Friday, November 2, 2012

Three Reasons why we’ve stopped voting, The Trail of Tears

10/18/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

As we watched the Presidential debate Tuesday night, along with the rest of the huddled American masses, we were hoping to hear something that would sway us from our current non-voter status.  We hardly listened to what was said, although our radar went up as one attendee asked about inflation, which happens to fall into our realm of interests.  The periscope of our consciousness went down, however, as each candidate responded in turn with a stream of words which registered as a vague reference to a non-entity referred to as “the economy.”
They just don’t get it.  And unless someone at the top “gets” the concept of inflation and its root causes very soon, the current form of the United States government may not exist by the time the next Presidential term is completed.

With the exception of the inflation bit, we hardly listened to what was said.  Politics, as most politicians will attest, has nothing to do with the keeping or breaking of promises.  In the end, these expensive popularity contests boil down to the intangible of charisma.

As such, we were more interested in the demeanor of the candidates.  Both, while giving the appearance of physically fit, well dressed, and well informed men, seemed to lack something we call the spark of life, that thing that makes you want to be around somebody.  The intangible of charisma, so hard to define, yet so apparent when present, did not make an appearance last night.

We decided to retain our current policy regarding democratic elections.

At The Mint, our current policy is to refrain from voting on all matters which ask us to reach beyond our own city and county.  Even then, we inform ourselves and vote, not on individuals seeking election to sinecures, but on specific referendums, generally with the dual aim of obtaining personal benefit and minimizing both our tax bill and governmental interference in our personal affairs.

As such, if and when we vote, it is an exercise in shameless self interest.

How did we arrive at such an unreasonable stance with regards to voting?  How can we consciously fail to perform our “civic duty” year in and year out and still live with ourselves?
The conscious decision not to vote, at its base, is our way of peacefully resisting what has become a shameless power grab at the highest levels of government.  A series of well intentioned actions at the Federal level has lead to a number of unintended consequences which are about to cause a great deal of suffering.

Beyond this philosophical objection, there are practical matters to consider, which we submit for your examination and comment:

1.  Mind-boggling complexity

From time to time, a ballot measure will be presented which will be stated in a manner so clearly that one can place a vote and know exactly what a yay or nay will mean in terms of real world consequences.  As for the rest of the ballot issues, along with the selection of lawmakers and judges as our proxies, one can’t be expected to keep up with the chaos that passes as national and state governments, and for the most part, we feel that participating in elections or the political process on at these levels is at best a waste of precious time and, at worst, encouraging an enterprise which long ago overstepped any reasonable boundaries, both in its authority and its ability to manage its finances.  At this point, the best one can hope for is to stay clear of the amoeba.

Large scale democracy has a nasty habit of imposing the will of a few on all via the ignorance or indifference of many.  Circa 2012, voters are rarely asked straightforward questions like “Is it ok to steal and kill?” They are instead asked questions like “Do you prefer a fellow named Obama or Romney to serve as President?”  We will ignore the fact that politicians on the State and National level are thrust immediately into situations where keeping promises depends upon factors far beyond their control, and simply recognize that the choosing the President of the United States does little or nothing to change the underlying bureaucracies and interests which have turned the Government of the United States into a strange form of benevolent mafia.

2.  The question of taxes.

By our calculations, we give up roughly 16 hours per year just compiling data for and filing the required tax declarations at the State and Federal levels.  Not to mention the time spent generating the money to pay said taxes.  On the county level, this seems reasonable.  The county even has the courtesy to calculate the tax bill for us and simply request payment.  As for compliance, it is simple, you either pay the bill or you don’t.

Further, if you think that your tax bill is too high, you can leave the City or County and find a City or County with a more reasonable tax regimen, or no regimen at all.

While leaving the City or County may be a costly step, it may be feasible for those who desire to move.  Relocating geographically from a State or a Country is quite another matter, which makes their manner of taxation both understandable and sinister.

The Federal and State governments, as opposed to most county governments, have a much different take on both taxation, as well as the rest of the authorities which they have granted themselves over their subjects.  We use the term “grant themselves” because, as anyone who has tried to vote their conscience on a ballot measure can attest, many measures are written in a way that simply makes the voter a tool in the hand of those who crafted the legislation.

{Editor’s note:  We will refrain from going into the argument that somehow, the illusion of democracy, the Western embodiment of the “Might makes right” mentality, creates a government with legitimacy on the scale the the State and Federal Governments circa 2012 claim.  It is sufficient to say that there are an abundance of examples which would argue to the contrary.}

Returning to taxation with regards to the State and Federal regimens, it is up to the individual to file a declaration each year at their own expense.  Naturally, the governments reserve the right to audit said declaration, again, at the taxpayers expense.  If any inconsistencies are encountered, the taxpayer faces a myriad of penalties from the payment of additional taxes and penalties up to and including serving time in prison.

Even this tack could be considered reasonable were the tax codes written in a straightforward manner.  As things are, the income tax code serves as nothing more than a spider’s web, designed to entangle all who tread it.  We are all caught in it, it is just a matter of time until the spider makes its way over to devour us.

The saving grace, if there is one with regards to the State and Federal tax regimen is this.  They can’t take us all.  While it is likely that every single American has failed to fully comply with the 73,608 page tax code, it is extremely unlikely that the spiders of the various Government or State tax authorities will ever get around to eating all of those who are caught in their web.  As with any predator, they tend to go after the larger prey first.

In this sense, adopting the Franciscan/Marxian belief that poverty is a virtue may keep one safely off of the spider’s radar.

3.  The Trail of Tears

While both complexity and having to pay for something are generally good enough reasons to abstain from any activity, the most compelling reason not to vote is one that is best understood by examining one of the most shameful examples of the modus operandi of the Federal Government:  Their well documented dealings with the Cherokee people, whose world collided with the Feds in the early 19th century in the Southeastern part of North America.

Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears, a painful chapter in US History – courtesy of http://katta1f.wikispaces.com/

We refrain from making value judgments and will simply examine the highlights of the interaction as we understand them.  A much more detailed account can be found, as always, in the Wikipedia.

The Cherokee found themselves generally prospering as a people and inhabiting lands in the Southeastern US in the 1700 and early 1800′s after presumably relocating there from the Great Lakes region.  During this time, they increasingly came into contact with European settlers and engaged them in trade.

As time went on, the increasingly organized and well armed colonies began to covet the lands of the various Indian groups in North America.  Once the revolution against the British and subsequent conflict known as the War of 1812 had been won, the States of the newly formed United States of America began to dispossess the various Indian peoples of their lands.


{Editors Note:  Sensitive readers are asked to excuse, for the moment, the use of the term “Indian” (Columbus most likely died believing that he had landed in India en route to China, hence the mistaken identity attached to Native Americans peoples), instead of the appropriate “Native American”.  The choice to change terms at this point in the essay was made consciously so that the reader may understand which groups were impacted by the barbarous Indian Removal Act.  No disrespect is implied or intended.}

While their tactics changed according to what was politically expedient at the time, the general policy of the State and Federal Governments was to ultimately expel the Indian populations and force them West, so that the vested interests of the States could take advantage of the lands which were occupied by the Indians.

What is most troubling about the treatment of the Cherokee people is that, from what we can tell, they had adapted to life amongst the new colonists and generally worked to comply with what were ultimately unreasonable demands of the governments.  As a case in point, the Cherokee allied themselves with and fought alongside the US against the pro-British factions during the War of 1812.  They served the US’s interests in the war alongside none other than Andrew Jackson.

Jackson later returned the favor by signing the Indian Removal Act in 1830 which sealed the Cherokee’s fate and began the final chain of events which would lead many of them to an early grave along the now infamous “Trail of Tears.”

While the the Indian Removal Act was passed on the assumption that the Cherokee and other Indian groups faced certain extinction were they to be forced to live alongside the increasingly numerous white settlers, it is generally acknowledged today that the real motivation for the Act’s passage was the discovery of gold in Georgia.

We have read about and watched similar scenarios of deceptions preceded and followed by apologetics play out too many times by centralized governments over the ages to believe that a group of persons who do not know our name and are so far removed from us that they would not recognize our moccasins if they took the time to walk a mile in them, have our best interests at heart.

Even if they did, we have observed that their best efforts to effect change on a large scale end up causing more harm than good.  While the economic damage done by such unilateral actions can be repaired or forgiven, the damage to the moral character of a society of embracing this might makes right mentality will ultimately destroy it.

The desire not to participate in the choosing of the next person to be called “Commander in Chief,” or any of their collaborators or subordinates, is the primary reason why we will not be walking around with a sticker on our chest or an ink stained hand on election day.

For The Trail of Tears has been tread for too long.  It is time to live in the Kingdom of God.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for October 18, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.72
Oil Price per Barrel:  $92.12
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.39
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.81%
FED Target Rate:  0.16%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,750 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.8%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.6%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,557
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,449,400,000,000
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,157,100,000,000