Saving The Economy: What Would The Founding Fathers Do?
Current State of the Economy
At the moment, our economy is in the tube. We are over taxed and unrepresented. We are over-regulated, under-informed and losing ground day by day. Freedom has become an strange dictionary word that hardly anyone understands, and most people are unsure of just what to do as they sit and watch the government spend away our lives into oblivion.
So what is a person to do? How can we save the economy, our lives and our liberty?
I'm not sure what the exact answer is to that question, but I thought it might be interesting to sit and ponder what the founding fathers might have done in this situation. Especially since it was a situation similar to the one we are in now, the prompted the founding fathers to fight for revolution.
Change the Tax System
"That the most productive system of finance will always be the least burdensome."
If the least burdensome system of finance is the most productive, then we are certainly one of the least productive societies currently. Our financial system is screwed up because the government must tax everyone and every business to the hilt. Then they must put more taxes on different products and services. Then they tax the tax returns we get after we've paid all our dues!
This has to stop. In order to save our economy and our freedom, we need to open up the system and make it much less burdensome on everyone. I would imagine this could be done, by having a general income tax of 10% or less per person. I don't think corporations should be considered "people", but if they are, then they should also be taxed in this way. No discounts or excuses for anyone, but also no property taxes, business taxes or any of the other dozens of taxes that are levied on everyone. One small simple tax that gets the basics covered.
I know that there are billions of excuses for why we need higher taxes, but none of them are valid, all of them are overburdensome and they all create more poverty amongst every citizen. The current system makes it so that no one can do anything without the governments hand in their pockets, and only the rich can keep those same hands away.
Upon creating an income tax of this nature, a balance should also be created, so that no one in the government should ever have any power to increase the income tax in anyway. Which would prevent the abuse of such a situation.
By changing the tax system in this way, every person would be better equipped to seek their own fortunes - whether big or small. This would open up the chance for entrepreneurs to create more jobs for everyone, and make it so that no one would have to rely on the government for employment. With Big Brother out of the way, and only one general tax, you could earn your way in any way which you're capable of.
End Foreign Alliances
"Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world."
"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government."
Currently, we spend over $25,439,000,000 on Foreign Aid that is distributed not according to those who really need it most, but according to those that will return the benefit the most. We spend more than $300 Million per day in Afghanistan. We have given Isreal more than $200 Billion in loans, aid, military and political support. Which doesn't include the value of the military research and arms we have also given them. We gave $1,795,000,000 to Egypt. $698,000,000 to Pakistan. $558,000,000 to Columbia. And the list goes on for each country out there that our government seeks political or military support from.
Shortly after America won the war of independence, Britain came a knocking for the money that they had wasted in trying to prevent our nation from attaining it's freedom. Since then, we have continually paid and ever increasing amount of money to Foreign Debt, which is now more commonly known as Public Debt. Currently, under Obama, we pay more than $14 Trillion dollars to this foreign debt, and it's only going to get larger unless something changes.
Our alliances might seem prudent, but in all actuality, they take away from our freedoms and drive us right into slavery. The debts are paid to the Federal Reserve and every time we can't pay the most impossible amounts, the reserve borrows more money on our behalf.
The only way to change this, is to break our ties with foreign alliances. We don't need them. These alliances have tied us financially and physically to other nations and will bring about the end to our freedom and economy if allowed to continue. We can already see this happening through the ever increasing debt that has led us to be puppets for other countries.
So what would the founding fathers do? I speculate that they would call off any ties to other governments and then prepare for non-interventionist defense. We wouldn't make as many enemies as you might imagine, and in fact it would probably start a revolution around the world for other nations who also wish to be free from the bounds of foreign debt.
As a peaceful nation, we need only be friendly to all other nations, not to have alliances with them.
Lower The Debt Ceiling and the Budget
"But with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years."
~Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789
Right now, the debt our government are acrewing, equals out to more money then can be paid by even our whole nation. There are maybe 20 or 30 super rich folks that could even make a dent in the current federal debt. How can this be so?
For the average person, you cannot get a credit card, rent an apartment or get a home loan unless you make at least 4 times the amount needed for regular payments. So how is it that we are each required to be so frugal, yet we allow our government to spend away to the hilt?
Right now our congress is currently arguing over which way they will increase the debt ceiling. Sure they wave their fists and talk about lowering spending by $1 for every $1 spent, but that still equals increasing the spending limit, and it still increases the amount of time it would take to pay off that debt. Right now, because of all the wars and Obamacare, we already owe so much that our grandchildren will still be paying it off!
We don't need to figure out a way to raise the debt ceiling, we need to find the ways in which to lower the ceiling, the budget and the debt. It can be done and there are plenty of ways. The problem is in getting our government to do what is just.
"Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them"
Lower Salaries to the Highest Public Servants
"They are of the People, and return again to mix with the People, having no more durable preeminence than the different Grains of Sand in an Hourglass. Such an Assembly cannot easily become dangerous to Liberty. They are the Servants of the People, sent together to do the People's Business, and promote the public Welfare; their Powers must be sufficient, or their Duties cannot be performed. They have no profitable Appointments, but a mere Payment of daily Wages, such as are scarcely equivalent to their Expences; so that, having no Chance for great Places, and enormous Salaries or Pensions, as in some Countries, there is no triguing or bribing for Elections."
~Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to George Whatley, May 23, 1785
Public servants were always meant to come from the same breed and stock as ordinary Americans. Though many hoped that they may be the wisest of common people. Either way, wisdom and wealth do not always go hand in hand, and it is all to often that wealth corrupts wisdom.
One way that we could certainly help the economy, is to lower the salaries of our highest paid public servants. Govenors, senators, congressmen and women. Everyone in the white house, especially the president and his administration. They are all well over paid, and it's time we made sure the most important people in our republic are not there because of the pay. Though it's not a perfect plan, it would help to dull down the blade of corruption through those looking to make their wages off of tax payers. Plus, it would save a heck of a lot of money.
Annual Salary for:
The President: $400,000 yr (which doesn't include his expense account)
Vice President: $221,100 per year
Former Presidents: Over $300,000 per year
Former First Ladies: $20,000 per year
Speaker of the House: $212,000 per year
Minority & Majority Leaders: $183,500 per year (each)
Senators & Representatives: $165,200 per year
State Governors: Their salaries vary from $1 to $206,000 but the average is $125,000
So let's do the math... For a four year seat as president, we pay $1,600,000 and it would be $3,200,000 for two terms. Then as a former president, we pay at least $150,000 per year for 10 years, plus $150,000 expense account. That's $300,000 per year for at least 10 years, not including what the former first lady would make, which would be at least $3,000,000.
For the vice president, we pay $884,400 for a four year term. The speaker of the house can be reelected as many times as he or she is favorable, but for the sake of argument, their term is 2 years. So for a two year spout, we pay $424,000. For the minority and majority leaders, we pay a combined total of $734,000 per two years.
As for the senators and representatives, things get very tricky at this point. There are 2 senators for each state, which gives us at least 100 senators. If they each make $165,200 per year, and they serve for a minimum 6 year term, then we pay $99,120,000 for them.
There are currently 435 Representatives in the house, who all serve for 2 years. That's a minimum of $143,724,000. Expect for Ron Paul, who has never accept his federal payment, so we can actually say that we pay $143,393,600.
Even though Governors don't all make the same yearly salary, we can use the average to look at an estimated amount of what we pay. Their 50 governors (1 for each state), and they all serve 4 year terms. Even if they all made $125,000 per year, that is still $500,000 for one term, times 50 governors makes $25,000,000 per term.
Have you added it all up yet?
That's $89,716,900 just for one year! Or $358,867,600 for every four years. The numbers go up for every year, and that doesn't count the pay raises that each public servant gets every 2 to 4 years. This number also doesn't count many others in the administration, such as the defense secretary, treasurer or foreign diplomats.
Now, the most important part to think about, is that the average American home makes less than $40,000 per year, and that's for two earners in the home! How can it be that we pay our public servants a minimum of 3 times the amount most of us make?
Even if we lowered all their salaries to $100,000 per year, they would still be making $8333.33 per month. None of which is used for the budget or for expenses. Even if we did something as small as making each governor only get $100,000 per year, that would bring down taxes immensely and save us a minimum of $1,250,000 per year. On top of that, lowering governor salaries would actually make it easier for us common folks to have a shot at becoming governor, because most states require that you raise a certain percentage of money to be governor, that is calculated by the current salary of the governor.
Going by what Ben Franklin suggested, I would think that the founding fathers would first lower the salaries of public servants dramatically. No public servant should make over 3 times the amount that their people do. It's just ridiculous.
Liberty or Bust
"If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained _ we must fight!"
Most Americans are already well aware of the need for monumental changes. This is the reason many voted for Obama - in the hopes of achieving the necessary changes without having to resort to fighting. This is something that the founding fathers recognized they could not avoid doing. They tried to appeal for their rights in the peaceful ways already in place, but once that no longer worked, they turned to other methods.
The only hard part, is figuring out which methods that were used back then, can be used again in this century. Especially since it just wouldn't be right to go about tarring and feathering people. So in what ways can fight without being violent, and still see changes?
The biggest way is - to stop paying taxes. Work under the table, educate your own children, grow your own food, ect. None of these are convenient options, but one must remember that the popular answer is not always the right answer. And the right answer is not always found on the easier road.
One of the most important ways that our founding fathers one the revoluntionary war, was by depriving the British government of massive amounts of funds that they needed to continue to battle against the revolutionaries. Here is the trick though - in order for this tactic to work, it cannot just be a small majority who stop paying their taxes. It must be the majority who do so. And in order for this to be accomplished, we must relinquish fear of the consequences. Yes, the may lock some people up. Yes, they will take property and do what they can to force you to pay. But this is the nature of the injustice. They say that our tax system is voluntary, but it is not. The choice you get is between paying with money or paying with your property and your life served in prison. The only way to get around this, is to overwhelm them with so many civilly disobedient people not paying their taxes, that they wouldn't even have the funds to pay to lock every one up. Even if they could, it would clear spark more than a large bout of civil disobedience.
To stop paying taxes would be a peaceful way for every American to gain back their freedom. No stones would need to be thrown, and it would tear apart our currently corrupt government of the funds they so dearly need to remain in control and to keep fear in your heart. And it could be done so much easier then any other method of revolution, and would bring about change the fastest. The only hurdle in the way is your own fear. So if you're serious about improving the economy and your life, show our leaders that we mean business. No taxes until everything is equal and just again.
"We must all hang together, or, assuredly, we shall all hang separately."
~Benjamin Franklinat the signing of the Declaration of Independence
Some other methods that can be employed:
*Contacting Senators and Representatives excessively
*Organizing Civil Rights and Liberty Groups
*Writing Initiatives and Referendums
Some more ideas and forms of civil disobedience are noted on this wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_disobedience#Techniques