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SEQUESTERS – FROM THE CHIEF JUSTICE TO SPACE JUNK AND OTHER CESSPOOLS (PART I)

January 4, 2014

SEQUESTERS – FROM THE CHIEF JUSTICE TO SPACE JUNK AND OTHER CESSPOOLS (PART I)

We have heard a spirited objection to sequestration lately from none other than the Chief Justice of the United States who says that indiscriminate cuts across the board imposed by sequestration are hampering the administration of justice today with, among other things, trial delays and orderly court calendars, all occasioned by the number of desperately needed but unfilled judicial seats open for occupancy. He is right; without the necessary resources there are in fact too few judges now –  and as current judges retire, become disabled or die, there will be fewer in the future due to the use of judicial appointments as political footballs – which will create yet further delays even if resources become available, making the current situation worse.

Litigants, insurers, lawyers and others will be subjected to more time, expense and uncertainty of outcome as all involved are additionally subjected to a reduction of their rights by the old saw that “Justice delayed is justice denied.” A double whammy is involved in that justice is not only denied but more expensive as well in both time and treasure. I do not agree with the Chief Justice’s politics but I do agree with him on this issue. We lawyers are always proud to say that the courts and judicial relief are open and available to everybody, but lately we need to add the phrase “if you live long enough” to such basic democratic guarantee, thanks to tea partying libertarians and right wing Republicans.

Though the sequester was the thoughtless result of operational dysfunction between politicians in both parties, it was largely an exercise in frustration brought about by the tea party and extreme right wing Republican contingent in the House, who are more interested in spending their days making brownie points with Obamacare and Benghazi rather than holding committee hearings in orderly fashion to meet their constitutional duty to appropriate money to run the government’s many activities.

Their choice of brinksmanship over order closed down important federal facilities, reduced the nation’s GDP, increased unemployment, and brought about a bitter denunciation of sequestration as it affects the nation’s court system by an ardent Republican, the Chief Justice. He did not name names, but that was unnecessary. Any fair-minded voter who is awake knows that it was the tea party and extreme right wing Republicans who were primarily responsible for this disaster, a continuing catastrophe whose lingering effects are still being felt in our courts, national parks and other important federal facilities as taxpayers are denied or limited in their use of facilities they have already bought and paid for in the name of ward-heeling politics by fringe politicians on the right. The sequester by reducing the nation’s GDP and taking money out of the pockets of Americans also reduced aggregate demand in the economy, hardly the effect we needed for ordinary Americans already punished by outsourcing, near recession and ALEC-inspired right to work laws passed by Republicans at the behest of their campaign contributors in the rich and corporate class (which will operate to further depress aggregate demand in our economy as well as increase unemployment as time goes on).

Republicans have indicated that the sequester is working since it is holding down spending. Let’s look at that logic and some of its potential results when taken to the dry end of reason. Thus if government’s main purpose for existing is to hold down spending, then I would recommend that we disband the armed forces and cancel all defense weapons and other such contracts. With a defense budget roughly half of our total budget, just imagine how much money we could save in living up to our national purpose (while learning Mandarin or Russian by order of our new master).

While we are at it, let’s also close down the other half of the budget; then we could have a tax-less society and live up to the fondest fantasies of the tea party/libertarian movement while electing Grover Norquist president and going back to a hunting-gathering stateless society once again. This would fit the libertarian movement’s soft anarchist view of no government and no regulation (all in the name of freedom, of course) as we are finally freed from arrogant and undemocratic government control of our purses, minds, rights to take dope, an end to licensing by government etc. Some logic!

I once was involved in an almost violent exchange with a libertarian who told me that the government had no business in licensing new banks. At the time I was representing a group in meeting the federal requirements for licensing and federal deposit insurance for a newly to-be-chartered financial institution. I disagreed with him and cited a need for licensing to weed out frauds, meeting federal reserve and other requirements necessary to assure safety for depositors, shareholders, creditors et al. He thought all such federal requirements unnecessary; that anyone who wanted to start a bank should be able to start one free of government interference and regulation; that government licensing was an affront to individual freedom. When I asked him how banks could survive with one on every corner in town, his reply was “Let the market decide.”

With that fetish of some mystical market making decisions as a cover for their hatred of government regulation, and with half of their unlicensed bankers gone with their takes to Brazil or other jurisdiction that has no extradition treaty with the United States, it becomes clear to me that libertarian views will inevitably lead to massive fraud and economic dislocation which will inevitably lead to anarchy. The libertarian view of banking licensing would lead to thousands of Bernie Madoffs in this country – just the people we need in charge of our deposits and investments.

(Aside to readers: Senators Cruz and Paul, though pretended Republicans, are not. They are in fact libertarians. Third parties are too expensive to form and take too long to get up and running, so their obvious purpose in piggy backing on the Republican party’s election apparatus is to transform the party and its people into a libertarian party in fact if not in name. Republicans should be made aware of this fifth column operating within their party.)

The Chief Justice has company in his denunciation of sequestration as applied to the judiciary. Others complaining of such mindless cuts resulting from sequestration include those who work at the National Park Service and visitors to our national parks, presidential libraries and many other such public facilities whose closure has denied tax-paying citizens the use of their own facilities.

Part II will discuss how sequestration has affected the dangerous aggregation of junk we have dispersed into our air, water, land, and even our stratosphere. Stay tuned.  GERALD  E

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