Featured

The Constitution and American Governance

AKA Why we have one and Why it’s a good thing

First and foremost let’s get this out of the way: America is NOT a Democracy. It amazes me how many opinionated people online belligerently oppose our system of government not only at the problems which plague it but at the very fundamental of America that has kept us free and made us great since the dawn of our nation. This is the conclusion reached when one is so mistreated in their lives that it they assume that the very institutions in place are the source of their misery. This ignores nearly all of our history. This ignores the reasoning and enlightened discussions of the framers. This ignores all the work our fathers and their fathers put in to this country. This is the mindset of a child that wants to flip the table when they lose the game. Life, obviously, is no game. It matters. Everything matters. There is a cause for every effect. It’s the nature of change by rational human beings. There was a motivation that inspired the actions of people to do whatever it is they do. People eat because they’re hungry. People have children so humans won’t go extinct. People drink because it makes them happy. People do what people. That’s fantastic. Good for those people. In America you are guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness BY THE CONSTITUTION. Now, I am by no means a Constitutional scholar. I’ve only read it from start to finish two or three times in my entire life. But I understand on a fundamental level why the founders made it the way they did. In the future, I might come to believe that a part here or there needs to fixed as I grow more knowledgeable. But as I type this as a 30 year old man, I understand the reason behind it. Were I to create a system of government today, I would wholeheartedly use the American Constitution to do it. Now, I would also have Social Democracy. The Constitution does NOT specify CAPITALISM. The Constitution does NOT specify a FLAWED TWO PARTY SYSTEM. I strongly recommend anyone that has problem with our government actually read the Constitution. Personally, I consider the first 10 amendments (the Bill of Rights) to also be a part of the Constitution. They were added at roughly the same time to address the concerns of people that weren’t present at the actual Constitutional convention. Were the framers to have the technology for correspondence and travel that we have today, they would most certainly have video called in and the Bill of Rights would be in the Constitution proper. The Constitution, however, is just the means of describing how our government is structured: Judicial representing administration of laws and reason; Executive representing the will and direction of the Nation, Legislative representing the will and rights of The People and States.

I want to focus on the how the Legislature is constructed specifically, and why, but let’s first address the other two branches of government. The Executive exists because, ultimately, the final say on the plan of the Nation is directed by living people and not documents. And ultimately, it is much more effective to have certain matters commandeered by a brilliant and talented individual than to have ceaseless discussion among Senators. Imagine if America isn’t a country but a person. Now when America gets into a fist fight with her enemy, say Russia, She needs to duck, block, parry, pirouette, and strike to lay Russia low. But if her mind isn’t solely focused on combat and instead is flooding her vision with distractions and chaos present in debate, then she is going to take a nasty hook to the chin and be laid flat on her back. This is the entire purpose of a President. The section of the Constitution regarding the powers of the executive is actually very small. (S)He can issue pardons, (S)He governs the military, (S)He can creates treaties and appoints ambassadors for foreign affairs, (S)He appoints judges (which must be approved by Congress), and (S)He fills vacancies in the Senate if one arises. THAT’S IT. THAT IS ALL THE PRESIDENT IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO DO. Executive orders are something that is only quasi-legal if America is at war. Generally speaking? Executive orders are UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS HELL. Sigh. Thanks Bush 1&2 you treasonous war criminals. I’m serious. The Constitution is literally the highest law in the land. If you walked up and shot ex-President Bush in the face you’d probably get gunned down by police or the Secret Service but technically speaking you’re doling out the punishment for treason and therefore it would be legal. Murder is kind of a dick move, though, so don’t. But every President or Congress that has met since Bush left office is complicit in his crimes every day they aren’t arresting Bush for Treason and War Crimes. Let that sink in. The judicial is just that: judges that administer the laws because we make oh so many and, unlike anything written in a well-maintained format, they are more or less gobbledygook that kind of works but needs to employ a swathe of lawyers to figure out and decipher. (Note to self: Write piece about how we should clean up our existing laws) All it says is that One Supreme Court reigns above all the other lesser courts. Which is a good thing. We have one clearly visible Supreme Court that answers to the public and any cases which are undermining the rule of law can reach them through appeals. If all the laws were only handled by lesser courts than we would have corruption in a heartbeat. If Las Vegas only sourced their own judges and you had no appeals, it wouldn’t matter what the laws were. They would say black was white (much like what Trump does with his 13,000+ lies) and you would either bow your head or the Thin Blue Line would take you out. Get rid of you. Which is why the most alarming thing that Trump did in his presidency by far is appoint a massive number of judges. I strongly recommend that after Trump is removed we change the laws to allow for the removal of all Executive appointees SPECIFICALLY in the instance where that President was impeached and both the House AND Senate sign off on it. (I am firmly predicting the Executive, House, and Legislature to go ‘Blue’) That said, if you’re removing the appointments of a corrupt president so you can put your own in and start left-leaning tyranny, then you’re just as bad as Trump and you can go to hell.

So let’s get to the crux of the issue: the Legislature. This is the representation of the people. This is why we have a census. This is why we have votes. This is what makes or changes laws. This is what sources and spends your taxes. I have seen time and again people (I will assume all of whom have never worked a farm a day in their lives) say that there is a problem with our legislature because “landowners get more of a vote than us”. Yeah, buddy, they totally do. IN THE SENATE. The House of Representatives is the direct representation of the distribution of beliefs and desires of The People. In the House you have the result of a representative Democracy. A direct Democracy or pure Democracy would mean that we all vote on referendum literally every time we want the government to do literally anything. The reason we DON’T do this is because Life is Hard. Seriously. We can’t do everything at once. We work, learn, live, and do what we need to do to get by. We have problems and circumstances and social concerns. We have tons of stuff that make up our lives and determine who we are. This means that not everyone is able to understand the ins, outs, and reasons for why we have laws a certain way. This means that we don’t have the capacity to learn about and empathize with other people in circumstances different than our own. Therefore, in order to create laws or make decision in the best possible way to make sure that everyone in the country is represented fairly, we elect responsible and honest people to represent us in our government. HAHAHA. Or at least that’s the way it SHOULD be. I will write up why the Two Party System IS corruption incarnate and the people need to WAKE UP a little later. Stay tuned. But corrupt politicians aside, this is what the framers had in mind for the House of Representatives. Now, you might be thinking, “That sounds good. Let’s stop the two-party system and get rid of corrupt politicians and go with that!”. Ah. Yes. I am not a land owner. I do not own a gun. But I DO UNDERSTAND why those things matter. Annnnd now you’re about to as well. Yay you! The way human beings function is generally eat, sleep, reproduce. Well kick the calendar back a few thousand years and think about early civilization. People transitioned away from nomadic life with the advent of agriculture and animal husbandry. The foundations of our modern society. This is what must first be considered when building a nation. How to feed it and care for it. Let’s zip to 1776. Now imagine hmm Country A. Country A is made up of 1000 homesteads in which families own say 100 acres of farmland to support themselves in. They grow their own food. They make their own clothes. They raise their own livestock. They make their own ammunition. Pioneer life, basically. It’s fascinating stuff. Now they have ZERO need for a government. They are all self-determined and live in responsible and friendly communes where they have harvest festivals and trade their excess produce around so that every member of the commune might have some variety in their lives. This is basically communism. Personally, I think communism is nihilistic because it stops progress. Without progress humanity is at the mercy of war, plague, famine, and death. Without progress humanity goes extinct as the sun gets bigger and redder. Personally, I think communism is for quitters. But hey, I won’t force anyone to believe anything. Or do anything. BECAUSE I’M NOT A TYRANT. Sigh. Anyway, life sucks and then you die. Which is to say, that some warlord/capitalist is going to club a farmer over the head and take his food and then force him to build pyramids lest he wish to starve. Authoritarianism is natural. Civilization is artificial. Seriously. Even trees murder grass below them to have supremacy and live. Life is violence. I’m actually writing a book that allows people to see the world as I do. Stay tuned! Basically, power swells and accumulates and festers. Even with the best of intentions. Let’s say that 1000 homesteads produces enough resources for 1000 happy families. Now if one of the homesteaders creates an invention that allows for the increased efficacy and efficiency of the homestead by 10%, then suddenly they’re producing enough to make 1,100 happy families. With the surplus and efficiency they’re required to do less work to maintain their current lives, and with continued hard-work they could even expand their families. Suddenly there becomes the issue of how to handle the reward of creating innovation. This is the beginning of economics. But now that Nation A is flourishing, Nation B says, “HOLD UP! If they keep expanding they’ll have more power than us! They’ll take over!”. So Nation B decides to take their invention for themselves. And it’ll turn a blind eye to the soldiers who just want to take land, food, gold, and women. In order to stop Nation B, Nation A needs a military and as many people it can get. In order to keep their nation safe from the people it brings in, the people that become part of the community must follow the community’s rules. This is the beginning of politics and a government. So as time progresses, the number of men not working homesteads but working to invent and create to keep Nation A strong and secure grows larger and larger because more advancements increase the amount of food from the homesteads which in turn let the nation get bigger and stronger. To increase efficiency for the men not working the land, they convene in cities where their ambition leads them to either create or make their fortune marketing to those that do. This is how people operate on a fundamental level. Cities are efficient and will have much more people per capita than rural communities that source the food that support the cities. As such, cities will ALWAYS have a democratic majority when it comes time to vote. City men who do not understand the homesteader or farmer will then control the government which directly represents the number of people.

Zip-line to today. The ‘left side’ (seriously our two party system is cancer) is more or less always going be made up of populated urban centers filled with people. This is more or less what the framers expected and intended. These people are the most represented in the House and the House controls nearly all the laws made. The DNC controlling the House? That’s NOT in the Constitution. That’s CORRUPTION, pure and simple. This is why the “Republicans” (Seriously, rural farmers don’t have a choice), will always vote for Trump even though they hate him (And they do – again our two party system is corrupt societal cancer controlled by oligarchs). They’re simply on the GOP side of the two-party equation. Do they like the GOP? Nope. I mean some buy into the Trumpist populist racist bullshit but that’s mostly because their pastors are evangelical tithe-sucking vampires and their ‘news’ is Fox which ‘informs’ them of the ‘state of the nation’. I don’t fault ignorance when it is the product of lies and disinformation rather than willfully closing their eyes to reality (which I see some of too, sadly). The GOP controls the Senate which – again not in the Constitution – is corruption plain and simple. I will detail more about the state of corruption in our country later in another post as I mentioned earlier. So if Democracy always has the cities win representation and not the sparse rural community that our civilization is built on, then the House will legislate as they please and the farmers will have no choice but to bow to their whims and whatever laws are fashionable in cities. This is why gun rights is a single-issue vote for 99% of Republican voters. If any Democratic candidate promises gun freedom, they will get at least half of the votes of Rural America. They do not want Trump. They only wish to protect themselves from the whims of the majority. The only one protecting them is only able to do so because we have a Senate. The Senate represents people based on states – which is to say land. Every state gets two representatives. The spirit behind the senate is to protect the minority of Americans not in dense urban areas, but in states with relatively no people or fewer cities than other states. This means that if the representatives of the dense urban areas and democratic majority of The People wish the make changes to the laws, it needs the approval of the rural communities. This is why we have a bicameral legislature with the House and the Senate. It is simply the best way the framers could come up with to protect farmers from city slickers. If you have an alternate method of ensuring the minority is protected from the majority, good for you. This is America where all are free from tyranny, including tyranny from The People themselves. And in a nation where media manipulation controlled by the thieving billionaires is the status quo? That’s corporate fascism/neoliberalism/anarcho-capitalism and the right to bear arms is the only thing preventing them from ignoring the Constitution to just take land away from farmers. This is why the trade war is so, so bad for America. Our self-sufficiency and liberty in producing our own farmland is literally being bought by other countries. Scary times. But what doesn’t change with time? Americans are entitled to protect their lands and their lives from whatever comes at them from nature or other humans. That’s their freedom that is guaranteed in America. Because in America we are equal and free. Peace.

ARMS

Crypto-Secure

Armament Regulation & Monitoring System

(ARMS)

By William Bishop

“The progressive solution to universal background checks”

1. Purpose of the ARMS:

A cryptographically secure program which facilitates the ability of the United States government to institute universal background checks requisite to the sale or purchase of firearms without establishing any form of firearm ownership registry or infringing the right to bear arms. This will allow private and professional sale of firearms to be done in a legally binding manner agreeable to all citizens of the United States.

2. Definition of the ARMS

The ARMS is a relationship of two secure entities:

  1. The first entity is controlled by the Federal Government: a secure server which keeps a master list of every citizen in the United States and their status with regards to legal right to purchase and bear arms, as well as the reason for denial of the right to purchase arms should that citizen be denied. This list should only be visible to the ARMS and the federal employees responsible for it’s administration. Should the list contain a denial of rights without a reason, or a reason not approved by law, the ARMS will refuse the denial of rights and allow the sale or purchase of arms to that citizen.
  2. The second entity is controlled by each State’s Defense Force (SDF): a Peer-to-Peer run network of one server per state which runs the core program of the ARMS. The SDF is chosen as the host of the network as they can not become federal entities, and under 32 U.S.C. § 109 of the US Constitution they are not required to operate under the orders of the military or federal government. This is intended to protect the ARMS from possible corruption, especially by the federal or foreign governments for the purpose of creating a national or centralized armaments registry. Any citizen engaging in the sale or purchase of arms must do so by requesting a background check from the ARMS, and if cleared can immediately transfer the ownership of firearms to the purchaser/borrower.

3. Legal Changes that might be needed to implement the ARMS

  1. The federal government must create an SDF accessible and universally secure server to host the approved ownership list, called the Federal Armaments Consent Table (FACT).
  2. The Federal government is responsible for having this list fully updated and populated at all times. In the event data is missing, ARMS will allow unrestricted transfer of armaments between citizens.
  3. Each state government must create a publicly accessible and universally secure server under the SDF to host the ARMS for the purposes of conducting universal background checks.
  4. Every purchase, lease, rental, borrowing, sale, etc. of firearms must be done through the ARMS.
  5. No one can monitor or attempt to monitor the transactions between ARMS and the FACT.
  6. No one can publish or attempt to publish the contents of the FACT.
  7. No one can falsely register or attempt to falsely register armaments with the ARMS.
  8. No citizen may register a physical serial number they do not own.
  9. No one cantransfer armaments privately without using ARMS.
  10. It is a felony to attempt hacking into ARMS.
  11. It is a felony to attempt decrypting ARMS cryptographic functions.
  12. No one can use or attempt to use another citizen’s DART ID for the ARMS. *Note: necessary legal changes are not limited to those provided by this document

4. How the ARMS Works

Registering an armament:

  • Every citizen in America has the right and ownership of one virtual arms ‘safe’ (Digital Armament Repository & Tracker or DART) stored within the SDF’s ARMS network.
    • To prevent unauthorized tracking of citizen’s armaments and activities, an ID is generated for every citizen’s DART and the ARMS stores the relationship between that ID and the list kept by the federal government. It is must be legally impermissible to store which citizen is attached to a given ID by ARMS.
  • Every DART keeps track of the citizen’s legal ownership of any armament, and facilitates the legal transfer of title proving ownership of the armament.
  • An existing firearm can be added to a citizen’s DART by supplying the ARMS with the armaments/firearm’s serial number, which is used to create the armament/firearm’s digital identification code.
    • It does this by creating an identification code resulting from a secure cryptographic hash function on the firearms physical serial number.
      • When current security algorithms (RSA) become ineffective for protection of data due to advances in quantum computing technology, the ARMS must be legally required to transition to a post-quantum cryptographic model.
    • The federal government is not legally permitted to have ownership or knowledge of the function, the physical serial numbers of the armaments, or the relationship between any armament’s physical serial number and identification code with the citizen who owns it.
      • Should the cryptographic function or citizen’s physical serial numbers become known by any federal government employee or elected official, the public and SDF of each state must be legally required to be informed immediately so that a new cryptographic function can be created and the appropriate responses can be taken.
  • When a serial number is registered to a DART, the ARM System sequesters the the number preventing other citizens from registering an armament with a duplicate serial number.
    • ARMS does not need, and must be expressly forbidden from, storing the relationship between a physical serial number and it’s identification code.
      • This means that the government, federal or state, does not know who owns which arms. The system only recognizes that the citizen owns an armament with a given ID, and authorizes the transfer of that ID from one DART to another.
    • In the event the ARMS already has registered a citizen’s armament, the citizen with proof of ownership can flag the serial number for being falsely entered into the system. The system will flag the DART ID which registered it and the reporting ID; and bar both from any further ARMS activity until they go to their nearest SDF to adjudicate the case. The owner possessing the armament with the valid serial number can present proof of ownership to their local SDF, who can manually attach the arm’s ID to that user’s DART. The ARMS system can then flag the FACT to alert the federal government whom can utilize that data to determine which citizen committed a felony. The SDF must be legally forbidden from utilizing this function without just cause.

Transfer of ownership process:

  • In order to legally purchase or sell arms in the US, the transaction must be approved by the ARMS.
  • An exchange between buyer and seller can be considered complete after the ARMS verifies the sale is valid and the armament’s code is removed from the seller’s DART and is added to the buyer’s DART.
  • In order for the ARMS to transfer the arm’s code from the seller’s DART to the buyer’s DART, the buyer must pass a background check. To accomplish this, the buyer must supply the seller with their DART ID to request the check from the ARMS against the FACT. If the DART ID returns that the sale is valid, a prompt to transfer ownership of the armament is supplied to the seller. If the seller determines the sale is completed and the requisite funds are transferred from the buyer to the seller, the seller will accept the prompt and the armament code will be removed from the seller’s DART and added to the buyer’s DART.
    • The background check and the transfer of arms is thus completed in a manner which is anonymous from the perspective of the state and federal government.
  • After an exchange occurs, the transaction is validated by the other 49 states on the Peer-to-Peer network.
    • Should the other 49 states determine the transfer is invalid, the transaction is halted and it is upon both parties to request adjudication at the SDF to resolve the problem.

Adjudication of issues related to armaments:

  • ONLY with a warrant signed by a judge, the SDF alone has the ability to enter a physical serial number into ARMS and return the generated code for an armament in the system and can release that data to federal or state law enforcement.
    • The SDF can not be compelled to release any information for any other reason and is within their rights to reject demands for data from any entity.
    • The ARMS will have the ability to alert the other 49 states of any illegal attempt to access data.
      • Intentional abuse of this functionality must be legally impermissible.
  • In instances of false registry of armaments, the citizen which possesses the physical armament or proof of possession can give their permission to the SDF to transfer the code generated from the serial number to their DART from the offender’s DART. That offender’s DART is restricted from use until requisite fines or legal issues are resolved – which the offender can expect will be served by the state or federal law enforcement.
  • The governor of a state is legally permitted to alter or affect their state’s ARMS only with approval from the state legislature and notifying the general public ahead of any motions to pass through the legislature.
    • It must be legally impermissible for the governor of a state to affect the ARMS under any other circumstance.
    • The only instance in which the ARMS system can be accessed or altered in a way not previously covered is under martial law.

5. Other Actions the ARMS is capable of:

*Note: This document only outlines the universal background check as the desired function of ARMS and does not advocate for the uses listed here. These uses are just some of the possible extensions of the ARMS program should they be desired in the future.

  • Replace the current paper-based open/concealed carry gun permits.
    • Should law enforcement wish to check if the weapon being carried by a citizen is allowed to be carried, the ARMS could display that the citizen with that DART ID is registered with the necessary permit as permit status can be attached to a DART ID. This document does not advocate for this.
  • Institute limits on the armaments permissible to be carried on one’s person.
    • Armaments can be ‘checked out’ and listed as such in their DART. A ‘checked out’ firearm is permitted to be carried for use in self-defense. Law enforcement can, with a warrant, ask the citizen for the physical serial number of their arms. This can then be given to the SDF to validate that the resultant identification code matches the citizen’s listed ‘checked out’ armament in their DART. (View-able from any smart device)
      • Legislation could determine the maximum number of ‘checked out’ arms permitted to a DART to ensure that firearms aren’t being wantonly lent out for carry by citizens without permits. This document does not advocate for this.
    • This same mechanism can be used to check anyone bearing arms for red flag law violations
  • Allow for legally binding agreements of rental or borrowing of armaments.
    • Armaments can be ‘lent’ from one DART to another. During the lending period, the code would transfer to the other DART flagged as ‘borrowed’. The code would be displayed in the lender’s DART as ‘on loan’. This follows the same logic as an arms sale; But after an agreed upon period of time, the borrower’s DART would remove the code and the lender’s DART would remove the ‘on loan’ status of the arm’s code. Continuing to hold onto the armament by the borrower would no longer be legal.

Feed America

As part of a new administration that is increasingly concerned with green energy and eco-conscious trajectories for the future of the country we need to implement a new direction for the future of agriculture in America. The first part of this is a complete overhaul of the agriculture industry in a move to lower the cost of food for Americans, lower the taxpayer cost of Citizen Service Accounts, increase the strength of the American economy in agricultural exports, and reduce environmental impact by farms to combat climate change. It is not only a plan to increase the wealth of all Americans by cutting their food bills substantially, lower healthcare costs through healthier nutrition, and end hunger in America; but is a necessity and obligation to safeguard the future of Earth from global warming. I am calling this sweeping suite of progressive legislation “Feed America”. (Better name needed to indicate the Eco friendly aspects)

The first part of this initiative is the Farmer Bill. Much like the G.I. Bill, this bill is intended to reward farmers for keeping America fed and help them recover from the damage of Trump’s trade war. Destitute farmers who lost their farms and assets to the bank will be rewarded the equity they established on their belongings. The government will take ownership of their land, assets, and remaining debt from the bank at a renegotiated interest rate (lower rate over a longer period) to lessen the burden to taxpayers. In addition, these farmers will be given full scholarships to any public University to pursue a career and future of their choosing. This same exact deal will be available to any existing farmers that wish to participate in a 100% voluntary land buyback program from the government. Any participating farmers will also be awarded an increased amount of credits in their Citizen Service Accounts for four years (for helping with reeducation). This deal is only available to family owned farms and not corporations.

As part of the new green progressive initiatives there will be progressive tax cuts for farmers and corporations. These will come in two forms: A tax break for meeting a criteria for lowered carbon emissions, and a tax cut for efficient land utilization. What do I mean by land utilization? I mean the amount of nutrition produced per square foot of a piece of land. A pound of protein from beef requires 100 times the amount of land needed to make a pound of protein from soy. As such, the efficiency quotient of the land’s square footage from beef is much lower than that of soy. The cut will operate on a curve such that the most efficient crops will get a larger break than less efficient crops. Any crops requested by the government will be given exception from higher tax rates.

As part of the Green New Deal, agriculture reforms will also take place over a lengthy period. The goal is to transition to eco friendly means of feeding America over the years. This means gradual but increasingly severe tax penalities on farms and corporations which have the highest greenhouse gas emissions, polluting chemicals, and inefficient land use. The farm bill and tax cuts are the ‘carrot’ to incentivize the necessary changes and give farmers and corporations enough time to adjust or make the necessary arrangements. After a few years, however, a new tax on carbon/methane, dangerous pesticides, or underutilized land will start and incrementally increase. The changes will start small: 2% for CO2, 5% for dangerous pollutants, 1% for low efficiency quotient but will gradually increase as we head towards GND 2050 timeline to something like 20% for CO2, 50% for pollutants, and 5-10% for low efficiency (less necessary, but higher efficiency farms lowers the cost to feed all Americans). [Note: I made up the numbers. I’ll have to do more research to know the scenario]

These are some of the necessary changes that I will be researching and drawing up a full platform for which we can operate as part of the goal of fighting global warming, reducing grocery bills, lowering healthcare costs (soy is healthier than beef in addition to being cheaper), and keeping farmers employed (I will expand on how this works a bit later. I am writing this from my phone as we’re headed to the grocery store of all things!)

Trump Tariffs and the US-China Trade War Cripples American Farmers

American farmers are losing money and going bankrupt across America. Farmers don’t treat money the same way as you and me. You see, farmer’s business is their farms and as such to improve their business they re-invest in them. What does that mean? It means that while we put money into savings accounts in order to risk starting a business or save up for retirement, farmers put their profits into their tractors, mills, machinery, and land. Any extra funds then go towards paying off the interest and gaining equity from the banks who ultimately own these very expensive pieces of machinery. Machinery they absolutely need to compete with large farming corporations. So if farmers ever experiences a loss in their expected profits from a famine or *tariffs*, then they won’t be able to balance their budgets and will start defaulting on their loans. Generally when there is a famine the government responds with subsidies to keep farms solvent so they can keep America fed the following year. But there isn’t *any* response if farmers begin the go bankrupt because of tariffs (except for a bailout).

So, what actually is a tariff, anyway? If Trump is putting tariffs on China won’t that make America get what it wants? Isn’t it hurting China and helping us? No. Emphatically, no. A tariff is a TAX. Let me repeat that. A TARIFF IS A TAX. It’s just a fun word to replace the hated word of ‘tax’ with a slightly more ambiguous one that isn’t universally hated. Is that a tax on China? No, it’s a tax on America. Whenever an American company imports goods from China, they have to pay a tax to the federal government of the United States in order to do it. China doesn’t pay it. Americans do. (and then the money gets funneled into Mar-a-Lago) If you don’t know tariffs you might wonder why we would ever use them then. Basically tariffs are meant to encourage domestic manufacturing or material sourcing by making it slightly more prohibitively expensive to get goods from overseas. Let me give you an example. Let’s say it costs American companies 2$ to make (after parts and labor) a box of pencils. That box was made in America by American jobs and the profits and benefits of selling it go to Americans. Now China can make the same box of pencils and ship it to America for 1.80$ a box of pencils. Naturally, in order to save money, consumers are going to buy the Chinese box of pencils. And for some things, like making plastic cups (or a box of pencils, really, but this is just an example), America has no problem with that. If China can make it cheaper and then save Americans money then absolutely we should buy the Chinese box of pencils. However for industries that America’s economy is competing for – like technology and green energy – we want America to have the advantage to encourage more businesses in America to work in that industry and create profitable world-changing technological innovations. So, back to the box of pencils. Now let’s say for this example that the box of pencils is our technology sector and the American government wants to protect it from being devalued by Chinese imports. This means that the government would then put a 10% tariff (a tax on American businesses importing goods) on pencil boxes from China, making both cost 2$ at market. Now, when consumers go to the store to buy a box of pencils, they can choose either the American pencil box or the Chinese pencil box depending on their personal preference rather than a difference of price. (Personally, I always go for the American ones. Help out your fellow Americans if the price difference is small. Go America 😛 ) Naturally, if a tariff is put on Chinese goods then Chinese businesses also suffer repercussions. If Chinese goods suddenly have to compete with American goods in the American market at the same price, then the amount of goods they planned to export and sell will no longer have nearly as many buyers. This means they’ll have supply leftover from unsold goods and not enough demand which will devalue the price of their pencil boxes domestically and abroad in other nations beside the US. The tariff will cause them to eat a loss they otherwise wouldn’t have expected. This is exactly why when tariffs are raised unfairly – either too suddenly or too high (Imagine if we put a 20% tariff on the pencil box. Now it costs 2.20$ so no one will buy it) – then China will have no choice but to fight back in hopes that the tariff will be lowered to a rate that is much more fair. This is generally going to be retaliatory tariffs on American goods being exported to China. For this example, the pencil boxes we were hoping to sell in China were just made more expensive. This back and forth of tariffs and retaliatory tariffs (a very obvious consequence of creating unfair tariffs) is known as a trade war. This is what is currently happening between the US and China.

The Trump administration has been pretty upfront about how much he hates just about every American trade deal that he didn’t make. This very much includes the one between the US and China. In order to force China to make concessions in a trade agreement between China and the US, he implemented high tariffs on Chinese imports. How high? To the note of about 50 billion dollars. He accomplished this by using part of the Trade Act of 1974 that “authorizes the President to take all appropriate action, including tariff-based and non-tariff-based retaliation, to obtain the removal of any act, policy, or practice of a foreign government that violates an international trade agreement or is unjustified, unreasonable, or discriminatory, and that burdens or restricts U.S. commerce“. Ignoring that this breaks the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the rationale for the tariffs is to combat Chinese intellectual property (IP) theft against nations across the world. China routinely steals ideas and technology around the world and then creates their own version without any concession given to the inventors or innovaters. This substantially devalues the contributors to the advancement of society and humanity and is absolutely not an acceptable practice by any nation. Every member of the WTO agrees that this needs to stop and the litigation and mechanisms to do so exist and are currently being worked on. (Sort of. It technically resumed January 1st but it was suspended by the US and I’m not sure what is coming of it.) So rather than combat China’s IP theft through the WTO and our allies (or any number of alternative measures), Trump instead started a trade war. As a consequence of this reckless action, China has stopped importing soybeans from America. Before Trump took office America was exporting about a billion bushels to China which made up about 75% of the the soybean export market (China outspent every other country combined three times over on US grown soybeans). There are about 60 pounds in a bushel of soybeans. This means that American farmers were expecting to be able to sell 60 billion pounds of soybeans and were able to export NONE OF IT.

As a result, American farmers across the country are now going bankrupt and are having their land, farms, homes, and assets (million dollar farm equipment) repossessed by banks as they default on their livelihoods. Billionaires, foreign companies, and large farming corporations are buying up all the devalued lands. Many of these corporations have direct ties to the Trump administration. Big money is beating out independent farms across the country and household farms are rapidly disappearing. These same corporations which want to sell America the most corner-cutting products they can sneak past the FDA to increase their profits are now gaining an increasing control over the food and nutrition that keeps Americans alive, fed, and productive. Meanwhile farmers who’ve owned their lands and farms for years are destitute with little recourse but to lose everything at auctions to everyone looking to gain at their expense. Some of the lucky exceptions are able to buy their farms at auction, but only rarely. This is the destruction that lies in wake of Trump. His narcissism fueled his need to make the best deal and we’re the ones paying the price. The burden of his failures is not only destroying the lives of farmers but it is being paid for by the taxpayers. Trump gave 12 billion dollars in a federal bailout to the farming industry he destroyed. But it’s not enough. Farmers don’t want welfare paid for by taxpayers to fund Trump’s failure. They want the trade war to end. They want a real solution.

I have some progressive reforms that can help farmers, the environment, and all Americans; And I encourage you to read about them and please give me feedback on how they can be improved. Thanks for reading.