Senator Joe Manchin—and 50 other Senators are standing up to runaway spending. A minority of them think otherwise. As a result, according to the Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, “democracy is hanging by a thread.” In truth, however, runaway spending and inflation have historically preceded the end of democracy—not fiscal prudence.
The American Left is beside itself despite its recent spending victories. Keep in mind, when considering the derailment of Biden’s latest spending bill, that federal spending has doubled since 2008. It was under $3 trillion then and well above $6 trillion now.
It took 200 years for us to reach a trillion in spending and sadly that was at the end of the Reagan Presidency. Despite Reagan stating, at the outset of his presidency, that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem,” in today’s dollars, federal government spending has grown 400 percent since he said those words.
That spending increase is a dramatic victory for the American Left. Under no circumstances can they logically claim government spending hasn’t been high enough—and yet they have been for years and are doing so today.
Indeed, Jennifer Rubin is not alone in her dire warning. MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan tweeted out “What’s worse – that Manchin is killing the Biden legislative agenda, and perhaps the future of American democracy too …” Carl Bernstein made a similar comment on CNN, as did others.
If only they knew something about history.
First, no major country in history ended with a balanced budget. Fiscal restraint has never been the reason a civilization declined and fell.
On other hand, history is littered with governments that fell in a flurry of spending.
Look no further than the end of democracy in ancient Greece. In the 4th Century BC, amidst bitter class warfare, according to the historian Will Durant, the “poor schemed to despoil the rich by legislation, taxation and revolution.” It was said, at the time, that Greek “democracy” had become “empowered envy.”
The murderous class violence that ensued left Greece and its allied states badly divided—so divided in fact, that with their energy sapped, they all but ignored the outside world until they were conquered by Philip of Macedon in 338 BC.
Similarly, the Roman Republic came to an end amidst the collapse of its massive government and class warfare. In the years before, political violence grew as politicians sought to use the state to take land from the rich and give it to the poor or otherwise distribute food to the poor—many of whom had been economically displaced by the importation of slaves after costly Roman wars.
In more recent times, the end of Germany’s short 12-year experiment with democracy between the World Wars, in what was known the Weimer Republic of Germany, was preceded by hyper-inflation. Part of that hyper-inflation was caused in significant part by government payments to striking workers. Amidst its weak economic condition, the German government simply printed the money it used to pay the striking workers as well as its war debt.
Most recently, interested Americans can look in their own hemisphere to view the fate of Venezuela. After its government took over the economy and killed its economic engine, the government resorted to deficit spending financed by printing money. Hyper-inflation ensued as the end of Venezuela free elections was solidified.
In no case was the loss of democracy caused by the failure of government to not spend sufficient money. In all of the cases, government spending, fueled by deficits and often inflation preceded severe economic troubles. Those troubles hobbled the economy, destroyed prosperity and eventually the Republics whose voters ushered in the means by which their Republics ended.
It is also worthy to note that our Constitution was preceded by what many of our important Founders viewed as an “excess of democracy.” The individual colonies, turned nation states, responded to weak economic times and Revolutionary War debt with a flurry of laws meant to help debtors. They also created their own currencies, which they devalued through deficit spending and the printing of money.
The motivation of the likes of Hamilton included wanting to prevent the individual states from warring with each other over trade and other disputes. Others, like Madison knew the country could not survive with legislative wars between the colonies turned states.
All of which brings us to today and our increasingly Divided Era of Red and Blue states and counties. Class warfare is the calling card of the American Left and massive government spending is the only acceptable action they know—and, as our National Debt rushes headlong to $30 trillion in the years ahead, no politician seems to care.
Our Founders cared though. By creating three branches of government, they had hoped to slow the growth of government in order to save our way of life and our future republic.
Today, however, all of the lessons of history and deeds of Founders are lost upon the ignorant who believe that the problems caused by government spending can be solved by more government spending. It is those people, in truth, who are the real threat to a republican form of government.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.