Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Consequences of Tearing up the Social Contract

President Donald T Rump's fixation with turning our nation into America, Inc. will spell the end of our current Constitution and lead to a decentralized government more akin to a federation. Several indicators of the direction he is leading us are already popping up. By taking his time with staffing the White House, freezing hiring across most of the federal government, cutting federal regulations, keeping subordinates poorly informed, and hiring a kakistocracy of hatchet-men and -women as heads of departments, President T Rump is weakening the federal government's power both intentionally and inadvertently. During his reign, we can expect to see reductions in government provision of health care, education, food, and housing, all of which will mainly affect the poor. Environmental problems, which Rump largely plans to ignore, will also disproportionately affect poor communities. Little else will remain of the government under T Rump than a security state for conducting commerce.

As President T Rump aggregates all the remaining power of the federal government into a national security state, coercion will be the only tool left in his bag. The vulnerability of the federal government stems not only from a chaotic and unbalanced executive branch, but also from the inward-looking legislature that hangs its hope for the continued consent of the governed on trickle-down economics, i.e. raw capitalism, i.e. catering to the 1%. Even if Congress stirs from their supinity and exercises the 25th Amendment or Rump throws in the towel, the momentum of government's social influence will have been disrupted enough by his term to keep it subdued for years. Congress's days are numbered. Another major episode of the continuing financial crisis would give Rump an opportunity to dissolve that body and introduce a new Constitution. The public won't mind, either, because we have all been waiting for him to drain the swamp, which includes driving out all the alligators lurking in the halls of Congress.

By Faron Kee
Law and order, ever more elusive economic growth, and foreign wars will only work so long to hold the country together. If the various bodies of the federal government were serving the populace well, we could stay united indefinitely, but an authoritarian government that is too poor or powerless to be of any use will be rejected by the masses. In its place, states and regional bodies will come to assume some of the essential roles previously played by the feds. The evaporation of federal relevance will assist in the transition of the U.S. to a federation of independent regions as we exit the fourth turning sometime in the 2020's. It is impossible to predict what those regions will be, but Joel Kotkin has taken a stab at it. Our Constitutional crisis will probably take many years to recover from. As a writer, T Rump will be a poor replacement for T Jefferson.

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