Skip to content

Democracy demands at least two parties: the Conservatives and the Liberals.

2011-07-03

The English parliamentary system was accurately characterized as a “gentleman’s debating club” in 1800, at the time of Napolean Buonaparte.  There were numerous cliques based on friendship and personal animosity, but when it came time to govern, everyone cooperated with the decisions of the majority.  One of the greatest features of the parliamentary system at that time was its underlying split between the Conservatives (Tories) on one side of the aisle and the Liberals (Whigs) (who were not unified due to a recent split) on the other side.  The rules of civilized debate applied, and no-one spoke personal insults (most of the time.)

The American House and Senate system, established just a decade earlier in 1789, was copied from the English system, and initially Senators (Senator literally means “elder” in Latin)  were not directly elected, but were appointed by the Legislatures of the state they were to represent.  The House of Representatives was elected at the polls, district by district, and it was supposed to resemble the House of Commons in many ways,  but violent dissention  was a major problem throughout the nineteenth century and even into the twentieth.  Firearms were brandished on more than one occassion.  We all have seen videos of fights in the Taiwanese parliament, and those pictures are reminiscent of what occured in our own American House then.

During the Kennedy adminstration, the House behaved in a relatively civilized way, and Lyndon Johnson, having been a senator, was able to manipulate both Houses easily.  The country was unified in grief after the assassination of JFK and it was relatively easy to govern.  Goldwater was probably the last example of a conservative stateman, and he stuck to his reasoned principles wherever they led him.  After his loss to LBJ in 1964, the Republicans became more hostile, and with the election of Nixon, relations between the parties deteriorated further.  There have been sparks of bipartisan cooperation at rare intervals, frequently during an emergency, since Goldwater, but by and large the relationship between Republicans and Democrats has been of open warfare, especially since 2008.

There is a critical basic truth that neither party understands: both parties are necessary for a successful government.  Sometimes one party should in charge, but at other times, the opposite party should take the helm.

During times of war and economic prosperity, when everyone is employed, and inflation is a factor, the Conservatives should be in charge of the government.  Their natural caution will help to prevent military disasters and it is essential in wartime to avoid strikes and keep factories humming, so a tilt toward business might be appropriate. Careful monetary management to reduce inflation is also important.   It is also essential to avoid deficit spending in wartime and depend on Liberty Bonds.

During recessions and depressions, the Liberal party should be in charge.  Money should flow like water from the federal government to people who are unemployed, who are homeless, who are bankrupt, all of whom can’t spend money they don’t have and therefore cause a serioud drag on the economy.  People who have no money will usually spend all the money they get and the money will flow upward through the economy, increasing consumption, stimulating factory orders, and so on.  There should be a willingness to go into government debt in order to fund direct aid programs that will stimulate the economy through increased consumption of basic consumer goods.  It should even be proper for the government to hire people to clean up the roads, build bridges and monuments(thereby addressing our crumbling infrastructure), produce photographic albums, write stories, and even paint paintings.

Another point that neither party understands is that the federal government is responsible for ensuring that the economy grows at a “sustainable” pace, and when recession or inflation occur, it is necessary and proper to institute the maximum available means to correct the imbalance in either direction.

The economy basically depends on the traffic in Federal securities such as Treasury notes.  The issue of government debt is supposed to be the source of all cash flow, in the form of dollar bills as well as electronic credits or even gold bullion.  This depends critically on businessmen’s confidence in the stability of the system: buying T-bills should always be the safest way to make money on your money.

During good economic times, this is not a problem. It is easy to pass a balanced budget with a full complement of revenue.  However, during depressed times, the government should try to stimulate the economy, so an unbalanced budget actually works better.  Deficit spending, that is borrowing from our neighbors by selling T-bills, will be easier when the buyer has full confidence in the strength of the goverment.  When a government is obviously doing its best to stimulate the growth of the economy to relieve recession, buyer confidence is enhanced.

In other words, it really is possible to grow your way out of debt with the appropriate policies of applying the money where it will be immediately used and re-enter the economic cycle.

On the other hand, when there is full employment and revenues are rolling in, it is wise to take a conservative approach and bank some of that excess revenue–for a rainy day in the form of a recession.

It is best for a Congress to continue to have representatives of both basic parties, Conservative and Liberal, at all times to speak reasoned dissent whenever it is necessary, even when the other side has a majority and can impose its policies (abhorrent to your way of thinking.)

It is critically important for both sides to understand that the other has a right to be there, and the other side has a right to point out problems with the imposed policies.  It should be improper for one side to attempt to silence the other, or push the other out of office by threats, violence, harassment, or excessive investigations.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: