Sunday, February 27, 2005

A purely American Argument against SS Reform

American Exceptionalism is what has driven for all these decades America to be self-assured, confident, pompous, uncompromising and also (nasty word here) republican (lil' r). How is it republican? Well basic language enlisted during the age of revolutions brought with it a current of impressive considerations from men we now disdain, like Rousseau, and men we admire, like Tom Paine. They argued for the same thing as British Whigs in the mid 18th century, and American revoultionaries until the end of the century. Private Property is a right of all people. And, said John Madision, the only way to prevent the corruptive powers of the so-called factories being put up in British cities is to promote the westward expansion of our nation; placate all people through giving each person an opportunity to their own. Because nothing was more insulting in this time period than to be a dependent laborer. What makes you independent? Property. What is more degrading than being lets say a factory worker? Being a speculator. The scum of the earth! You know who we considered land speculators? The British government; just one of the reasons we wanted to break away. Ring a bell?

Social Security becomes probably one of the few signs of this kind of republicanism. Far less of a dream than the Townsend proposal, but unless you can't see the clear connection...the point of the program is two fold: 1) Government will undoubtedly be asked to provide for someone's health in future years, which makes it only logical that instead of raising taxes on something else it tax people's wages (as it being the logical foundation of their health; wealth to health). 2) Government does this not at the expense of republicanism, but rather as the child of republican values that aim to maintain the independence of the laborer and prevent the dependence of the person on any charity, private or public institutions. If this is what SS does, then it certainly looks to me to be a good child of the revolution. The spirit of the revolution to maintain independence, and also careful enough in its construction that it does not put in jeapordy the future health of a person. In case you were wondering: the republican doesn't care whether someone can retire like Warren Buffett with billions of dollars without ever raising a finger, this isn't republican, but rather they care about the wage laborer being able to maintain a proper proportion of their labor (to paraphrase the Knights of Labor).

The point being. The capitalist/market revolution was never a real challenging point in the framework of American debate in the 19th and early 20th Century. The United States could be one of the first truly capitalist countries where very little regulation went down against capitalist expansion mostly because of the burgeoning ability for there to be land; people being pushed out by gentrification (to be anachronistic) could move out west and start a comfortable lifestyle. It was not until mid-century when the corruptors of liberty began to speculate and make money off the labor of others, and the production of capitalists. Does anyone remember Andrew Jackson and the Bank? We wonder why he had a problem with it, well to make it simple (not to diminish other biases he may have had or may have happened) the ultimate republican in the 19th century had a problem with the speculation foundations of the Hamiltonian institution. Hell, he had a problem with bankers in general. (But please don't let me stop you from working in IB or Private Equities).

Does this make sense? Could you really make an argument against speculation? It is probably the most American argument out there. The core to having equal opportunity many would argue is to have a proper proportion to your labor, and thus if your wages and your profits are being cut into by land speculators (real estate) that own your land, and you have to pay money to them. This is a problem. It puts into the pockes of the idle-corruptor money they did not earn. And takes out of your pockets money you did earn.

So why should we build a system whose basis is just this? How could we turn a right (as we have ascribed it) to living healthy as an older adult and turn it into a corrupt system? And so when Republicans (big R) look at you with contempt at caring if Wall Street makes a buck on this. Tell them to change their party name. Because there is nothing republican about what they are saying! It ties itself into some of the most corrupt ideas you can imagine. Some guy in some building in Wall Street makes money off of my labor so that I can make a higher return for my retirement (a necessary retirement that government institutes understanding economic realities I could argue; I will let Nate argue them; or perhaps I can pull up my old Profe Xavier to help me out sometime in the future). It sounds ludicrous. And if anyone cared to wonder if America is acting American in creating a Bush ownership society: I hear John Madison laughing. I hear Thomas Jefferson rolling over in his grave.

Want to kill American republicanism? Put a trillion dollar program in the hands of speculators.


Post a Comment

<< Home