Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Articles: 1913: The Turning Point

Posted by M. C. on September 12, 2017

There is widespread agreement that Wilson did not always show good judgment – for example, in his blunders in international relations – but in the project of overturning the Founding, he and the movement he led selected their targets shrewdly.  By the time he left office, the American republic was, as they say, history.  The fundamentals of the new regime were in place, and the expansion of government under FDR, LBJ, and Obama was made easy, perhaps even inevitable.

Clearly, the bargain, honorably entered into by the Founders’ generation, was broken.  It was broken by the 17th Amendment, which instituted the direct election of U.S. senators.  That amendment struck directly at the heart of the Founders’ design.  According to the original Constitution, senators were chosen by the state legislators.  Unlike the members of the House, who represent the people of their district, the senators had a special responsibility to represent their states in the deliberations having to do with the those “few and defined” powers the Constitution transferred from the states to the federal government.

The result – a central government that can fine a farmer millions of dollars for plowing on his own land across a  “vernal pool” (standing water in the springtime) without its permission – is obvious to us all, although this new regime’s origin in the 17th Amendment generally goes unnoticed.

Also in the banner year of 1913, Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act, creating a central bank.

The Federal Reserve Act did accomplish something: it opened the door to the complete socialization of America’s currency.  Instead of providing liquidity to sound banks during a panic as the legislation provided for, the Fed has taken control of the currency, an enormous, essentially unchecked, and unconstitutional power over your wealth.  And although it failed spectacularly at the job it was supposed to do, the Federal Reserve did succeed in debauching the American dollar.  The value of the dollar has collapsed; one 1910 dollar would be worth $24.89 in 2017.  According to my calculations, that means your dollar today is worth about 4 cents compared to the days when people used to say “sound as the dollar.”

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