It was the middle of one of the worst winters in Washington, DC. Snow and ice were so deep and thick that special horseshoes (with spikes) had to be put on the horses carrying the newly elected President as his carriage moved through the city towards the platform where he would give his inaugural address.
Spikes weren’t enough.
To keep the horses from slipping and falling down, a dozen men – the strongest that could be found – walked alongside the horses to help prevent them from slipping on ice so thick that even the weight of the carriage couldn’t cause it to crack.
William Henry Harrison, at 68 years old, was determined to prove how tough he was., after the latter caught pneumonia and died just one month following his excessively long inaugural address in a cold spring rain.
As President, William Harrison would go down in American history for only two things: Having spent the shortest time in office and being the first President to die while in office.
Dubbed “His Accidency” by his detractors, John Tyler was the first Vice President to be elevated to the office of President by the death of his predecessor. A strict constitutionalist, he vetoed Congress’s effort to establish a national banking system. An act which left the nation at the mercy of for-profit banks. Over the next 80 years, this mistake would send the nation into an economic boom-bust cycle every 20 years until at last, in 1929, the entire banking system collapsed.
President Herbert Hoover, who had given a speech only weeks before the collapse that sent the entire global economy into a tailspin, refused to nationalize the banks. Instead, he did nothing while millions lost their jobs, their homes, and entire fortunes.
With tent communities pitched in cities across the nation, and even on the White House lawn, dubbed as “Hooverville”, the inaction of the Republican President, coupled with the replacement of the taxation of alcohol via the introduction a new income tax system (which heavily favored the wealthy) Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would handily win the election simply by addressing both issues in his nomination acceptance speech, which was broadcast for the first time to the entire country.
Taxes for the wealthy went up, laws were passed banning business with the new authoritarian leaders of Germany and Japan, and Roosevelt would go on to be the longest serving President in American history. FDR worked tirelessly to get the nation back on its feet, despite the nation being plunged into a world war brought about by Adolph Hitler and the Empire of Japan.
Sadly, despite the continuing need for government to take charge of its own currency and its own financial future, Congress turned down Roosevelt’s request for a national banking system. Instead, Congress decided to try a different approach: Heavy regulation of the banks. This stablized the banks until 1980, when newly elected Republican President Ronald Reagan began demanding an end to regulations.
Over the Next 27 years, the Republican party worked tirelessly to gut and repeal all the legislation passed in the early 1930’s which was designed to keep the economy stable. At the same time, they demanded ever increasing cuts for the wealthiest corporations and individuals, with the balance of the budget being balanced on the backs of the poor and middle class.
They blamed the poor for needing housing and food assistance, while pursuing policies of gutting funding to higher education designed to help the poor learn to escape poverty. Republicans also worked to increase taxes on those who were not rich, slashed banking regulations, invented new regulations allowing corporations to sell “Junk Bonds”, and finally eliminated regulations which required solid collateral for loans.
Today, the Republican Party continues to blame the poor for needing assistance, but now they are blamed for the actions taken by Republican leaders as well.
By 2007, banks went bust again. It happened because they had openly violated what few regulations there were. Regulations which made it a crime for banks to use savings accounts to trade on the stock market or manipulate credit scores. The Republican President at the time, George W. Bush, had the perfect solution…he thought: Ignore the crimes and just pay off the debts for the banks with public money.
It didn’t matter to him that the national debt would skyrocket. This was a President who had already declared war on a nation that hadn’t attacked us in order to help his friends in the oil industry. His view was the Republican view: Never worry about money, just borrow more.
His democratic successor, Barack Obama, argued in vain for addressing the spiraling national debt…but to no avail. The Republican controlled Congress refused to consider fiscal responsibility.
What we learn from this is that Republican presidents do not care about the nations debt, and a two party system has made a one party government happen often enough that real, mandatory fiscal accountability is not likely to happen without a constitutional amendment. I propose that, since the problem is that both major parties are elected using corporate funds, that maybe its time that we took away their corporate funds. We could do this with a simple amendment ending corporate personhood.
Ending Corporate Personhood would end the stranglehold private banks have obtained over the nations future. In addition to the obvious problems that come when the government borrows its working capital every year from the federal reserve (a for-profit corporate banking company), the idea that we should pay taxes and then pay interest on the money we just paid is insane.
Clearly, the natationalization of banks might not be so bad if the government could be relied upon to manage it back to health according to sound business principles. The trouble is, that the government does not act on sound banking principals.
Perhaps we could make it so.
I propose that, in addition to sweeping aside the corporate personhood which currently controls the value of our nations currency and grants corporations the right to influence our elections (in re: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) that we take the power of the purse away from Congress. Permanently.
I propose a fourth branch of government: The Fiscal Branch. Unlike all other members of other branches, the Fiscal Branch would be headed by someone appointed by the United States Supreme Court. Their term of office would be ten years. Like any other branch, that person could be impeached, but only for violations of the same laws which applied to members of Congress, the President, and the laws which governed business in the United States.
Any impeachment attempt for any elected or appointed member of any branch of government would require a special prosecutorial investigator appointed by the United States Supreme Court. This is to put an end the use of politics as a means of smearing any politician or appointee.
The Fiscal Branch would be charged with two responsibilities:
1: To maintain a stable economy by creating and operating a fiscally and economically sound national banking system. One that does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, gender, gender identity, sexual preferences, or political ideology. Any attempts at the use of political pressure, or threats of any kind would be considered an act of high treason and punished to the fullest extent of the law.
2: To properly inform Congress of the annual necessary revenue, and to set the maximum annual spending amount that Congress could spend based on economic realities and the needed revenue.
Congress may still have the power of the purse, but the amount of money available to the purse should be limited to what was best for the nation.