History does not treat France’s King Louis XVI very kindly. He is known only as a fat little man who could not make decisions, had a spendthrift wife and ultimately was the person that drove the country into revolution. He is known more for the manner in which he died than for anything he ever did in life.
The truth, however, is much more complex. Louis was born into a system that had over centuries become corrupt. See if this sounds familiar: a minority of the citizenry paid no taxes at all and lived totally off the government. The majority of the citizenry, the lower and middle classes, paid taxes for the nobility and clergy to live extravagant and tax-free lifestyles. Early into his kingship, Louis realized that France was going broke. He tried through two different finance ministers to change the system to where everyone (except the King, of course) paid taxes, but his efforts were blocked each time.
Ironically, one of the things that caused France’s debt to skyrocket was Louis’s support for the American Revolution. That’s right, the country of France borrowed money to support the “rebels” in America, now does that sound familiar?
As the interest on the debt mounted, Louis’ final finance minister came up with a plan for the country to spend its way out of debt. The theory was if the government stimulated the economy through spending that the economy would grow and the treasury would benefit through there being more middle class people paying more in tax. Does that sound familiar? Louis issued a massive “stimulus” package that ultimately only benefited the minority that wasn’t paying any taxes at all.
Finally, all it took was one drought that destroyed the country’s wheat crop. People went from being overtaxed and poor to overtaxed and starving. The entire government of France imploded under the weight of the debt and went bankrupt. The interest payments of the debt had become higher than the amount of tax revenue coming in. The only way to wipe out the debt was to wipe out the government and start over from scratch. That was why Louis XVI had to lose his head, he was the man who signed off on the borrowing and if he no longer existed, then neither did the debt.
Now, am I suggesting people be beheaded in America? Of course not. However, consider this: what do you think will happen when the interest payments on America’s debt becomes higher than the amount of money the government is receiving from us taxpayers? What will happen when those EBT cards no longer work at the grocery store? What will happen when a $35,000 annual salary can’t support an average family due to the overburden of taxation?
America is at the same tipping point that France was facing in 1793. And like the court of Louis XVI, the government here continues to borrow money and hurl it overseas. As a population, we are distracted by Miley and Honey Boo Boo while the government devalues the currency to be able to continue to give a minority of the citizenry cell phones and free housing. The tax paying population in America grouses about the high costs at the grocery store and fuel pump, but is distracted by the latest headline about how some dictator somewhere is killing his own people.
Let’s be honest. The state of affairs in America is not President Obama’s fault, nor is it Bush’s fault or Clinton or Reagan et. al. All of those men were and are operating in a system they inherited. In my book, The Contract On The Government, I outline 9 very simple things that We the people can demand from the government that will bring us back from the tipping point and avoid what has happened over and over again in history. We can still avoid a total collapse, but we have to begin acting now.
I tell my friends that my little book might be the spark of reform in America or it might be that 100 years from now someone will discover a copy of it in their great grandfathers attic and say to themselves “gee, if only people back then would have listened to this guy, I would be living in the United States and not the Republic of Georgia.”