The Founding Father Who Foresaw MAGA

By David Stockman  |  September 2, 2019

It’s become tradition here at Deep State Declassified to celebrate holidays by recalling wise words of days gone by appropriate for the occasion observed.

Today, of course, is Labor Day.

We’d have to fill in the details of our maturation from agrarian to post-industrial economy. But something the folks who put together this grand experiment in self-governance we still call the United States of America would grasp immediately is the veneration of work.

We can guess how the founders of the nation and the framers of the Constitution would view modern labor unions. And we can actually read of their skepticism of corporations, which were then, in the British tradition, firmly tied to state power.

Even in the late 18th century, though, people had a pretty good grip on the nuances of various types of associations.

There was then, as there is now, a general acceptance of the view that “freedom of association” is a positive when it comes to forming a civil society, subject to limits, of course, defined by the common good

Unchecked Power

What they worried about – most specifically the founders and the framers – was unchecked power. That happens with the accumulation of capital and the creation of classes of bankers, for example, or cotton producers, or railroad barons… or bankers.

They worried about things like this:

John Adams, infamous for seeming to endorse the idea of an American-style “king,” took pains to point out that his “first magistrate” would be elected by the people – answerable directly to them. That would make him their protector against permanent class of elites wholly owned by moneyed classes.

Joseph Ellis 

Here’s how Joseph Ellis framed one part of the famous post-retirement correspondence between Adams and Thomas Jefferson in American Dialogue: The Founders and Us:

“No Romance could be more amusing,” he chided Jefferson, than his belief that the United States would prove the exception to the dominant pattern of economic inequality throughout recorded history, as if human nature itself had been magically transformed in the migration from Europe to America. “After all,” he observed, “as long as Property exists, it will accumulate in Individuals and Families…. I repeat, so long as the Idea and existence of PROPERTY is admitted and established in Society, accumulations of it will be made, the Snow ball will grow as it rolls.”

Adams was concerned about such “accumulations” and their tendency to oligarchy from the very beginning of the republic.

John Adams

While on diplomatic assignment in England during its literal formative years, he wrote A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America.

“In every society known to man,” Adams noted, “an aristocracy has risen up in the course of time, consisting of a few rich and honorable families who have united with each other against both the people and the first magistrate.”

He later wrote Discourses on Davila, in 1790, to explain the accumulation of wealth by American elites and their display of it:

Riches force the opinion on man that he is the object of the congratulations of others. His imagination expands, and his heart dilates at these charming illusions. His attachment to his possessions increases as fast as his desire to accumulate more; not for the purposes of utility, but from the desire of illustration.

His primary disagreement with Jefferson boiled down to this: “You are afraid of the one, I, the few.”

The Duopoly would have you against the Donald right now.

John Adams would have you against the Duopoly.

And the Duopoly – not the Donald – is primarily responsible for that “The Top 1% Continue to Covet the Wealth” graphic.

Pure and Simple

Desperate times call for… “common sense” measures.

And these are desperate times… Markets are corrupted by monetary central planning. They’re confused. And the road back is going to be treacherous.

We’re looking at a major re-pricing for all financial assets. And thousand-point intraday or day-to-day swings are part of that equation. Those can be frightening… for “buy and hold” investors.

I have a different approach, one that combines strategy and tactics into a plan flexible enough for you to survive and thrive amid the coming chaos. It’s called “The Stockman Model.”

All we’re after is a little stability, perhaps a chance to pocket a windfall when opportunity presents…

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David Stockman

David Stockman is the ultimate Washington insider turned iconoclast. He began his career in Washington as a young man and quickly rose through the ranks of the Republican Party to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street.MORE FROM AUTHOR