Friday, June 3, 2011


by James Craig Green

Here and elsewhere, I have written about today's out-of-control government spending, public debt and the failure of Republicans, including their new brash-talking tea party congressmen, to do anything about it. The pathetic, anemic and trivial rhetoric coming from six months of a born-again Republican House of Representatives has resulted in no spending reductions of any kind, or even their prospect. In fact, the only member of Congress who I respect (Ron Paul) hit the nail on the head a while back when he said, Instead of the left agreeing to cut social spending and the right agreeing to cut military spending, the right agrees to more welfare and the left agrees to more warfare.

I have often pointed out the tragic conversion of America's federal government from a small republic limited by the U.S. Constitution to a few important tasks, into a massive, bloated behemoth that, along with its Frankenstein Monster the Fed - has accomplished unlimited government spending for anything and everything imaginable. As I described in PRIVATE PROPERTY PUBLIC PLUNDER and my Unchain the Builders series article on JAMES MADISON, America has unfortunately become much more democratic, and less republican, than the American founders intended.

I should point out the obvious, but so many refuse to see: today's so-called republicanism has almost nothing in common with the republicanism of America's founding. If it were not for current Republicans' empty rhetoric which never translates into meaningful, government-limiting results, there would be no connection at all.

Also, as I described in MARKETS WORK-GOVERNMENTS DON'TCRONY CAPITALISM and SOLAR JOBS, government today almost always does more harm than good when it gets involved in the economy. This is because it only knows how to used its oppressive tools: the sledgehammers of unconstitutional law, promotion of coercive monopolies and forced wealth transfer.

The American Republic's founders thought they made sure the new federal government being considered from 1787 to 1791 would be able to avoid the michiefs of faction described by James Madison in FEDERALIST NO. 10. They were wrong.

I can think of no better analogy to illustrate the silliness of democracy than a family operating under democractic principles to show what is wrong with America today, and why.


Imagine a fairly typical American family, with two working parents who bring in all the family's income, and their three young children who do not work. Suppose, in their zeal for democracy, unrestrained by any rule of law, much less a Constitution, these compassionate parents decide to implement pure democracy in their family.

All it takes is a simple rule: every dollar spent by the family will be based on a majority vote of all five members. So, if the parents want to make a house payment but the kids want to go to Disneyland, the house payment does not get made. The kids are so happy about the trip, they next vote for anything and everything they want, realizing their parents will have to comply, by the parents' own chosen rules.

At this point, you might consider this the stupidest thing that any group of adults ever did, but you would be wrong. As P.J. O'Rourke once opined, Giving Congress the power to tax is like giving teenage boys whiskey and car keys.

Well, America, you have not only done just that, but much, much worse. You have given your immature children (voters, looking for "free" benefits at the expense of others) not only whiskey and car keys, but a printing press with which to make unlimited amounts of money (The Federal Reserve) without increased production of goods and services. All this from the insane idea that unbacked paper money, and not real goods and services, represents wealth. If the Fed really improved the economy, then everyone should be allowed to have a money-printing press in his basement, and the illusion that counterfeiting is illegal could be done away with once and for all.

And, as if this weren't enough, you've given these immature, reality-challenged voters the idea that they have a right to continue their high-on-the-hog lifestyle, regardless of cost or damage to others. Of course, it is easy to see how quickly any family who would be so foolish to live under pure democracy would quickly be bankrupt, or worse. But, like the childish members of public employee unions who believe they haven't gotten enough from taxpayers already, they also want the right to force more, and more, and more money from those who actually produce the useful goods and services they consume at the expense of more productive enterprises. As Mel Brooks said in the movie Blazing Saddles: We've got to protect our phony-baloney jobs, gentlemen.

You might think I chose the two working parents and three nonworking kids by chance, but it is actually a pretty good representation of America today, as shown in my recent post WHO BENEFITS AND WHO PAYS FOR GOVERNMENT?. Sixty percent (three out of five) of Americans receive more from government than they pay in, and only 40% (two out of five) pay more than they receive. A democratic America is already here.

The excesses of democracy, frequently called mob rule by American Founders, clearly manifested themselves in differences between the American and French Revolutions. Whereas the constrained republicanism of the American Revolution produced the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the almost purely democratic French Revolution a few years later produced the Reign of Terror, the Guillotine and eventually, the Emperor Napoleon.

Today's America resembles more closely the democratic excesses of the early French democracy, than the constitutional republic created by America's founders.

Several famous people have characterized the damage done by democracy:

  • Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself - John Adams
  • Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people - Oscar Wilde 
  • A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine. - Thomas Jefferson
As with the French Revolution, too much democracy, as evidenced by unfunded U.S. government liabilities estimated by the Cato Institute to be between 45 and 100 TRILLION DOLLARS (Table 1 on Page 7), cannot be continued without severe additional damage to the American economy.

If Americans don't soon get their government addiction under control; foreign bankers, bond markets and more economic collapses will.


  1. Outstanding, as usual. We need to keep hammering the point home that neither the welfare state nor the warfare state, let alone the combined welfare-warfare state, would be possible without the fiat currency system that allows money to be created out of thin air. The government's ability to print money to cover spending for which the American people would never agree to be taxed is a large part of the problem.

  2. It never hurts to get back to the basics, does it?