HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN POVERTY?
From the earliest days of the Continental Congress and the Northwest Ordinance, the government financed its debt and fostered the growth of new states by selling its land into private, taxable ownership. From 1830 this was accomplished by a series of legislative acts known as the Preemptive Acts which were followed by the Homestead Act of 1862. For more than 100 years this policy worked exceedingly well. Resources in the hands of a free market created an era of innovation, industrialization and economic prosperity which raised the overall standard of living exponentially. This policy created an era which came to be known as the “Gilded Age.”
Then, approximately 100 years ago, the country fell victim to the Progressive Movement. This was a political philosophy of aristocratic elitism. Founded upon the conviction that the average individual is either too ignorant or too greedy to be trusted with management, the progressives told us we and our resources needed to be managed by experts. We would know the experts because they would have certificates awarded by institutions of progressive education. Once certified, these experts undertook the management of everything. We created federal agencies made up of experts to manage our resources. We created the Federal Reserve to manage our economy. Given their expertise, individual free enterprise with regard to resources was deemed counter-productive and we terminated the Homestead Act. We replaced it with an altogether new scheme embodied in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). Today federal lands are retained in government ownership and managed by the elite.
After World War II, the Progressive Movement wedded with the brand new Environmental Movement. Founded in the hysteria provoked by the false fantasies of the likes of Rachel Carson, Paul Ehrlich and the Sierra Club, the combined movements soon saddled us with the National Environmental Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. Entrusting these to experts of course required the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the infusion in the management agencies with the enlightened ideals of environmental nihilism. The goal of the managers became the curtailment of industry. Sequestration of resources replaced production.
Lack of production in turn brought the potential of widespread poverty. Our experts quickly found the cure by introducing a new economy based upon credit. Nixon took the nation off the gold standard and there was nothing left but credit. The difficulty with credit as a basis for economic growth in place of production is that credit does not create any new sales and thereby widen the economy. It merely advances the time of purchase. The economy is still limited by what the producers can afford.
Today we are confronted with the failure of an expert idea that is essentially a lead balloon. It cannot work. Individually, the amount of credit one can undertake is always limited by one’s capacity to service the debt one already has. When one reaches the point that one must undertake more debt in order to make the payments on one’s existing debt, the game is over. In terms of a national economic scheme, it requires an ever-increasing population ready to take on debt. When we experience a down-sizing of the working population such as is following the retirement of the baby-boomers, there ensues necessarily a contraction of overall debt - what the Federal Reserve perceives as deflation. And therein lies our current financial crisis.
The fantasy game of the green progressives is over. The time has come to repair the economy they have broken. That can only be done by restoring opportunity to those who would exploit it. We must once again make our resources available to production. It is time to repeal FLPMA and restore the Homestead Act. The only real economy is one based upon production and production requires resources.
Southern Oregon Resource Alliance (SORA)
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