Tags: IRS | Nixon | president | Congress

US Starting to Resemble Nixonian Times

Monday, 28 April 2014 08:29 AM Current | Bio | Archive

All presidents come into office suffering from the failures of the previous administrations.

It would be nice to be able to say that newly elected presidents enjoy the past administration's successes, but that hardly ever happens. History primarily consists of the recording of what leads up to, during and the consequences of political failure, parts of which are revised periodically to appease the then-current political atmosphere.

At best, government is a necessary evil. At worst, it is a downright enemy of the very citizens it is supposed to protect and serve.

When President Nixon came to power after President Johnson smartly chose not to run for a second term, the domestic economy looked grim and America's foreign policy was in shambles — the normal set of circumstances facing every incoming president.

Now it was Nixon's turn. An incredibly flawed human being was not only elected once, but twice.

The Vietnam War continued, with more soldiers dying and wounded under Nixon than under Johnson. Victory was finally declared and the United States fled with its tail between its legs. Despots filled the political vacuum.

Latin America was suffering from economic disorder and turbulence. Socialists were in power and instability was the norm. America stood by unable to develop any effective policy.

The Soviet Union and the United States were in the Cold War.

Europe was in turmoil, depending on the United States for its military defense, while lurching ever deeper to the political and economic left. The seeds of the European welfare state had sprouted and were growing vigorously, well-watered by money from the United States. The social and economic fabric of the European states was sewn together by frail threads. The seams did not hold under pressure without the United States taking on the burden and costs needed to relieve the strain.

The Middle East was aflame with the Islamic countries seeking to destroy Israel. It is fortunate for Israel that Nixon, despite State Department opposition, ordered the military re-supply of Israel during the 1973 war, even if was a bit tardy. The Arabs responded by an oil embargo and the formation of OPEC. They wanted the destruction of Israel and the defeat of the Western infidel countries. Political and religious Islamists didn't hesitate to use the combined leverage of economic power and violence. The United States suffered from persistent high unemployment and growing inflation.

Welfare spending soared as the Great Society expanded. Errant government policy and mounting regulations interfered with the free market, distorting the economy and its ability to allocate capital. American industry responded by becoming de-industrialized and businesses closed, with high-paying jobs lost. Replacement employment was primarily in the service sectors. Calls for an increase in the minimum wage were on the lips of the politicians.

Taxes were high and government borrowing accelerated. Tax revolt became a popular theme among the taxpayers, as the government claimed that its runaway spending did not cause the deficit problem, but that taxpayers abusing the tax system did.

Welfare recipients, including the middle class through increases in Social Security and Medicare, were being taught the lesson that taking money from the government was merely social and tax justice. After all, money from the government was free money and you rightly deserved it. Or so the politicians said.

By Executive Order, the United States was taken off the gold standard. The U.S. dollar devalued immediately. The Treasury and Federal Reserve lost no time in manipulating the currency.

Wage and price controls came into play, exacerbating the problems they sought to cure. New wars were started against drugs, cancer and poverty, to name a few. The Environmental Protection Agency was born to enforce new laws for clean water and clean air. Revenue sharing with the states allowed the states to become dependent on the federal government for funding and subject to the heavy hand of federal regulation.

Throughout this all, governmental power and so-called dirty tricks were used by the Nixon White House against political enemies. Most abominable of all was the vile misuse of the IRS as a weapon to obliterate those who opposed White House policy.

It took until Nixon's second term, but finally enough was enough.

The Articles of Impeachment of President Nixon are incredibly informative in detailing with specificity just what presidential actions can ultimately cause Congress to bring impeachment charges.

For the record, Nixon was not impeached but, rather wisely, resigned in disgrace.

In forcing Nixon out, Congress understood the political reality that the limit to the voter's tolerance to the abuse and misuse of presidential political power would show up in the next Congressional re-election cycle, particularly when the offending president is already in his second term.

Nixon stands as precedent that a president, especially one using the IRS as a political weapon, can be forced from office.

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It would be nice to be able to say that newly elected presidents enjoy the past administration's successes, but that hardly ever happens. History primarily consists of the recording of what leads up to, during and the consequences of political failure.
IRS, Nixon, president, Congress
Monday, 28 April 2014 08:29 AM
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