In elementary school, as part of the eighth-grade play, one of the nuns who had come to know me through the years as a hard-headed prankster, pulled me from the lineup of wannabe actors and said, “You, Mr. Opdyke, are definitely one of the Lost Boys.”
We were doing Peter Pan.
Three decades on, I still feel like a forgotten person in a land where, increasingly, you have to unlock your imagination to believe all that’s going on around you.
Nowhere in America do I feel like my voice means a damn thing anymore. Special-interest groups and the dueling political parties have so divided our government that no one represents me.[adcode]
And by “me” I mean the Great Middle – the vast bulk of us, who disavow the tiny lot of conservative zealots controlling the right, and the small faction of militant social engineers screwing the country from the left.
Where oh where are the true centrists who fight against the unstoppable expansion of federal spending, federal agencies and federal powers? Where are the centrists who believe in states’ rights over federal rights, America’s cornerstone?
Where are the leaders who believe that government should be small and fiscally conservative, and that Americans should be left alone to pursue their personal definitions of life, liberty and happiness?
You can’t find enough of those mavericks today these days to field a two-man bobsled team. Without them putting America on a new path, I believe that we, as a country, are heading for an epic clash … one that could very well change the geography of America.
The Only Investment that Will Outlive America
Problem is, I see no change in sight. So, I hold physical gold – in the form of pre-1933 collectible coins and bars. It’s the core of what I call my “family insurance plan.” I have insured my house, my car, my health and my life … and I have insured my wealth and my family’s purchasing power in the event that bad things happen to a good country.
I watch gold prices daily, but honestly I don’t care if gold hits $2,500 an ounce tomorrow … I am not selling. Gold is the only form of real money that has held intrinsic value throughout history. More so than a U.S. dollar, gold has a far better chance of surviving a crisis of confidence in what has become of the American way.
Now, let me be clear: What I’m talking about here – the changing geography of America – is not an issue of the 1% vs. the other 99%. That’s a straw man that the Occupy Wall Street urchins use as a sound-bite. America’s real problem is that our standard-of-living is in decline – and that’s purely a political issue.
The middle class is shrinking, while the welfare class increases. Based on the statistics, you’d think we hired politicians specifically to arrange that.
Though ours is supposedly the land of plenty, nearly 47 million of our countrymen – 15% of the population – lives on food stamps.
One in every five American children lives in poverty, only slightly better than Mexico. Less than half of American families live in a middle-income neighborhood, down from nearly 65% in the 1970s.
A record 35% of the wages earned in America now come from the government. Household income, meanwhile, has been flat to down for much of the past decade, even as the developing world quickly gains on us.
Just look at how bad it’s getting in America in terms of debt, which is a direct reflection on the weakening underpinnings of the country as a whole …
Every level of government has accumulated debt that, combined, now approaches 250% of America’s total GDP … and these numbers don’t reflect the off-balance-sheet debt of Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security and Baby Bush’s ill-advised, vote-buying Prescription Drug Plan. The unfunded liability for those three giveaway programs – some $117.6 trillion – is nearly eight times larger than America’s $15 trillion economy.
Those of us in the middle aren’t getting squeezed by fat-cat bankers and the millionaires and billionaires that The White House routinely scapegoats. We’re getting squeezed by the people we elect to run – and who are, instead, ruining – the country. I am growing weary of paying for a government that, like a compulsive eater, can’t stop itself from gorging – on our income.
America has stagnated. We are a country now approaching terminal decline. The buck has to stop somewhere … and “somewhere” has to be Washington. And if the buck doesn’t stop, the country’s lurch toward building an entitlement state using excessive debt and the toil of taxpayers will be certain to tear America apart.
Could America’s Map Change?
I know it sounds radical but I believe that if the federal government doesn’t change its approach to taxing, spending and entitlements – that if it doesn’t stop gorging on the wealth of its people – then places like Texas, Vermont, California and Arizona rebel and reclaim the powers the federal government has usurped.
There is a growing tide of disgust with the direction America has taken. It’s not hard to see the U.S. become a looser confederation of far-more independent states … or maybe some states will just say screw it and break way to create new countries with smaller governments that are more responsive to the people. You know, like America used to be.
I’m not advocating secession. I know there are all sorts of legal, moral, financial and logistical arguments against it. And, I’m not saying it would be easy. Indeed, it would probably be quite messy, if not bloody in areas.
But secession — or something resembling it– increasingly looks like a viable path that some states could pursue if enough people in the local population get fed up enough at the federal government.
And if you think Americans won’t get that mad, consider the new report from the World Economic Forum. At #50 in the world, public trust of politicians in America ranks below Ethiopia, Iran, Syria and Tunisia … places where politicians are despised, under attack or are brutally removed from power.
For those who argue that secession could never happen in America, remember that America’s very existence is the direct result of one of the most-significant – and bloody – secession moments in history … the American Revolution.
Until next time, keep a global view…
Jeff D. Opdyke
P.S. There’s nothing to be gained from simply sitting back watching as America’s Political Class drags this country further towards the abyss. To do everything you can to secure you and your family’s financial future, you need to start taking steps NOW. At our 11th Annual Total Wealth Symposium, we’ve assembled a group of the world’s best asset protection and investment minds to provide you with a roadmap towards a safe, prosperous financial future. Learn more about how your can register today
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