Updates for Wednesday, September 21st [2005]

US Code & Tax Cuts for the Rich


Dear Friends,

I have found it hard to speak to Ludwig about this new information, or tell him about who I really am, but I have spent weeks researching the connection myself. I find the Illuminati websites to be conspiracy driven nonsense, so it has not given me much real input. In the meantime, my concerns have remained more idle in nature. As the hurricane crisis passed in the news and news slumped, I have found time to do some more research into our government, and the way it runs. This study will be helpful for my letter to Congress I am still preparing. So today I decided to talk to Daniel about something I discovered,

Daniel: What do you want now? I'm playing a nifty Flash game.

Me: Well, I had a question about the "United States Code"...

Daniel: I told you already, just look up Wikipedia or somethin'.

Me: Well, I noticed that there is a virtual disappearance of common law because of the many titles within. It is too weighty and unyielding for a layperson to read. Why?

Daniel: Why is the sky blue? I don't fucking know. What I do know is that these god damn little dudes need to work harder! No matter what order I try, the farthest I get is the little yellow ball out of the pot! Stupid flash games.

Me: As we founded this country we did not imagine federal law would become so vast as to require codification on such a large scale. Common law was easier to rule from a position of authority on. It seems as if this codification supposes firstly that anyone tried by the law has no rights to account for, outside the provisions of the US Code. Am I wrong?

Daniel: Dude, I haven't even heard about this before you brought it up. I don't even know what that stuff is. It's not like they taught this stuff in government class.

Me: They most certainly should've.

Daniel: Seriously, go look it up on Wikipedia. That always helps me out.

Me: Daniel, I am just expressing concern over ignorance of the accepted codified standard of federal law in the United States. This codification seems not to account for individual liberties, or even state rights... it is a monstrous behemoth, compared to the simplistic documentation like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights we provided for the federal government's basis. It seems as if though this is one centralized manual for the entire law of the land... and it's out of control. What prevents legislators from adding to this in ways that restrict other rights that perhaps contradict these authorities? Must the Supreme Court be the only test of Constitutionality of these laws, should we rely on those judges in that way? Seems wiser to have legislators who are more cautious about the law and practiced in making it simpler for the layperson to understand.

Daniel: Isn't it the job of the courts to do that for us? I don't know, man. All I gotta ask you is, if you had a ball that fit in a pipe, what the heck is it supposed to do?

Me: Most of these titles do not seem called for, topics not covered in the United States Constitution... I imagine most of these things fall into the Commerce Clause, which is unfortunate that such a part of law is so widely abused. Also, to what degree of ease I imagine I could get lost, in the subtitles, parts, subparts, chapters, and subchapters of this intricate document. I can also imagine that such a document, being so huge, has never been trimmed down, the legislation overturned to make the law simpler, or revised when outdated except in extreme circumstances. A dangerous document, this could be indeed. It is impossible to read in full, contains laws that seem to not discriminate, with legal definitions that one could study for years without ever truly learning. I was once a lawyer, you know, and you must be able to understand the full scope of the law to practice it. Who could ever learn the full scope of this beast?

Daniel: I don't know, but I thought Grow RPG was better.

Me: *sigh*

So, I did try to talk to Ludwig a week ago, but I could not bring myself to discuss the matters at hand. Instead, the conversation diverted to, of all things, national economics.

Ludwig: Yes, herr Thomas, you said you wanted to speak to me?

Me: We have something important to discuss, yes. You see, I find that the Illuminati...

Ludwig: Oh! That, it seems so silly. You are familiar with the lunatics and crackpots that perpetuate those kinds of theories, my good friend. It is rather absurd, do you not agree?

Me: Well, I feel it may have some relevance to our missing friend, Julius...

Ludwig: Ha ha, my friend, you kid, surely. Julius has no more been abducted by the Illuminati than he has by aliens or the Bilderbergers. The left-wing cultivates this weird group, you see, with this - how you call it - conspiracy theories.

Me: I see. Certainly that may be true, but Daniel found on the internet...

Ludwig: Thomas, you cannot trust everything you read on the internet, nor everything your friend Daniel happens to tell you. He seems to be spouting off whatever he hears, why, when we were on a trip together he once told me that President Bush gave tax cuts that benefited only the rich. First of all, my dearest son, whom I had born here in America, worked a minimum wage job and even he got a direct refund. But what people do not understand is that the purpose of running high deficits and borrowing especially during a time of war is to boom the economy to prevent deep cutting recessions and keep government income increasing, which can be further spent - as Bush spends it moreso than even the Democrat Clinton before him - on social welfare programs. I was, after all, a study in economics as well as particle physics.

Me: Well, I know certainly that Daniel may be wrong, but about the Illuminati, I am not convinced. Of the economics topic, well, that is most likely true. Then again I notice most young Americans simply do not understand basic reason. I thought they would be far smarter, in a way, than they really are.

Ludwig: That is exactly what I thought of my own son, after I heard him echo the sentiment of the tax cuts helping out the rich only, merely a week after getting his own refund check. We had the tech recession entering the Bush Presidency that was short, job losses countered quickly by new jobs being created, because of the increased deficits and low taxes. It certainly is not a good long-standing economic policy, it is stupidity to suggest the deficit of 300 billion and the national debt interest of another 300 billion are inconsequential in the justification... but equally so stupidity to suggest the rich benefit the most from this system, when it is clear they bear the biggest tax burden, by leaps and bounds amongst the American poor.

Me: I apologize, Ludwig. I follow you and agree, however, I must leave. There are some things, I must consider. Adieu.

The conversation, as you probably can easily assume, went astray on a tangent and was not recovered. I do not know how I will break the truth to Ludwig, but hopefully I find a way soon. In the meantime, I have an evening's dinner with Natalie. I wonder too, if I should inform her of this situation. I certainly cannot lie forever, my spirit does not have that fortitude. I only wish I had the boyish charm of my friend Washington, during his youth when I am confronted with the situation that is most certainly now at hand.

Your friend & humblest servant,

- TH. Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

Something of a slow news period means that I get to cover some broader topics, perhaps not in as great detail as I had hoped, but that's what these handy editor's notes are for, after all.

As an outstanding literary influence to the birth of the United States government, Thomas Jefferson's literary approach to lawmaking was fairly concise. He presented many nuanced opinions and lengthy discussions for the most minute of statements in a body of work, however Jefferson tended towards simple, concise statements that would be understood for a long period of time.

The U.S. Code is not simple nor intuitive. It is an endless serious of definitions and arguments based in exclusive legal semantics that even professional lawyers regularly get lost and confused by. The common person has no capacity to open this up and understand what is meant by it's passages... attempts to just create mass confusion about the law. A person's natural rights are scant seen as a subject of the legal definitions within the U.S. Code, as it has no definitions to accommodate potential victims of astray lawmaking. It's easy to forget what the legitimate issues are in a case in light of the sheer scope of the legislation involved. It is the core doctrine of the entire legislative branch (the executive branch, mostly pertaining to actions of the President under state of emergency powers, has a similar document - the Federal Register).

Loopholes to most situations are easy to find if you're interested in studying it, but studying it is difficult. One thing a person must keep in mind if they really want to tackle reading the U.S. Code directly is that everything is defined in a specific manner. Common words now have specific and sometimes nonsensical meanings, so referencing down to definition sections before reading a segment of the code or the specific bill it pertains to is very important. The next time you have to think about federal law, give it a try though, it will be a very eye-opening experience. It contains the entire Internal Revenue Code that instructs the IRS, Bankruptcy legislation, information governing programs like Social Security and Medicare, and even rules about copyright/patents (which must be scrutinized closely to be properly understood). 42 U.S.C. 1983 is a nice short read that is the basis of nearly all civil rights cases in the United States. All I'm saying is, learn more about it and keep Jefferson's concerns in mind as you do.

As for my take on positive law vs. common law? 23 of the 50 Titles of the US Code are enacted into "positive law". Positive law means that the text of the law itself is prima facie evidence of the law. Most Libertarians side with natural rights and common law. In this case, the law's applicability and validity is perpetually challenged by moral cases such as the argument of rights. While unjust laws may be applied as legitimate law, but it is not considered "fully" law or a part of a proper legal system. Other kinds of common law also suggest certain procedural restrictions, take Lon Fuller's 8-point procedural restrictions in enacting law. Common law suggests that law is able to be scrutinized on more levels than just it's text.

I think actually the difference is mainly an attitude, but the attitude is important. We must always scrutinize the law, on every level. Positive law creates an environment where the law is authoritative in nature, while common law and natural law is the applied concept that we hold law to a higher standard. Common law was the system in practice in the government Thomas Jefferson was a part of, widely. It is not, however, such a significant part of our larger system today. Is that a benefit? You decide.

As for the economic issue I had Ludwig bring up, I threw it in as a wild tangent because it is one, it just plain annoys me when people do not understand the economy. Normally I harp on newscaster Bill O'Reilly, but I've recently heard O'Reilly espouse the right attitude on this one. Regarding the tax cuts and oil:

1) Tax Cuts: The George Bush tax cuts did cut taxes more for the rich people than the poor. However, the rich pay exponentially more than the poor in taxes, they simply have higher tax brackets. Any tax cut of any kind, even of even slightly askew in favor of the poor, will appear as "more beneficial" to the rich in some way, simply because the upper 10% pay over 90% of the nation's taxes. Tax cuts help in important ways. First is the trickle-down effect, which most people dismiss despite the fact that most rich people are rich because they invest their money in industries, which always creates jobs. Job creation rates have been up under Bush despite Bush coming into office under an economy whose bloated tech sector was collapsing, putting many Americans out of work. That's a plus for Bush.

Also, borrowing and spending into deficits while cutting taxes gives the economy a push, in this case, it was needed to stop the onsetting recession that was happening from a mixture of the tech fallout and the wartime post-9/11 economy. This isn't a justification for Bush's irresponsible budget making in the least, but leftist liberals who complain about his tax cuts should be happy - because of his tax cuts, the economy produces more, and since the government's taxes are mostly income based, that increases the money the government has to spend. What has Bush put that money towards? His War in Iraq is partially funded, sure. But most of that money has gone towards established liberal institutions and social welfare programs. Bush has spent more adjusting for inflation in his budgets than Carter and Clinton combined towards social programs most rabidly supported by the political left. Most of these programs getting the funds are oriented towards lower income populations, the type liberals complain don't benefit from the tax cuts.

Bush's mistake isn't the way he treats the budget with regards to tax cuts, it's the way he foolishly ignores the national debt. The national debt must be paid down. If the nation runs a deficit, then the national debt is being added to, and growing, however "slowly". Under Bush, it's growing at $300 billion a year, a very steep rate. The national debt including Social Security obligations is already $7 trillion dollars. We pay $300 billion in interest on the debt. As the debt grows, the tax money that goes toward interest grows. What Bush must recognize (but won't), and what all but people who understand economics will ignore, is that at some point the budget must be revised to pay down the growing debt.

Democrats say their budgets run a surplus! Well, that's true. But Democrats are even less interested in paying down the national debt than the Republicans. Democrats take a surplus and then they increase spending. If you owe someone $10,000, and they are charging you interest, and you get extra cash... do you...

A) Go out for wild taco night!


B) Pay some cash down on your friggen' loan.

The Democrat consistently chooses A.

2) Oil: The oil situation in America is misunderstood for several reasons. One, people don't understand that investor confidence and the whims of the stock market heavily impact oil prices. When an event happens in the news that affects oil in a negative way, such as a strain, investors run away. The stock plummets and this fucks up the entire equilibrium the oil companies must maintain to keep their books balanced. This causes a necessary price increase.

Take for instance, Hurricane Katrina. Oil companies freak out when their refineries are in danger (rightly so) but they freak out more when the investors are starting to bail on them and their net worth drops in a huge spike downwards on Wall Street. So they overcompensate for this by spiking oil prices. This of course, creates tension regarding oil availability and the oil market overall, which reciprocates a further decline in investor confidence... a vicious cycle that doesn't end until oil stocks bottom out and smart buyers start buying up the stocks the other people were too stupid to hang on to.

The second major factor that people don't even think about is OPEC. The oil exporting nations of the world have formed a cartel that is larger than any private cartel in known history. Governments band together in OPEC and dictate the price of oil to the rest of the world. Yes, OPEC heavily influences oil prices - and OPEC is not a company nor a natural part of some capitalist system. It's a good old fashioned government-run monopoly. It pains me when people don't understand that.

OPEC is evil and investors are stupid, but is this the only reason oil prices sometimes reach sky-high levels? Well, no. I'm not making excuses for oil companies - they do gouge. They don't answer questions about the gouging. They pay lobbyists to swerve political favors just to help them gouge more. We know they do it. However, when people start going on and on about corporate globalization being the big evil Zionist world conspiracy, and how kosher oil plants are next on the Carlyle group agenda... it just irritates me that people don't understand the natural economic effects that would temper such insanity into something more rational and realistic.

Oil is a big industry and it is corrupt, I'll admit to that. Specific companies and specific people need to be held accountable. It's just not nearly as corrupt or politically maligned as you might think reading the opinions of people who do not understand the economy. That is all I'm saying. For instance, President Bush does not gain personally from oil price gouging and does not dictate policies to favor such a system because he knows that everyday business is a better long-term profit-making method in oil than incident-related gouging, which hurts investor confidence and can ruin your stock. He used to manage an oil company after all. If you believe anything else, you need to study how the oil economy works at it's basic level again.

And that's the wild tangent more fully explained. I hope you enjoyed it, and the update as a whole.

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