THE TRUTH ABOUT ELECTIONS ---- AND ---- ECONOMICS MADE SIMPLE
The article along the right hand side of this page initially was intended to try to explain in simple terms what is going on economically in this country. I was hoping to get it published in some magazine or newspaper. It evolved into a carefully worded criticism of big business, the stock market, the government, the CNBC television network, a past president of the United States, and our own political system. I'm a little embarassed to admit I still tried to get it published. It does explain in simple terms world economics that will be educational to most people. It also gives you a feeling for the big numbers economists throw around trying to confuse you and exposes the governments attempt to kick the can down the road postponing the inevitable financial disaster we are heading for. Along the way I realized elections create politicians who in turn create most of our problems. Read the article and email me your thoughts. I don't know how or if this website will evolve but at least I'll be on the record as recognizing the truth about what is going on and why.
ELECTIONS -- THE ROOT
CAUSE OF OUR
The trade deficit for 2008 was approximately $700 billion. What does that mean? It's pretty simple. It means the cost of goods and services we bought from foreign countries exceeded the cost of goods and services other countries bought from us by $700 billion. In short, during the year 2008, $700 billion left this country. We became $700 billion poorer and foreign countries became $700 billion richer during the year 2008 considering trade only. Now let's get a feeling for the degree of magnitude of that loss of wealth. If we have 300 million people in the this country the $700 billion amounts to $2300 per person. ($700 billion divided by 300 million people = $2300 dollars per person) If we assume 3.5 people per family the $700 billion amounts about $8000 per household ($2300 per person times 3.5 people per household). $8000 per year per household is going from this country to other countries. That's a lot of mortgage payments. That $8000 represents manufacturing salaries that we don't have anymore because of outsourcing jobs and businesses just folding up due to foreign competition. We're getting our butts kicked as a nation in the world economic marketplace. It is becoming more difficult to afford our own homes. During the early 2000's this loss of wealth due to the trade deficit was masked by a number of things. The total value of residential real estate in the United States is about 15 trillion dollars. A 10% increase in residential real estate values amounts to $1.5 trillion ($1500 billion). During the early 2000's residential real estate values were skyrocketing and people were refinancing their homes. This bubble in home values kept people above water even though we were losing the trade battle as a nation. Also, the stock market bubble that ran the DOW up several thousand points to 14000 created multi trillions of dollars of new wealth and also helped mask the fact we were getting our butts kicked in the all important worldwide economic market place. Then in 2008 and early 2009 we got hit by a triple whammy of residential real estate values crashing, stock prices crashing and a huge trade deficit that also continued to erode our wealth. What started it all? Economists, the media and government officials have blamed the extreme downturn on everything but the right thing. Mostly they are all trying to blame someone else. Bottom line is if people would have been able to pay their home mortgage payments it wouldn't have happened. If there were no trade deficit the average yearly household income would have been $8000 greater. That's a lot of mortgage payments. If there were no trade deficit we would have more manufacturing jobs and more jobs that support manufacturing. Money would be staying in this country. The trade deficit and resulting loss of income is a cause and the real estate crash is the result. Why PHD economists and government officials don't recognize this is beyond me. But it certainly doesn't make me feel any insecurity in questioning their views of reality. There was also irrational exuberance in the stock market and real estate markets. But some of this irrational exuberance was caused by people having nowhere else to put their money. No sense trying to expand any already dieing industries in this country if you can basically sit on your butt and participate in a bubble. People are always trying to take the easy way out without thinking about the long term consequences.
THE TRADE DEFICIT
Politicians are indebted to the contributors to their campaign. These contributors usually have some sort of business they are interested in helping. Businesses generally are only interested in their bottom line. If it takes outsourcing to increase their bottom line they'll do it . A decreasing standard of living for the average American is of little concern to businessmen. But politicians who are indebted to these businessmen are afraid to speak out about outsourcing of jobs in fear of a public backlash against businesses that may harm the politicians relationship with the business community and diminish the benefits the politicians reap from businesses. And beyond that politicians don't want to tell the American people we're getting our butts kicked in the world wide economic market place. Nobody wants to be told they're losers. No vote getting there. Politicians need votes to win elections. This situation will never change as long as we have elections no matter what new election laws are enacted. Free and fair trade is probably in the best interests of the world as whole but when you're on the losing end of this trade competition and are not being reminded of that fact every day by both your government leaders and business leaders it's dangerous for the country.
Most Americans associate freedom and democracy with elections. The words freedom, democracy and elections are almost sacred to Americans. A pretty good definition of democracy is " the free and equal right of every person to participate in a system of government". I can go along with that as being a good thing. I can also go along with saying the worst imaginable way to attempt to achieve that is through political candidate elections. This is so obvious it's hard to believe anyone would try to dispute it. Yet I'm sure the vast majority of you reading what I'm writing while I'm sitting here in a coffee shop are thinking, "this guy is a nut job". I'm not a writer, economist or PHD of any sort. I'm just an engineer who is pretty good with facts and numbers. In order to solve a problem you have to know all the causes of the problem. This country almost experienced a total financial meltdown in 2007 and 2008. Just why this happened is the topic of this article. There are many reasons for this countries financial difficulties. As I put the numbers and facts together it always brought me back to the same root cause, political candidate elections. From here on when I speak of elections I'm referring to political type candidate elections as opposed to issue type initiative votes. I am not saying that elections are done improperly or we need more rules concerning elections or term limits are needed for elected officials. I'm saying no matter how you revise the election process just the fact that you have elections will ensure the financial downfall of your country. And as you will see I'm speaking generally in retrospect. There's not much to argue about. Elections create politicians and government of the people by politicians for special interest groups instead of government of the people by the people for the people. What I've tried to do in this article is present the financial problems this country is facing in terms that enable you to understand their magnitude and trace the causes of the problems all the way back to their root cause which usually brings us back to government of the people by politicians for special interest groups which in turn brings us to the elections that created those politicians. No elections = no politicians. When it comes to elections Americans are brain dead. Politicians exist only because of elections and the political world has gotten so absurd that politicians have created an election process whereby a president can be elected who doesn't even get the most votes. How ridiculous is that? Yet Americans don't question it. Elections are sacred to Americans and they feel politicians in their infinite wisdom must know more than the average American. I think not. I believe a representative cross section of the population should be running the country. We should have some doctors, architects, housewives, scientists, and bus drivers running the country who did not have to go through the election process. On TV quiz shows when you have the opportunity to get help answering questions the surest way to get the right answer is to get the results from polling the audience. The audience is usually a pretty good cross section of the country and the audience usually gets it right. The audience hasn't made any promises. It has no hidden agendas. It has no special interest groups putting pressure on it. The audience was not elected. The audience is free to make decisions without worry. And the audience, made up of a cross section of America, usually gets it right.
Whether they admit it or not every presidential administration has one main objective. Not to let the country go bust during their time in office. Ten million angry citizens marching on Washington D.C. after realizing what the government has been up to for the past 50 years is an event that will make most government officials do almost anything to avoid. When it comes to keeping things afloat economically during that time period none of the past administrations have been very imaginative. First of all to get elected politicians must lie and paint a rosy picture of what they can do for us and accept outrageous amounts of campaign contributions to pay for the exposure they need to get those sweet dreams out to the public. Now not only did they make irrational promises they most likely can't keep, they are also indebted to who knows who for who knows what for their campaign contributions. This is how our politicians start their careers in office. Not the best situation. That's the system. It's totally ridiculous and historians and will point to this system of electing government officials as the cause of the economic downfall of this country. So now they're in office. The national debt is 10.5 trillion dollars. The "normal" annual budget deficit is usually about 400 billion dollars a year. That means the federal government is spending a lot more than it is taking in. Also up to this point I've described the typical general conditions any of the past several administrations have been faced with, high national debt, high annual budget deficit, sugar coating the actual situation this country is in or sugar coating how easy it will be to get out of the trouble we're in during their campaigning and indebtedness to campaign contributors. Unfortunately this administration is faced with added challenges that make what I've already mentioned look like a walk in the park. The usual 400 billion dollar annual budget deficit is being increased this year, 2009, to about 1.4 trillion dollars to prevent us from going into a depression admittedly by both government and private economists. That means this country is providing benefits and services to citizens of this country that we really can't afford. These benefits amount to about $16,000 dollars per household. The 10.5 trillion national debt which is a summation of all the annual budget deficits means we as a country have been living over our heads for a long time. 10.5 trillion dollars is over $100,000 per household. That debt is expected to increase to 20 trillion dollars in 10 years. That will be 200,000 dollars per household. The value of all the residential real estate in this country is only about 15 trillion dollars. We have absolutely no way to pay this back. With our manufacturing base severely weakened to put it mildly, few good jobs available and unemployment soaring there is no way we will ever pay off one nickel of the principal of this debt. We will just keep adding to it every year and we will have to borrow more and more money just to pay the interest owed on the debt. This is what the present administration is faced with. We owe most of the debt to ourselves but a bigger and bigger percentage of the debt is being owed to foreign countries. It is in everyone's best interest to keep the hoax going that the debt is good paper. (triple A bonds) When this ponzy like scheme comes to an end the house of cards will probably end in a depression or runaway inflation. I'm thinking since they've been trying to inflate their way out of the debt for the past 50 years, sooner or later in this electronic era of financial assets the value of financial assets will start evaporating faster than even the government can create money and we'll be in a depression. I could be wrong but if the 'hurt' doesn't hit us through a depression eventually it will hit us through runaway inflation. We were admittedly close to that situation in early 2008 and our government and leading economists declared that the only way out was to flood the world with new money and hope deflation would not take hold. If they are successful this time it is only a postponement of the inevitable. Right now, 10/2009, the interest rate situation for the banks is such that banks can borrow from the government at zero percent and lend it out at low interest rates and still make boatloads of money. But sooner or later foreign countries will demand a higher interest rate to buy our treasury bills (our debt) and interest rates will be forced up and the loans the banks are now making at low interest rates will go down in value (financials will start evaporating) and the banks or whoever holds that low interest debt will be in trouble again. Yet right now, 10/09, the talk is about 'recovery'. Even as we are still losing 200,000 jobs a month and the recession has eliminated 8 million total jobs the stock market has soured 70% from its low point. People are dreamers. Politicians have to feed those dreams if they want to be re-elected. The fed is raining plane loads of money from the sky just to slow the loss of jobs. If they are successful in temporarily postponing the inevitable again we'll still be left with a devalued dollar, less good jobs, a lowered standard of living and an impossible debt to pay back in the future. Politicians must win elections. They must postpone the inevitable financial collapse and get elected in the meantime. The longer we employ artificial means to prop the economy up the worse it's going to be when we face the truth. The truth being we have been getting our butts kicked in the world economic market place and in an effort to maintain our standard of living so they can get re-elected our government officials have used artificial means (money creation) to postpone the inevitable financial collapse. They have been 'forced' to choose this course of action because of their ties to the business community for funds and it is in the business communities best interests to outsource to achieve higher profits. It is also difficult to expect people to vote for you if you level with them and tell them they are getting their butts kicked in the worldwide marketplace and are going to have to suffer through a rebuilding process to get the boat heading in the right direction. Remember they have to be elected. Always it's back to elections for the root cause.
WALL STREET / MAIN
Right now there's a definite disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street. Some businesses may improve their profitability by laying off workers in this country and outsourcing jobs to other countries. This has created the trade deficit, drained wealth from this country, lowered the average Americans standard of living and increased the gap between the rich and poor. The generally wealthier stockholders and business owners get richer and the generally less rich workers get poorer. Sometimes on the CNBC television network they'll report some company is laying off people in this country trying to cut costs or moving whatever it does in this country to another country where labor is cheaper. This announcement is usually followed by them telling us what the price of the that companies stock is doing. Many times the price goes up and the CNBC commentators often make no mention of any of the negative things I mentioned earlier. They are mostly interested in businesses bottom line and stock prices. If every business outsourced all its work and there were no non government jobs left in this country but stock prices were rising CNBC probably would not even mention unemployment. In fact they might even start discussing the benefits of outsourcing government workers jobs. Businesses only care about their current bottom line. They do not care about the American workers or their families. They only care about how their business is doing right now and its stock price. This short sightedness may be coming back to bite them. Unless they believe all the rich people in other countries are going to move here to this country and buy homes and products they are selling here I don't know what they're thinking. And the worst thing about it is they don't shout out to the American people just what is going on and try to remedy the situation. I'm all for free market capitalism and a world economy. I'm not for sticking your head in the sand while your country is getting it's butt kicked in that world economic marketplace. I'm not in favor of protectionism but when foreign countries band together in cartels in an attempt to fix production outputs and prices I'm not for ignoring the situation and silently acting like the worldwide marketplace is functioning freely.
A company issues some common stock in itself for let's say $100.00 a "share". So the company gets the money and the investors get what? They get a piece of paper that says they own some stock with all the rights that go along with it. Some common stocks have voting rights. Just what you vote on is determined by the company and the value of that right is questionable unless you are a big time investor that can own enough shares to control the company. Some common stocks pay dividends. The amount of dividends a stock pays is determined by the company itself and usually can be changed at any time. Sometimes if a company goes bankrupt the value of a "share" of common stock can go from $100 a "share" to a dime a share. If that company liquidates (sells) its assets the money from that liquidation (sale) usually doesn't go to common "shareholders". If it did why would the value of the common stock "shares" go down to nothing? I'll tell you why the value of "shares" of that stock go zero. It's because there's actually no "sharing" in common stock "shares". The word "share" is a total con and in my opinion so is the stock market. Let's get back to that piece of paper that says you own 100 "shares" of stock that you bought from company "X" for $100 a share. Just what can you do with that piece of paper? Drive it? Live in it? Eat it? Buy something at the grocery store with it? Pretty much the only thing you can do with it is sell it to someone else. Once the company sells the "shares" of common stock to the investor it appears to me the company has little to do with the investor. The company has its money and pretty much says "good luck" selling that "share" of common stock to someone else. THE COMPANY HAS ITS MONEY. What the hell kind of deal is that for the investor? You have to be brain dead or a dreamer to make that kind of deal. Whenever hard times hit and people are hurting the last thing on their minds is going out and buying stock. They need to pay the rent, buy food and clothes. What the hell do they want stocks for. You have to remember 100 years is but a speck in the course of time. Bernie Madoff conned people for 30 years. Just because some idiots made a lot of money in the stock market for 50 years doesn't make it a good place to put your money. It doesn't mean the market won't go from 36000 down to 8000 over a 20 year period like it has in Japan. There are a few other things that bother me about the stock market. It seems all to easy for insiders to make money on the market. I get the feeling big time investors and money funds run the show, get the first shot at good deals and determine what to let the small investors do. Also programming software in this electronic age make it too easy in my opinion to manipulate the buying and selling of stocks to take advantage of the fact that we really aren't in control of the actual buying and selling PRICES of our stocks. Call me a skeptic if you like but my reality is that the Joe average guy investor in the stock market is naive. This is all in addition to the fact that in my opinion stocks are investments for the brain dead dreamers any ways benefiting mostly the companies that offer the stocks and the guys that run the hedge and money market funds that trade them.
AIG FAILURE A
OF THE FUTURE
AIG (whatever that stands for) failed because they believed home prices wouldn't ever decline. They believed inflation would never end and our government would always be able to 'inflate' their way out of things. They were proved wrong and I believe we got a glimpse of how financial assets can evaporate faster than new ones can be created to offset them. When a depression hits this will happen on a grander scale involving not only bigger drops in residential real estate values but also commercial real estate, credit card debt and the stock market. It will happen fast in this electronic age. Not many people think it can happen but then neither did AIG. When it happens look for higher interest rates on government securities to play a key role in causing it finally to happen. You can only be stupid for so long in lending this country money. Eventually foreign countries will demand higher interest rates on our debt. That's when he party will be over.
I believe a significant problem we will be facing in the near future is the obsolescence of the human worker. If productivity increases say 2 percent per year in this country for a ten year period the total is 20%. So if a factory worker produced 100 widgets a day 10 years ago he theoretically can produce 120 a day now if he works full time. But if the factory can only sell 100 widgets a day that factory worker now has a part time job. Yes other people will be employed developing these methods that increase productivity but the whole idea of increasing productivity is to enable our workforce to use less man hours on the whole producing in totality whatever this country produces. (you get the idea) If we increase productivity and don't need to increase our output we have to lay people off. In this case it's about 20 percent of the workforce. What's happening in this country now is that since we're getting our butts kicked in the worldwide economic marketplace not only do we not need to produce more widgets we actually need to produce less. That makes things even worse. Now do you think a politician running for office can get elected to office saying more and more people will be obsolete jobwise each year? People still believe only good for everyone can come from increased productivity. They don't realize rich businessmen get richer and more and more often the working class are being left jobless and obsolete by increased productivity not accompanied by an increase in demand for the products being produced. It's such a big difficult problem to solve nobody wants to talk about it. Or maybe since the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer the rich are making sure it's not being discussed. With elections creating an environment where rich people control politicians it's no wonder this problem isn't even being discussed.
WHAT COULD HELP
Today 12/03/09 president Obama met with businessmen to discuss getting people back to work. Before going any further draw a circle around the United States. Imagine the United states is one big business. Remember the problem now is more wealth is going out of that circle than coming into it. To evaluate any business or governmental move with respect to it's being beneficial for the country as a whole you have to examine the transfer of wealth that results from that move into or out of that circle. A programmer working for Microsoft writes some code that is part of the Windows operating system. That code permits people in this country who use Windows to do their job more efficiently benefiting people in this country in many ways. But more importantly the code enables it's users in this country to compete against foreign competition and that affects wealth transferring into and outside that circle. And most importantly that code helps Microsoft sell Windows to foreign countries directly bringing wealth into this country breaking through that circle and into the American economy increasing our wealth and standard of living. That programmer is a productive part of the American work force. Let's say Microsoft also has security men providing security for its company. It would be nice if security wasn't required. The company has to pay these men and it doesn't bring any wealth into the company. It's called an overhead cost . No sense creating security jobs if they aren't necessary. They are a drain on the company. Now consider the United States Armed Forces. Considering the United States as a whole the armed forces are overhead. An expense it would be nice not to need. In a round about way a powerful armed forces does help the value of your currency and does help make your country more attractive to invest in by foreign countries. But if you have your choice it's better for your country economically to have an army of computer software programmers than a military army. Decisions made concerning infrastructure building jobs should be looked at in the same way. In the long run how does that project affect wealth crossing either into or out of that circle? If the project enables this country to operate more efficiently and produce things in this country so we don't have to keep importing things it's a good thing. If the project enables this country to operate more efficiently and produce things in this country and sell those things to foreign countries it's even better for this country. Projects that enable us to become more energy independent should be looked at closely. More efficient engines, windmills, and sun energy collectors are all possible types of projects that can keep wealth from exiting that circle around this country. If the project is a bridge to nowhere it will just put us further into debt. Although it will stimulate the economy in the short run it will be just another nail in our coffin in the long run. The fact that politicians control the purse strings of this country and decide what projects will be undertaken by the government is not encouraging. Those elected officials need votes from their constituents to be elected and re-elected. Those elected officials have to draw their circles around their own little state and not the country as a whole. Is there any question why we'll get more bridges to nowhere built than productive projects done as long as we have elections creating politicians? Today 12/8/09 President Obama discussed the results of that 'jobs summit'. I think he basically has the idea of what should be done. That doesn't mean he can delay the inevitable financial collapse forever but he'll do all he can at this point in time. He's a brilliant, articulate dude and I'm proud he's our president even if he had to go through the election process. He'll do the best anyone can but with all those other politicians he's having to deal with we can't expect as much change as we'd like. Only eliminating all elections and having a government of the people by the people for the people could we hope to do that.
The United states is getting it's butt kicked in the world economic marketplace. To unquestionably defend this position one only has to look at 2008's yearly trade deficit of 700 billion dollars. This ballparks out to about $8000 per household. That's a $8000 per household per year outflow of wealth from each household in this country to foreign countries. That's a lot of mortgage payments each year. Any of you pretentious television economic commentators or government officials want to argue that the trade deficit isn't an indication that this country is getting it's butt kicked in the world economic marketplace? The 10.5 trillion dollar national debt will be increasing at over a trillion dollars a year average for the next few years. And we will be borrowing to pay the interest on the debt we already owe from the people we owe it to. This is indisputable and also a ponsy like scheme. This gynormous deficit, that we will never pay off one nickel of the principal on, indicates we as a country are living beyond our means. We're experiencing the 'good' life if you can call it that. What's postponing the collapse from happening now is the government flooding both the banks and general population with money. They will probably have to monetize a large portion of the budget deficit to keep interest rates down. Monetization in effect is printing money. It ends up cheapening the dollar, causing inflation and in the long run increasing interest rates anyways because fewer people will want to hold dollar denominated bonds. This is undeniable for anyone who is not brain dead or a con man of some sort. PERIOD! Our economy is being artificially propped up. Retail sales, employment and even interest rates are meaningless in the short term while the government is artificially manipulating the economy. The important thing is we are accumulating a gynormous debt, living an unsustainably high standard of living and doing nothing to enable us to ever get out from under this suffocating debt. Eventually interest rates will rise to the extent that our economy will dramatically stall. It will become evident to even the most brain dead PHD that we are bankrupt as a country. My bet is financial assets such as stocks, credit card loans, and commercial and residential real estate loans will start evaporating so rapidly that any attempt to reflate will finally become useless and a depression will set in. Again I could be wrong and we could end up with runaway inflation which would cheapen our national debt but in that case interest rates would skyrocket even higher and we're back into the evaporation of financial assets. I guess what I'm saying is they keep trying to inflate us out of the debt and it may be reasonable to believe they will not be able to do it forever. I did say I wasn't an economist didn't I? I'm just trying to reason things out. Government of the people by the people and for the people seem like pretty wise words. You'd think they describe how the United States governs its people. How about 'Government of the people by politicians for special interest groups'? The people people people version probably gives a country a chance to be successful. The people politician special interest groups version is what has led this country towards an inevitable economic collapse of epic proportions. And whether old Abe or any of the Founding Fathers realized it the cause of the change from the people people people version to people politicians special interest groups version was going to be something called elections. Elections sound good. Sounds fair. Sounds 'democratic'. Democracy is a nice word. The truth is elections CREATE politicians and cause them to have to get people to vote for them. Campaigns cost money so politicians become indebted to political campaign contributors who are usually special interest groups of some sort. Now armed with the special interest groups money the politician has to get votes. People vote for people they 'like'. People usually 'like' people who tell them what they want to hear. Nice things. Warm fuzzy things not the cold hard truths. So now the politician proceeds to sugar coat everything he says. This is only the beginning of the most outrageous set of events that occur both before and after the 'election' that defy reason in their total acceptance by society. After getting 'elected' the presidential administration is indebted to the contributors and committed to trying to retain the support of the people. This usually means giving them what they're used to getting. For the past 50 years this has meant going further into debt to do it. Economically what that means is explained in the rest this article. What I'm trying to do here is explain why it all happened. If we had some sort of draft for our leaders and drafted, trained and put a random cross section of Americans in office while randomly selecting and training the next group there would be no special interest groups to contend with. Scientists, grocery clerks, architects, housewives, and even a few lawyers would end up running the country. I'm not saying it would have been or will be easy to set this up but by eliminating elections we'd have GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE. Our government would have been much simpler. Our financial institutions probably would have been kept much simpler. There would not be as many financial instruments that were not perfectly transparent. There would at least be a chance our country wouldn't presently be in debt 10.5 trillion dollars or over $100,000 per household. There at least would be a chance this country wouldn't be on it's way to a 20 trillion dollar or $200,000 dollar per household national debt as is now projected by government estimates by the year 2020. There at least would be a chance we would not have a 700 billion dollar trade deficit which amounts to $8,000 per household going out of this country every year. This $8,000 per household would be staying in this country in the form of wages being paid to workers in this country manufacturing products now being manufactured in foreign countries. There would be a chance we wouldn't be running a 1.4 trillion dollar annual budget deficit as we are now which amounts to $16,000 per household. This $16,000 per household this year (2009) represents social security payments, medical help and any of a number of other vital benefits that would not be provided if it were not for the huge annual budget deficit which just postpones the inevitable financial collapse of this country. Our 'elected' politicians are just postponing the inevitable trying to keep their jobs. It was all caused by the fact we elect our leaders instead of having confidence in being governed by a representative cross section of the people of this country and using some form of draft to select that representative cross section. We should not be afraid to have 'government of the people by the people for the people'. It couldn't be any worse than what we've got now.
A THING CALLED
The following is an example of how idiotic elections are and how governments using them evolve into a system that at times can appear to be a dictatorship. In my opinion if anyone other than George Bush had been elected we would never have gotten involved in the Iraq war. We got involved because George Bush wanted to get involved. One guy wanted the war. And that guy didn't even get the most votes for the presidency but because of that one guy here we are in a war. Clinton or Gore or probably anyone else in the presidency and we'd probably have no war. One guy gets elected and we're in a war. That's the type of government that has evolved after years of the election process. George wanted the war and because the rest of the politicians didn't want to look soft to their electorate or because of all sorts of other "political" pressures they backed George. Let me ask you a question. Do you actually believe that if we had a representative cross section of the population making the decision that we would have gotten involved in Iraq? ONE GUY AND WE'RE IN A WAR! Looking at our financial situation and the military conflicts that we're involved in it's hard to imagine we could be in any worse a condition had we had government of the people by the people for the people instead of government of the people by politicians for special interest groups elections evolve us into.