It is hilarious to observe the most recent preening and fluffing behavior of the national bird in Washington. No, it's not the bald eagle, or the alleged choice of Ben Franklin, the survival-oriented wild turkey.
The national bird of the federal government, wholly dependent upon a system that feeds it, conveyor-belt style, all the precious fruit of the shrinking American working class it can eat, is the chicken.
And not just any chicken, mind you. The federal government, the elected class in particular, is like the chicken grown in the poultry houses all over the Shenandoah Valley and beyond. These guys and gals look all grown up, but are amazingly immature, inexperienced and ill-informed about the real world. They spend their entire lives closely shielded from the outside world, exposed to little more than others like themselves, with a water drip they take for granted, and a never-empty all-you-can-eat free lunch dispenser. These helpless yet blissfully unaware chickens are a testament to the predictable tendencies of applied central planning, and they are the perfect icon for the government of the United States of America today.
They start out running and chirping, but before a few months pass, these guys are crippled by their own weight. By design, these chickens must be harvested early, before they die of heart failure, or fall down and never get up, trampled and pecked to death by their compadres.
Welcome to the Congress of the United States, analogy courtesy of Perdue, Tyson, and Pilgrim's Pride.
The latest spectacle of the chickens who run our country comes from the so-called conservatives in the House — who are currently pushing for a Constitutional Amendment to "balance the federal budget," as part of a "Cut, Cap and Balance" package that doesn't cut, raises the borrowing cap, and continues the ongoing and unsustainable imbalance in government spending. Little of what these Congressmen are doing today, or have been doing for the past twenty years has been even remotely constitutional, so it isn't clear why amending the Constitution is ever necessary. Most Congressmen haven't completely read it, don't understand what they did read, and believe it is a prop best used during election campaigns. Most don't believe it is the law or binding in any way on their votes and actions.
One side of the Janus-state — the so-called left side, is angry that the Cut, Cap and Balance may interfere with their political base and agendas, while failing to raise tax collections on that part of the country that they do not claim. The so-called right side of the Janus-state believes that as long as defense spending for the corporate empire is nurtured, preserved and expanded, their proposal will appear "conservative" and be welcomed as titillating foreplay for the November elections.
It seems like they take us all for fools, but as usual it is the genuflecting Congress and the emperor who are fooling themselves. While the United States as a functional value has been calmly downgraded (again!) to a C-minus and Americans rapidly seek alternative home bases, passports, ways of making a living off payroll and out of sight, conservatives recall the "glory days" of 1994 and 1995, and as the strutting feather-headed duo of Eric Cantor and Bob Goodlatte proclaim, it might have been so different, if only.
The crux of the Cantor-Goodlatte position is that, in March 1995, if only the Congress had sent a federal balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification, all of their congressional overspending, their lack of personal and institutional principle, their paucity of restraint, their blatant inability to comprehend basic economics, their obsession for power over the less worthy, their obscene vote selling and incessant influence whoring – all of these sins would have been washed away, instantly and permanently.
The whole debate is moot, because it has been demonstrated from the beginning that Congress has never met a law that it couldn't ignore, modify, or break, starting with the original Constitution.
It is also moot because these congressmen assume that of the several states would approve such a balanced budget amendment, then, now, or in the future. The states well understand their fundamental relationship to the federal government, that unwritten law of federalism. States exist to bring home the goodies, ideally paid for by other states or by a collective accumulation of shared debt owed by future voters and future taxpayers, again mostly residing in other states. The very idea of a demand to pay the federal bill in a given fiscal year (even 18 months later, as the proposed language has it, allowing time to "measure" the GDP) would be simultaneously laughable and repulsive to state governors and to the people, because they intuitively understand that it would mean both fewer goodies and higher taxation, for the wealthier states first and eventually for even the poorest and smallest of states.
The states would overwhelmingly reject this amendment, even if it had teeth and claws, which it does not. This proposal is the rohypnol in the Constitutional martini, following the tradition of federal government boorishness of the 16th Amendment and the 1973 War Powers Act. Cap, Cut and Balance should be nicknamed the Roofie Amendment.
Given that most prudent states would immediately just say no, I can envision a contrarian movement among some states to consider the risk and actively support the Balanced Budget Amendment. Counting on staying competitive for business and productivity as people flee ever more federally "owned" states, certain governors might support the Roofie Amendment in order to eventually weaken the DC loyalists and set the stage for real secession. North Dakota, with its questionable legal statehood status may want to go slow in correcting their constitution. A balanced budget amendment, if passed, would bring economic slavery to the more federally integrated states of the union, and place North Dakota in a super-cool position of pre-existing independence from Washington. Republic of Texas flag wavers, Hawaiian revolutionaries, and Vermont secessionists, take note!
American states, of course, cannot print their own money. A smaller group of states, with interests in allowing alternative hard currencies, or even those with a tradition of creative community currencies, might join with the hopeful independents in supporting a Balanced Budget Amendment as a means to ultimate monetary freedom from D.C. Utah’s sound money movement and upstate New York community business vouchers, gold and silver holders everywhere, upon ratification of a Balanced Budget Amendment, would become even more valuable, reasonable, popular, and useful.
There are many ways to critique and chuckle at the proposals by Cantor and Goodlatte to somehow rein in federal spending by making a law, but there is one staring God-awful gap in the proposed amendment. No version of the law, past of present, deals with or even mentions the existence and processes of bank of the federal government, the Federal Reserve. For the liars in Washington, D.C., both on the left and right, this failure to address the Federal Reserve is a very good thing. Running out of money? We'll "do you a favor" and print more!
In 1994, the Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was the bank's Bifrons. Feared and powerful, moving corpses here and there, scaring all the chickens. It is unthinkable that a balanced budget amendment in 1994 would have addressed the Fed. Only Ron Paul, writing of gold and liberty and transparency, boldly spoke of the Bifrons, then and now. Today, a less impressive Bifrons exists, and Dr. Paul chairs the financial services subcommittee. He routinely takes on the corpse carrier — but still, Cantor and Goodlatte and the rest of the chicken-hearted, bird-brained "conservatives" in Congress cannot bring themselves to address the Fed in the language of the Cut, Cap and Balance Amendment.
Our feathered friends in Congress do enjoy their water drip and their never-ending free lunch. There is a solution, and it starts by not listening to dim-witted chickens trying to buy you one more drink before the bar closes. End the Fed and its interest rate fixing, repeal the 16th Amendment, repeal the 17th Amendment, bring the troops home, end the empire. Start with just these things, and watch the country's economy and its attitude soar, the young delighted that they actually have a hopeful and peaceful future, the old embraced and cared for, the middle generations employed and empowered. In parts and pieces, we can take back our country, and most of us will survive when the empire ends. I find myself oddly reminded of Hoover's purported campaign promise, and FDR's four freedoms. I, too, see chicken on the menu.
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here or join her Facebook page. She is currently running for Congress in Virginia’s 6th district.