The Coming Federal Collapse
Metaphors for a Post-Federal America
by Karen Kwiatkowski
As Gary North has noted, the great 21st century default of the U.S. government has already started, with the raiding of federal pension funds to stay solvent a few months ago. We may recall the 2000 presidential election, when Al Gore spoke favorably about creating a social security “lockbox,” even as Social Security “taxes” had been treated for years as a core part of the federal budget, simple annual “income” for the state.
Terms like “lockbox,” as with the words “freedom” and “patriotism” and “progress” have been used by the state for a long time to confirm and communicate the false idea that the federal government is, and has ever been, on solid ground. Gore helped many millions of us create in our minds a vision of a social security lockbox that simply never existed, and one that could never exist, in the context of what George Ayittey described, in several of his books, “the vampire state.”
Dr. Ayittey gave an impassioned and entertaining talk at TED a few years ago, entitled “Cheetahs vs. Hippos.” In it, he mentions vampire states, and describes a begging bowl that leaks. While these metaphors refer to governments on the African continent, both are well-suited to 20th and early 21st Century American federalism. Ayittey speaks of unleashing the “Cheetah generation,” and as a metaphor for what comes next, it is both lovely and powerful.
As we watch the Washington D.C. megalith begin to crumble, and make no mistake, we are watching this today – with its frantic decades-long construction of government facilities and monuments, combined with an even more frantic last ditch effort to control what individuals do, earn, say, and where and how they travel. And, might I remind you, all of this construction, of monuments, prisons, bases and office space (2.2 billion square feet for the U.S. military alone) and all these rules and regulations cost lots of money to be eternally loaned by we the people and from interested investors. Funny, I don’t recall signing a contract or even being asked. Perhaps that what they mean by patriotism: my country’s spending, right or wrong.