Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Case for a Constitutional Convention in 2016

That which is unsustainable will go away, and the Status Quo is unsustainable on multiple levels.

Now that the billion-dollar theatrics between various vested interests have finally concluded, it's time to ask if there is an end-game to Imperial over-reach and corporatocracy.

The Status Quo won--no surprise there, as there was no other choice offered.

The Imperial Presidency won, too, of course; anyone anywhere can still be assassinated by order of the Imperial President, regardless of their citizenship. Anyone can be labeled "an enemy of the State" and either liquidated (high fives all around!) or crushed by the Espionage Act (transparency is a crime), Patriot Act (dissent is also criminal), the NDAA, or maybe another Executive Order.

The neofeudal Aristocracy also won, as vested interests were free to buy "free speech" in unlimited quantities.

Everyone at the trough of the Central State won, as the welfare state--personal transfers and corporate welfare, there's something for everyone--has created its own Id Monster, the tyranny of the majority: Tyranny of the Majority, Corporate Welfare and Complicity (April 9, 2010).

This pursuit of self-interest guarantees that the Savior State will lurch off the fiscal cliff at some point, much to the dismay of everyone feeding off it; it was supposed to be permanent, right? Alas, as the Buddha taught, permanence is illusory, even for global Empires.

Unfortunately for the Status Quo, this is the apogee of "extend and pretend." When the wheels finally come off the global economy in 2013, the Status Quo will not be able to "save the day" by lowering interest rates to zero--interest rates have already been zero for four years.
The Powers That Be will not be able to "save the day" by borrowing and blowing $1.3 trillion a year in "free money," because we've already been borrowing and blowing $1+ trillion every year for four years.

The Federal Reserve won't be able to "save the day" by buying $80 billion in Treasuries and mortgages every month--the infamous QE--it's already buying $80 billion a month, and has been doing so for four years.

That means the bag of tricks to "save us from recession" is finally empty. The next recession will sink its teeth into the Savior State and all the protected fiefdoms and cartels with a vengeance built up by four years of "extend and pretend."

The failure of "extend and pretend" and the Status Quo that sold it as the "fix" opens up the possibility that crisis will lead to real reform, the kind that requires a Constitutional Convention.

The Constitution allows for Constitutional Conventions, though one has never been called. In effect, every major 80-year crisis (the Civil War and World War II) was resolved with borrowed money, abundant cheap energy and an expansion of presidential powers.

Now that we're in a debt hole that deepens every day, and the Imperial Presidency already has virtually unlimited power, these are no longer solutions, they have become the problem.

A Constitutional Convention might focus on the four primary threats to democracy:

1. The corruption of elections. Perhaps corporations should not be considered people, regardless of what our intellectually bankrupt Supreme Court thinks. Perhaps publicly funded elections that cannot be corrupted with unlimited cash are an essential feature of authentic democracy.

2. The unlimited ability to borrow and monetize. No doubt the nation needs the flexibility to borrow money in times of crisis and war, but it is wise to enable unlimited borrowing and monetization via the Federal Reserve? The ability to borrow is a form of self-destruction which we will experience soon enough. Perhaps the Federal Reserve and the State's ability to borrow should be eliminated and we should start over with a system that isn't based on artifice and perception management.

3. The Imperial Presidency was not what the Founding Fathers had in mind--it was precisely what they feared. Perhaps it is time to revisit limitations on Presidential powers.

4. Post-Imperial America. Empire is affordable as long as the Empire can scoop up enough wealth via expansion to fund its ever-higher overhead. Once the inflow of wealth falls behind the rising costs of Empire, the Empire collapses. The Constitution doesn't preclude global Empire, but perhaps it should. Is Empire and the Imperial Presidency what America is about, or should be about?

2015 sounds like a decent year for crisis that cannot be wished away with perception management and "extend and pretend" financial slight-of-hand. That which is unsustainable will go away, and the Status Quo is unsustainable on multiple levels.

NEW VIDEO: CHS and Gordon Long discuss Lessons From Japan: "How has Japan avoided an economic death spiral?". (24 minutes, 35 slides)

Thank you, Kenneth M. ($50), for your supremely generous contribution to this site--I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

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