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Fireside Chat on the Ghost of Tom Joad
05 July 2015


My friends, listen to the tale of Tom Joad. We meet him as he says farewell to his mother:

He was quiet for a very long time. ‘I been thinkin’ how it was in that gov’ment camp, how our folks took care a theirselves . . . .

This story was written in 1939. But as we all know, the police still enforce the whims of the rich, and we Americans still live today under the tyranny of moneyed interests. I wonder where we might even begin in discussing the financial troubles of our country today.

Shall we begin by lamenting that our Government is controlled by special interests?

Or shall we begin with quoting numbers, pointing out that our present spending exceeds three trillion dollars annually; that we are taxed in excess of three trillion annually; that 45 million Americans live below the poverty line; that we are over eighteen trillion dollars in debt?

Or shall we begin by considering how, exactly, we Millennials are expected to pay the debts and bear the burdens of the reckless generations before us?

I would like to pass by all of this. We all know full well that we are a breath away from financial collapse. I prefer to put forth, immediately & boldly, my commonsense yet radical proposal to correcting the present state of affairs and avoiding the chaos fast-impending.

My proposal is this: disrupt, dismember, and divest of its powers the Government that is bringing us to ruin.

Let us begin by abolishing the IRS and the individual income tax. Many will ask whether cutting taxes would not be counterproductive to fixing this mess. The answer is No – because we are going to cut far more than just the IRS.

We are also going to cut our military spending. Right now our Government spends on our military more than the next thirteen countries combined on theirs; if we cut that by 60%, we will still spend more than Russia and China combined.

We are going to abolish the Department of Education, which we currently pay 70 billion dollars a year to dumb us down and brainwash us.

We are going to abolish the Drug Enforcement Agency, which we currently pay two billion dollars a year to wage war on our citizens and steal billions more from us.

We are going to abolish the ATF, the TSA, the NSA, the FCC, the NLB, and a hundred other acronyms.

We are going to end bailouts to reckless companies.

We are going to end Obamacare.

But most important of all, we will abolish the Federal Reserve, which is a group of private banks, not a government body; we will jail its board members for fleecing the American public; and we will place the constitutional power to regulate money back in the hands of the people.

Now it must be remarked that the abolition of these bodies is but cutting off the heads of the Hydra. To kill the beast we must burn the necks to prevent a new head from growing.

The true origin of our present financial disaster is our belief that Government can correct the human condition. Tom Joad did not believe that more Government control was the answer to his family’s problems. In fact, Tom knew that it was the Government that was allowing the corporations to wreak havoc on the American people.

John Steinbeck was a communist, sure – but was he wrong about corporate recklessness? Was he wrong about greed and the strife it causes? Even a broken clock is right twice a day. And it is not communism to point out that the greed of special interests, sanctioned by the government, leads inevitably to disaster.

My Fellow Americans, let us destroy with full vigor the lie that the Government is going to save us from financial disaster by making itself bigger. But let us also be wary of allowing the corporations free reign so that they become alternate governments without accountability.

The only thing that will save America from financial collapse – if it can be saved at all – is our assumption of the burden ourselves. We Millennials cannot leave it to our parents’ generation to fix the mess they have caused, and we cannot leave it to our children’s generation. We Floridians cannot leave it to the rest of the country to correct the state of the Union. We Americans cannot leave it to our Government to prevent the collapse of our country; for if our forefathers meant anything when creating a Government for the people and by the people – then we are the Government, and we have both the power and the duty to undertake the task ourselves.