Leaving Afghanistan After Its Enormous Costs

Leaving Afghanistan After Its Enormous Costs
By JBS President John F. McManus

President Obama’s announcement that U.S. forces will be pulled out of Afghanistan must have stimulated many somber memories among the families and friends of the 2,300 Americans who died there and the 19,770 who brought home wounds. Same for British families whose losses included 1,100 dead along with a smaller number from Germany and Italy. The U.S. sent forces into this war-torn country in November 2001, only two months after the 9/11 terrorist attack. At the peak of our nation’s commitment, 100,000 were on duty and 32,000 remain today. It is the longest war ever fought by our nation’s forces.

The president’s new plan calls for withdrawing half of the 32,000 by the end of 2014, drawing down to 9,800 by the end of 2015, and removing all but enough to guard our embassy by the end of 2016. Why not bring all but the embassy detail home immediately is a question few seem willing to ask.

The Obama timetable will allow the president to keep his promise to end the war by the time he leaves office in January 2017. If that’s his goal, he deserves utter contempt for having a personal political goal while continuing to jeopardize the lives of those still on station. If, instead, national security interests form his motivation, the slow withdrawal makes no sense because whatever threat remains will still be there for several additional years. His announced plan also counters sound military doctrine which has always held that a combatant should never signal an exit date to his enemy.

Unaddressed by the president, members of Congress, and our nation’s media is the role NATO has played in the decision to withdraw. The overall direction of the military effort in Afghanistan has been the prerogative of NATO for many years, and NATO is a United Nations subsidiary. The UN Charter mandates that all actions taken by NATO must be cleared by the UN.

Will pulling out from Afghanistan lead to the same type of chaos that Iraq has experienced since troops were withdrawn from that nation? Will the plan to continue training Afghan forces during the next two years lead to more trainees turning on their trainers, with deadly results for our troops? Why do forces from America and other nations have to spend lives and treasure keeping peace among the Afghans who have long been mired in tribal or religious wars? Will the overall mission change again as it has so often during the past 13 years – from chasing Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, to pacification of villages, to destroying poppy fields, to combatting the Taliban?

Immediately after 9/11, Congressman Ron Paul recommended that Congress use its constitutionally authorized power to issue letters of marque (seize) and reprisal (destroy) aimed at those who were responsible for the terrorist attacks. But President George W. Bush decided instead to go to war without the required congressional declaration of war – and Congress allowed him to proceed.

Now that the end of the Afghan tragedy is in sight, it would be comforting to see that those who arranged such a fiasco might be brought to account for what has long been a monumental tragedy.

To learn more about how terrorism is used as a tool to grow the federal government and the security state, visit our Terrorism issues page.


Latest Election Demonstrates Support for EU Crumbling

Latest Election Demonstrates Support for EU Crumbling
by JBS President John F. McManus

The results of four days of voting in the 28 European Union countries sent shock waves throughout the region. Voters in late May were asked to choose members for the European Parliament. Many chose opponents of the very concept of the EU. All across Europe, the main issues were membership in the EU and opposition to the EU’s wide-open immigration policy that has upset many Europeans.

In Britain and France, the anti-EU political parties actually won a plurality. Britain’s United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) won 28 percent of the votes, its largest number by far in any election since its founding 20 years ago. The UKIP wants Britain to withdraw from the EU.

In France, the winner was the National Front led by Marine Le Pen. President Francois Hollande saw his Socialist Party come in a distant third prompting him to state on television the obvious fact that the people were displaying their “distrust” of the EU and had delivered a result that is “painful” to him and his EU partners.

Across the continent, there were very few expressions of support for the Brussels-based union. Belgium’s Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo resigned his post and counterparts in other countries saw support for the multi-nation pact decline precipitously.

Undoubtedly, many voters feel betrayed by their leaders who led them, step by step over several decades, into a union whose costs have led to watered down sovereignty, economic downturn, and unwelcome immigration. What began as a six-nation coal and steel pact in 1952 grew incrementally into a continent-wide ruling body described in 2000 by former USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev as “the new European Soviet.”

In 2003, British authors Christopher Booker and Richard North issued their book “The Great Deception” showing conclusively the massive amounts of deceit that led to the EU’s creation and acceptance. They termed the multi-decade process “a slow-motion coup d’etat, the most spectacular coup d’etat in history.” That same year, a proposed EU Constitution boldly pronounced that it “shall have primacy over the law of member states.” When asked to approve this EU Constitution in 2005, French and Dutch voters rejected it. Then, in keeping with the deceit that EU construction has always featured, a substitute “treaty” approved in Lisbon duplicated the rejected Constitution and approval by voters in any nation were never offered an opportunity to say “no.”

There are 751 seats in the European Parliament. After the results of these elections, a larger proportion than ever before will be “Euroskeptics” who will take places formerly held by EU supporters. UKIP leader Nigel Farage described the defeat of the three “mainstream” political parties in his country as “goldfish that have been tipped out of their bowl onto the floor and are gasping for air.” It is now even possible that British Prime Minister David Cameron will be forced to make good on the long-standing promise given by several of his predecessor PMs to hold a nationwide referendum on actual membership in the EU. A withdrawal by England, where the Euro currency has never been adopted, would be a devastating blow to the entire EU complex.

Obviously, many Europeans would prefer a divorce from the EU and a return to independence for their nations. Meanwhile, internationalists in the Obama administration and in Congress are pushing for a new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that would, in effect, have the United States become the newest member of the EU. Americans who value independence for this nation owe a debt of gratitude to Europe’s voters who have shown the world that all is far from well in the European Union.

Mr. Farage accurately predicts a coming electoral storm in this video from last November:


Promoters of Questionable Climate Change Losing Clout

Promoters of Questionable Climate Change Losing Clout
By JBS President John F. McManus

Rio de Janeiro played host for the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), more commonly referred to as the Earth Summit. More than 35,000 attendees heard dire predictions about looming environmental disasters. Out of the massive gathering came the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and occasional reports insisting that the earth is warming and it will cause an environmental cataclysm.

The New American Senior Editor William Jasper receives a live update from Correspondent Alex Newman from the RIO+20 Earth Summit in 2013, from Rio de Janeiro.

The most recent IPCC report arrived only weeks before the May 7th issuance of the U.S. government’s 840-page “National Climate Assessment.” Barack Obama succumbed to the claims of both documents. He insisted that their dire forecasts shouldn’t be looked upon as “some distant problem in the future.” In somber tones, he added: “This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now.” An increasing number of scientists disagree and point to the unreliable computer models on which the conclusions in these reports are based.

For solutions to the problem of “global warming” or “climate change” as it is more recently named, these reports recommend reductions in the burning of fossil fuels because such action produces greenhouse gases which they contend lead to warming, droughts, severe storms, etc. Always do we read about the supposed need for carbon taxes which would, if imposed, result in a diminished supply of electricity and rising costs for fuel consumers. If these recommendations are followed, the impact on our nation’s economy, because we are one of the “worst offenders,” would be catastrophic.

All of the scares from IPCC and the U.S. National Climate Assessment bring to mind the publication in 1968 of Stanford University Professor Paul Ehrlich’s book, “The Population Bomb.” It insisted there would be mass starvation in the 1970s-80s because of overpopulation. To address this supposed problem, Ehrlich recommended severe limitations on population growth. He was certain that “hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” Always, the solution to such claims emanating from the environmental fright peddlers is more government and control of the economic life of nations.

Ehrlich’s predictions received huge outpourings of publicity. But he was wrong and we should be thankful that government didn’t grow as fast as he hoped. The book did sell more than two million copies and it contributed greatly to increased concerns – real or imagined – about environmental matters. More recently, in his 2013 book, “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting,” journalist Jonathan Last labeled “The Population Bomb” “one of the most spectacularly foolish books ever published.” Well said!

Environmental doomsayers, however, seem never to cease making predictions based largely on skewed science. They don’t, however, hide their political goals. One result of the Rio conference was the 1997 Kyoto Treaty calling for carbon taxes, diminished use of electricity, and more. Happily, the U.S. never agreed to it. But late next year, there will be another massive gathering of environmentalists in Paris. They will be asked to produce a new climate treaty, one that will surely parallel what came out of Rio, Kyoto, the IPCC, and our own nation’s National Climate Assessment.

It’s doubtful that Paul Ehrlich will be invited to address the Paris conference. Perhaps its program will feature Al Gore who was a star of the 1992 event. As the number of Americans who don’t believe the scaremongers grows – now rising almost to 50 percent – the opportunity to build more government or even world government with highly questionable scientific claims becomes less of a threat. And this is good news.

Take the next step of getting involved: join The John Birch Society today to get started on accomplishing “Less government, more responsibility, and — with God’s help — a better world.”

 


Before Common Core, There Was William Foster: Why the Dept. of Ed. Needs to be Abolished

Before Common Core, There Was William Foster: Why the Dept. of Ed. Needs to be Abolished
By JBS President John F. McManus

In 1932, William Z. Foster led the Communist Party USA as its National Chairman. His book, “Toward Soviet America,” published that year, spelled out what changes the communists would work for in order to have our nation succumb to their rule. On page 316, Foster spelled out the following: “… the schools, colleges, and universities will be coordinated and grouped under a National Department of Education and its state and local branches. The studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology…. [Curriculum will focus on] internationalism and the general ethics of the new Socialist society.”

In 1979, Congress approved and President Carter signed a measure creating the cabinet-level Department of Education. Score one for Foster. And the schools have largely been cleansed of anything related to religion and patriotism. Score a second victory for Foster. What communists wanted as far back as 1932 has largely been accomplished. Along with their victories, the quality of education throughout the nation has deteriorated year to year.

Skip ahead to 1983 when a federal panel known as the National Commission on Excellence in Education issued its findings after 18 months of looking into the matter. In its report entitled “A Nation at Risk,” the panel stated:

If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre education performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves.

But the performance of America’s schools didn’t get better; it got worse. By 2009, Harvard University’s Program on Education and Governance issued ratings of U.S. students compared to those in other nations. Our students registered 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading. Four years later, America’s teenagers were ranked 31st in math, 24th in science, and 21st in reading. In other words, the Department of Education’s domination over education has resulted in a disaster. Programs such as Outcome Based Education, No Child Left Behind, and Race To the Top have failed. Each has actually contributed to the steady decline.

It’s not easy to find the monetary costs of the Department of Education. Some searching showed that its requested budget for Fiscal Year 2012 called for $77.4 billion, plus $9.3 billion mandatory spending, and $113 billion for student loans. With 4,300 full-time employees, the department directs a maze of 230 separate programs. More recent budgets continue to rise. But the results continued downward.

There is absolutely no authorization in the U.S. Constitution for any federal involvement in education. If William Z. Foster were still alive, he would be pounding his chest and claiming great successes. He would surely approve of the Department of Education’s newest fiasco, the Common Core Standards for America’s schools. Critics already claim this program will worsen an already dismal record.

The Department of Education can’t be fixed. It never should have been started and should be abolished.

Take the next step of getting involved: join The John Birch Society today to get started on accomplishing “Less government, more responsibility, and — with God’s help — a better world.”

 


Score a Big Win For Homosexuality: What Has Happened to Morality?

Score a Big Win For Homosexuality: What Has Happened to Morality?
By JBS President John F. McManus

In days gone by, the incident would never have occurred. Nor would objecting to it have triggered a disciplinary response. But these aren’t ordinary days.

Michael Sam is a football player. While finishing up his college career, he won plaudits from the usual corners for announcing that he was a homosexual. Selected by a National Football League team in the annual draft of future players, he celebrated by promptly and publicly planting a kiss on his male friend while TV cameras were rolling. Already elevated to national prominence and lauded for “courage” and “forward thinking” by the customary gaggle of media leftists, Sam’s gesture rocketed him to fame.

Not everyone applauded the male-to-male display of affection. One who disagreed and said so is Miami Dolphin player Don Jones. He tweeted that he was disgusted, even offended, by what Sam had done in front of national television cameras. For registering that stance, Jones was fined by the Dolphins and banned from attending team activities until he undergoes “training for his recent comments made on social media.” He was disciplined for expressing distaste for Sam’s conduct but even more for indicating opposition to homosexuality.

Ultimately, it isn’t what Jones stated that had to be combated. It isn’t even that Sam is a homosexual willing to flaunt his choice of lifestyle before the public. In a land where free speech is supposed to be guaranteed by the First Amendment, is it no longer possible for someone to express disagreement over conduct that has heretofore been regarded as detestable. Does the comment made by Jones merit dragging him into a session with some sociologists who will work him over to improve his attitude or, at a minimum, keep him from expressing it? How is this Miami Dolphin response different from the reeducation camps that were routinely conducted by communist cadres in Vietnam, China, and elsewhere? Do “thought police” belong in the NFL? Or anywhere in America?

The Dolphin front office doesn’t have to keep Jones on their team. As an employer, they can simply tell him he’s no longer wanted. But that’s not what they did. They obviously want the homosexual lifestyle brought more into the mainstream and they took swift action to demonstrate their preference. By their action, the Dolphin leaders sent a message to all in the NFL and to its millions of fans that homosexuality must now be accepted and no protest, even a tiny negative comment about it in a tweet, will be tolerated. Jones, who objected, not to homosexuality itself but to its public display, got punished. As far as we know, Sam’s televised display of contempt for traditional mores didn’t draw any rebuke from the team that chose him. In some circles, it even drew applause.

Traditional morality took a hit in this instance. This places the incident far beyond the matter of free speech. Will a marriage for Sam and his partner be next? Why not in this “anything goes” descent into the swamps?

 


Imagine a World without The John Birch Society

Imagine a World without The John Birch Society
by JBS CEO Arthur Thompson

Imagine, if you will, a world without The John Birch Society.

Few people have ever thought about this except for the Insiders. They constantly hope and work for a world without the JBS.

JBS Founder Robert Welch

Let us give you a “baker’s dozen” of the ways that the world would be different if our founder Robert Welch had not imagined a world with The John Birch Society. We do so in order that you, our members and supporters, can have a better appreciation of what you are involved in and just how valuable you are to the liberty of not only the citizens of the United States, but also for liberty around the world.

One. Before the JBS, there were thousands of conservative organizations, large and small, all going every which way with very little success. And, they lacked any perspective of a conspiracy behind the various fingers on the hand working to squeeze the life out of American society and our Constitution. They simply looked at all manner of socialists as independent from one another, not noticing these various fingers all seemed to end up at the same place, at the same time, with the same goal in mind. We still have that problem today, but progress in an awareness that a conspiracy has to exist has taken root.

The polls we have seen in this regard, show that from one-quarter to one-third believe that a conspiracy exists, up from virtually no one believing so when the Society started. The very idea that the question would be asked demonstrates our influence. The role of the JBS in this change in the understanding of the American people has led to us being attacked over the years, calling us “conspiracy theorists,” “paranoid,” and a lot worse.

Two. Among the action projects we have initiated to educate Americans about certain dangers to their liberty and what needs to be done about it, none take a more important place than our “Get US out! Of the United Nations” campaign.

When the Society started this initiative, fully 80% of the people supported the UN. By the turn of the century, only about 30% of the people supported it. This was the result of millions of pieces of literature, scores of visual aids seen by hundreds of thousands, road signs, and several hundreds of speeches given by members of the Society on the UN.

Without the JBS, the UN would today have a great deal more control over local government through myriad causes such as sustainable development, local schools through UNESCO, and our military. It can be argued that this control more than likely would have been complete by this time.

Three. If the JBS had not started its campaign to “Support Your Local Police – and Keep Them Independent,” our police departments would already be run by communists ― at least in the bigger cities ― and federal control would already be a practical reality if not codified by law.

We will not spend the time documenting the problem we saw in the 1960s other than to say that the communists, coupled with the federal government, were intent on using any and all excuses to take control out of the hands of local citizens and place it either in the hands of civilian police review boards run by local radicals or into federal receivership.

Our “Support Your Local Police” slogan was so successful, that it was recognized by nearly every American.

Four. Without the JBS, sex education would now be a K-12 year course in all public schools. We stopped most of this program but some aspects lingered in the larger school districts.

We will not discuss the issue herein other than to say that you can teach an idiot what he needs to know about sex in 30 minutes. Why the need for a full curriculum? The answer is that it was, and is meant to be, a study in breaking down Judeo-Christian morality and a direct attack on the mental health of all children. The latter takes too long to go into other than to say that if you saturate children with sex education during their latency period, you are setting many of them up for serious psychological problems.

Five. Without the JBS, the Western Hemisphere would look like the European Union but it doesn’t as a result of our campaign against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). This scheme was launched by President George W. Bush to create a similar EU structure that would have led to the same problem that the citizens of Europe have today. The JBS was virtually alone in this effort. This defeat of a major Insider initiative led to a fallback position called the North American Union.

Six. Without the JBS, the countries of Canada, Mexico, and the United States would already be locked into a tripartite pact linking us together in all of the major aspects of our society leading to the structure of a new country, nicknamed the North American Union. The original timetable to have this in place by George W. Bush and the heads of state of the two other countries was 2010. Its official name was the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

The various entities to be integrated were to be environmental initiatives, banking, healthcare, and others. The police and armed forces were also to be integrated. Finally, there would be a common tariff with no borders between the three countries with the freedom of movement into each country by all North American “citizens.”

Members of the Society put millions of pieces of literature into the hands of opinion molders and others and showed hundreds of thousands of people videos on the subject, all prepared by the JBS, while JBS members gave speeches and guest appearances on the media before more hundreds of thousands.

While there were other organizations involved, the vast bulk of the campaign that was started by the JBS was done by our members.

Seven. Without the JBS, a new constitutional convention would have already taken place. While we owe a great debt to Eagle Forum in this regard, it is safe to say that without the JBS with its large network of members, the Con-Con would have been unstoppable.

The battle rages on in this regard, and if it had not been for the educational efforts and hands-on work of our members over the past four decades, the current effort to alter our Constitution through the use of Article V of the Constitution would have already happened.

The work that our members have done so far this year to stop it is built on the foundation of the years of work that had come before. Without the JBS, a Con-Con could go forward next year, or the next.

Eight. Without the influence and educational efforts of The John Birch Society, many other organizations would never have been formed or leaders produced. Some of these have been indirect, but there are several organizations of merit that were formed with the direct influence of our members. We will forego identifying these leaders except to say that their efforts have greatly expanded the message of the JBS to a second level of contacts.
Some of these leaders are seen regularly on national media when the same media would never give a leader of the JBS a moment of time.

Nine. Without the JBS, literally millions of people would never have seen the likes of “Overview of America,” “Dollars & $ense,” and a hundred other videos, either in audiences or on the Internet.

Ten. Without the JBS, The New American magazine would not exist. Frankly, it is nearly incalculable as to how many Americans have read a hardcopy of the magazine, but it must exceed five million of just the special issues we have produced in the last couple of decades. As to reprints from TNA, it is many millions more.

The online articles on the TNA website reach over five million people each year. These are unique numbers, not repeat viewers.

The amount of information and valuable content enables the readers to carry the information into their daily lives and situations. It is not unusual for the information contained in the pages of TNA to have an impact on decisions made in Washington and local communities. The magazine also serves as a basis for the dissemination of educational tools for our members’ action projects.

Eleven. Without the JBS, FreedomProject Education, the educational arm of our American Opinion Foundation, would not exist. The significance of this is that FPE personnel in the last few months have been in over half of the states speaking on the latest threat to American education, Common Core, delivering over 200 speeches to live audiences, not counting over 60 radio appearances. Over three million have viewed, downloaded, or embedded FPE educational videos on not only Common Core, but the Constitution and the presidents.

We have no way of finding out how many people have actually seen these videos once they are embedded or downloaded. While it is probably not indicative of the numbers, we discovered that one site alone which embedded an FPE video had been viewed 58,000 times.

We can now say that thousands of people have been involved in the classes presented by FPE, both in student and adult venues. Enrollment in the K-12 classes is running at three times what it was at this time last year.

Twelve. Without the JBS, the entire conservative movement would probably have been co opted and diverted from effective action. The Article V fight is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to conservatives being misguided.

As an example: The solution is not to change the Constitution, it is to get everyone to adhere to the Constitution. Just as a balanced budget amendment is not a solution. The so-called budget does not include the spending for Social Security, Medicare, the Post Office, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae because these and more are considered off-budget. And, then, how can one even contemplate solving the federal budget deficit unless you factor in the Federal Reserve? You begin to see the problem of having a proper understanding of what is going on before you can have an effective solution ― yet none of the proponents of the Article V convention even discuss any of the aforementioned points.

There may not be total clarity by Americans as to the problems we face and their solutions, but without the JBS there would certainly be much less.

Thirteen. Finally, although we could continue on point by point, without the JBS perhaps you yourself may not have ever gotten involved. The work that you have done, and are doing, and will do into the future might not have existed.

Then look around you and determine what has been done by fellow members and what will be done in the future, simply because the JBS exists.

We are a long way away from victory. Yet we may be closer than we think. There are indications that there are large numbers of people, even members of Congress, who are beginning to get backbone.

The Conspiracy has a problem simultaneously moving forward interrelated parts of its agenda: If one or two parts are out of sync, it can delay all the rest of their plans. We believe that the successful campaign efforts of the Society on the United Nations and Support Your Local Police ultimately led to the facade of the death of communism. The Insiders had to slow down the communist program due to our education of the American people, who are the ultimate key to the success or failure of the global revolution.

The Conspiracy is very afraid of the American people. What we do as a country will have a bearing on the success or failure of the Insiders’ entire scheme. This makes the education of the American people so very vital. Not just education, but a level of understanding of what is wrong, who is behind it, and what is right and how to restore liberty as envisioned by our country’s Founders.

Educating and campaigns are the frosting on the cake. The cake itself is organization.

Children like the frosting. And, in this analogy, so does the average person. The frosting is everything most conservatives engage in or watch. It is the glitz of campaigns, marketing, and public relations. Lots of people can produce frosting. Few understand the need to build the tiers of cake that give it all substance and the basis for the frosting to even matter ― for the frosting is meant to aid in the appeal and flavor of the cake, not the other way around.

Yet most organizations are frosting without the cake.

Frosting is necessary in order to convince people that you are successful. The JBS has always been better at making the cake instead of icing it. And, the Insiders who control much of the media, academia, and other public venues have never allowed the JBS to play in their controlled field ― because they know to allow us access would help build the cake, and this they cannot tolerate.

The other problem with glitz is that it is expensive, and we would rather put our funding into things that matter in the long run: organization, in other words. And, we have proven over and over again that superior organization will defeat all the frosting glazed over an organization to make it look formidable whether it is conservative or doing the work of the Conspiracy.

And, that is why, more than anything, the other side attacks us.

2014 is a year of decision unlike any “off-year” election that we have seen in many generations. As such, it will be a year full of solutions presented by a myriad of political organizations and politicians. And all of them will be operating under the mantra of “get me/us elected and I/we will solve all of our problems.” It will also be the year of quick-fix “solutions,” such as an Article V Convention.

Can you imagine a weakened JBS because our members and supporters concentrate their money into political campaigns rather than education and the organization necessary to carry our mission forward? This condition would last long after the election year. The consequences could be catastrophic.

It is not simply the organization; it is our ability to do all we can to amass the wherewithal to effectively defeat the Con-Con and the current spate of foreign entanglements.

In light of this, we ask you to consider supporting The John Birch Society. Can you consider at this time a gift of $2,000 or $1,000 to carry our action projects forward? Small and large gifts will strengthen our opportunities to extend liberty to our heirs and to future generations. As always, we do not pretend to know your present giving situation, but we must ask.

Foreign Entanglements book by Art ThompsonThose sending in $200 or more will receive a signed copy of my new book, “International Merger by Foreign Entanglements.” It sounds dry ― but it isn’t. It is a good read and very quotable, even if I do say so myself! We are seeing people starting to order the book by the case for large distribution, and we are going into a second printing after being released for only one month. To receive this, please mention the book in the comment field when making your online donation.

Regardless of your decision, we want you to know that we appreciate each and every one of you and what you are doing to save our Constitutional Republic. Thank you!


New Economics Guru, Same Socialistic “Solutions”

New Economics Guru, Same Socialistic “Solutions”
By JBS President John F. McManus

The book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has rocketed close to the top of the New York Times best-seller list. One report claimed that 200,000 copies had been sold almost immediately upon publication. Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman gushed that the book is the most important study of economics in at least a decade. And its author, Frenchman Thomas Piketty, has already met with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and other Obama administration heavyweights.

So what does “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” tell us? Its message is that too much wealth is now concentrated among too few people and that economic inequality invites dangerous reactions. He likens growing economic disparity in the West (especially in the United States) with conditions prevailing in late 18th century France when many of its wealthiest were brought to the guillotine.

Piketty bases his conclusions on years of studying tax records in Western nations and Japan. How anyone could survive such a prodigious poring over that kind of musty history is amazing in itself. But doing so impelled him to conclude that the rich are getting richer and opportunities for members of the middle and lower classes to become well-off are fading.

What does this one-time faculty member at MIT recommend? He thinks a global wealth tax is needed, not necessarily to benefit a global government but for providing local governments with an ability to share the wealth. Karl Marx would surely approve.

The just solution to inequality, of course, is minimal government. This is what formerly characterized America. Here upward economic mobility from generation to generation prevailed – and was expected. Not so anymore. There are far fewer wealth-producing jobs and many more fat cats earning their millions, not through productivity but through shifting around the contents of their portfolios loaded with stock certificates and other paper assets. Too many have forgotten that real wealth comes from productivity, not from financial manipulations.

The recommendations in Piketty’s book won’t solve the main problem he addresses. One can only hope that it will focus some attention on growing wealth disparity here and elsewhere, and then on the need for reductions in government taxation, regulations and controls over the people. It’s the stifling presence of too much government that has impeded wealth creation, especially here in the United States. The need here and elsewhere is to look back at how our infant nation speedily became the greatest producer with the largest middle and upper classes. Summarized, here’s what happened: America became great not because of what government did, but because of what government was prevented from doing by the Constitution.

“Capital in the Twenty-First Century” addresses a problem but ignores its cause. We recommend viewing “Overview of America” to understand how America became great and could be even more so.