As this column is being published there is a legendary contest going on to determine the dumbest member of the United States House of Representatives. For several years now the winner has appeared to be Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) who, while questioning Admiral Robert F. Willard, Commander of the United States Pacific Command, worried that further deployment of Marines to Guam would cause the island nation to “tip over and capsize.” In doing so, Mr. Johnson confirmed his ignorance of history, geology, oceanography, physics, mathematics, AND common sense. He has remained ‘the dumbest of them all” since his comments in 2010.
However that appears to be changing. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D/Socialist-NY) is currently making a strong run to replace Mr. Johnson based upon one of the most unimaginably stupid comments ever made by a member of Congress or a senior government official at any time. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has suggested to President Joe Biden (no intellectual superstar himself) that he can ignore the nationwide injunction issued by Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk against the sale and distribution of mifepristone – a drug commonly used to induce abortions during the first ten weeks of pregnancy. Judge Kacsmaryk had previously ruled that the Food and Drug Administration failed to follow applicable law and procedures in approving the drug.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez message is simply that if you do not agree with a law, with an administrative rule or judicial opinion you can simply ignore it. You could expect such a mindless statement from some ignorant lout who still requires his digits to count to three. But this is a highly educated woman* and a twice-elected member of the United States House of Representatives. And it is this latter attribute that is particularly disturbing.
A representative democracy exists because of the voluntary acceptance of its laws, rules, regulations and decisions by the masses. Absent that “voluntary acceptance” and the resulting compliance, our democracy would collapse overnight. While shallow people like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez cannot see past the immediate rule that they wish to ignore, multiply that by the thousands of laws, rules, regulation and decisions that others might wish to challenge (ignore).
For instance I believe that a democracy can only survive over the long run by not only ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to vote but also the obligation to pay for the outcome of that vote. Oregon, like other failing progressive states, has seized upon the idea of passing tax increase after tax increase to pay for their myriad of government programs by applying the tax increases to a critical few and thus insulating the others who might vote elsewise if they knew they would have to pay for the increased taxes. I do not believe in the graduated income tax precisely because it invites abuse from those who pay not. The only way to avoid this continuing abuse of the democratic process is to eliminate income taxes and rely solely on a value added tax. Now we know that isn’t going to happen but it should. Should I be able to simply ignore the federal tax laws, the rules and regulations adopted by the Internal Revenue Service and the decisions of the courts enforcing those rules? I can, but I will likely wind up broke and in prison.
I believe that most working men and women would be better off financially by investing their FICA contributions plus their employers contributions into private investment accounts. I not only believe in it, I proved that your retirement income would be nearly triple what is authorized by Social Security in a column published in the Medford Mail Tribune in May of 2005. The conclusion was as follows:
“. . . Had I invested that money in an S&P 500 mutual fund, the amount would have grown to $519,941. Not bad for a $183,650 investment spread over 45 years. But the real comparison is the monthly benefit that I could expect under the various options:
Actual Social Security Payment per Statement $1415/mo
Based upon 4% Treasury Bills $2106/mo
Based upon 5% Treasury Bills $2667/mo
Based upon S&P 500 performance $4549/mo”
I haven’t updated the calculations based on the soaring stock prices since 2005, including the extraordinary swings cause by the Bush/Obama recession of 2008-2009 or the latest COVID recession and the current Biden recession but I am confident that the S&P 500 will continue to produce – on average – an eight percent annual return. Regardless, virtually any investment proves to be superior to the Social Security payments. So should I be allowed to simply withhold my FICA contributions and demand payment from my employers that they make their contribution directly to me?
Or what if I decide to drive on the left side of the road, or drive 25 mph in a 75 mph zone. Or declare I “feel like a woman” so I can gain access to the women’s shower room. Or, defecate in the city streets. Or, occupy your home because you were gone for the weekend. Or, take items from your store because they are worth less than $1,000. Or, enter your country illegally. Or declare myself a Native American so I can take advantage of scholarships reserved for Native American s even though I have no discernible Native American DNA. Or join the women’s swim team because you aren’t good enough to compete against the men. Or, riot accompanied by arson, assault and property destruction because. . . well, because it is the weekend in Portland, Oregon. Or, well, you get the picture.
Without voluntary compliance with the United States Constitution and the will of the majority, our democracy will die quickly. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, you are hereby designated the dumbest member of Congress. (I say that with some regret because apparently Oregon’s senior senator, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) concurs with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez which may explain why after seven failed tries at passing the Oregon state bar exam, Mr. Wyden quit trying to understand the law and decided to run for Congress to make the laws).
If you don’t like the law, there is a process for changing it. Get out your civic books you morons.
* Boston University you should be ashamed and ask Ms. Ocasio-Cortez to return her diploma.