October 7, 2008
More About the Future
By Jim Babka

Quote of the Day:
"Small businesses strive to get two dollar's value from each dollar. All too often, government does the opposite: it turns each tax dollar into fifty cents value. Small business does more with less. Government does less with more."
-- Michael Cloud

Subject: More about the future

In Spring of last year Congress tried to pass an immigration bill stuffed with dangerous provisions, including a "safe" Social Security card. The bill seemed sure to pass, until Congress was overwhelmed by public opposition.

A Senator came to floor, near tears, saying he felt intimidated, and changed his vote to no. Another Senator angrily called for regulations to control those who had stirred up the public's opposition -- he thought the "culprit" was talk radio.

The immigration bill failed.

It happened again last Monday, when the Big Bailout failed its first vote in the House. Congress felt overwhelmed and intimidated. The pressure worked on Monday. Why didn't it continue to work on Friday?

We provided some of the answers yesterday. We provide more answers below. If you haven't read yesterday's message, we strongly suggest you do so. You can access it on the blog.

The passage of the Big Bailout marks the first time in my memory that overwhelming public pressure was ignored by Congress. Here are more reasons why it happened . . . 

Agenda Setting Theory:
People look to the crowd and to opinion leaders to choose between competing opinions and theories. Those who set the agenda for the public discussion have inordinate power over the choices people will make. Agenda Setting Theory is abundantly well-tested and very real.

At the top of the "agenda setting" hierarchy is the mainstream, institutional media, followed close behind by politicians and major business leaders. The media ran an around-the-clock infomercial for the bailout. They even changed its name to “the rescue plan.”

The only way to overcome the "agenda setting" power of the media and the establishment elite is Operation Everywhere. We need an army so large that our message is heard by everyone, everywhere, every day. We must become "agenda setters." We need to supply spokesman and run commercials on those networks, round the clock. When that happens, we will win. If we don't make that happen, then we will always lose.

To become "agenda setters" we must build a huge army and implement Operation Everywhere.
Padding the Resume:
Many people assume that representative government failed on Friday. But in fact, Congress was representing its most important constituents. The problem is that you and I aren't among those most important constituents.

As we explain in "The Downsize DC Vision," members of Congress and their staffs are just like anyone else. They’re looking past the present vote to their next job, in this case, working for the very moneyed interests that lobby them. When Congress passed the Big Bailout they did so on behalf of their future employers.

To become important constituents and gain representation in Congress we must have a big army, and a huge megaphone -- Operation Everywhere.

The "Can’t Say No” Syndrome:
It's always hard for Congress to say no to its most important constituents, but especially in time of crisis. Politicians and the media respond to crisis like Pavlov’s dogs. In a time of perceived crisis most politicians are more afraid of doing nothing and being blamed if the crisis worsens, than they are of doing something and having the crisis worsen.

Politicians have a psychological need to at least be able to say they tried. And for a politicians "trying" always means one thing -- more government.

When all the world looks like a nail, and all you’ve got is a hammer, something is going to get pounded. The only tools Congress has are money and coercive force, so right now they're throwing money at the problem. Don't be surprised if coercive measures follow.

We need our own hammer. We need a huge army and Operation Everywhere. We need to be able to make Congress our nail!

We have only one prediction: THEY’LL BE BACK. This bailout won’t work. It defies the gravitational pull of real market prices, risk, supply, and demand. The voting public wasn’t buying it, and judging by the performance of the markets since the bailout was past the investing public isn’t buying it either.

But every cloud has a silver lining, and this case is no different. Here are the silver linings we see . . .

1) The Empire is dying. Maybe we'll get our Republic back. Troops will probably be returning soon, for financial reasons. And further federal intervention in the health care market may be delayed, perhaps indefinitely.

2) You're not alone in your anger. This issue woke-up some people. Will it change public thinking significantly? . . . immediately? No. Public opinion evolves. It ratchets up and down. But more people are waking up. And what are they waking up to? This . . .

The idea that government "fixes" do more harm than good. We can benefit from this in the long term, if we do the right thing. The right thing means building a huge army and making our ideas visible to everyone, everywhere, every day. 

Let's keep pushing. Here's another way to tell Congress you don't like the Big Bailout. Ask them to pass's "One Subject at a Time Act." Use your personal comments to object that the Big Bailout couldn't have pass if not for all the unrelated provisions that we stuffed into to buy votes. You can send your message using our Educate the Powerful System.

And please consider making a contribution or starting a monthly credit card pledge. We'll send you our 16-page booklet, "The Downsize DC Vision" where we can elaborate on some of the very ideas you've read about in this message, plus several more. One person reading it recently told us, "All of the sudden, the world made sense to me." You can make a monthly pledge or one-time contribution at the website. 
Keep your chin up and keep fighting. Thanks for doing your part as part of the Downsize DC Army.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.   

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