Nullifying the Will of the People
There are two fundamental facts about governments. One is that they occupy a territory; their power to influence has physical boundaries. From the earliest days of tribal associations geographical space has been used to secure and administer the power of government.
Since the U.S. is a democratic republic, it uses electoral districts to structure representation. These districts, or spaces, are determined by those who control the legislatures in the states. State governments cannot resist the temptation to redraw the boundaries of their districts in order to maximize their Party’s control of state legislatures. Ever since 1812, when the governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry, drew a district in his state in the shape of a salamander, party-favoring district redrawing has been called gerrymandering.
If a political party can successfully redraw districts to secure political power, it can be said that they are using space, the physical boundaries of party-favoring districts, to minimize the power of their opposition party to win elections. For example, the Speaker of the Illinois House, Michael Madigan, has painstakingly gerrymandered Illinois so that his party, the Democrat party, the party of Elbridge Gerry, can keep its supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate.
So the will of the voters is diminished by the manipulation of space – districts -- within states. But there’s another, more subtle, and thereby largely overlooked method that is used to manipulate legislation: the manipulation of the will of the voters over time.
All legislation requires the appropriation of funds. The basic police powers of government such as public safety, health, and education all require budget appropriations. This may seem obvious but it means that a legislative policy that is not budgeted cannot be implemented. Its existence depends upon money being appropriated to make it happen. The less money a legislature has to spend, the fewer policy programs it can budget. It can seek to maximize the productivity of existing appropriations but that is not always done and has limits.
To the extent, then, that a legislature must budget revenue to make interest payments on debt, it has less money to appropriate to legislative goals. This means it cannot appropriate as much money to future legislative goals as future voters would like. Debt, then, diminishes the will of the people by reducing their legislative choices in the future. The corollary is also true: to the extent that states have balanced budgets today, their future voters will have more choices as to how their tax dollars are spent, in the future, by their elected representatives. Since all residents of the U.S. pay for local, state and Federal taxes, the collective will of all residents of the nation is diminished by debt.
The creation of debt diminishes the will of the people as surely as gerrymandering. Debt only exists in the future. Any debt that must be paid today was created in the past. But while gerrymandering has spatial limits, time is totally abstract, and seems to have no limits. Since it has no boundaries the debt that has to be paid over time does not seem real. Debt, unlike gerrymandered districts, has no physical existence. Debt only exists through time. This is how politicians get away with it.
There are no legislative mechanisms to limit national debt, or the Quantitative Easing debt held by the Treasury. The weakness of the monetary system is that it can be easily manipulated by political leaders who do not exercise reasonable restraint.
And once the debt is created it is very difficult, particularly for political leaders who chose to create it, to reduce it. The U.S. debt has only been significantly reduced in the late 1990s under Republican control of the House.
But as the will of future voters is diminished through debt creation, the political power of current politicians is equally enhanced. Government officials can borrow money -- borrow the voters’ will -- to secure their control over space through time, at no present cost to them.
Politicians can create debt today, and benefit from it, at no present cost, while voters will have to pay the cost far into the future and see a loss of appropriated benefits. A capitalist can borrow capital -- create debt -- in order to expand his productivity, but he has to pay back that amount. Politicians don’t have to pay it back. And all the while they can say they are helping improve the infrastructure and are being generous with rich people’s money, while in reality they are taking money from everyone.
It is fair and accurate to state that Democrats are the party of excessive spending and debt. President Obama doubled the national debt and reduced the nation’s credit rating. Cities that have filed for Federal bankruptcy protection; such as Stockton, CA and Detroit, MI, are managed by Democrats. This is not to place blame as much as to point out that Democrats are the party that has used gerrymandering and debt creation to expand and maintain political power.
In short, Democrats have cleverly found ways to use both space and time to enhance their own political power while diminishing the consent of the governed, the will of the people, to influence how government appropriates their tax dollars.
Diminishing the will of the people is a violation of the Constitution and a violation of the right of the people to have a government that represents them. The greatest wealth transfer in history has been achieved through liberal rhetoric, empty promises, fraud and the abuse of Constitutional concepts. Congress has not made this a Federal crime. Management of state budgets is a state issue. It should be a Federal one since it has Federal consequences, and Congress is asked to bail out indebted states.
When a state or city borrows money it forces future voters to pay for choices made by politicians today. This, in effect, is related in meaning to the rule of finance which states that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. The value of tomorrow’s dollar is diminished through inflation and the additional cost of interest. With government debt, it is not the value of the money that is the primary loss, but the exercise of the will of the people on legislation. No matter what tomorrow’s revenues are, they are less because some of it must be allocated to servicing debt.
Democrats have cleverly constrained and redirected the will of the people by manipulating, using space and time, the consent of the governed. By doing so, they have gained that they want, political power and money; all at the expense of voters who do not understand what is being done. The Constitution was written to firewall the will of the people from an overreaching Federal government. An over-reach perpetrated by states was not contemplated.
The political use of space and time may seem abstract and irrelevant to voters. The Congressional district of Luis Gutierrez and the $8.3 trillion of unfunded public pension and municipal bond debt are both very real. Voters know this: 70% don’t like the direction the country is going.