By Michael Ozga
Author, “Progressive Dystopia”
We are at a crossroads in our nation’s history and presented with two distinct choices: liberty or tyranny.
We either believe in American exceptionalism and the founding principle of self-governance or we choose a style of governance that centrally plans our very existence. Ben Franklin gave us a warning against apathy when he stated, “we have a Republic if we can keep it” following The Constitutional Convention. Ronald Reagan planted his flag when he asked, “if not us who, if not now when?”
“We the people” represents both vertical and horizontal separation of powers. The horizontal separation of powers exists between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. The vertical separation exists between the Federal, State, County, Municiple, the family and finally the individual. “We the people,” is based upon the implicit confidence in the people whose foundation lies with millions of individuals. The power flows up, not down.
The Progressive Movement has labored for a century-plus in this country to subvert everything that “We the people” represents. Unalienable rights do not exist under Progressivism, whereby the power is concentrated in a centralized state. Progressivism advocates for statism, central planning, social welfare, social engineering and redistribution of wealth. In other words, Progressivism is a usurpation of liberty and depravity of human nature.
Progressives advocate for fiscal and social policy designed and implemented by central planners. Economists Thomas Sowell refers to these administrators as the “wise and knowledgeable few.” Over the course of our history, these central planners or “wise and knowledgeable few” have given us the following, all done in the name of Progress:
President Theodore Roosevelt 1901-1909
Hepburn Act of 1906 was the sentinel moment in our history where bureaucratic regulation of private business at the federal level began. This provided teeth to the Interstate Commerce Clause of 1887 and made the federal government an active participant within the free market. Most definitely not what our founders envisioned or described in the Federalist Papers; Hamilton 23 and Madison 51 respectively. A free market is a check against hegemonic central planners.
Abuse of Executive Orders. Roosevelt signed 1081 executive orders during his tenure as president. To put this incessant power grab into perspective, there were 1262 executive orders issued combined from President George Washington in 1789 – President William McKinley in 1901.
German Progressivism. Germany under Otto Von Bismarck was a top-down social welfare system. Bismarck transformed Germany into a top-down Socialist panacea. The Progressive philosophy is predicated on central planning that provides health insurance, old age pensions (SS), social welfare, redistribution of private property, nationalization of private business and a centralized and bureaucratic state. Roosevelt was an advocate of central planning, as such he admired what Bismarck did in Germany. Roosevelt had the opportunity to kill Progressivism in its infancy. Instead, he latched onto the social justice, social engineering, income redistribution mindset of the statist. Roosevelt did not recognize the inherent destructive nature of Progressivism due to willful blindness or blissful ignorance. Either way, Roosevelt allowed the systemic disease of Progressivism to infect our political bloodstream, which plagues us to this day.
Private Property: Very disturbing that someone who is carved into stone at Mount Rushmore as one of our greatest presidents is eerily similar in ideology to Karl Marx.
“The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” Karl Marx
“Personal property…is subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require.” Teddy Roosevelt
President Woodrow Wilson 1913 – 1921
Federal Reserve Act 1913. This central bank was designed as a hedge against bank runs and to provide liquidity during financial crisis. In other words, the lender of last resort. The Fed was given authority to dictate our monetary policy by issuing fiat money backed by nothing except the word of the central bank. Since the inception of the Federal Reserve, the US dollar has lost 98% of its value when adjusted for inflation since 1913.
Amendment XVI. Implementation of a federal tax system. Prior to this the federal government relied on excise tax, land sales and duties to fund itself. This limited means of revenue was specifically designed to limit the scope of the federal government. The legacy of the 16th Amendment is a progressive tax system, designed to redistribute wealth and implement social justice. A progressive tax system is also the second principle listed within The Communist Manifesto as well as being part of the Socialist Party platform of the 1928 presidential campaign.
Amendment XVII. Provided for the popular election of Senators. This eliminated the sovereign power of the states as they lost their right to elect their Senators. Completely inimical to what our Founders envisioned under Federalism.
Amendment XVIII. Prohibition was enacted by central planners as a noble experiment of social engineering. It was an abysmal failure as it drove the liquor business underground, which led to uncontrolled crime, graft and facilitated the growth of organized crime in this country.
Espionage Act of 1917. Made it illegal to profess any and all criticism of the government whether in private or public.
Sedition Act of 1918. Banned uttering, printing, writing or publishing any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the US Government or military.
Abuse of executive orders. Like Teddy Roosevelt before him, Wilson believed our Constitution to be obsolete as it restricted his ability to transform society unilaterally. Like Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson usurped the Legislative Branch by issuing 1803 executive orders during his tenure as president. As previously noted, there were 1262 executive orders combined from President George Washington in 1789 – President William McKinley in 1901.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1933 – 1945
Civilian Conservation Corps 1933. Part of the infamous ‘100 days’ that put hundreds of thousands to work. Although the jobs created did have a stabilizing effect, they were nothing more than make-work jobs subsidized by the taxpayers. Another example of central planners passing legislation and spending money to give the illusion of recovery. The CCC did not create long-term private sector jobs.
Tennessee Valley Authority 1933. Part of the infamous ‘100 days.’ Enacted to provide jobs for dam construction and hydroelectric power. Although it did provide jobs and electricity, it did so by benefitting the few at the expense of the many. The TVA was subsidized by taxpayers, 98% of the country paid for this project that benefited only 2%. The TVA was tax exempt which allowed it to out compete private sector capital. This created a government monopoly and destroyed private wealth by rendering shares in private utilities worthless.
Agricultural Adjustment Administration 1933. Enacted to increase prices to farmers by artificial manipulation of the market (supply & demand). The AAA established production controls, taxed the distributor, paid farmers to produce less and ordered 6 million pigs slaughtered. This was an attempt to decrease the supply and increase demand. Despite the central planning, prices for commodities remained at pre-crash levels. Destroying 6 million piglets also left millions hungry during a Great Depression.
National Recovery Administration 1933. Another New Deal, central planning canard. Spend enough money, pass enough legislation and give the impression of recovery. Enacted to set the price of labor, the price of goods, production quotas, &c. By years end some 700 Codes were enacted that resulted in 10,000 pages of legislation. These price-fixing mandates actually damaged small businesses by interfering with the natural laws of a free market. Despite its promise to create jobs through a federal bureaucracy, industrial production fell by 25% under the NRA. The Supreme Court dealt the NRA a fatal blow by ruling against it in 1935.
Public Works Administration 1933. Enacted to create jobs and the finale of the ‘100 days.’ Approx. $6 billion spent on public construction, dams, airports, schools and hospitals. Despite its size and scope, the PWA had little to no effect on overall production rates or unemployment, which continued to hover around 20%.
Executive Order 6102 of 1933. Forced private citizens to sell their gold back to the federal government.
Works Progress Administration 1935. Created to provide money to reforestation, highways, building construction, slum clearance, &c. Another example of central planning Keynesianism, priming the pump through deficit spending. The eight-year run of this program cost taxpayers $11 billion and left behind a bureaucracy rampant with waste.
National Labor Relations Act 1935. Authorized closed shops and compulsory union dues as a condition of employment. Organized labor a tenet of Marxism.
Social Security 1935. Accounts for $22 trillion of unfunded liabilities and represents 21% of the federal budget. Social Security (Old Age Survivors Insurance) was also included on the Socialist Party Platform during the 1928 presidential election.
Economist Thomas Sowell describes SS as a pyramid scheme. Those who paid in first received money from those who paid in second and so forth, generation after generation. Economist Milton Friedman describes SS as a forced redistribution program whereby the government mandates everyone purchase a retirement plan and forcibly takes money from people to compel them to purchase the government plan…not a private alternative. The elderly in this country relies on SS because they are forced to. Social security is nothing but a quid pro quo, votes for entitlements. When questioned on the economics of SS, FDR stated, “I guess you’re right on the economics, but those taxes were never a problem of economics. They are politics all the way through.”
As part of the original Senate debate on social security, Senator Clark of Missouri introduced the Clark Amendment, which would allow private employers to opt out. The Amendment would give employees the right to choose between a private alternative and the government-run annuity. Social security was passed without the Clark Amendment but with the promise to review again in 1936. Once the government coerced annuity was implemented the promised meeting never occurred. The elderly in this country relies on social security because they were forced to. All we have at the time of retirement is an IOU from the government. We are not guaranteed the principle let alone any interest.
Abuse of executive orders. FDR issued 3522 executive orders during his tenure. Put into perspective, there were just over 4000 executive orders combined from President George Washington in 1789 – President Herbert Hoover in 1932.
Debt. The national debt when FDR took office in 1933 stood at $22 plus billion. At the end of his 12-year tenure, the national debt was in excess of $158 billion. A twelve-fold increase. The failings of the New Deal are best summed up by FDR’s own Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau Jr in 1940. “Wehave tried spending money; we are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. We have never made good on our promises…I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much employment as when we started…and enormous debt to boot.”
Taxes. FDR enacted the undistributed profits tax, inheritance tax, estate tax, graduated corporate tax, dividend tax, raised the top rate from 25% to 79%. These policies terrified business, froze capital, inhibited growth and hiring. This is best described by economist Milton Friedman as the ‘Great Contraction.’ FDR and his New Deal policies turned a depression into a ‘Great Depression.’
Crash of 1937. After five years of New Deal prime the pump spending, the economy experienced another major contraction from August – December 1937. The DJIA stood at 190 in August, fell to 114 in November and settled at 119 in December. As a result of the New Deal failures, foreign capital dropped by a factor of 20. During the 1920’s, foreign companies were investing approx. $1 billion per year in Amercian stocks. That crated to approx. $50 million per year during the 1930’s.
Federal National Mortgage Assocation (Fannie Mae) 1938. Founded in 1938 as part of the New Deal. Enacted to encourage home ownership as a ‘social entitlement.’ Fast forward to 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were at the center of our financial meltdown by guaranteed sub-prime mortgages to high-risk individuals. A recipe for disaster.
Unemployment. Despite the billions spent by taxpayers to subsidize the TVA, WPA, PWA, NRA, deficit spending, priming the pump; unemployment averaged 18.6% from 1933-1940. Despite this record of failure, which his own Treasury Secretary admitted to, FDR is lionized by the Progressive left.
Executive Order 9066 of February 12, 1942. FDR orders internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans of which 62% were citizens.
Legacy of FDR & the New Deal. The market crash of 1929 saw the Dow lose 13% of its value. A correction that President Coolidge had predicted years earlier. Hoover took this correction and turned it into a depression. FDR took a depression and turned it into the Great Depression. As a result of New Deal policies, it took the Dow until 1955 (26 years) to reach its previous high. To add perspective, the crash of 1987 saw the Dow lose 23% of its value. President Ronald Reagan allowed the free markets to self-correct as opposed to government intervention. As a result, the Dow returned to its previous high within 22 months.
President Lyndon Baines Johnson 1963 – 1969
The New Deal. LBJ was an advocate of FDR’s New Deal, due to the sheer political feat. Like FDR, LBJ did not concern himself on whether the economics made sense, they did not. It was “political, all the way through.” Like FDR, the focus with LBJ was intentions and not results. A common denominator for the Progressive mindset. The New Deal and Great Society were two sides of the same coin.
War on Poverty 1964. Headed by Sargent Shriver.Statement from staffers working for LBJ; “Of course, there is no real solution to the problem of poverty until we abolish the capitalist system.” Like the New Deal programs before them, the War on Poverty produced nothing but “bureaucratic make-work.” The poverty level in this country in 1965 was 14%. Today, after decades of wasting taxpayer dollars (in excess of $20 trillion), the poverty level stands at 14%.
Operation Goldfinger 1964. LBJ and his central planners introduce silver free dimes and quarters made of copper and nickel. Mistrust of our currency sets in.
Ronald Reagan 1964. Gave speech warning against the big government expansion taking place under the Great Society (Progressivism). Reagan said, “America was at a key moment – the country must choose whether it was a collectivist nation or a free one.”
Head Start 1965. Pre-K school for three- and four-year children. A federal kindergarten and steppingstone to a federal department of education. More ‘cradle to grave’ Progressivism.
Medicare/Medicaid 1965. Accounts for $35 trillion of unfunded liabilities and accounts for 25% of the federal budget. Add $22 trillion in SS unfunded liabilities for a total of $57 trillion. These social welfare schemes account for 46% of the annual federal budget. Like its predecessor, social security, the elderly relies on Medicare because they are forced to. The Progressives moving us towards socialized medicine.
Housing and Urban Development Act 1965. Billions of taxpayer dollars subsidized the rebuilding of cities. In the name of urban renewal, the government invoked eminent domain and seized private property for public use. Hundreds of thousands of Americans were evicted this way, many poor and black. Central planners expand the government’s role in housing.
Toyota 1965. Due to the incestuous relationship between big government, big business and labor unions, Toyota factories in Japan produced more vehicles per worker than the Big Three (GM, Ford, Chrysler) and UAW. Costs per car in the US was five times that of Toyota. During the 1950s-1960s, GM, Ford and Chrysler controlled 85-90% of the automobile market. That is approx. 43% today.
Legacy of the Great Society. The central planners of the Great Society delivered ‘stagflation’ during the 1970s, high inflation and unemployment simultaneous. Trillions of unfunded liabilities, high prices, stagnant markets, high unemployment, federal budget deficits and currency debasement. LBJ/Great Society and FDR/New Deal demonstrated Keynesianism for what it is, window dressing for political expedience. Just as the 1960s forgot the mistakes of the 1930s, we today forget the mistakes of the 1960s. The Great Society like the New Deal tried spending its way to prosperity. Prosperity did not come but big government did!
Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR & LBJ
These four “wise and knowledgeable few” laid the groundwork for American Progressivism. Presidents Bill Clinton, Geroge Bush, Barack Obama and Joe Biden have carried the torch.
President Bill Clinton 1993 – 2001
Sub Prime Loans. Subprime loans accounted for 35% (sustainable) of the market in 1993. By the time Clinton left office and due to his ‘central planners,’ subprime loans accounted for 53% (unsustainable) of the housing market. This led to the housing bubble, which eventually burst and caused the markets to collapse in 2008. Both Fannie Mae (1938 under New Deal) and Freddie Mac (1970) were designed to expand the secondary mortgage (subprime) market underwritten by the US government and private industry. Clintons central planners fanned the flames that created the subprime loan disaster and subsequent market collapse of 2008.
President George Bush 2001-2009
Troubled Asset Relief Plan (TARP) 2008. A $700 billion public bailout of private enterprise (auto and banking). This was to counter the recession facilitated by the subprime loan catastrophe. Central planners pick winners and losers. Free markets within a Constitutional Republic do not.
President Barack Obama 2009 – 2017
October 38, 2008. “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States.”
Obamacare 2009. Another centrally planned push towards European (Progressive) style socialized medicine. Britain’s National Health Service is a top-down system funded by taxpayers. As a percentage of GDP and cost per capita, health care is cheaper. However, the tradeoff is rationing. Citizens under socialized medicine have poor access to hi-tech equipment, long waits for both primary and specialty physicians, poor access to drugs, surgery, &c. Five-year survival rates for prostate cancer, melanoma and breast are approx. 44% in the UK. Five-year survival rates for the same cancers in the US is approx. 64%. Competition, cost sharing, consumer choice, market prices, decentralization are the hallmarks of any successful business model. Central planning is the equal sharing of misery.
Quantitative Easing. Obama and his central planners pumped $3 trillion into our economy by this monetization of the debt scheme.
Debt. As a country we accrued $10 trillion of debt from President George Washington in 1789 – President George Bush in 2008, 219 years. It took President Obama and his central planners only eight years to accrue an additional $10 trillion in debt.
Debt/GDP Ratio. This stood at 76% when Obama took office. After eight years of central planning our debt/GDP ratio was 106.34%.
President Joe Biden 2021 –
Central planners. Today’s version of the “wise and knowledgeable few” have given us inflation, CRT, 1619 Project, LBGQT+ hysteria, $32 trillion in debt, a debt/GDP ratio of 140%, annual deficit spending of $1.2 trillion, $57 trillion of unfunded liabilities (Medicare/Medicaid/SS). At our founding, the size of government was 0.01% of the population. Today, the size of government is 7% of the population. Although our population has grown by a factor of 100 since our founding, the size of government as grown by a factor of 700. None of this centrally planned panacea is sustainable.
Federalist 51 James Madison February 6, 1788
“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
President Calvin Coolidge 1923-1929
“No plan of centralization has ever been adopted that did not result in bureaucracy, tyranny…Unless bureaucracy is constantly resisted it breaks down representative government and overwhelms democracy. It is the one element in our institutions that sets up the pretense of having authority over everyone and being responsible to no one.”
President Ronald Reagan 1981-1989
“We are a nation that has a government – not the other way around. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.”