Guest Writer: Chieke Ihejirika
Teaching is a lot of things. It is an exercise in delivery and the midwifery (Plato) of knowledge about certain subject matter. It is for me an opportunity to do, at least, four things, namely: put forward my original ideas seeking publication; comment on other people’s ideas in a systematic manner; ensure that the students participate in the discourse in a way that leads to some expansion of their awareness of the subject matter; and it must involve some extrapolation seeking relevance for their daily life.
When I teach American government and politics, I am confronted by the current quagmire or deadlock in government, especially the inability to solve any of the major problems facing America. Common sense seems to suggest several solutions, but the reality seems impossible to manage. But what is the reality? The reality is artificial complications created by self-seeking persons playing God in their opposition to change.
One theme I want to share with the community is the future of America as we know it. This country was founded on the principle of "No taxation without representation." This principle held sway until the 20th Century. Yes! Prior to the Great Depression America operated on the Jeffersonian dictum that "Government is best that governs the least." Under the political economy of slavery and discrimination, government was able to escape its basic duties to the people under the 'social contract', by simply denying some of its citizens their basic rights.
Things have changed as justice seems to have been enthroned universally in the country. Hence, citizens who were earlier denied basic rights and privileges of citizenship now demand and get those rights, including social security and unemployment benefits, and these have to be paid for. Yet the only way government gets money is through taxes. Since the twentieth century, the people have gotten used to getting benefits from their government to help them with economic difficulties, and the national government itself has also grown very big as a global power which is also carries a big price tag. Can the country continue its aversion to taxation? I think the real fraud is making the people believe that the country can sustain itself and provide them with the necessary benefits they now cherish only by borrowing. American politicians, especially those of the ideological right, have since adopted the strategy of deception by making the people vote for only those who claim they will not raise taxes. Unfortunately, the people have naively, bought this baloney. Yet, when they get in there, they only borrow more, thus mortgaging the future of their posterity. The politicians have chosen to represent the people but without allowing themselves to be taxed. They still take all the financial remunerations of the offices they occupy on borrowed funds, even from the countries future rivals. They cynically know that it the poor masses that will pay this debt they continue to accumulate on the country. Besides, the interest alone is sure to deprive the government of future resources with which it could provide for the most vulnerable member for decades to come.
Can the American political economy continue to grow as it did under unfettered laissez faire in the era when welfare capitalism has become the norm in the major industrial economies of the world?
Could it be that the American capitalist is moving abroad because of the loss of slave labor in America?