The Declaration of Independence was approved today in 1776 on the Fourth of July by 56 members of the Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston comprised the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration. Jefferson, rightly regarded as the strongest, most eloquent writer, drafted most of the document.
Thirteen colonies then embarked on a thus far enduring and great experiment in self-governance as a sovereign nation. That was the start of our legacy. Let us renew our faith in their fighting spirit and move – relentlessly – toward more independence after the celebrations are over.
Parades, baseball games, fireworks and barbecues will mark this Fourth of July holiday, as always, in what are now 50 states. We have grown from 2.5 million people to more than 318 million with a gross domestic product of more than $16 trillion.
We rightly celebrate our Fourth of July origins, with commerce as our vital output. Here is a timely example of our ongoing economic challenges: In 2013, the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags was $4 million. The vast majority of this amount ($3.9 million) was for U.S. flags made in China. The value of U.S. made flags exported in 2013 was $781,222. The Dominican Republic was the leading customer, purchasing $160,000 worth. Shame on us for importing our own flag.
Troubling, also, is the import of $203.6 million in Chinese fireworks out of a total of $213.8 million. U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to a mere $10.2 million in 2013, with Israel purchasing more – $2.7 million – than any other country.
These data are symbolic of our wider and ongoing unemployment problems and national debt that results from a weak economy caused by even weaker leadership. We need to export more and import less of not only fireworks but everything else we make or grow. This should be supported by policies that create American private sector jobs and restore our manufacturing and industrial strength, not the current policies that reward international corporations based in the US for moving jobs and profits offshore to escape from taxes.
As just one example of the hopelessly incompetent politicians we keep electing is the soon to be bankrupt Highway Trust Fund. Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat Nevada, and Senator Rand Paul, Republican Kentucky, are calling for a corporate “tax holiday” to raise money for the highway fund. The tax holiday is wrong in principal, wrong in practice and just wrong public policy if you believe in ‘we the people.’ It will cost more than $90 billion in lost revenues during the next ten years. It will also put at a disadvantage, US corporations that work largely onshore and employ people and pay taxes here.
Unfortunately, as a result of political and egregious Supreme Court decisions of our government comprised of craven “pay to play” politicians, we are not as free as we should be given our heritage. We remain dependent on foreign oil from nations that are openly hostile toward us, and would destroy us given the chance. We support dictatorships with billions in bribes called – euphemistically or I say cynically – foreign aid.
We are actually helping the recruiting of terrorists who would kill us because of our State Department policy of supporting nations on both sides of an issue. The middle east is a perfect example – are we for democracy or for despots and dictators. We give aid to both sides and have hopelessly destabilized the region – thank you George Bush and Dick Cheney. How’s the search for weapons of mass destruction going? You falsely promised that we would be welcomed as liberators, when in fact we are despised by all sides and thwarting other people’s attempts at independence from corrupt governments.
This current national security threat caused by the politics of oil – and most of the threat is really to our alleged European allies – not only distorts our foreign policy, it sends our patriotic young men and women off to face death in needless and as it turns out unfunded wars because of tax cuts for the wealthy while our middle class was decimated.
The negative result is in evidence in our foreign military bases that support the economies of other nations. We are currently occupying, oh, 130 countries and paying for their defense – while they concentrate on job creation at home and exports to the US. This contributes to our unacceptable unemployment rate and worse a shrinking labor-force participation rate. We have the world’s two largest moats – the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – we control the seas and the sky. We don’t need to be over there.
This self-destructive, unfunded military policy is also in play with our borrowing to cover our national debt of $17,806,734,409,000 – that’s $17.9 trillion. We now pay 42 cents in interest payments for every dollar of it – $225 billion in interest this year, rising to $550.7 in 2019, according to The Office of Management and Budget. IF this goes on for much longer, the phrase “not worth a Continental – referring to the worthless paper money printed to pay for our original revolutionary war – will return in a newer dollar-designated denigration. At the end of FY 2014 the state government debt in the United States is expected to be $1.21 trillion.
The response from that tawdry cast of characters who reside at great taxpayer expense along the banks of the Potomac is comprised of 2012 election slogans that are insulting to hard working, decent Americans – who at heart still hold dear the principles we were founded on.
That said, we should celebrate our feisty past today, and honor the men and women of vision – and property – who created wealth, who established this country starting with the War of Independence, continuing through the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution that is still in place – as fine a document of governance of the people, by the people and for the people that ever existed.
Remember well the resounding words of its preamble – WE THE PEOPLE. In addition, we need to toss out of office the craven people who do not understand WE, who are in it just for ME.
Therefore, it is in this spirit that AutoInformed looks to celebrate future Independence Days – ones that build on our past, but move to an even more independent future and stronger economy. Let us start with a new Energy Independence Day – build the Keystone pipeline, but mandate that the oil transported stay in the US, and tax it. Do not let Big Oil export it to Asia through a tax free zone now already in place at the end of the pipeline in Texas.
Then let us add a Debt Independence Day. And how about another Independence Day celebrating our renewed rejection of foreign wars and entanglements that our founding fathers were so fearful of – all this for our people, of the people and by the will and sacrifices of our people.
Shame on us for forgetting that independence is our tradition and independence is our national strength.
Shame on us for forgetting that independence from corrupt foreign governments made us a great country that looked after its own citizens and eschewed alliances with stealing, murderous old world politicians and now newer 21st century despots and thieving politicians.
Shame on us for losing our independence – won with Patriots’ blood – so we could drive gas-guzzlers, as multinational auto, oil and power company plutocrats, and the politicians who are in their pockets, thwart and continue to oppose real reforms.
Shame on us for allowing our arsenal of democracy to be severely hurt by imports from nations we might ultimately have to fight to maintain our independence.
In the spirit of 1776, the 18th century year that was the start of something great and thus far enduring, let us find our fighting spirit once again and move toward other types – but nonetheless needed – vital forms –of independence.