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  • A Republican House Alone Can Reverse the Authoritarian State

A Republican House Alone Can Reverse the Authoritarian State

William L. Kovacs

January 2022

A Republican House Alone Can Reverse the Authoritarian State

Freedom-loving people may believe the U.S. is at the edge of darkness with Biden’s 76 Executive Orders46 Presidential Memoranda, and 176 Presidential Proclamations that take the form of conflicting vaccines mandates, bans on energy supplies, open borders, union organizing rules, the teaching of critical race theory, and frenzied proposals on climate change to name but a few. In the last several weeks, The Washington Post published at least four articles ( 1234), telling us “…the nation is closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe.” The narrative running through the articles is that the January 6, 2021 riot was an “insurrection” by Trump’s unarmed followers to destroy Democracy.

The Progressive press is pushing its “coming civil war narrative” so hard it seems as if it wants to incite civil war so its leftist government can use the military to violently crush the assembly of objectionable, unarmed, ordinary Americans. It would also give justification to the Department of Justice and FBI to implement their threats against parents who speak out at school board meetings. It’s hard to believe that parents protecting their children are deemed to be “domestic terrorists” by any government, yet alone a U.S. government.

While the Democrats may hysterically claim the Republicans are trying to assassinate Democracy, they cannot hide their real angst over the fact that our Constitution allows us ordinary citizens, to elect the entire House of Representatives every other year. The Left may want a civil war, but patriotic Americans can win a revolution with their votes in November.

Democrats act out of fear of what voters might do on November 8, 2022. Yes, a Republican majority in the 2023 House of Representatives can restrain Biden’s authoritarianism. That’s the easy lifting. The House also has the constitutional power to do far more to reign in an authoritarian state, even if Republicans do not regain control of the Senate.

In simple terms, the real power the original Constitution gives citizens is the right to elect the House of Representatives every two years. That constitutional right is the power to change the direction of government before any administration can cement authoritarian rule. Voting for the House is the power of revolutionary change.

While the original Constitution had state legislatures electing Senators, and presidential electors, the people, have always directly elected the House of Representatives. Our Constitution has always empowered citizens with the full power to control the federal government by electing representatives wanting to limit government’s power over its citizens.

One may ask how is such power possible when laws must be passed by the House and Senate and signed by the President? There is an unstated and rarely used power that allows a majority of just one House of Congress to control the nation’s budget and the size of government. All a Republican House needs to do is refuse appropriate money to run the authoritarian state. Think of such power as a Congressional veto over crazy spendthrifts. Using such power allows one party, controlling just one House of Congress, to restructure the entire federal government by refusing to squander taxpayer money.

Suppose voters want control over their federal government. In that case, all they need do is elect a House of Representatives that spends substantially less money than it costs to run a bloated, debt-ridden government. That action alone will shrink the federal government.

How would this process work?

Under our Constitution, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” This power can authorize more spending or be used to reduce spending and the national debt.

For Congress to spend more of the taxpayer’s money, it must appropriate the new money by enacting a law that requires the approval of both Houses of Congress and a Presidential signature. To spend less money or to spend no money; however, one House of Congress merely needs to do nothing. No provision in the Constitution gives the power to anyone to force Congress to spend money. Moreover, as an institution, Congress is the only branch of government that controls the nation’s purse, and one House of Congress can shut the purse.

Under Article I, section 7, of the Constitution, all bills for raising revenue must originate in the House of Representatives. By electing a majority of the House who support smaller government, the House has the sole power to block the enactment of new revenue streams to support a bigger government.

It is clear that no matter how big or powerful the federal government has become, a party that controls the House of Representatives can reign it in if it has to courage to do so. Republicans talk about smaller government, but the government has continuously expanded. They talk about reducing the national debt, but Republicans have increased the national debt more than the Democrats for the last several decades.

If Republicans take control of the House in 2023, it will be their “put up or shut up” moment. Only time will tell if the government remains wildly out of control or the Republican House of Representatives “puts up” to Save Democracy?

William L. Kovacs has served as senior vice-president for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, chief-counsel to a congressional committee, a partner in law D.C. law firms, and his book Reform the Kakistocracy is the winner of the 2021 Independent Press Award for Political/Social Change.

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  • A Politically Insane Society

A Politically Insane Society

William L. Kovacs

October 2021

A Politically Insane Society

“Insane” is defined as a “state of mind which prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction.” This definition perfectly squares with the current collective political mind in the United States. The U.S. is no longer a “We the People” decision-making body with representatives that run the country in a way that makes sense by solving difficult problems for ordinary people. Instead, the political elites pander to the many identities that thirst for victimhood. A result, we have “leaders” who are the least able or least principled people in the nation. We live in a kakistocracy that is run, not by people, but by kakistocrats.

Our political “leaders,” ignore what our children are taught in school because they constantly promote gender identification, use of the “correct pronouns,” and punishment for not using the “correct pronoun” or being insufficiently woke. Teachers’ unions push the teaching of critical race theory while the Democrat running for Governor in Virginia tells parents they “should have no role in directing the education of their children.”  The Daily Mail reports, at a school board meeting in Loudoun County, Virginia, a parent was arrested for speaking out about his daughter being raped in a girl’s bathroom by a male posing as a transgender. Now the U.S. Attorney General is having the FBI investigate parents speaking out at school board meetings as domestic terrorists.

The Progressives, with little concern for future generations, ask us how much money do we want from the government as if ordinary Americans are willing to sell out the future of their children so they can buy a few more trinkets. To deal with the pandemic we are told the vaccines work, then they work for a while, but if we get to 75% vaccinated, we will have “herd immunity,” “and the pandemic goes away. Now we are told we need a vaccination rate of 90% to achieve herd immunity. But if the vaccines don’t last long, does even 100% vaccination mean we can achieve herd immunity? Moreover, our “federal government” refuses to count those who have contracted Covid-19 and now have what might be permanent immunity. Worse our government wants anyone not vaccinated to be fired from their job in the middle of a massive labor shortage. Victimhood has turned our “leaders” into caricatures with political identities.

There were 12,045 incidents of U.S. civil unrest from May 26, 2020, to Sept. 5, 2020. Of the 633 incidents coded as riots, 88 percent are recorded as involving Black Lives Matter activists. Yet there were few arrests. But the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol lead to a nationwide dragnet in 40 states and the arrest of over 600 protesters.  What’s the difference between the two groups of rioters? Only wokeness and it absolves one from criminal liability for crimes.

Social media knows how its platforms are addictive and harmful, especially to young and teenage girls. It causes increases in depression and suicide in teenagers. If the federal government believes cigarettes were so harmful, why is not social media? Is it because tobacco companies gave contributions to Republicans and social media gives to Democrats?

These progressive identities are not as important as educating every child in reading, writing, science, and technology. Identity issues and protecting criminal rioters are not as important as a strong economy that can create millions of jobs. Frankly, if progressives really want to make society better, they could devote a day a week to delivering food to the hungry or clean up rat-infested inner-cities.

The entire U.S. political elite is so crazed about its right to be a victim, it collectively forgets when people work together, they can change the world. Jesus, Buddha, MLK, Gandhi, Mother Theresa changed the world with ideas and good deeds. Today’s Progressives enjoy victimhood more than doing good and working for lasting solutions. Unfortunately, it is far easier being a victim, a rioter, protester, or one who cancels people on social media than solving problems.

Can government do anything to make American politician’s act less insane? Our leaders could start by having civil discussions rather than haranguing each other on cable news. At one time Congress did work to solve problems. For example, the 94th Congress, 1975-1976, had to address a myriad of environmental, energy, economic and educational problems. It also operated in the traumatic aftermath of the Nixon impeachment and resignation.

In that era, rivers were burning, waste was dumped in backyards, along roadways, and openly burned. The air was so thick with smog from vehicles, one could not see tall buildings a mile away, the nation was still coming out of its worst energy crisis, handicapped children were not being educated. Banks played fast and loose with credit terms, inflation and interest rate increases were the fastest in history, home loan interest rates hit 7.5% on their way to 12%. The Penn Central Railroad had gone bankrupt and if it shut down, all freight transportation in the northeast and mid-west would cease, likely causing a major economic recession.

The U.S. was in a crisis. Congress had to prove it could manage the nation. To do so, it needed to apply common sense and prove it could act rationally. In just one Congress, major laws were passed to address educating handicapped children, energy conservation, reorganizing the Penn Central Railroad into Conrail to preserve commerce in the U.S., enhanced protection of fisheries, increasing government transparency, the cradle to grave regulation of hazardous waste, the banning of open dumps, controlling the use of toxic substances, enacting needed, new copyright laws, enhanced antitrust enforcement, and environmentally sound management standards for federal lands. And, yes, the National debt was a mere $620 billion and the CEO/worker pay ratio and wealth gaps were a mere fraction of what they are today.

How can the political elite prove to Americans it is not insane?

There are a few major issues that have significant citizen support. Successfully addressing these issues would help government demonstrate a look of sanity by exhibiting enough normal behavior for Americans to believe their government is working for them. The three issues are:

1. Honor their oaths, enforce the immigration laws to fix the invasion at the southern border. All federal officials take an oath to enforce the laws of the U.S. The political elite merely needs to honor their oaths. Allowing millions of illegals, including drug cartels and sex traffickers, into the nation, is not a benefit to the nation. Most of the illegals may never qualify for citizenship under current law or even obtain work permits. Many of the illegals will need billions in welfare to survive. A simple gesture toward sanity would be to use the already paid for construction materials to build the remaining parts of the southern border wall?

Almost 73% of Americans are concerned about the open southern border and do not the government can properly manage it. Currently, there is a pending backlog of 730,000 legal, citizenship applications. If the U.S. needs more citizens, it should process the backlog of legal applications so we all know who is coming into our country. Our “leaders” are only being asked to run the country as the Constitution mandates and for the benefit of the citizens paying them. Why do our political elites have to be both woke, rogue, and destructive of the Constitution?

2. Pass the bipartisan Infrastructure bill. The U.S. has a huge need for upgrading its ports, highways, airports, waterways. There are 8 – 10 Republican Senators who will vote for it, ensuring Senate passage. Almost two-thirds of Americans support the infrastructure bill. The problem, the Progressive will not do anything for the nation unless they get the $ 5 trillion for their socialist agenda, which only 10% of Americans support. This is an opportunity to demonstrate 1975-76 style leadership to achieve what the American people want. Why is it so hard for Congress and the president to do what the majority of Americans want to be done?

3. Fix Social Security for the next 50 years. The Social Security Trust Fund will run out of money to pay full benefits by 2034. This will result in a 22% reduction in benefits for 65 million Americans if Congress does nothing. Yet, the Progressives ignore fixing, perhaps the most popular program in the country, while seeking $ 5 trillion for a host of new social entitlement programs that will surely bankrupt the nation.

Fixing Social Security is very straightforward. The wage cap could be raised while leaving the tax rate unchanged. This would only impact individuals making over $142,800, a small percentage of workers. A second option is to raise the age for receiving benefits from 66 to 69 since we are all living decades longer. Both options will shore up the Trust Fund for decades and will be very popular with the vast majority of Americans. Polls show over 96% of Americans support Social Security. Why does our government insist on spending trillions of more dollars on new programs we can’t afford when they need to fix existing programs?

The three fixes are strongly supported by the American people, yet our “leaders” in Washington want to fight about or ignore them. It makes no sense to refuse to do what the American people want to be done? Each of the problems, if addressed. would bring significant support to every member of Congress and the president for their efforts to make the system work. When a Congress and president intentionally act against the interests of the people who elected them, they exhibit a state of mind which blocks normal perception, behavior, or social interaction. The political elite is not only the least able or least principled of citizens, they are insane!

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  • Modern Monetary Theory: A Banana Republic with No Bananas

Modern Monetary Theory: A Banana Republic with No Bananas

William L. Kovacs

May 2021

Modern Monetary Theory: A Banana Republic with No Bananas

Part I of this series charted the massive increase in the debt of the U.S., by both political parties, over the last twenty years. Now with the Progressives in total control of the federal government, far-Left economists and socialist politicians like Bernie Sanders advance Modern Monetary Theory (“MMT”) as a justification to continue unlimited spending without any consequences to the nation. If the Progressives are correct, there is a free lunch for all, most of the time. If the Progressives are wrong, the U.S. becomes a “Banana Republic.”

While our Constitution does not mandate any specific economic system, it does specify how government acquires, values, and spends our money. Politicians should understand how MMT squares with our constitutional structure before promising unlimited free money without increasing taxes or interest rates.

The U.S. recently finished an election for president, the entire House of Representatives, and one-third of the Senate.  Not one candidate for federal office in 2020 made serious mention of our $28 trillion national debt. $24 trillion or 84% of our $28 trillion national debt has been created since the presidency of George W. Bush. On top of the current debt, President-elect Biden is proposing $11 trillion in new spending. Every president has an excuse for massive debt. Trump had the pandemic; Obama the 2009 financial crisis; George W. Bush had 9/11. Biden just wants to spend for any cause.

MMT argues government debt is irrelevant

MMT asserts when a nation has a sovereign currency, debt can be accumulated since it is owed to itself.  Money can be simply credited to another’s account (printed in old-fashioned terms) without having to sell bonds that require interest payments. This magic process involves keystrokes on a computer. New digits are created electronically on a balance sheet allowing government to spend whatever it needs.

The foundation for such MMT magic is the belief that government creates all wealth by spending money into existence. Government spends to incentivize citizens to want more of what government wants us to have. And by commanding that all taxes be paid in the currency controlled by the government, everyone needs to earn money to pay taxes for the government services they want.

MMT economists view money creation as a valuable economic tool that does not automatically devalue currency when used to address an underperforming economy. By creating new money, jobs are created, and productivity increases. According to Federal Reserve chairs, “…government can print all the money it needs, and nothing bad happens.” Simply, MMT economists posit that when an economy has unemployment, government is not spending enough money and can spend until full employment is reached.

Under MMT, inflation is the primary risk of spending more than needed to reach full employment. When inflation occurs, MMT recognizes it will need to raise taxes and interest rates to control inflation, yet proponents ignore the implications of such recognition. However, as long as the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates near zero, there is not a need to repay the debt since no interest is due. But is there a point where the accumulated debt is so great that it cannot reasonably be serviced if interest rates rise?

Our Constitution does not authorize free money by keystroke

Our constitution starts with the words “We the People of the United States”  have created a government with certain limited powers. As to currency, our government is authorized to coin money, and regulate its value and relation to foreign currency. Our government can borrow money on the credit of the United States however, money cannot be drawn from the treasury unless Appropriations are made by law and all expenditures accounted for. These limits impose constitutional accountability by limiting government action.

Since the currency of the United States is only as valuable as the credit of the government supporting it, there is no provision allowing government to magically create an unlimited money supply by a keystroke and then by another keystroke use the money for other purposes.

In the world of finance, MMT resembles a money-laundering scheme, i.e., concealing the origins of money, then passing it through a complex sequence of transfers to make the money appear legitimate. By illustration, the Federal Reserve creates money from” thin air” and transfers it to the Federal government through a series of transactions. It works like this – the Social Security Trust Fund collects more real money in taxes than it pays out. Social Security uses its excess money to purchase U.S. Treasuries from the federal government. This transaction immediately gives the federal government real money to spend. The Federal Reserve then buys the U.S. Treasuries from Social Security using the money it created out of thin air. The only real money is collected by Social Security and it goes to the Federal government which immediately spends it. The risk of this money laundering scheme is that Social Security, its pensioners, and the Fed own promises based on the creditworthiness of the U.S. which is constantly printing more money out of thin air and transferring it through the system.

As more dollars are made out of thin air, they become less valuable unless needed as a source of exchange in the U.S. Since the Constitution contemplates international commerce and a valuable currency supported by the credit of its government, MMT is far outside the Constitutional framework that requires a strong currency for trading with the nations of the world. In fact, MMT will force the U.S. to be an insular society to ensure its currency remains valuable to citizens.

It is easy to see why Progressives are so enthralled with MMT. They believe since government creates all wealth, it has the right to tax back all wealth, after all, it’s the federal government’s money. Citizens merely exist to do what the government wants them to do. Citizens merely buy the services government wants them to buy. Such a system could be termed communism but MMT is too misleading for such a serious term. A better description is that MMT promotes a Banana Republic without any bananas to back its currency.