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Patrick Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
31 Oct 2014
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The Party's Over

Comment

The Crash of 2008, which is now wiping out trillions of dollars of our people's wealth, is, like the Crash of 1929, likely to mark the end of one era and the onset of another.

The new era will see a more sober and much diminished America. The "Omnipower" and "Indispensable Nation" we heard about in all the hubris and braggadocio following our Cold War victory is history.

Seizing on the crisis, the left says we are witnessing the failure of market economics, a failure of conservatism.

This is nonsense. What we are witnessing is the collapse of Gordon Gecko ("Greed Is Good!") capitalism. What we are witnessing is what happens to a prodigal nation that ignores history, and forgets and abandons the philosophy and principles that made it great.

A true conservative cherishes prudence and believes in fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and a self-reliant republic. He believes in saving for retirement and a rainy day, in deferred gratification, in not buying on credit what you cannot afford, in living within your means.

Is that really what got Wall Street and us into this mess — that we followed too religiously the gospel of Robert Taft and Russell Kirk?

"Government must save us!" cries the left, as ever. Yet, who got us into this mess if not the government — the Fed with its easy money, Bush with his profligate spending, and Congress and the SEC by liberating Wall Street and failing to step in and stop the drunken orgy?

For years, we Americans have spent more than we earned. We save nothing. Credit card debt, consumer debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, corporate debt — all are at record levels. And with pensions and savings being wiped out, much of that debt will never be repaid.

Our standard of living is inevitably going to fall. For foreigners will not forever buy our bonds or lend us more money if they rightly fear that they will be paid back, if at all, in cheaper dollars.

We are going to have to learn to live again without our means.

The party's over

Up through World War II, we followed the Hamiltonian idea that America must remain economically independent of the world in order to remain politically independent.

But this generation decided that was yesterday's bromide and we must march bravely forward into a Global Economy, where we all depend on one another.

American companies morphed into "global companies" and moved plants and factories to Mexico, Asia, China and India, and we began buying more cheaply from abroad what we used to make at home: shoes, clothes, bikes, cars, radios, TVs, planes, computers.

As the trade deficits began inexorably to rise to 6 percent of GDP, we began vast borrowing from abroad to continue buying from abroad.

At home, propelled by tax cuts, war in Iraq and an explosion in social spending, surpluses vanished and deficits reappeared and began to rise. The dollar began to sink, and gold began to soar.

Yet, still, the promises of the politicians come. Barack Obama will give us national health insurance and tax cuts for all but that 2 percent of the nation that already carries 50 percent of the federal income tax load.

John McCain is going to cut taxes, expand the military, move NATO into Georgia and Ukraine, confront Russia and force Iran to stop enriching uranium or "bomb, bomb, bomb," with Joe Lieberman as wartime consigliere.

Who are we kidding?

What we are witnessing today is how empires end.

The Last Superpower is unable to defend its borders, protect its currency, win its wars or balance its budget. Medicare and Social Security are headed for the cliff with unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars.

What we are witnessing today is nothing less than a Katrina-like failure of government, of our political class, and of democracy itself, casting a cloud over the viability and longevity of the system.

Notice who is managing the crisis. Not our elected leaders. Nancy Pelosi says she had nothing to do with it. Congress is paralyzed and heading home. President Bush is nowhere to be seen.

Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs and Ben Bernanke of the Fed chose to bail out Bear Sterns but let Lehman go under. They decided to nationalize Fannie and Freddie at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of billions, putting the U.S. government behind $5 trillion in mortgages. They decided to buy AIG with $85 billion rather than see the insurance giant sink beneath the waves.

An unelected financial elite is now entrusted with the assignment of getting us out of a disaster into which an unelected financial elite plunged the nation. We are just spectators.

What the Greatest Generation handed down to us — the richest, most powerful, most self-sufficient republic in history, with the highest standard of living any nation had ever achieved — the baby boomers, oblivious and self-indulgent to the end, have frittered away.

To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.



Comments

6 Comments | Post Comment
Yes, the crash of 2008 is wiping out people's wealth...wealth that was created by speculation. But it was not the LEFT that created the problem nor is it the LEFT that has offered socialism as the solution. It was the RIGHT.
Americans have been counted on to spend, which creates demand and to be productive workers, which creates excess value. Did Americans benefit from the demand that they created? Did they benefit from the excess value that they created?
The wages paid the American worker have stagnated for the last 20 years and all the growth in our standard of living has been paid for with credit card debt.
We have followed the siren song of "lower taxes generate economic growth" and now we have a government that is in debt to the tune of 53 trillion dollars and we do not have economic growth.
During the last 20 years the Republicans have controlled congress for 10 of those years and the white house for 12 of those years...
It was a democratic president who acknowledged that the era of big government was dead and who balanced the federal budget. It is now a Republican president who brought big government back and who created the largest deficit we have ever seen....
It should be obvious that the Republicans are not the party of big business but rather the party of pesonal greed....
Comment: #1
Posted by: Carl
Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:28 AM
Wow, Armegeddon is here Buchanan. Maybe you should pause to think a little before you broadcast so much hot air. I was finding you very persuasive about Georgia and Russia, but the latest revelations seem to be showing all of that Georgia-bashing of yours to be pretty darn wrong. ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
You are right about one thing, though. This financial meltdown is much simpler than it is being played to be. Just like 9/11 was. That was largely about police agencies caring more about their own turf than sharing information to protect the public. So instead of doing the simple thing and cleaning out the rot, we built a whole new buracracy around it, gave the Bill of Rights a good sand blasting, and started a big money-sucking, blood-letting, infrastructure-smashing war. ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
And here is the kind of mixed garbage on a bed of lettuce you are famous for serving up, Buchanan. ""Government must save us!" cries the left, as ever. Yet, who got us into this mess if not the government ó the Fed with its easy money, Bush with his profligate spending, and Congress and the SEC by liberating Wall Street and failing to step in and stop the drunken orgy?" .....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Excuse me? Did the left bring us Bush? And arent the failures of Congress and the Fed all about NOT regulating? ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Here is what you need to say: "This financial meltdown is all about borrowing, pure and simple. As in taking out a big loan which you dont have a prayer of paying back unless absolutely nothing goes wrong, and having just about zero equity in the object of your purchase with the loan. An easy thing for government to put a stop to, but of course our self-serving non-leaders, who are quite insulated from the consequences of their idiocy, didnt wish to bother themselves with any of that." .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Your message to the government should be to get up off their asses and START regulating. They dont need to do anything novel or fancy--just go back to the Kindergarten rules of borrowing theyve been so happy to piss all over, and the problem will eventually resolve itself. But thats way too easy, isnt it? Instead we will probably see a bunch of Armegeddon-like measures to lead us down another path of fantasy, superstitious incantation, and calamity.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Masako
Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:29 AM
Sir; I know you like history with its multitude of lessons for the viable mind; but no more than myself. You are wrong. You are wrong about the philosophy of this country, and the conclusion that we have strayed from it. This has always been a poisoned democracy, and we are just seeing it in the throes of agony. A little considered thought motivated those who set this country on its present course, and it was; that the strange and mysterious alchemy of Capital was the philosophers stone to transform greed into a virtue.... The evidence is clear, that in this land property is given greater rights than human need, and we began our life as a nation putting aside human need to make chattel of human lives. The process continues. So what, if now, property has reached the point where it can no longer exist feeding only on the people of the nation, and now must feed directly on the nation? Was it not inevitable? They have given value to paper to facilitate the movement of the nation, its property into few hands. Property, which is not normally mobile, marches off to wallstreet, or main street, or easy street to never return following the lure of paper money. It is sold; gone. We have no more wealth to give the rich. We are just some sort of third world country incapable of producing enough wealth to interest our own parasites. -But they were always here. It just took them a while to buy the government. It took them a while to load the entire tax burden of the country onto labor. Property once supported the country, and now the country supports property. Think of all the interest a house might be made to pay? Where does the money come from? Where does the wealth come from? What does any country do when a certain class has cornered all the wealth, leaving the economy in shambles, with the people in pain and frustrated?... These rich people have had the country of their dreams from the start, and the people here have fulfilled their duty to the rich by being place holders, pawns, a moveable feast. We have defended their property on a thousand battlefields for nothing. Do you think the rich did not know that when they abandoned the Declaration of Independence for the Constitution that they were leaving the most essential idea to democracy behind: the equality of mankind? Who can maintain political equality in the face of economic inequality. We are born with many rights, and now they are for sale; but the only way to get more rights than the average is to own property, and more rights makes people unequal, and over time, that inequality tells in ever greater injustice.... Why are we bailing out these rich people?... It is so they can keep on feeding on us. The parsites think they are keeping us alive. They confuse their lives with ours. If we do not find some way to scrape these beasts off our hides we will die together, or one at a time. They built a ruined nation, and made it worse. Now we will have to declare independence from them if we expect to have our lives and visit our old age.... Thanks... Sweeney
Comment: #3
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:31 AM
I am with you until you blame the Boomers and absolve the Greatest Generation. in fact, the Greatest Gen is the one that has milked Social Security and Medicare for all its worth, leaving nothing for the Boomers, as well as many trillions in national debt. It is well known that the Greatest Gen is the one that would join together to destroy any politician who came out for SS reform. Since Boomers have only started drawing SS this year, it wasn't them who looted the system. I don't let Boomers off the hook though. The Boomers are complicit in the scam for agreeing to finance an unsustainable system with money borrowed against future generations.
Comment: #4
Posted by: dmh2000
Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:32 AM
Re: dmh2000; Sir... What a bunch of hooey. Who milked social security but the very class who made the promise in the first place. They never had any intention of funding it properly. That might injure their greater profits. The government did not fund it, and instead, plundered it to cover their barbecuing of the books every damned year. If we didn't know Chinese arithmatic in this land half the rich people we know would still be wannabees. We sure couldn't have beat the Russians so handily. That was all because of full faith and credit, legal tender, and creative financing. They had to live within their means, and we loaned them the money to do so. And then we broke their bank. And now ours is broke too. Do you understand what the government did with our money? I mean, people lived hand to mouth, not asking their due, which as old man Marx said, had to pay for their old age as well, and instead took an IOU on what was always theirs, the profit of their labor. Now they cry: There will only be two workers for every retiree! Tough! Less money in the pay check and less justice in the life buys less children to grow up into workers. Social security reduced the population to the wages it allowed the working family. But what is the worry? If one parent can support one child, why can't one child support one parent? In fact, one person can produce more than ten could a short time ago, so two workers ought to be able to support themselves and eighteen others, if we take the profit out of it. No number of workers can support their families and the growing families of all the rich. If the parents survive on the sweat of others labor, their children want to be the same sort of parasites, and it is the great number of rich who can work but won't and the number of poor who never learn to work that drags the whole society down. We support government. It is not for services. I mean, working people pay taxes to support government because they have no choice, and government absolutly, point blank refuses to fulfill the promises it has made in our life times, or in the constitution for justice, liberty, and general welfare. So it is just stealing our money by coersion. This is our country, and it is not just the oil that is handed to the rich to profit from; but the whole place and government too. We get a vote, but they get to buy the vote. Their investment in government is for their own profit. Where in the world would such a failure of government not result in the resignation and downfall of a government? It is just water off a duck back with them. We have to give the rich tax money to keep them from going broke. How much has the government ever given a common citizen to keep him from going broke? This is just theft. They are putting us all on the hook to the tune of billions to save business that has done no more that loan shark us until we could not feed a guppy. And all the while our government watched it happen. I am just waiting for Bush to roll up his sleeves and say: your doing a great job, Paully. Who can believe their crap. ... Thanks... Sweeney
Comment: #5
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:05 PM
90% of the politicians who caused this mess will be re-elected. Our Founding Fathers knew that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, so they designed our form of government for us to be able to get bad guys out and limit the harm they can do while in with separation of powers and checks and balances, but for our Constitutional republic form of representative self-government to work, we must do our part. We will be reviled by all future generations for not passing on our United States of America to our children and grandchildren and their children as generations before us from our Founding Fathers on have done and often at great risk and sacrifice yet we fail to pass on our heritage at a time when we are so strong that no nation can take it away yet we vote away all that we know and love including the very lives of those we know and love with just our votes for "leaders" instead of more appropriately public servants which is the "change" we have been getting for quite a while as we default in our duties as admonished by our Founding Fathers to be ever vigilant and the informed citizenry necessary to be participatory in our self-government which without that is not self-government at all by definition and not by our nation being taken over by force but by just our default. Don't blame bad people with self-interests and secret society interests. Sure that exists and out of three hundred million people, there are going to be those types to get into our government. Blame ourselves for voting for those people and not voting them out once they show us that and blame ourselves for not being aware and for not wanting to do our jobs of participating in our self-government and instead wanting them to be our "leaders" and handle it all for us. Our society has changed to specialization, but we the people need to preform our duties of not delegating our our being ever vigilant to "leaders" and elect public servants and participate instead. The good thing about it being all our fault is that we control us and how we vote, so we are the ones who can change that by changing ourselves into the people to keep it. Benjamen Franklin answered the question of our form of government by saying: "A Republic, IF you can keep it." Take this as a warning that we are losing our United States of America as it changes into a new form of government by our default. Ronald H Levine 1042 E Fort Union Blvd #231 | Midvale, Utah 84047-1800
Comment: #6
Posted by: Ronald H Levine
Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:22 PM
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