Guest Post: The Corruption Of America

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Porter Stansberry of Stansberry Research

The Corruption of America

The numbers tell us America is in decline... if not outright collapse.

I say "the numbers tell us" because I've become very sensitive to the impact this kind of statement has on people. When I warned about the impending bankruptcy of General Motors in 2006 and 2007, readers actually blamed me for the company's problems – as if my warnings to the public were the real problem, rather than GM's $400 billion in debt.

The claim was absurd. But the resentment my work engendered was real.

So please... before you read this issue, which makes several arresting claims about the future of our country... understand I am only writing about the facts as I find them today. I am only drawing conclusions based on the situation as it stands. I am not saying that these conditions can't improve. Or that they won't improve.

The truth is, I am optimistic. I believe our country is heading into a crisis. But I also believe that... sooner or later... Americans will make the right choices and put our country back on sound footing.

Please pay careful attention to the data I cite. And please send me corrections to the facts. I will happily publish any correction that can be substantiated. But please don't send me threats, accusations against my character, or baseless claims about my lack of patriotism. If I didn't love our country, none of these facts would bother me. I wouldn't have bothered writing this letter.

I know this is a politically charged and emotional issue. My conclusions will not be easy for most readers to accept. Likewise, many of the things I am writing about this month will challenge my subscribers to re-examine what they believe about their country. The facts about America today tell a painful story about a country in a steep decline, beset by problems of its own making.

One last point, before we begin... I realize that this kind of macro-economic/political analysis is not, primarily, what you pay me for.

You rightly expect me to provide you with investment opportunities – whether bull market, bear market, or total societal collapse. And that's what I've done every month for more than 15 years.

But that's not what I've done this month. You won't find any investment ideas at all in these pages. This issue is unlike any other I have ever written.

I'm sure it will spark a wave of cancellations – costing me hundreds of thousands of dollars. I fear it will spark a tremendous amount of controversy. Many people will surely accuse me of deliberately writing inflammatory things in order to stir the pot and gain attention. That's not my intention. The truth is, I've gone to great lengths throughout my career to protect my privacy.

I am speaking out now because I believe someone must. And I have the resources to do it. I am sharing these ideas with my subscribers because I know we have arrived at the moment of a long-brewing crisis.

Our political leaders, our business leaders, and our cultural leaders have made a series of catastrophic choices. The result has been a long decline in America's standard of living.

For decades, we have papered over these problems with massive amounts of borrowing. But now, our debts total close to 400% of GDP, and America is the world's largest borrower (after being the world's largest creditor only 40 years ago)... And the holes in our society can no longer be hidden...

We've reached the point where we will have to fix what lies at the heart of America's decline... or be satisfied with a vastly lower standard of living in the future.

How do I know? How do I statistically define the decline of America?

The broadest measure of national wealth is per-capita gross domestic product (GDP). Economists use this figure to judge standards of living around the world. It shows the value of the country's annual production divided by the number of its citizens. No, the production isn't actually divided among all the citizens, but this measure provides us with a fair benchmark to compare different economies around the world. Likewise, this measure shows the growth (or the decline) in wealth in societies across time.

So... is America growing richer or poorer based on per-capita GDP? Seems like a simple enough question, doesn't it? Is our economy growing faster than our population? Are we, as individuals, becoming more affluent? Or is the pie, measured on a per-person basis, growing smaller?
This is the most fundamental measure of the success or the failure of any political system or culture. Are the legal and social rules we live under aiding our economic development or holding us back? What do the numbers say?

Unfortunately, it's a harder question to answer than it should be. The problem is, we don't have a sound currency with which to measure GDP through time. Until 1971, the U.S. dollar was defined as a certain amount of gold. And the price of gold was fixed by international agreement. It didn't actually begin to trade freely until 1975. Therefore, the value of the U.S. dollar (and thus the value of U.S. production, which is measured in dollars) was manipulated higher for many years.

Even today, our government's nominal GDP figures are greatly influenced by inflation. The influence of inflation is particularly pernicious in GDP studies. You see, inflation, which actually reduces our standard of living, drives up the amount of nominal GDP. So it creates the appearance of a wealthier country... while the nation is actually getting poorer.

The only real way to accurately measure per-capita GDP is to build our own model. The need to build our own tools tells you something important – the government doesn't want anyone to know the answer to this question. It could easily publish data far more accurate than the indexes it puts out. But government doesn't want anyone to know. And it wants to be able to say "those aren't the real data" when studies like ours produce bad news.

So pay attention to how we built our charts. You can see for yourself that our data are far more accurate than the government's figures. Our data are based on the real purchasing power of the currency, not the nominal numbers, which are completely meaningless in the real world.

The question we are trying to answer is: What would per-capita GDP numbers look like, if we used a real-world currency, like gold, or a basket of commodity prices, instead of the paper-based U.S. dollar? What would the figures be if we measured GDP in sound money instead of the government's funny money?

Here's how we figured it out. We took the government numbers for nominal GDP and measured them first against commodity prices, and later (after it began to trade freely) gold. We used a standard commodity index (the CRB) up to 1975 and gold post-1975. The result of this analysis shows you the real trend in U.S. per-capita GDP, as measured on a real-world purchasing power basis.

Our analysis shows you what's actually happened to our real standard of living. The results, we suspect, will surprise even the most bearish among you.

America is in a steep decline.

Americans Are Getting Poorer – Fast

Let me anticipate the "official" criticism of our study. Many people will claim that our numbers aren't "real." They will say that we "mined" the data to produce a chart that showed a steep decline.

That's simply not so. All we've done is convert the government's nominal GDP stats into a fixed currency value that's based on real-world purchasing power. The fact is, our data are far more accurate than the government's because they represent the real-world experience.

That's why our data are far more closely correlated to other real-world studies of wealth in America.

Consider, for example, annual sales of automobiles. Auto sales peaked in 1985 (11 million) and have been declining at a fairly steady rate since 1999. In 2009, Americans bought just 5.4 million passenger cars. As a result, the median age of a registered vehicle in the U.S. is almost 10 years.

Our data shows that real per-capita wealth peaked in the late 1960s. Guess when we find the absolutely lowest median age of the U.S. fleet? In 1969. At the end of the 1960s, the median age of all the cars on the road in the U.S. was only 5.1 years. Even as recently as 1990, the median age was only 6.5 years.

Rich people buy new cars. Poor people do not.

Most important, our data "proves" something I know many of you have felt or perceived for many years. You've seen the decline of your neighborhoods. You've gone years without being able to earn more money in your job. Or you've seen your purchasing power decrease to the point where you're now substituting lower-quality products on your grocery list for the brand-name products you used to buy.

You can see how much harder it is on your children to find good jobs, to buy good housing or a new car. As a result, few people under the age of 40 have the same kind of "life story" as their parents.

And because they can't "make it," many have decided to "fake it." The average college student now graduates with $24,000 in debt... and by his late 20s has racked up more than $6,000 in credit card debt. Meanwhile, median earnings for Americans aged 25-34 equals $34,000-$38,000. (Source:, "The Economic State of Young America," November 2011.)

Can you imagine starting your life out as an adult with a personal debt-to-income level at close to 100%? What does this say about the state of our economy? What does this say about the state of our culture?

Who Suffers Most

It's not only the young that are having trouble in America. It is also the old.

Debt levels among households headed by people older than 62 have been rising for two decades. The average mortgage size for this population is now $71,000 – five times larger than it was in 1987 (adjusted for inflation), according to William Apgar of Harvard's Joint
Center for Housing Studies.

Older Americans are also more reliant on credit card debt than ever before... credit card debt. From 1992 through 2007 (which is the latest data available) older Americans took on credit card debt at a faster pace than the population as a whole. According to USA Today, lower- and middle-income Americans aged 65 and older now carry an average of more than $10,000 in credit card debt, up 26% since only 2005.
Given average interest rates of 20% for these debts, it's a fair bet that these obligations will never be repaid. But they will have a terrible impact on the standard of living of these older Americans.

What in the heck is going on? Don't Americans pay off their mortgages before they retire? Don't they work hard during their careers, save, and invest, so they can move to Florida and spend their retirement in comfort?

Older Americans living with credit card debt! This doesn't sound like America, does it? Or maybe it does.

My bet is that most of my subscribers know that something has gone terribly wrong with America. It's not easy to figure out how all of this happened... but you know from your own experiences that these numbers aren't wrong. It might not be pleasant to think about... but these figures paint a sad but accurate picture: America is not the country it was 40 years ago. These changes are warping our economy, politics, and culture.

In this month's issue, I'd like to try to define a few of the core reasons we're in this situation. I can't possibly analyze all the factors that have led to this decline. But I want to document the growth of graft in politics. I want to demonstrate – with real facts and examples – how public company leadership has deteriorated. And I want to document some of the things that are occurring in the broader society, all of which I believe are linked to this fundamental decline in our standard of living.

You see, I believe the decline of our country is primarily a decline of our culture.

We have lost our sense of honor, humility, and the dedication to personal responsibility that, for more than 200 years, made our country the greatest hope for mankind. I want to detail some of the factors that gave rise to the current entitlement society. We have become a country of people who believe their well-being is someone else's responsibility.

I've labeled these problems: The Corruption of America.

These problems manifest themselves in different ways across institutions in all parts of our society. But at their root, they are simply facets of the same stone. They are all part of the same essential problem.

The corruption of America isn't happening in one part of our country... or in one type of institution. It is happening across the landscape of our society, in almost every institution. It's a kind of moral decay... a kind of greed... a kind of desperate grasp for power... And it's destroying our nation.

The Ethos of 'Getting Yours'

Americans know, in their bones, that something terrible is happening. Maybe you can't articulate it. Maybe you don't have the statistics to understand exactly what's going on. But my bet is, you think about it a lot.

For me, a poignant moment of recognition came this month.

Bloomberg news published an article based on confidential sources about how Henry Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs and the Republican U.S. Treasury secretary during the financial crisis, held a secret meeting with the top 20 hedge-fund managers in New York City in late July 2008. This was about two weeks after he testified to Congress that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were "well-capitalized."
I knew for a fact that what Paulson told Congress wasn't true. I wrote my entire June 2008 newsletter detailing exactly why Fannie and Freddie certainly had billions in losses that they had not yet revealed to investors – $500 billion in losses, at least. There was no question in my mind, both companies were insolvent – "zeros," as I explained.

And yet, in front of Congress, the U.S. Treasury secretary was saying exactly the opposite. Either I was a liar... or he was.
Then... only a few days later... what did Paulson tell those hedge-fund managers?

He told them the same thing I had written in my newsletter. He told them the opposite of what he'd said publicly to Congress. He told these billionaire investors that Fannie and Freddie were a disaster... They would require an enormous, multibillion-dollar bailout... The U.S. government would have to take them over... And their shareholders would be completely wiped out.

Here you had a high-government official, explicitly lying to Congress (and by extension, the general public), while giving the real facts to a group of people who represented the financial interests of the world's wealthiest folks. The story didn't come to the public's attention for two years.

This was the most outrageous example of graft and corruption I have ever seen. Certainly it involves more billions of dollars in misappropriated value than any other similar story I can recall. These managers had the risk-free ability to make tens of billions of dollars, if not hundreds of billions, by using derivatives to capitalize on what they knew was the imminent collapse of the world's largest mortgage bank. Who picked up the tab? You know perfectly well. It was you and me, the taxpayers.

(One of the investment managers present at this meeting was Steve Rattner, who by that point was already deeply involved in another bit of graft, his efforts to bribe New York state pension-fund managers for large investments into his hedge fund, from which he earned perhaps as much as $100 million. He later settled the charges for a mere $10 million shortly after Andrew Cuomo was elected governor of New York.)
The Bloomberg story... about a crooked Treasury secretary handing a room full of crooked billionaires inside information worth billions of dollars... hardly caused a ripple. As far as I know, no actions are being planned against Henry Paulson or any of the hedge-fund managers involved. No other major media outlet picked up the story. I saw nothing about it from the Department of Justice or the Securities and Exchange Commission.

What does that say about our country when even the most egregious kind of corruption – involving hundreds of billions of dollars – is simply ignored?

It seems like everyone in our country has lost his moral bearing, from the highest government officials and senior corporate leaders all the way down to schoolteachers and local community leaders. The ethos of my fellow Americans seems to have changed from one of personal integrity and responsibility to "getting yours" – the all-out attempt, by any means possible, to get the most amount of benefits with the least amount of work.

You can see this in everything from the lowering of school standards (revising the SAT) to the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs in professional, college, and high school sports. Cheating has become a way of life in America.

I have an idea about how this happened... about the root cause of this kind of corruption and why it was inevitable, given some of the basic facts regarding how we've organized our government and our corporations.

Let me show you the numbers – the hard facts – behind what's happened to our country...

Read more here

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
wisefool's picture

The only number that matters is 75,000+ pages of tax code. We are all apart of the soft corruption and there is no exit, as is being displayed in washington today.

Hard1's picture

And turbo Timmay cheating on his taxes also matters.  He set the example of what every single US taxpayer should be doing to it's corrupt government.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



The inflation tax isn't even in the tax code.

The third option is for the Federal Reserve to create credit to pay the bills Congress runs up. Nobody objects, and most Members hope that deficits don't really matter if the Fed accommodates Congress by creating more money. Besides, interest payments to the Fed are lower than they would be if funds were borrowed from the public, and payments can be delayed indefinitely merely by creating more credit out of thin air to buy U.S. treasuries. No need to soak the rich. A good deal, it seems, for everyone. But is it?


The “tax” is paid when prices rise as the result of a depreciating dollar. Savers and those living on fixed or low incomes are hardest hit as the cost of living rises. Low- and middle-incomes families suffer the most as they struggle to make ends meet while wealth is literally transferred from the middle class to the wealthy. Government officials stick to their claim that no significant inflation exists, even as certain necessary costs are skyrocketing and incomes are stagnating.

ratso's picture

Porter Stansbury is just anther pompous doomsday spouting moron.  He is just another voice in the right wing chorus screaming THE SKY IS FALLING AND OBAMA IS TO BLAME. 

Give me a break pleeease.

redpill's picture

Well, the sky IS falling and Obama IS to blame.  But it's not a matter of being right wing.  Stansberry is just a huckster and this is the latest wagon he's trying to hitch to and merely regurgitating a bunch of crap he's read elsewhere stretched out into painfully long and vacuous sales pitches.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Well, the IS falling but Obama is not to blame. He is merely getting to be the man in the spotlight when it all goes down. Many more people carry direct blame than obama does. POTUS has been heavily rigged since Abe. Did you know Abe Lincoln's father was a Rothschield Frontman?

The tragedy of america's corruption is that is has been by design. By hollywood, By TV. By Pornography. By false dreams of manifest destiy, totally un-founded. By violence. And by too much meat. Mis and ill treated meat at that.

The purveyours of pornography rule. 



DaveyJones's picture

like most collapsing empires, our leaders are getting progressively corrupt and progressively worse. It's math really

falak pema's picture

its entropy; but there is always a reset, thats the natural cycle, like champagne cork, has to rise. Hubris, everything to lose>humility, nothing to lose>reset. 

IBelieveInMagic's picture

This essay is pure bullshit!

The reality is that we (USA) were able to establish a seemlingly unlimited credit card in the 70s that resulted in real stuff being provided by ROW in exchange for our promises (paper and digital) based upon our then trade surplus status -- this hugely advantageous arrangement allowed people in power (financial sector, MIC, politicians) to predictably recklessly take advantage of their pole position while keeping the rest of the populace quiescent by doling out entitlements, make-work jobs (TSA is the latest example) and easy credit. Now the ridiculous levels of debt (and non-performing debt at that) from this arrangement has become transparent and we are no longer able to pretend that we have a productive economy (we exchanged our productive economy for the right to acquire energy (and other commodities) and other goods and services in exchange for our paper and digits which gave us an artificial high standard of living far above what was justified by our economy). This arrangement is secured in place by our mighty military. Net net it has been a great arrangement for the country but the distribution of the gains has been highly lopsided with folks in power snagging a large part of the loot.

The challenge is how to retain this advantageous trade arrangement but at the same time create meaningful jobs locally -- the assumption was that US would be able to stay ahead of other economies in creating high value jobs and industries and we would be able to offshore/outsource industries where the 3rd world is catching up but this has not panned out in volume. Now we are in a place where the ROW has caught on in many areas but we have not been able to create new industries into which our population could be eased into.

Blaming politicians and others in advantageous position is just blame game (if we are honest with ourselves, most people would easily be corrupted if put in similar circumstances -- that is human nature). While we like to believe democracy provides the framework for checks and balances, in reality it has not panned out -- requires very active participation of populace which cannot be sustained over long periods (demands unreasonable attention span of populace that it is incapable of). My two cents.


Voodoo Economics's picture

Ibelieve: Great analysis! BTW to his simple anecdote of the autos - anyone alive in the 70's and early 80's remembers the CRAP that Detroit used to put out as a car and truck. Just because an car/truck lasts longer now, and that one doesn't neet to replace the POS every 2-3 years doesn't mean we are worse off, possibly the opposite.

Anyway, this article has more holes in it that than (you name the pun).

nope-1004's picture

America has always been corrupt.  That's not the problem.

The problem is punishment for the white collar criminal has never been more absent.  Loopholes get them acquitted, fancy lawyers get them off, and judges are political pawns used to stage the court room drama much like Hollywood TV.  The legal system has become a circus act.  Without punishment, corruption simply is more visible.

UP Forester's picture

I'd rather take a truck from the 70's or 80's over all the electronic crap they put out today.

They rode rougher and (nominally) used more gas, but at least you didn't have to pay someone $300 to scan, replace and reset all them fuckin' sensors, including the ones in the tires/wheels.

Christ, you can't even fill a leaky tire or change your sparkplugs anymore.

lotsoffun's picture

up forester - it was all part of the experiement.  partially it was a positive attempt.  can we improve on it?  partially it was an attempt to increase sales just on coming up with something new.  in the end - we got to try it.  personally - i'd just as soon have a volkswagen beetle with roll down windows and no AC for personal driving, now that i get to try everything - and dodge or chevy van or pickup if i needed to move things (with roll down windows and no power seats).  and the mileage really wasn't that much better or worse.  can we get back to that?


pakled's picture

Also less suceptible to EMP blast...

pakled's picture

gimme a classic Dodge Power wagon, and a lever.... and I can drive the lever anywhere it needs to get to.

GMadScientist's picture

Because the tankers that bring the gas or diesel that your P.O.S runs on won't be affected by an EMP?



UP Forester's picture

No, because corn + sugar + water, heat it up, add yeast, wait a week, heat it up = alcohol.

A lot easier to convert with a carb than TBI/EFI/SPI.

Or, conversely, squish a bunch of seeds for veggie oil, strain, and POOF!  Biodiesel.


What a concept.

Katow-jo's picture

That's not because the cars are harder to work on...quite frankily I'd rather work on a new car then the spaghetti emissions controls they had in the 1970s and 80's.  The reason its gotten more expensive is because the shops realised they could fleece customers by jacking the shop rates.  As I understand it all shops used to charge closer to $50 an hour...nowadays though...

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Voodoo, I am glad you picked up on it. The Detroit garbage would last maybe 100,000 miles including 2 or 3 overhauls in the mix. Modern cans can easily make 120,000 without any major work. Poor example.

High Plains Drifter's picture

gaddafi came to the same conclusion but he was murdered........

r00t61's picture

I agree, I think this essay has it backwards. 

In essence, the author's hypothesis is "decline in cultural values = decline of American economic system."

But I would argue the converse: that the "decline in American economic system = decline in cultural values."

People don't just wake up one day and say, "You know what?  I think I'm too moral, I think I'm too kind, I think I'm too generous.  I should stop being those things.  I should become more selfish, I should start thinking of ways to (quietly) screw my neighbors over, I should find as many loopholes as I can in the business and tax codes because I can."

Rather, over the course of months and years, as the economy continues to sink, peoples' mindsets change.  They start to think, "Man, I'm making less money, my savings account is shrinking, I haven't had a vacation in years.  I see actors, politicians, lawyers, and financial shysters making money fast without lifting a finger on TV.  They must be doing something right.  It isn't 'corruption', it's working smarter.  As long as I get mine, that's all that matters.  Even if 'mine' comes from working from some corrupt multi-national corporate like GE, or part of the MIC like Northrop Grumman, or even directly from the taxpayer's teat, like federal, state, or local government.  They're all doing it, so why can't I?"

Like the famous line from "My Fair Lady":

Colonel Hugh Pickering: Have you NO morals, man?
Alfred P. Doolittle: Nah. Nah, can't afford 'em, guv'nor. Neither could you, if you was as poor as me.

Voodoo Economics's picture

If your argument is correct, then the last 30 years should have seen society become the most morally just/high cultural valued system ever - Maybe it has been?

Killtruck's picture

I have poor friends (like, real poor, not American poor) that are exceptionally moral. I personally think the original version is more correct.


wisefool's picture

Thats how you do it boys. Reminds me of hedgefund conference a couple of weeks ago sponsored by bloomberg. The order of battle was a stolid fed cheif with an old media jornalist followed by some statitiscians. Then they got a cameo from a hedge fund manager without his curtain: "The problem is that we need the less developed parts of the world, with solid balance sheets, to lever up."

I cant remember the dudes name but he was wearing douchebag eyeglases. Atleast krugman lets you look him in the eye.

youLilQuantFuker's picture

It's those fucling aliens. They fly here, poke and prod us, take some stuff and never buy any credit products.

A Lunatic's picture

Corruption is not the problem, it's the fact that we no longer hang the guilty.

GMadScientist's picture

Then what was all that clapping for Perry at the debates about?

Oh, you don't hang the rich guilty.

UP Forester's picture

I love the sound of one hand clapping....

Grinder74's picture

I think it's more accurately described as a circle--one feeds on the other. 

malek's picture

No, the author has it exactly right. One day you will also come to the same conclusion.
But moral/cultural values, especially the really applied, not just the claimed ones, are very hard to measure, so their decay is only seen much later.

lotsoffun's picture

you are either young, or were a sociopath from the beginning.



Katow-jo's picture

r00t61 has it exactly right, you're deceiving yourself if you think the original authors premise is valid.  Occam's razor, people!

johnu78's picture

The whole country is going to sh*t, and the government and the people who control it are to blame.

Thank god for the Occupy Movement!!!



Sabibaby's picture

It is about the blame game and if we can blame corrupt politicians and rich Wall Streeter’s great and more power to us! They know what’s headed their way and they’re preparing for bullets to the face. So enough with the psch101 BS lets go hunting!!!

AldousHuxley's picture

If you looks at history and old B&W movies, politicians were no better before.


It is just that people are more educated and information is more transparent thanks to technological advances.


They are discovering the lie that America is somehow innocent. In Russia everyone is aware of corruption. In America, people thought they were held in higher regard until the wave of economic boost goes away and the men behind the  curtain are exposed.



DaveyJones's picture

you're right that we were never innocent, but as things get more desperate, human beings both take and justify more desperate damaging measures. Maybe I'm biased by a background in criminal law, but that's all I see going on here. History, psychology and other things that end in y play that theory as well. 

AldousHuxley's picture

humans are animals with survival instincts after all.


fairness and equalities are luxuries

Taint Boil's picture



Nature (instincts) is interesting - lions don't eat hyenas, they just like to kill them.

GMadScientist's picture

Hyenas threaten their cubs. Grow a brain.

Lord Koos's picture

The attempt to attain fairness and equality = modern civilization. It will never be completely attained, of course, but do you think that isn't a worthy goal?  We are animals but we are can also be more than animals.

AldousHuxley's picture


morality, lack of prejudice, equality, fairness are human needs at the very top of the hierarchy of needs.

Food, sleep, water come before more noble pursuits.

During economic depressions, everyone's focuses one level lower where as during booms everyone aspires a higher calling.


Most people have the capacity to attain the top level, but society is not optimal enough yet to develop them. Elites do not trust the society enough to share the power, so in turn force non-elites fight dirty over petty stuff to get some leftover power and benefits.


economics and capitalism sort of solved the bottom most material needs which is what the "American Dream" is all about because there is a price to each things and you can figure out how to produce them optimally with efficient capital allocation.

But there is no definitive price on other stuff like family time, respect, morality, creativity, etc. so most often times people will over hoard materials goods while lacking these and wonder why they are not happy.


In the long run, humans have progressed. It just sucks when majority are idiots and hold some early enlightened folks like ZH readers down.


buyingsterling's picture

right. So there's only one _partial_ solution: Limit the central government to only constitutional functions. They're harder to corrupt, and this will move the corruption down the power scale, where it's often easier to identify and deal with. No hope for that except through collapse or perhaps Ron Paul.

r00t61's picture

Unfortunately, that's not really a solution at all.  Because who determines whether the government is stepping beyond the limits prescribed in the Constitution?  Oh, that's right, the government.  Why would the government willingly limit its own power? 

The Founding Fathers thought that their checks and balances system would prevent/limit this power creep, but clearly, this has not worked out in practice. 

Lincoln "destroyed the Union in order to save it." 

FDR's Supreme Court basically interpreted the Commerce Clause to mean "the Federal Government can do pretty much whatever the damn hell it wants." 

Our current court says that "Corporations are people." 

Our current Congress and Executive says that American citizens can be detained, indefinitely, without charge, if they're "enemy combatants."  The list goes on and on.

The government is its own arbiter of limitation, which means that it is no arbiter at all.  It's a classic case of "Who watches the watchers?"

wisefool's picture

+1 This ^.

The interstate commerce clause was intended to avoid highway and river bandits. Even with the absurd interpretations over the years it was not enough, so they used the tax code to faustian implement their dispensations for lives not well lived.

As far as who watches the watchers, you could add up every scripture & tort from the major religions of the world. They would be dwarfed by our "secular" tax code that was created to catch Al Capone ....... snarc: Merry Christmas to the LLM's tax of the world! Sent from my "Pelosi inside" Ipad. /snarc

youLilQuantFuker's picture

Imagine if you will that The Bernank pulls it off and his policies actually produce some sort of anemic growth for the next 3 years. Then we go through 6 more boom-bust cycles lasting 23 years. Then it finally all collapses.

What are you going to do in the meantime?

Crisismode's picture

Tend my gardens.

Love my wife and family.

Care for the less fortunate in my community.

Live as happily as I can each day until I die.


How about you?