The Insanity of Political ‘Moderation’

by | Jan 19, 2023

The Insanity of Political ‘Moderation’

by | Jan 19, 2023

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I find the self-anointed gatekeepers who claim to be the sole arbiters of the truth very amusing (also pathetic).

Apparently if you want to accumulate unsustainable deficits, inadequately fund liabilities, print an infinite amount of money, and engage in never-ending wars, then you are a moderate, sound, sane, reasonable, and rational person. Anyone that disputes or dissents from that position must be a dangerous radical. 

Just pick up and read most publications. Apparently a reasonable moderate believes government should not be constrained by how much taxes people are willing to pay, and because government is great there should be no limit to how much it spends, so money is printed in the form of an unfunded liability to pay for the spending taxpayers refuse to fund. 

These same people also claim that there is nothing radical about making promises to people that they will in the future receive money and benefits, and then inadequately fund those promises. In their world promises are fiat, collateralized by nothing. And you are the radical if you believe people should actually back up their promises and commitments. 

Fiscal sanity seems to be deficits in excess of our economy’s ability to produce goods and services. We continue to spend even more in excess of GDP growth and fund government operations by printing fiat money. 

Radicals who support fiscal insanity are those who want to reduce our deficit, reduce our debt, fund our unfunded liabilities and support sound money. 

Not that I am convinced that anyone Congress is sincerely interested in limiting government in any way or limiting the growth of spending nor paying down debt. Nor are they interested in funding our unfunded liabilities which are significantly higher than the fiscal deficit currently in excess of $30 trillion and growing. Unfunded liabilities are at least twice that amount.

Democrats do not care who signs the check as long as government keeps spending. Republicans do look at who signs the check. If it is a Republican, they are happy to give that president a blank check. With a Democratic president, Republicans are malleable as long as defense gets the largest increase. The Tea Party movement was able to leverage its bargaining power to obtain sequestration which for two years limited the growth of government spending. Those two years of “austerity” were just too painful for the Republicans. The military-industrial complex was not happy; after all, there were wars to be fought. There are still countries eager to be invaded and liberated by us. 

But let’s return to the concept of what is radical. Candor is radical. It is responsible to be irresponsible and irresponsible to be responsible. The wrong truth is misinformation or disinformation. The right lie is truth. To discredit the “right lie” is misinformation and disinformation and radical. 

Apparently if you have a child who goes out with your credit card and borrows more than not only the child’s ability to pay but the parent’s ability to play, you would be a dysfunctional parent if you canceled that child’s use of the credit card. The not-radical thing to do would be to increase the credit line so your child can borrow even more. 

It is radical to take a debt ceiling seriously. It is responsible to treat the debt ceiling as really a floor. 

There actually is a concept called odious debt. George Washington in his Farewell Address advised:  

“As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it, avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.”

“The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should co-operate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.”

Washington also stated, “To contract new debts is not the way to pay old ones.”

And:

“No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable.”

His contemporary Thomas Jefferson wrote: 

“To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.”

And:

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

Further: 

“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.”

Wise and just? Only a radical desires to be wise and just! 

James Madison advised: 

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Odious debt can be interpreted to mean debt incurred which will only be paid back by future generations. I guess only a radical would see it obvious that the next generation never consented to the debt. If they pay through taxation, it will be taxation without representation. Or instead they can claim as the wise, virtuous, reasonable, moderate, sane, rational person seems to insist upon, that the debt is not a liability and in fact an asset that adds to our wealth. Believing otherwise, well, that would be radical. Preventing the intergenerational transfer of this “asset,” this “wealth” would indeed, well, be radical, imprudent, reckless, unwise, lack virtue and be fiscally irresponsible. 

I assert I am proud to be branded, labeled, and called a radical if that means I support a halt to the issuance of odious debt, a thing that violates every principle our nation was founded upon and the principles established in all our founding documents; that the main and principal role and function of government is the preservation of our liberty, our freedoms and inalienable rights. But no, we are now told that our liberty must be curtailed to preserve it. That our freedom must be limited to preserve it. That our inalienable rights must be transformed into privileges managed by government and, by doing so, we actually preserve our rights. So we must surrender our possessions to keep our possessions.

I guess all the kakistocrats would assert that the best inheritance they could possibly leave their children is a massive pile of debt with a note that says the children should enjoy paying it off because the parents enjoyed spending it.

President Calvin Coolidge advised, “There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.”

Our kakistocrats and kakistocracy has abused the trust of the people. Our institutions have squandered that trust. We have a fiscal deficit in excess of $30 trillion and growing. It now exceeds the productive capacity of our economy and continues to increase. We have unfunded liabilities easily in excess of $60 trillion. Medicare is running out of money. Social Security is running out of money. Student loans that cannot get paid off. Pension guarantees backed by nothing. We have a school system that cannot educate, where people graduate with inadequate cognitive abilities, cannot read for comprehension and cannot solve more than the most basic math problems. We have a depreciating infrastructure. We spent trillions in Afghanistan and Iraq. And what did we get? Greater Iranian influence in Iraq, Taliban control of Afghanistan. We are funding civil wars. We have imposed a sanctions regime against so many. We spend more than twice on national defense than Russia and China combined and yet are told we should still feel insecure. How much more do we need to feel more secure? What more do we need to do to feel more secure? And why would we think that amplifying the sense of urgency regarding our sense of insecurity would not increase the sense of insecurity felt by Russia and China?

We should welcome the radical who commits to transforming our current kakistocracy, expose kakistocrats, and return our country to the principles, values, and philosophical framework that made America the wealthiest and freest country in the world. We should welcome the radical who wants to preserve that heritage and inheritance. To prevent its further dissipation. To stop the insanity. 

We must not use the same tools as the moderates. Their weapon is force not reason. To abridge our inalienable rights through repression, depression, and coercion. Those are the weapons of choice by the moderates and kakistocrats. Radicals must embrace reason, respect of the sovereign individual, discussion, debate, discourse and adopt the non-aggression principle.  Let the moderates embrace the sword. We radicals should trust the pen and commit ourselves to its use. 

About Jeffrey Wernick

Jeffrey Wernick is a private investor and early advocate and acquirer of bitcoin. He frequently lectures at his alma mater, the University of Chicago.

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