Posts Tagged ‘citizens’

“The way we treat retirees in this nation is broken…

When the government created Social Security, it was as an anti-poverty insurance program… not a way to pay for your entire retirement. In fact, it began with only a 2% payroll tax and promised to never take more than 6% of a worker’s pay.

That promise was broken.

Today, Social Security takes a combined total of 12.4% of your pay.

And what do you get guaranteed in return?

Nothing.

According to the Social Security Administration’s own website, the Supreme Court ruled in 1960 that citizens have no legal rights to Social Security, no matter how long they paid into the system.

Social Security’s costs this year exceeded its income for the first time since 1982.”

-P.J. O’Rourke

“In the same year that the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his masterpiece, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

The Founding Fathers were well aware of the transition – natural, and perhaps inevitable – from republic to empire. They had studied it in the Roman example. They had seen how it drew power into a few hands… and corrupted them.

They tried to prevent it from happening in the New World, putting in place limits… circuit breakers… and checks and balances… to keep the government from becoming too big, too ambitious, or too powerful.

Even then, they were doubtful that it would stick. ‘We give you a republic…’ Franklin wrote to posterity, ‘if you can keep it.’….

Time and scale have changed the nature, not just the age and the size, of the United States of America. It has become something the Founding Fathers had tried to avoid… and almost certainly wouldn’t like….

Citizens still have the right to life, liberty, and property – but only to the extent that the feds allow.

They can keep their firearms, for example, but the feds can label them terrorists… and kill American citizens.

They still have the right to express themselves under the protection of the First Amendment, unless their opinions are considered ‘hate speech,’ or the feds – or their agents at Facebook and Google – just don’t like what they say.

Your property is still safe, too; but under the doctrine of civil forfeiture, the police can take your money, your cars, and your house… with no due process of law….

Empires are very different from republics. They are no longer by, for, and of the people. They’re too big… too complex… with too many fingers in too many pies for the people or their elected representatives to keep up with.

So power migrates to the center. There, where the CIA, NSA, Pentagon, NIH, FBI, IRS, and dozens of other agencies… along with the corporate headquarters of hundreds of big industries… and thousands of pressure groups, lobbyists, factotums, hacks, think tanks, NGOs, powerful families, and apparatchiks reside, is where the real power flows.

There, too, in Rome as in Washington, the power congeals.”

-Bill Bonner