Book review: Rome Wasn't Burnt In A Day by Joe Scarborough

Wednesday, December 29, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough is one of those people who likes to tell the truth. That's probably why he's no longer a Congressman. Telling the truth doesn't get you very far in Washington, but playing ball with the big boys does, and playing ball means spending away America's future in order to bring home pork barrel victories to voters in your state.

In his book "Rome Wasn't Burnt In A Day," Joe Scarborough reveals the dirty inside politics of out-of-control deficit spending that takes place at our nation's capitol each and every day. He reveals how the Republicans, who promise smaller government and tax cuts, actually deliver record spending time and time again, driving the nation even further into debt from which it will most likely never recover. Under the Bush administration, our national debt has skyrocketed to $7 trillion, and it continues to increase every hour of every day, 365 days a year, like a ticking financial time bomb.

Both Republican and Democrat political leaders, Scarborough explains, have given up on the idea of fiscal sanity. Instead they've all decided that the only way to get elected is to keep spending -- and that means creating new handouts for voters such as the prescription drug discount card program or new construction projects that generate hundreds of millions of dollars for cities and states around the country. It means making government larger and more intrusive and putting it in control of a greater number of projects both in the public world and the private sector. But most of all what it means is that we as a nation have dug ourselves into a financial pit so deep that it seems impossible to dig ourselves out with anything short of a total meltdown of our national economy and currency.

This is what author Joe Scarborough refers to when he says Rome wasn't burnt in a day. I've often heard America described in terms of "the fall of Rome." Rome was a great empire at one time, but it didn't survive the corruption of its own political leaders. Neither, it seems, will the United States of America. Let's be honest, folks, the days of America are numbered. It simply cannot exist as a debtor nation by borrowing billions and billions of dollars from the other nations of the world such as China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the UK, Germany and various European nations. And that is where the United States stands today. It is deeply in debt and most of that debt is owed to foreign nations.

And yet the insane spending spree continues. There is no fiscal discipline whatsoever in this country. Driven by voters who increasingly vote themselves new "entitlements," our country continues to pass legislation that will drive us even deeper into debt and further compromise the financial stability of our nation for future generations. It all looked quite insane in the 1980s during the spending spree of former president Ronald Reagan, but today it's even worse.

Under President Bush we have reached new peaks in our national debt, and new highs in needless spending. We're already starting to see the crumbling of the United States in the arena of international finance. The US dollar continues to slide, dropping alarmingly in value against the British pound, the Japanese Yen and other world currencies. Other nations are becoming seriously concerned about this rapid fall in the US currency because of the way it impacts trade deficits and affects the prices of imports and exports. Some of these countries, such as China, are even talking about dumping US debt, an action that, if pursued, would create a global financial crisis. It could make US treasury bonds have the same value as Enron stocks. It would cause a western economic crisis that resembles the Asian financial crisis of 1997, but yet is far worse and far more widespread. It would destabilize the global economy and devastate the US economy, affecting housing, investment, jobs, interest rates and of course the value of the US dollar on the international market.

These warning signs are already appearing, and it's only going to get worse under the Bush administration which insists on spending the United States into a state of global poverty.

Every democracy is doomed to bankruptcy

You may think that's surprising, but it wouldn't be if you took a closer look at what actually happens in the United States in terms of voter support and spending by politicians.

If you think about it, democracy is really a short-term experiment in the history of the world. The idea sounds great: that educated voters would think and act rationally in electing representatives who have the best interests of the nation at heart. Accordingly, such representatives would vote for legislation that balanced the public good with long term viability of the nation state. This is the underlying basis of democracy, but as we have all seen, it is not the actual practice. In practice, voters elect politicians who serve their short-term selfish interests. In other words, people vote for politicians who give them back something in terms of financial benefits or new programs that serve a particular interest group.

These are often called "entitlements," as if the American people were in fact entitled to such money. From an honest perspective, these actions are nothing short of robbery: that is, one group robs money from another (the working class, usually). And because the politicians are involved, it is government-sanctioned robbery. Legalized financial theft.

Because voters tend to only have short-term perspectives, and they only support politicians who give them new entitlements, every democracy will financially self-destruct over a period of time. The only way this can be reversed is if education standards and ethics are fundamentally reformed so that people vote for politicians who support the long term interests of the nation state rather than their own selfish desires. But this has not happened in the United States of America, and as a result we are rapidly heading towards the collapse of our nation's financial viability.

So it deserves repeating: every democracy is doomed to financial failure. Because that's what the voters will vote for. There's a great misconception in this country that we can keep on spending forever with no real consequence. It's the same mindset that we see in personal households in this country, where credit card debt is at an all time high and most people own nothing -- they only live paycheck to paycheck by delivering just-in-time checks to their mortgage company, car loan company, insurance companies and other corporations that hold the bulk of the hard assets in this country. People are just barely scraping by, and yet they are spending and consuming at record pace. They continue to buy new homes, new cars, and new consumer products at a pace that, frankly, they cannot afford. This mindset, which is prevalent in US households, also drives federal financial policy -- it is a reflection of the population's appetite for consumption coupled with ignorance of fiscal repercussions.

Even well-meaning politicians, it turns out, can do very little about the situation, because if they don't give handouts to the electorate, they will be voted out of office. Thus, the people, through their voting decisions, continue to put politicians into office and keep the ones in office that drive our nation even deeper into debt, ultimately leading to a financial crisis unprecedented in the history of the modern world.

As a politician, if you are a good spokesperson and you have good ethics, then you can perhaps get elected one time on a platform of honesty and reform. But once elected, you will only last one term as did Republican congressman Joe Scarborough and independent reformist Jessie Ventura, former Governor of Minnesota. The voting public, it seems, wants to hear rhetoric about honesty and reform, but when it comes down to reality, they will only support politicians that don't require them to make tough financial choices. People want to continue consuming without paying for that consumption, and as a result, they elect politicians who reflect that philosophy at a national level.

Ever heard the statement that in a Democratic society, the voters get the government they deserve? The U.S. is proving that to be quite true. Ultimately, the inability of voters in a democratic nation to exercise financial discipline may lead to the conclusion that democracies are not sustainable in the long term. If a nation cannot remain fiscally viable, then it ultimately has no political power and radical reforms are close at hand. Frankly, we're not far from a time when China is the dominant world power, and the U.S. is just a has-been agricultural exporter with sky-high debt resembling that of third-world nations today.

I don't know where the United States is on this timeline of financial destruction. It may be able to continue fudging the numbers and hiding the truth about its own finances and national debt for another decade, perhaps even two decades if government accountants are creative enough. Or perhaps we will able to save our nation through widespread education efforts and radical financial reform that would reign in spending. That would, of course, be the preferred solution. Fiscal sanity and financial stability are always preferred over financial collapse and radical reforms. But an honest assessment of current behavior by lawmakers and bureaucrats leaves little hope that this solution will emerge. In fact, current behavior indicates that our nation is going to spend itself into oblivion and then dump the whole mess onto the lap of taxpayers who will, of course, lose everything.

It's yet another con being perpetrated on the American people, mostly without their knowledge. Consider the fact that the 2004 presidential candidates didn't even MENTION the national debt! It's not even on the radar!

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About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health author and award-winning journalist with a passion for teaching people how to improve their health He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guides, and books on topics like health and the environment, and he has created several downloadable courses on survival and preparedness, including his widely-downloaded course on personal safety and self-defense. Adams is a trusted, independent journalist who receives no money or promotional fees whatsoever to write about other companies' products. In 2010, Adams created, a natural living video sharing site featuring thousands of user videos on foods, fitness, green living and more. He's also a noted technology pioneer and founded a software company in 1993 that developed the HTML email newsletter software currently powering the NaturalNews subscriptions. Adams also serves as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a non-profit consumer protection group, and regularly pursues cycling, nature photography, Capoeira and Pilates. Known by his callsign, the 'Health Ranger,' Adams posts his missions statements, health statistics and health photos at

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