September 3, 2013
By: Kelly Diamond, Publisher
If we limit our understanding of reality to only what is seen – in the conventional way in which we are used to seeing it – we miss a large portion of what is really going on.
We often say to take a step back to see the whole picture, and that might be for the sake of context. But look closely. Inspect our current situation, and you will find an underbelly reminiscent of Communist Russia.
We cover, to a rather exhaustive extent, the erosion of our freedoms on this site. We do this for a couple reasons. First, we at GWP really love us some liberty. To love liberty is to respect the liberty of others. So, much like we love wealth, we try to raise awareness on ways to preserve your liberty and your wealth. In many respects, property and liberty go hand in hand. The second is to bring to the forefront that which is often obfuscated by the PR tactics of our government.
There was a recent and brief little article posted toward the end of July of this year entitled: “Liberty Slipping: 10 Things You Could Do in 1975 That You Can’t Do Now”. It runs through myriad things that once were regarded as harmless, but are now apparently so heinous they need laws!
In 1975, you could:
1. …buy an airline ticket and fly without ever showing an ID.
2. … buy cough syrup without showing an ID.
3. … buy and sell gold coins without showing an ID
4. … buy a gun without showing an ID
5. … pull as much cash out of your bank account without the bank filing a report with the government.
6. … get a job without having to prove you were an American.
7. … buy cigarettes without showing an ID
8. … have a phone conversation without the government knowing who you called and who called you.
9. … open a stock brokerage account without having to explain where the money came from.
10. … open a Swiss bank account with ease. All Swiss banks were willing and happy to open accounts for Americans.
The list can go for days, and honestly some of these things are quite laughable. But look particularly at the economic and financial burdens placed upon Americans in particular: numbers three, five, nine, and ten. We’ve addressed the fact that Americans are having a harder and harder time getting basic financial services in other countries, and Switzerland is no exception.
Individuals need to provide proof of legitimacy and innocence before they can open an account? Guilty until proven innocent, is what that sounds like.
Sadly, all of this nonsense is cloaked under the guise of “safety” and “precautionary measures”. And even worse, many have bought into that lie. This is how we hide unnecessary regulation: with straw-man rationale and buzzwords like “safety”. I’ll bet I could show this list to the average man on the street, and they would say, “Wow. Yeah, but it had to be done…” It might startle a few folks that they didn’t even notice these things, but in the end, they don’t even regard it as intrusive government, but rather a necessary measure.
None of these laws have made us safer. None of these changes have done anything but populate our “private” prisons and further strengthened the resolve of the bully regulators and enforcers. If anything, in addition to adding to the number of “criminals” we have, it’s only created more of a bureaucratic bog for folks to wade through… perhaps a middle man for the cough syrup and cigarettes… and a black market labor force. And Americans just let it slide. It’s as if the big hole in the wall was always there, and we aren’t meant to talk about it, and it’s okay that the hole is there.
Paul went into greater detail about the abject Police State we now live in here in the U.S. But we have nothing as a society to show for these measures. Just like we have no measure of greatness to show for our warfare state or our welfare state.
I don’t make much of a distinction between a warfare state and a welfare state. They are two sides of the same coin. And the warfare state is not restricted to international disputes. Clearly, with our ever increasingly militarized police force, the war is coming home.
Wars are fiscal black holes with no real return on investment… at least not as a country. It does offer an incredible return for the specific private entities involved like Halliburton and Boeing. Much like the “private” prison system: it’s a fiscal black hole with no return on investment… except for the private proprietors of those prisons.
Another black hole is welfare. What’s funny is that we don’t see our welfare state as clearly because it’s not as obvious as the breadlines we expect to see from old Depression era pictures and chronicles. I’m sure you’ve heard the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it make a noise?” Well try that on breadlines: “If there are no physical breadlines visible to the human eye, are there really any breadlines?”
Depression era breadlines were hard to ignore. People had to pick up their rations at certain times at certain locations. It made the reality of that depression almost tangible because it had a physical manifestation depicted by these lines of miserable and destitute people.
Fast forward to today. No longer do breadline recipients have to stand in the humiliating lines for all to see. They get a discrete card from a program like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). They simply have to patron a participating establishment and purchase their groceries that way. Unless you are eavesdropping and prying on individuals at the register, you could never tell them apart from those not on a program paying with a plastic card. But here are some quick facts that might change your understanding of the breadline situation in the United States.
- The 2011 budget for food stamps is $75.7 BILLION.
- Also, in 2011 there were 44.5 MILLION participants in the food stamp program.
- 47% of food stamp recipients are children.
Now imagine if we took those recipients and assumed they redeemed all of their SNAP benefits at Walmart. There are 3,051 Walmart Super Centers across America. That amounts to 14,585 participants per Walmart. What does that look like if translated into an info graphic of a breadline? (Courtesy of demonocracy.com) It looks like this:
If people had to look at breadlines that long every day, do you supposed they would feel as optimistic about our economy? The Great Depression didn’t have lines this long. This Great Recession of ours does… and the lines are getting longer.
Things are changing. While you were living your life, raising your kids, working your career, things shifted. While you hammered away at your mortgage, saved up for the kids’ educations, and retirement, something slipped away. Individualism. Liberty. Capitalism. You would poke your head up a few times and the news would tell you, “We’re fine! Still the land of the free… Go back to work…” But that’s not so.
Property ownership has been abridged. Your right to freely move about has been abridged. Your privacy has been violated. Your life got a little more complicated with new forms and agencies. And the breadlines have multiplied like rabbits! You don’t see it? Then you aren’t looking hard enough, and that’s exactly what the government is counting on.