Category Archives: United States

Wondering if the American way can survive our current world

Redefining Democracy

Seven categories grabbed my attention when I started this website. They were

  • Spirituality
  • Future
  • Finance
  • United States
  • World
  • Leisure
  • Opinion

I had a certain perspective about each category and I had questions too. Over the past two years, I have thought about, researched, and written about each of these categories. As a final ceremony to closing this chapter of my writing, I am looking at each of these seven categories and reflecting upon what I learned during these two years.


United States

In my review of the Finance category, I concluded by saying that the void is a landing pad for abundance. In addition, I said that we often don’t recognize this truth because there is another financial paradigm that dominates our world’s landscape.

democracy flagThis paradigm is the dominating belief system of those who live in the United States and, because the U.S. has been the world’s financial superpower for most of the past one hundred years, this paradigm exists throughout the world.

It goes by the term “democracy.”

It implies individual freedom.

A closer look reveals that today’s democracy only masquerades as individual freedom while fulfilling other purposes. It teaches us to acquire others’ resources while conquering their countries.

It provides a curtain for U.S. to go into a country, disrupt the current government and economic structures, and replace them with systems that benefit American interests through grabbing and controlling that country’s resources.

While writing for this website, I encountered John Perkins’ confessional record of the role he played in spreading “democracy.” Perkins’ job was to negotiate with third-world leaders regarding their countries’ natural resources.

When the negotiations were finished, American contractors would come do the work, American banks would fund the work, and American military would make sure locals didn’t hinder the work.

When the countries couldn’t repay the loans, the military would seize the operations, often through overthrowing the country’s government, and American banks and other powerbrokers would institute their own “democratic” government.

This practice is not limited to overseas.

In the United States, similar “democratic” ideas work their magic against the American people.

This practice works well because control of the country’s currency resides with the Federal Reserve (The Fed), an independent bank run by powerful European bankers with the support of their American friends.

The Fed’s ability to control the flow of dollars into the economy through the acquiring of debt instruments, including United States Treasury Bonds, gives it unilateral power that resides outside of the checks and balances built into American government.

In general, this banking power actually has only a minor effect on Americans’ everyday lives.

However, it wields significant power upon America’s, and the world’s, thinking through the messages it sends about financial management, medical care, and education.

These carefully crafted messages convince us to make decisions that are in the best interest of the bankers and the businesses they do business with, including large defense contractors and medical companies.

They teach us to acquire, save, and conquer.

This encourages the general public to support numerous government efforts, such as the war on drugs, protecting the country’s borders, and, more recently, the Affordable Healthcare Act known as Obamacare.

Conspiracy theorists see this form of democracy in a nefarious light.

In fact, as I wrote for this website, I encountered numerous conspiracy theories. Some were realistic. Some were not.

I’ll review those theories in my next article.

The Debt is An Asset

By the end of yesterday’s writing, I had decided to put aside the rule of law and look at the United States financial situation the way Congress may have looked at it last week.

Here is what I saw.

carrying debtAmerica’s debt increases every month. Without this increasing debt, government could not fund all of its programs.

In spite of this increasing debt, the United States still has lenders who willing to loan money to the U.S.

These lenders, who know there is little chance they will ever receive payment on the principal of these loans, believe it is good business to loan the money to the U.S.

They believe this because there are benefits to these loans other than receiving principal payments.

The United States pays interest on the loans.

The United States purchases products and services from the lenders or businesses associated with the lenders.

The United States props up ailing industries and businesses with these funds. Some of these industries and businesses have ties to the lenders.

Even though the lenders may recognize the consequences of this practice, they must continue loaning money. They know that, “If I owe you a million dollars, I have a problem. If I owe you a hundred million dollars, you have a problem.”

Therefore, the lenders feel forced to continue to loan the money. They know that their benefits will cease if the United States goes out of business.

When I discussed these ideas with an associate who has degrees in finance and accounting she said, “It is like the liability has been turned into an asset.”

When I asked how to categorize the interest payments, she said, “It feels like they are paying rent for using the money.”

That idea resonated with me.

In fact, I have often said government is treating the debt like an asset.

My associate’s idea put that into practical terms.

The loan principal is an asset the U.S. government is paying rent to use.

This perpetual lease agreement works for the lender because it provides cash flow.

It works for the U.S. because it allows American citizens to live, work, and conduct business.

It allows Washington DC to fulfill the imagined responsibility of taking care of the American economy.

It allows those dependent upon government for paychecks, benefits, and entitlements to continue to receive their payments.

With this realization, I think I can see what Congress saw when they made last week’s decision. In addition, I understand the motivation for why America’s government officials set aside the rule of law to keep government funded via an ever-growing debt.

This understanding makes it feel like I’ve come full circle with my work on this website.

I’ll explain what that means tomorrow.

Loyal Soldier Musings

Loyal soldierI must admit that I hadn’t considered that government’s leaders would be able to dismiss their loyal soldier.

After all, Congress is a legislative body. It is supposed to adhere to the rule of law. In fact, we often describe the American government as a government of law, rather than a government of men.

Therefore, the message I received from Source, the one I wrote about in yesterday’s article came as a surprise to me.

Because Congress is a legislative body, Americans expect Congress to act in a legal manner. For most of us, legal includes a balanced budget. It includes paying debts.

However, Congress and the President have, in the interest of efficiency and doing what they think is best for the country, changed the definition of what is legal.

Congress uses Continuing Resolutions to avoid creating a budget.

The President uses Executive Orders to avoid the hassle of taking a bill through Congress.

Source said each had dismissed the loyal soldier of rules to listen to something higher.

Obviously, we can debate whether this is the “right” thing to do.

That’s exactly what happened earlier this month when there was a stalemate over which rule of law to follow. Eventually, government rejected balancing the budget and repaying debt and decided to act out of “risk, trust, surrender, soul, common sense, destiny, love, and deepest self.” It kept programs and departments funded via increasing debt. Our leaders curtailed today’s suffering at the possible expense of future suffering.

Source told me that Congress and the President had to dismiss the loyal soldier of rules to come to this decision.

I am sure my Libertarian friends are incensed at this idea. I have often heard them say that once government dismisses government by rule, tyranny is the next step.

However, what if the system of rules is so complex that virtually every American could be charged with an illegal act every day?

Is that rule system more or less tyrannical than dismissing the loyal soldier?

Furthermore, if a rule is outdated or produces unintended consequences, should it still be enforced?

I know I am asking hypothetical questions to make me consider other possibilities. I am attempting to understand when it is OK to break a law or to establish new laws outside of the realm of current laws.

I know I won’t find absolute answers to these questions because every situation is different.

I know I am placing myself smack in the middle of what Congress was facing when it dealt with spending issues last week.

Within this process of understanding how to dismiss the loyal soldier, I saw an exercise.

It is one where I lay aside the rule of law and look at the situation the way Congress may have looked at it last week.

I’ll attempt to do that in tomorrow’s writing.

Economic Answers

economy sculptureIs, as I wrote yesterday, government unwisely manipulating the pliability of electronic money or are our world’s economic principles regarding debt inaccurate?

This isn’t the first time I’ve considered this question.

A couple years ago, I worked through a similar conundrum and concluded that the assets underlying government debt are the American people and our potential production.

That may still be the case.

However, if it is, I haven’t yet found anything within the way Congress acts that indicates there is a connection between government debt and the underlying collateral.

Instead, Congress passes laws, and President Obama signs them, without apparent concern for the value of the assets.

After all, if there were a value for the collateral, it would be tied to the debt legislation, just as real property is tied to a mortgage.

Therefore, I have set aside that understanding to consider other possibilities.

One of those is that America’s leaders are attempting to destroy the country through an accumulation of debt.

This was the claim of those who opposed last week’s deal to reopen the government. They said it is immoral to continue to borrow money without a plan to repay it. They said there is a painful bankruptcy coming for our country that will result in riots and martial law as those accustomed to receiving government payment via Social Security, welfare, and government jobs suddenly find themselves without resources.

Of course, had Congress not approved last week’s debt legislation, the pain would have come sooner. The shutdown prevented hundreds of thousands of government employees from receiving paychecks. If the shutdown had continued for another two to four weeks, Social Security, welfare, unemployment, and other payments would have ceased too.

It is possible that Congress considered everything and decided the less risky action would be to further increase debt rather than allow the government shutdown to start the pain now. It is possible government leaders had to make a decision between certain current pain and possible future pain.

However, once the deal was made, the majority of our leaders – the ones who approved the deal – didn’t openly address the debt. In fact, the current deal virtually gave government a blank check into 2014.

Which brings me full circle to the questions in the opening paragraph of today’s article.

Are government officials acting unwisely?

Have our world’s economic principles evolved?

Is there another possibility?

Surprisingly, as I looked within to make sense of this situation, I heard a spiritual answer that tied everything into a neat bow.

It gave me clarity on what we see taking place in our economic world.

I heard Source say, “They dismissed the loyal soldier.”

I remembered the article I wrote three weeks ago about Richard Rohr’s idea where I quoted him saying, “Paradoxically, your loyal soldier gives you so much security and validation that you may confuse his voice with the very voice of God.”

It is the idea that the rules of life – in this case, our understanding of debt – may be set aside to hear the deeper voice of God. Rohr says this voice sounds “an awful lot like the voices of risk, of trust, of surrender, of soul, of “common sense,” of destiny, of love, of an intimate stranger, of your deepest self.”

When the government shutdown started, I was glad. Finally, some members of Congress were going to do something about government debt.

Then, as I realized the consequences of the shutdown, I wanted it to end. It didn’t make sense to enforce those rules if the result was needless suffering for our country, and perhaps, our world.

If what I heard from Source is accurate, our Congressional leaders came to the same conclusion.

To be continued..

Debt Beliefs

I ended yesterday’s article by asking three questions.

  • Is it possible that what we think about money and value is inaccurate or is only partially true?
  • Have economic principles, like our technological world, evolved so fast that we haven’t kept up with our thinking?
  • Do last week’s actions by the U.S. Government indicate that paying bills and funding programs are not necessary?

These questions came from the deal reached by the United States Congress last week that ended the government shutdown.

Today, I look closer at each question.

Is it possible that what we think about money and value is inaccurate or is only partially true?

Neale Donald Walsch often uses a similar question when the topic is God, love, live, and peace. It purports that what humans consider absolute truth is seldom absolute by asking, “Is it possible there is something we don’t understand?”

financial beliefsAs we go through life, we often encounter situations that contradict our current belief system. We may respond by clinging to that belief system or we may choose to understand something new.

After last week’s budget deal, I’m seeking to understand something new because Congress’ actions do not fit my belief system regarding debt, paying bills, and funding programs.

Have economic principles, like our technological world, evolved so fast that we haven’t kept up with our thinking?

I have previously written about Moore’s Law. In layman’s terms, it says that computerized power doubles every two years. This increases computer capability, reduces the size of electronic devices, and reduces the cost of technology. It makes everything more efficient.

This increase in technology has allowed the previously impossible to become possible. Robots can respond with emotion. Telephones can tell us where we are located. Cars can navigate urban areas without a human driver.

Our economic engines use this technology to create currency, process transactions, and conduct business. Money, which previously had to be coin or paper, and, before that, was gold or silver, is now computer code.

Is it possible that this electronic money has disrupted the basic economic principles associated with debt? After all, except for minor opposition, Congress is treating debt as if it were an asset rather than a liability.

Do last week’s actions by the U.S. Government indicate that paying bills and funding programs are not necessary?

Last week’s deal gave the U.S. Government authority to spend money to remain open.

Those who opposed this deal generally did so because the source for this money is government’s increasing debt; a debt government has no plan to repay.

Furthermore, Obamacare, the newest government program, will only add to this debt.

By their actions, Congress and the President, who quickly signed the bills passed by Congress, are saying it is OK for the government to fund programs through increasing debt that they will never repay.

In fact, government has delivered this message numerous times over the past hundred years.

From the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 to removing the domestic dollar from the gold standard in 1933 to removing the international dollar from the gold standard in 1971 to abandoning the idea of a budget in 2008 until today, government has sent the message that our medium of exchange is pliable.

It may be manipulated until liabilities are assets and assets are liabilities.

This raises another question.

Is government unwisely manipulating this pliability or are our world’s economic principles regarding debt inaccurate?

I’ll discuss this question in tomorrow’s writing.

Economic Questions

I wrote yesterday that three main ideas carried the day in Thursday night’s budgetary deal that reopened the Federal Government.

  • The debt-based economy works. Therefore, we don’t need to be concerned with repaying government debt as long as government makes payments on the interest.
  • Obamacare must move forward. It doesn’t matter if government has the funding for it.
  • Government does not need a budget to operate.

federal economyObviously, this list contains ideas that are contrary to traditional ideas about money.

It raises questions:

  • Is irresponsibility the new responsibility?
  • Does repaying debt really matter?
  • Can we do something without the money to do it?
  • Are budgets important?

Some Americans claim that Thursday night’s deal proves our leaders are attempting to bankrupt government, gives reason for revolution, and is the next step in destroying the world’s economy.

However, there may be something else going on here.

To find this something else we must answer this question: “What’s the peaceful response when government violates current financial philosophies?”

Whenever humans encounter behavior that runs contrary to basic and accepted truths, we usually rush to judgment and criticize the behavior.

What would happen if we found another, more peaceful, response?

What would happen if we didn’t make a moral judgment about the behavior?

What would happen if we compared the results of the act with the purpose of the act to determine if an action works or doesn’t work in fulfilling the purpose?

The tricky part in this case is determining the purpose.

For the sake of this discussion, I have defined the purpose as maintaining a healthy economy.

I have previously written about many of the problems with America’s current economy:

  • The lack of personal financial responsibility
  • Government’s system of entitlements
  • The myth of the value of a job
  • The overvaluing of a college education

What I am about to say does not discount those issues.

It considers that these problems exist and government’s plan does not include resolving them.

Instead, government’s plan for maintaining a healthy economy is irresponsibly not repaying debt while running programs without a budget.

Yes, based on last week’s agreement, this is absolutely the opinion of America’s current administration.

Once we realize this, we come to the peaceful action I mentioned above.

We do not judge the moral implications of this statement. We find ourselves feeling like Alice falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland and considering whether the above statement may be true.

This brings us to more questions.

  • Is it possible that what we think about money and value is inaccurate or is only partially true?
  • Have economic principles, like our technological world, evolved so fast that our thinking hasn’t kept up with it?
  • Do this week’s actions by the U.S. Government indicate that paying bills and funding programs are not necessary?

Yes, I’m legitimately asking these questions.

Based on what I see happening in our world, I must ask these questions and carefully consider them.

Examining the Winning Ideas

Those who are celebrating the reopening of government may want to look closer at the details of Thursday night’s deal.

I wrote yesterday that the last-minute agreement solved none of the underlying issues that closed government. It only pushed the issues a few months into the future. Obviously, these issues have to do with government spending more than its income.

winnings ideas

As reviewed these issues, I noticed there are various underlying and conflicting philosophies that caused this crisis. Today, I define and contrast those philosophies and take a look at which ideas won.

Government Debt

There are two main ideas regarding government debt.

The first is that the current debt-based economy works. There is no need to fix it. It is possible we will never have to repay the debt.

The world’s increasing population and productivity growth allow debt to increase indefinitely.

Within this idea is the thought that the pain of repaying the debt is too great. Therefore, we must do anything but repay it.

The second idea is that the Federal Government will eventually have to repay the debt. Therefore, we need to quit increasing the debt, cut expenses, and work through the consequences of those actions.

This idea, perpetuated by Tea Party Republicans, was the primary reason for the recent government shutdown.

Obamacare

There are two main ideas regarding Obamacare.

The first is that we must have Obamacare to guarantee America’s future health. Everyone should have free healthcare, especially those life-saving treatments that are traditionally the most expensive. It doesn’t matter if there isn’t a viable way to fund the healthcare plan.

The second is that Obamacare is ineffective healthcare because it is not affordable for our country. Its underfunding will increase government debt because the financial model is unsustainable and will cause the quality of healthcare to decline.

In addition, Obamacare will eliminate the little bit of privacy we currently have. The current areas of privacy in our country are medical and financial. Obamacare will erode both of those. Medical records will be in a national database and, since Obamacare has income eligibility requirements, financial records will be in that database too.

In fact, a clarification in income verification policy was the one “victory” Republicans claimed out of the deal that reopened the government.

Budget

There are two main ideas regarding the government budget.

The first is that government does not need a budget to operate. The federal government hasn’t had a budget for several years. The reason is simple. Government expenses are more than government revenues. Congress has gotten around this issue by issuing Continuing Resolutions that gives it permission to spend money.

The second is that government needs a budget to operate. It seems reasonable to assume that a budget is a requirement to spend money. However, as stated above, this is no longer the case.

The Winning Ideas

The Thursday night deal favored those who hold to the first idea in each of the above issues.

  • The debt based economy works. Therefore, we don’t need to be concerned with repaying government debt as long as government makes payments on the interest.
  • Obamacare must move forward. It doesn’t matter if government has the funding for it.
  • Government does not need a budget to operate.

This raises many questions about how the United States Government views money.

I’ll write about those in tomorrow’s article.