Contrary to what some of my countrymen believe, not even praying hard will send us a fatherly figure that resembles an American Founder to deliver us of the rotating kleptocracy that has taken up permanent residence in Washington and its surrounds.
Like the migrant flotsam and jetsam inflowing from Latin America, the imperial government and governing class are going nowhere. Yes, how about that? Americans venture into Mexico at their own peril. Some have been killed on that country’s border. Still, politicians and their enabling pointy heads have looked obedient Americans in the proverbial eyes and told them that the fabric of their communities is renewed by endless immigration; that humanity has the natural right to venture here there and everywhere; and that, although they are suffering near Grecian joblessness, they should, “shut-up and pay up.”
A bloodbath of a midterm election has done nothing to stop the slash-and-burn Congress — ducks that should be lamed — from concocting bogus tax relief that increases the cost and burden of government, and guarantees that Americans pay for the accreting oink sector, if not through taxes, then by way of debt and dollars devalued. How is that possible?
Across the pond, governments have begun courageously slashing their spending so deeply as to send the moochers and the looters of their societies rioting into the streets. Stateside, the government is in the midst of orgiastic outlays. Egged on by media “experts,” journos, party strategists and TV tartlets (Republican and Democrat), Washington (Left and Right) behaves as if the events underway over there have no bearing back here, in debt-laden America.
At $14 trillion, America’s OPD (Outstanding Public Debt) almost equals its GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Yet the comitatus — “the sprawling apparatus … that encompasses not only the emperor’s household and its personnel … but also the ministries of government, the lawyers, the diplomats, the adjutants, the messengers, the interpreters, the intellectuals” — see nothing wrong with a proposed 1,924 page Omnibus bill, worth 1.2 trillion gigabucks.
In the book “Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of Rome,” Cullen Murphy draws the unflattering parallels between the imperial rule of ancient Rome and that of modern America, down to the contemporary “musicians” [that would be Bono and Bon Jovi, surely], “the courtesans, diviners, buffoons … the people who taste the emperor’s food before he himself does … the core groups of bureaucrats and toadies who function within the nimbus of great power.” The domain name “USA.gov.”, if you will.
The federal payroll in Washington Murphy pegs at 360,000 (BO: Before Obama), calling this estimate a “convenient deceit,” as an “even larger number of people in the Washington area — about 400,000 — work for private companies that are doing government work.” Add to the above a quarter million people who live in the vicinity and feed off the government directly or indirectly; the lawyers and lobbyist, the wonks and accountants, the reporters and caterers and limousine drivers and panegyrists, and all the aides and associates whose job it is to functions as someone else’s brain.”
Don’t forget that the D.C. hood is home to your favorite oh-so gritty media personalities, who gather inside or near the Bubble to reap “the benefits of being at the center of the Imperium.” Back to their role model, Rome:
The biggest component of [Rome’s] prodigious intake was something called the annona, an in-kind tax levied by Rome on everyplace else, and collected in the form of grain, which was used to provide free bread for most of Rome’s inhabitants. … Eventually, the annona was expanded beyond grain to include olive oil and wine. If you think of the annona as tax revenue, which it was, then the revenue not only accomplished its stated purpose of feeding the city; it also supported large swaths of private-sector activity, from shipping to baking to crime. Some of this activity was encouraged with tax breaks and grants of citizenship. There was great wealth to be had off government contracts. … the annona remained [the Empire’s] essential lifeline, preserved at all costs.
America’s annona was facilitated by the Sixteenth Amendment. With its passage, in 1913, Murphy admits begrudgingly, “A Rubicon was crossed, giving Washington the unimpeded power to levy an income tax and therefore spend ever larger amounts of money.” As in Rome, D.C. grubbiness coexists with “rhetoric of high-mindedness about the duties and burdens of leadership.”
Thanks to the graft flowing into the Beltway, the average income in and around Washington D.C. is $85,189 compared to $49,777 for the hinterland, where unemployment rates are almost double. The rest of the country exists to serve its masters in modern Rome. Unless the people of the “provinces”—you out there—are willing to do something drastic, like repeal the American annona, we will all have to learn to live forever after as the Beltway’s bitches.
© 2010 By ILANA MERCER