away, and if they do are replaced with new ones by those who have an interest in perpetuating spending, more money has to be thrown at them.
It's bread and circuses in reverse. A scam pulled off by the insiders who benefit, using the outsiders as their fronts, and everyone else as their cash cows.
Let's filter this through the Wall Street model. The American people are investors in a government that promises to pay out more to them than it takes in, through various direct and indirect benefits. The money is invested in various funds, such as welfare, defense, Social Security and the environment. But what if most of that money isn't actually invested in those funds, but are instead being pocketed by the broker and about a million of his friends?
This is what the economy of the other America looks like. Government America. And this is the economy that is consuming most of our economy.
Every decade has added another layer of complexity to it. More special interest groups, more lobbyists, community organizations, unions, consultants and consultants of consultants (yes they exist). And that adds more to the bottom line. Everyone has to get paid. And everyone does at the expense of the national debt.
Financial magazines gasp at Russia's culture of corruption, goggle in disbelief at officials openly asking for fur coats or the cost of a meeting with Putin. But we have a tamer version of the same system. We no longer have the grotesque 19th century corruption where everything was for sale, and government service was synonymous with bribes. What we have in its place is honest graft. A system that's far more expensive, but looks much cleaner.
We don't slip money to someone under the table for a government job. Instead we pay union dues. And the unions pay out money to friendly politicians. Who recommend people they know for government jobs. See isn't that clean?
You don't bring a briefcase with cash to a meeting with your congressman (unless he's the trashy sort). No, you hold a fundraiser in your house with some of your friends, who happen to be in your industry, and then you raise that same amount of money. Do it enough times and he might just be grateful enough to give your industry a grant, bail it out or just straight up make buying your product mandatory.
Rig elections? Why bother, when you can just rig entire districts, fill them up with a minority, keep that minority on the economic ropes, and make it clear that if they wander off the plantation, the aid gets cut off.
Raise taxes? Goodness no. People hate that. Instead you create environmental subsidies and regulations that companies have to pay to environmental consultants and green tech firms, who just happen to be your buddies and donors. And the companies grin and pass on the taxes to consumers.
This is what the economy of Government America looks like. It's an insider's economy. A parasite whose pile of debt is eating up everything in sight. The end result of this isn't Mao, it's south of the border. Economic and political instability, high crime and left wing and right wing dictators warring with each other. Gated communities for the rich, slums for the poor and a middle class barely hanging on.
The insiders don't have a problem with this. It's how they already see things. Their Two Americas is already here.
Their children go to private schools. Yours go to public schools. They live in segregated neighborhoods. They live off the inside track in big government. They know who to pass money to or get money from at the right time. If they need something done, they don't go through the system, they call in a favor. The law applies to them, but more erratically than it does to you. Every now and then one of them goes down in a big way. But there are countless more to take his place.
They are in their own way a meritocracy. Their ranks are drawn from the best and the brightest. The graduates of the best universities. The smartest people out there who are either dumb enough to believe or smart enough not to let on that they don't.
Like every corrputocracy, Government America is incompetent and deep in debt. It's also turning to the usual tactics, squeezing some of the rich, manipulating the currency and distracting the public. But the problem is just too big. The global economy runs through America. It can't afford this irresponsibility.
The insiders don't care how much they spend. They no longer think of the private economy as anything but a drain on the public economy. An obstacle that prevents them from maximizing public sector revenues. They don't care about debt either. They are clever enough to know that the global economy is unreal. And stupid enough to think that it means nothing they do matters. That it's just numbers being moved around.
The emperor is deep in debt and the crisis is approaching. The democrats think that the solution to the crisis is to increase revenues. Their only focus is to harvest more money, whether it's by borrowing or by taxing. They have no concern for the larger economic picture. If everything implodes, then they get a chance at creating a socialist republic. If it doesn't, they can keep on spending.