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How Did USA Get This Way?
Dr. Robert Reuschlein, Empire and Climate Expert Dr. Robert Reuschlein, Empire and Climate Expert
Madison, WI
Tuesday, April 21, 2020



High Military Spending plateau's the growth of an empire society leading to social decay and political rigidity.  How did we go from FDR and the Greatest Generation to Trump?  How did we get this way?

Washington's World

George Washington went home to Mount Vernon after winning the War of Independence from Britain and turned down the offer to become king.  Some thought he was the greatest man in the world to resist such power and control.  His farewell address warned us against foreign entanglements and standing armies in peacetime.  He knew that excessive militarism led to the loss of civil liberties.  This vision lasted about one hundred fifty years 1787-1945.

Turning Point

After becoming the largest power in the world at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, America was reluctant to reverse the policies Washington warned about in his farewell address.  No one challenged his tradition of limiting the presidency to two terms.  The most important office in democracy was considered the status of US citizen, a nation of equals.  It took a Civil War to turn former slaves into citizens, and a World War to give the vote to women.    Nevertheless, after three years of submarine warfare, America finally joined the Great War in Europe in 1917.  Wilson created the League of Nations to prevent another such war, but France had sought an unduly harsh peace treaty against Germany, out of resentment from the Prussian humiliation in 1871 and exhaustion from the carnage of the World War.  America's banks helped fund the German reparations to the financial dismay of American farmers.  When the top 20% of America owned an automobile and the roaring twenties came to a halt in 1927 and 1928, Hoover sought to resort to Tariffs to protect the farmers.  Tariffs had provided 80% of revenues to the young power on the way up, protecting Northern manufacturers from superior British products to the resentment of the South.  Now as the new number one power higher Tariffs were so greatly resented by Europeans it led to the trade war known as the Great Depression.  Resentments from the Great War led Italy and German to turn to fascism and war again.

New Dominance

Winning World War Two established America as the new world hegemon, a kinder and gentler hegemon that established the United Nations to share power and stop future wars.  In 1947 the National Security Act was adopted changing everything.  Washington's fears about foreign entanglements were replaced by the United Nations and NATO, and his fears about a standing army in peacetime were replaced by the National Security Act.  Because of these rejections of George Washington's traditions, both the War Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff opposed the 1947 National Security Act.  The President and Secretary of State pushed it through.  The pentagon wanted to continue the American tradition of a token army between wars and volunteers to flesh out the army during wars.  The 1947 National Security Act changed the defensive Department of War into the offensive Department of Defense.  Note the beginning of newspeak as warned about by George Orwell's final book 1984.  The 1947 Act also established the Central Intelligence Agency which immediately established Operation Mockingbird to control the domestic press.  Eisenhower thought the idea of keeping some of the world wartime machinery around was a good idea, and the standing army became the standard fare of the Cold War between Truman and Stalin.  America was becoming the empire society, a slightly kinder and gentler version of the British Empire it had once defeated in 1781.  The General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) went into effect January 1, 1948 reversing the trade war of the Great Depression leading to the postwar prosperity of Europe and America.

Military Corruption

Eisenhower soon became aware of the corruption of the military industrial complex.  His speeches of 1953 and 1961 were very similar.  The fierce scramble of local support for "defense" money was obvious and shocking to him.  What he had done with the 1947 Act became largely irreversible with his doubling of the military budget from pre-Korea to post Korea.  Even the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu in the Art of War (5th Century BC) recognized the disastrous economics of war, yet because of the 1936 Keynesian economic theory, the notion that government spending can stimulate the economy was falsely extended to include military spending.  This notion continues with all modern US presidents, as evidence to the contrary is dismissed or ignored by the so-called mainstream.  The much closer and systematic evaluation of Peace Economics (1986) establishes that the local economics of military spending is offset by the lack of output from the so-called military factory and the international lowering of capital investment by the size of each nation's military budget as shown by Ruth Leger Sivard in 1981 and 1983.  Further evidence shows that manufacturing jobs are reduced by military buildups and increased by military builddowns.  Politics have focused on the positive local effect and ignored the negative national effect of military spending.  Mainstream economists wrongly believe in both in a general and non-specific way, accepting the military Keynesianism locally and immediately, while considering the negative impact as vaguely in the future without a mechanism to connect the two seemingly contradictory beliefs.  Peace Economics has clarified every aspect of this relationship with one study after another.  These key off the model that uses the federal deficit to represent the Keynesian lift to the economy and military sequestering of capital investment for non-economic growth purposes (the military economic drag).  Both use the military spending, one (the deficit) for local stimulus and the other (military spending) for LOST (diverted) capital and economic growth.  Manufacturing suffers when the military goes up and prospers when the military goes down.  Details here:  https://www.academia.edu/37217512/Findings_and_Special_Claims_November_2017_2_pages.

Extremism in Politics

The Spirit Level (2010) documents many factors that correlate better to national military spending levels than to income inequality levels.  Their date confirms my thesis that social factors decay with prolonged high levels of military spending (my definition of empire).  Empire leads to economic stagnation leading to high crime, prisoners, overweight, diabetes, mental health, teen births, infant mortality, and low social mobility. The economic stagnation of military spending makes people desperate and susceptible to the divide and conquer tactics of racism, ethnocentrism, and xenophobia.  The local stimulus (at the unrecognized expense of manufacturing areas) becomes a powerful tool for legislative power and control over local economic growth and other legislators.  Government spending has long been used to reward friends and punish enemies, but military spending is flexibly and uniquely and unequally distributed among the states to a level of power not met by any other government program.  Creating enemies is essential to this process.  Over time this divide has been exploited by the more military oriented political party.  Over time the Republican party has become more authoritative and less inclined to winks nods and dog whistles and more overt as shown by President Trump.  Thanks to the Reagan policies of low taxes on the rich and media opinions not required to be balanced ("fairness doctrine") the rich have left the other 99% behind (no wage growth for 40 years) while unlimited propaganda is now possible through Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.  Using bullying techniques Trump has moved steadily closer to a complete lack of accountability and closer to dictatorship with over 16,000 lies documented by the New York Times and Washington Post.  Increasingly he resembles Caligula, the one truly crazy Roman emperor.  Rome went from republic to dictatorship and America is on that same path.

Self-Defeating Evolutionary Stages of Military Empire:


Please cite this work as follows:  Reuschlein, Robert. (2020, April 21), "How Did USA Get This Way?" Madison, WI, Real Economy Institute.  Retrieved from:  https://www.expertclick.com/NewsRelease/How-Did-USA-Get-This-Way,2020230398.aspx

Dr. Peace, Professor Robert Reuschlein, Real Economy Institute, Nobel Peace Prize nominee 2016-2020 with accelerating interest from Norway.  Intense interest in an unusually consistent pattern shows up on my website as following my work, hard looks per year went from 2 to 3 to 48 to 128 to 249 (projected).

Contact: bobreuschlein@gmail.com  Info: www.realeconomy.com

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Name: Dr. Robert W. Reuschlein
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