I surely write the following piece with a substantial amount of provocation, perhaps beyond the realm of responsible punditry. However, with slight deafness toward the gnarls of the offended, I proceed beyond my normal restraint.
Ancient Rome had a bicameral legislative body, similar to that of the United States. Rome’s Senate of approximately 300 men was appointed by the Consuls, their answer for our President. However, as opposed to America’s wealthiest 300 citizens, who supposedly own more wealth than our bottom 100 million and who use their considerable wealth to control our Senate, Rome’s Senate actually consisted of her top 300 wealthiest citizens. Picture Warren Buffet in a toga.
No laws were passed without the acceptance of the Senate. Therefore, the rights of the property owners and capitalists of their day were protected. However, no laws were proposed unless they came from the Tribal Assembly. By law, the Assembly was composed of a cross section of 35 regions and 10 different wealth classes in each region so that all manners of working people would be equally represented. Perhaps the Romans were more enlightened in creating five layers each of “Republicans and Democrats”. Whether or not this financial distinction of who could hold each assembly seat was truly a representative manner in which to differentiate the social, fiscal, and monetary demands of different factions, it was, however, what held the Republic together for centuries.
Understanding the desires of the wealthy in America to protect their assets while giving the common man the right to participate in governance, our founders adopted a similar legislative strategy to Rome. Originally intended to be chosen by the state’s representatives, typically wealthy land owners, our Senate was to be the body that would represent our gentry. Our House of Representatives would represent the other strata of society. By this means, the wealthy of our country could not dictate solely to the masses yet the masses could not confiscate from the wealthy.
While it may seem odd that one percent of the population would be given the super authority of one half of the legislative power of the United States, this was in fact the manner in which property rights could be sustained, castes could be preserved, and the American Republic could move forward. Yet its forward movement was not without fits and spurts, with capitalist business cycles and banking debacles creating depressions and recessions along America’s path of progression.
The spectrum of wealth stayed within realms of relative comfort until the second half of the great industrial expansion, the corralling of hydrocarbon, and the creation of the Fed all combined to produce America’s super elite, our captains of industry, or more affectionately called by those represented in America’s lower House as Robber Barons. With this newfound wealth came the desire for more power, the seed of much corruption and the flaw of mankind, and also the ability to reach out and grab the power through the regaining of control of all branches of government that had been so craftily separated by America’s founders of our constitution.
The House of Representatives, in its capped and gerrymandered form, has since been bought and purchased by America’s wealthy elite. The balance of representation of the strata of American society has shifted precipitously to the very top. This imbalance has permitted our elites to pursue all means of capitalistic extremism to the detriment of our country. In their drive to pursue self interests, the top has been blinded to the consequences that were borne from such abandonment.
It has created a rising clan of social media democrats that are intent on gaining all branches of government and of potentially obliterating our elite’s capital that would destroy all social stratums, my comfortable entrepreneurial one included. How much elite capital would be destroyed if not for the protection garnered by the Fed? How much capital would be destroyed from a revolutionary legislative choice to default on our debt (Remember Pat Robertson in 1988)? How much capital would be destroyed from taxation shifting its focus to physical assets in America? How much capital could survive the concentrated efforts to hunt down offshore accounts?
When the bicameral structure was proposed for our federal government in 1787, Benjamin Franklin opposed it, considering that a carving out of power for the elite would be to the detriment of every single inhabitant of America who occupied the same human space, whether poor or rich. Instead, he favored one body that did not succumb to the whims of the wealthy. Ironically, we now have in essence one mirrored body of two houses that heavily favor those keeping our Congress in power.
During our most recent debate on the debt ceiling, Democrat politicking echoed sentiment across America as many commoners perhaps ignorantly favored castigating the wealthy with higher tax rates as a “solution” to our dilemma. This time, once again the voices of millions were drowned by the voices of a few as favors were called on the body politic. However, as austerity is being thrust upon America first by the world’s credit agencies, and soon by our creditors, those voices clamoring for a return of the House of Representatives to the commoners will once again gain shrieking decibels. Have we forgotten the wave of Socialist Democrats who revolutionized America in the 1930s? How much more so will a forced solution of austerity without the hope of America’s middle class recovery transform our elected bodies?
The electoral tools of rebalance are now in place, having been exercised in 2008 and 2010, and are being honed by the social media democrats of the internet era as we speak. The warriors of this newest generation of commoner democracy are gathering at the front. When the smoke clears from the Tea Party assault on the debt ceiling, drums will call out the clans of mediacrats to confront those holding the House in an epic class battle.
Rather than attempt to hold onto the vestiges of power in an unceremonious unveiling of raw class warfare with escape routes of flights to offshore havens that are hunted down like Rommel’s panzers in Northern Africa, it is truly in America’s wealthiest citizens interest to do the hard work of putting capital to work in America, to bringing jobs back to the commoners, and to rebalancing the prosperity potential of America’s future. Certainly, using the bicameral Federal legislature to confront and compromise on laws, regulations, and social norms that influenced flight of capital from America will be reformed and opportunities for domestic commerce optimized if the two houses of Congress will only revert to their intended purpose.
Peering across the Atlantic to Greece as America’s near future queues behind her, it is obvious that my provocative prognostication has the truthful kernels of potential proliferation. Not to be outdone by a dwindling empire of the past, we know that America has a much grander potential of austerity revolt. This Orwellian rant is not without hope that the people’s House can revert once again to the lower strata and that America can set a course to get on with what can make America great.