And Outer Planet Sign Positions
By Glenn Perry
Abstract: Archetypal politics enables us to view differences between political parties as expressions of fundamental ordering principles in the Universe. Republican/conservative policies emphasize two primary values—self-reliance and personal responsibility, which can be grouped under the archetypes of Aries and Capricorn. Democrat/liberal policies are inspired by values of compassion and fairness, which are ruled by Pisces and Libra. Other signs have political relevance, too, but are less dominant in determining public policy. Liberal and conservative values have equal merit and are not mutually exclusive. Outer planet sign positions reflect prevalent values during specific historical periods and the type of collective behavior that results. If the party in power is out-of-synch with values that characterize the spirit of the times, their policies are apt to be counterproductive and cause tension and turmoil in the populace.
We are now in, as the saying goes, “the silly season”. The airways are flooded with political advertisements as each party fervently promotes their candidate for the national election on November 6th, 2012. Talking heads in the media are entangled in debate with a zeal that transcends the usual conversation. This year as a nation (so we’re told), we face a clear and urgent choice: one party’s good policies or the other’s bad. The other party, of course, is whichever one the speaker happens to disfavor, the policies of which are typically demonized in straw-man terms as extreme, borderline evil, and destructive to the well-being of the economy.
In quieter moments, most of us recognize that reality is not so simple. Archetypal astrology can be helpful in this regard, for it affords an objectivity that enables us to appreciate that each political party embodies certain core values that are linked to fundamental ordering principles in the Universe. These values are not mutually exclusive, but complementary; each has merit when expressed in proper proportion to the others. Conversely, any value can be toxic if expressed in an extreme manner.
In the most general sense, Democratic and Republican values are the yin and yang of political discourse. Borrowing from Taoist philosophy, yin refers to the receptive, feminine, unifying principle of the Universe, whereas yang is active, masculine, and differentiating. Yin and yang are complementary, interdependent halves of a whole system—the Tao itself. Likewise, democratic and republican principles are interdependent, complementary halves of a whole system—the body politic. Democratic policies are yin-like in that emphasis is on the collective rather than the individual. “We’re all in this together” is their mantra. Liberal values are akin to spiritual practices: compassion toward all sentient beings, sacrifice for the common good, and the pursuit of a utopian ideal of boundless love in which individual differences are resolved into a common unity.
Conversely, Republican/conservative politics are yang-like in that they place emphasis on rugged individualism, fierce self-reliance, and freedom from restrictions imposed by a monolithic, nanny-like government that overprotects and overregulates. Success is a preeminent value, which is thought to be a product of personal responsibility and hard work (as opposed to government hand-outs, welfare, and the like). Not surprisingly, studies indicate that women tend to gravitate toward liberal, democratic positions, whereas men more readily identify with conservative, republican standards.1
Every sign of the zodiac can be analyzed in terms of its function within the political spectrum. In fact, an argument could be made that each zodiacal sign has a penchant for either conservative/republican values or liberal/democratic ones. Certain signs, however, stand out as exemplary of a party’s platform. For Republicans, Aries and Capricorn fly their banner. Conservatives favor a strong military, individual initiative, competition and free enterprise—all obvious Aries traits—whereas emphasis on responsibility, fiscal restraint, limited government, and climbing the ladder of success reflect Capricorn virtues.
Democratic ideals, on the other hand, are most readily reflected in Libra and Pisces. Democrats reach out to those on the bottom half of the ladder, the little guy who struggles to attain middle class status. Liberal actions are fueled by compassion and concern for the disadvantaged, the poor, and the elderly—all clearly Pisces traits. Also, Democrats are generally anti-war (pro-Libra/anti-Aries), preferring peace through diplomacy to the peace-through-strength policy of conservatives. Finally, Democrats are community and relationship-oriented with an emphasis on Libran principles of equality and fairness. Advantages conferred by class or ethnicity are charged as discriminatory, the rich are exhorted to pay ‘their fair share’ of taxes, and the rights of the oppressed are defended to assure equal opportunity for all.2
By now, the reader may recognize his or her identification with one set of values over another. Note, however, that the zodiac itself has no such bias. Every sign has its part to play in the whole. Likewise, a holistic and balanced political perspective recognizes that neither Republican/conservative nor Democrat/liberal positions should prevail at the expense of the other. When the political organism as a collective is thrown out of balance, it produces symptoms that reflect the nature of its distress—unemployment, depression, inflation, instability, corruption, and the like. Conversely, a more balanced view enables one to ‘reach across the aisle’ and see the merit of the other’s position. The goal then becomes not dominance of one party over another, but a dynamic balance that requires ongoing collaboration and flexibility.
The situation is not unlike what occurs within individual human beings. Political preferences are invariably an expression of one’s psychological makeup. It follows that more impassioned, extreme, and biased political sentiments reflect a psychological imbalance or conflict within the individual. As Jung put it, extremism is shouted down doubt; it’s compensatory to an unconscious counter-attitude that threatens to upset the one-sided, conscious view. Unbalanced attitudes manifest in signs and symptoms of psychopathology—anxiety, reactivity, rigidity, polarized relationships, intense animosity, and an end-justifies-the-means mentality.
Polls consistently show that most people want politicians to work in a bi-partisan manner, which is testament to a universal tendency toward wholeness. Not only is this evident in the macrocosm of nature wherein the rule of evolution is integration of parts into more complex wholes, it is also embodied in the microcosm of human beings who yearn for a political system in which their elected representatives work together to produce balanced legislation that serves the greater good. The opposite, of course, leads to gridlock, polarization, and an inability to get anything done—in short, our current state of affairs.
Expansion and Contraction
In the remainder of this article, we will examine the socio-economic consequences of extreme bias, using astrology to examine the underlying, archetypal causes of the polarized atmosphere that presently prevails in political discourse. In particular, we will focus on correlations of outer planet sign positions to socio-economic trends and ideological eruptions in the body politic. Before doing so, however, it will be helpful to take a brief detour into the realm of Austrian and Keynesian economic theory—the two dominant economic theories in free enterprise systems of government. The reason for this detour will be clear shortly.
According to the Austrian model, economies are living organisms subject to a rhythmic breathing out and breathing in, expansion and contraction in regular, predictable cycles.3 This may have intuitive appeal to astrologers who likewise recognize that the cycle of the zodiac unfolds in a rhythmic alteration of yang and yin signs. In 1974 the Austrian economist, F.A. Hayek, won the Nobel Prize in economics for his theory of the business cycle. Hayek observed there are expansionary periods when demand for products and services are high, in which case people are saving less and spending more. Eventually, however, people have consumed enough and their savings are relatively depleted, at which point they wish to save more. The economy begins to contract. Money pours into the banks, which lower the interest rates they provide to savers in response to the bank’s increase in cash reserves. Businesses benefit from the lower interest rates, for now it makes sense to take out loans and invest in expanding their productive capacities for the next cycle of demand.
During expansionary times when everyone is making and spending money, tax revenues increase. The more people are working, the more taxes they pay. Conversely, during periods of economic contraction, taxable income is lower; thus, federal revenues tend to diminish during the contraction period of the cycle. One can readily see that a natural consequence of the business cycle is the raising and lowering of federal reserves. Austrian economic theory holds that rhythmic deceleration and acceleration of the economy is akin to the breathing in and breathing out of a living organism. If not interfered with, each phase of the cycle is optimally brief and fluid, like an accordion that expands and contracts in the process of producing beautiful music. If federal spending keeps pace with available tax revenues, then we have a balanced budget. Conversely, deficit spending occurs when the federal government spends more money than it takes in.
In an ideal world, governments are flexible, accommodating entities that enact policies that are in accord with the economic tenor of the times. During expansionary periods when they run a surplus, democrat/liberal values necessarily prevail. Expansion of services to the poor and underprivileged are undertaken. New investments can be made in renewing the country’s infrastructure; roads are built, electrical grids updated, and school buildings renovated. More public sector employees can be hired—bureaucrats, teachers, police and firemen—and given generous benefits and pensions. Entitlement programs are initiated or expanded, such as welfare and Medicaid. However, during periods when tax revenues are contracting, Republican policies should carry the day. Budgets are tightened, government is downsized, and fiscal restraint is required.
In the real world, however, governments are reticent to cut back on spending even when circumstances dictate they should. Keynesian economic theory, which is the alternative to the Austrian model, has dominated American and European politics since the 1930’s.4 Keynesian economics is based on an ideal of permanent expansion—a perpetual quasi-boom. To the extent this is possible, it not only assures that businesses keep reaping profits and expanding indefinitely, but government tax revenues likewise increase without end, thus permitting more and more spending on projects designed to build a utopian dream society. In this rosy scenario, the popularity of the current administration never wanes and politicians in power are always re-elected.
Needless to say, this scenario is not particularly realistic; yet, for obvious reasons politicians strive to attain it none-the-less. Their favored means toward this end is having the ultimate bank, the Federal Reserve, artificially lower interest rates in an attempt to stimulate investment, expand production, and increase hiring. Interest rates manipulated by the Federal Reserve no longer move up and down freely in response to market changes; instead, they are adjusted by central planners—the Federal Reserve—in an attempt to perpetuate the expansionary phase. Rates are adjusted not in response to actual economic conditions, but to counter and change conditions that impede a permanent high rate of growth. These manipulations impact the entire banking industry.
One consequence of artificially low interest rates is that businesses take out loans that are not warranted by actual market conditions. Buoyed by the lure of artificially low lending rates, businesses make long term investments toward increasing their rate of production; yet, since consumers are never encouraged to save, their purchasing power to demand those goods is not likely to be there when businesses hope to cash in on their investments. This leads to a discoordination in supply and demand and a misallocation of resources on a massive scale, as when construction companies build more houses than people have the means to purchase.
Further assuring a bad outcome, legislation was passed under Democrats Jimmy Carter (1977) and Bill Clinton (1995) called the Community Reinvestment Act, which mandated banks weaken their lending laws so that low-income earners could obtain mortgage loans, thus priming the real estate bubble that exploded in 2008 when people defaulted in record numbers. Just as the Feds artificially lower interest rates to stimulate business investment, so they have manipulated lending policies (through legislation) to enable borrowers to obtain loans for which they would otherwise not qualify.
Economic instability and malinvestment is further compounded by the Federal Reserve’s expansion of the money supply—again, by artificial means. In order to stave off the contraction half of the business cycle, the feds borrow and/or print dollars out of thin air and inject them into the economy (think amphetamine) to stimulate demand for more goods and services, whether people need them or not. This is colloquially referred to as ‘stimulus packages’ and ‘quantitative easing’ (QA). While such fixes temporarily excite the economy and drive up stock values, they eventually erode the value of the dollar and bring about inflation. Like a drug addict who has to keep upping his dose to get high, people end up spending more and more for less and less. Keynesian economic policies were first instituted by F.D.R. during the depression of the 1930’s. Since then, and as a direct result of Keynesian policies, the dollar has lost 92% of its purchasing power. Inflation in oil/gas prices and commodities is the ever accelerating train that can never be caught.5
The ultimate result of the Feds meddling in the economy for political ends is the boom and bust cycle that has repeatedly afflicted our financial system over the past century. When the bubble economy bursts, as it did in 2008, then banks collapse, businesses fail, and consumers tighten their grip on money that increasingly loses its value as the Fed pumps yet new money into the system to reinflate the bubble. Borrowing and printing dollars to re-stimulate the economy, however, has only one guaranteed effect: it raises the federal debt at an exponential rate. During the current administration (2009-2012), federal debt has climbed from 10 trillion to over 16 trillion dollars, increasing more in three years under Obama than in eight years under Bush.6 Even more ominously, it constitutes a full third of the debt that the United States has accrued over its entire 236 year history.
Many experts believe that Keynesian economic policies have reached the limit of their effectiveness. In effect, the jig is up. Rather than re-inflating the economy, the result has been massive economic uncertainty, unemployment stuck at over 8%, anemic consumer spending, and a freeze on investment that refuses to budge despite the Fed’s near-zero percent interest rate.
Outer Planet Sign Positions
One might wonder at this point, what does this have to with astrology? Recall that in an ideal world governed by Austrian economic theory, both democratic and republican policies have a role to play in the balanced workings of government. During expansionary times when there is a budget surplus, democratic (Pisces and Libra) values come to the fore; conversely, when the economy contracts and there’s a budget deficit, republican (Aries and Capricorn) values predominate—or, at least they should, as common sense would dictate. In fact, however, this is seldom the case.
Even when Republican presidents are in office, they generally have to contend with a Democratic controlled House and/or Senate; thus, their policies are compromised or prevented outright. And while Republicans favor fiscal discipline, the seductive sway of Keynesian economic thought afflicts the entire political spectrum, perpetrating the illusion amongst members of both parties that a quick fix to an economic downturn is always at hand: slash interest rates and flood the system with fiat money. Although fewer Republicans think this way than Democrats, the problem is systemic, resulting in an economy that has the stability of a 100 year-old roller coaster careening about on rickety, rotting timbers.
Difficulty with fiscal restraint is exacerbated when the outer planets are in signs that favor democratic/liberal policies. In other words, government decision-making is influenced in an expansionary direction whenever there is an intensification of democratic values within the collective as a consequence of outer planets occupying liberal signs. And this will occur even when a reduction in spending is required. Before examining this further, let us briefly review the meaning of the outer (or transpersonal) planets—Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto—and their relationship to mass consciousness.
Together, these slow moving ‘heavies’ have a tremendous impact on cultural trends and social values. The German term zeitgeist is useful here, for it means ‘the spirit of the times’ and refers to the intellectual, spiritual, artistic, and political climate within a nation, along with the general mood and morals associated with the era. Each planet makes its own contribution to the mix. Since transpersonal planets occupy signs for relatively long periods—7 years for Uranus, 13 for Neptune, and 12 to 32 for Pluto—their sign positions interact, dissolve, and reform into ever changing symmetrical patterns, a slow motion kaleidoscope that reflects a barely discernible yet inexorable evolutionary march. In effect, the outer boundary of the solar system, marked by the orbits of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, serves as a kind of living, nourishing placenta within which the collective psyche evolves. Each planet-sign combination provides a specific type of archetypal nutrient for a given duration, catalyzing the development and maturation of various human capacities.
Uranus’s sign position signifies a movement to awaken the masses to a more enlightened perspective of that sign. It can also bring about shock and rebellion in a way and in a context symbolized by its sign position. When Uranus was in Pisces from 2003 to 2010 it awakened compassion for marginalized out-groups and oppressed minorities. Homosexual activists, for example, were emboldened and launched a movement that influenced the culture to legally recognize their right to marry. This, in turn, impacted public policy, and a number of states passed legislation recognizing gay marriage. In addition, new programs were instituted in public schools that mainstreamed and redefined homosexuality as merely an alternative sexual orientation, no less normal or healthy than heterosexuality. There were other outcomes of Uranus in Pisces, too, but the gay marriage movement serves to illustrate the general trend.
Neptune stimulates the public’s imagination and sense of idealism with regard to the affairs of its sign position. From 1998-2011, Neptune was in Aquarius, which correlated to an idealization of tolerance and inclusivity as manifest in the new emphasis on multiculturalism, pluralism, and egalitarianism during this period. While Aquarius is not exclusively a liberal sign, it has strong liberal leanings in that it’s associated with change, progress, reform, tolerance, and a kind of post-moral, non-judgmental lenience—virtues solidly in the liberal camp. Neptune in Aquarius culminated in the election of the first U.S. black president, Barak Obama, whose signature accomplishment was ‘ObamaCare’ – health care reform that assured medical coverage for the poor and underprivileged. Similarly, Bill Clinton doubled down on the Community Reinvestment Act started under Jimmy Carter that mandated banks (under threat of fines) to lower lending standards for the sake of racial equality, thus assuring that previously unqualified borrowers could obtain housing loans.7
And finally, Pluto’s sign exposes a particular dimension of our collective shadow. The dark lord signifies an impulse to transform and regenerate the affairs of the sign it occupies. Pluto’s transit through Sagittarius from 1995-2008 had a number of interesting manifestations, not the least of which was the boiling up of an inherent religious extremism within Islam, which tends to pervert religion in the service of bigotry and hatred. Another perversion of religion was also exposed: the systemic pedophilia within the Catholic Church, which some argued was symptomatic of Catholicism’s celibacy requirement for an exclusively male priesthood.8
With regard to economics, Pluto is particularly important, for it rules the financial system in general. When Pluto went into Sagittarius in 1995, we entered a period of unprecedented economic expansion that encompassed two different presidencies—Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—and two distinct booms, one in the tech sector and the other in real estate. Characterized by boundless faith and an elevated sense of possibility, Sagittarius is hopeful and expansive. Consistent with liberal values, it’s associated with growth—as in the growth of government, increased spending, and the impulse to extend oneself for the greater good (philanthropy). Not surprisingly, Pluto in Sagittarius was an era of expanded credit, reckless (subprime) lending policies, excessive market speculation, and mounting debt across the board. In the famous words of then Federal Reserve chairman, Allan Greenspan, the stock market was in the grip of an “irrational exuberance.”
By the time Pluto’s sojourn in Sagittarius ended in 2008, the average U.S. family was $10,000 in debt, an unprecedented figure. Banks were out-on-the-limb with billions in toxic assets from bad mortgages they would never recover. Moreover, federal debt had ballooned to 10 trillion dollars, partly because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also due to George W. Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’ that led to significant spending increases in social programs. Anti-poverty spending increased 39%, housing programs went up 26%, food assistance expanded by 49%, and SSI expenditures designed to help the disabled shot up 36%.9
Of course, spending increases in social programs reflected not only the irrational exuberance of Pluto in Sagittarius, but also the inspired egalitarianism and social justice policies of Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius. Piscean values were especially highlighted not merely by virtue of Uranus’ tenancy of that sign, but also because Uranus was in a mutual reception with Neptune in Aquarius, the result being a self-escalating feedback loop that generated a national mood of hyper-liberalism—radical compassion for victims, political correctness run amuck, misguided attempts to eliminate all suffering, value subjectivism leading to moral decline, and social justice policies that advocated not merely equal opportunity but equal outcome for all.
The point is that between 1995 and 2008 the sign positions of the outer planets combined in such a way to create a ‘perfect storm’ that burst upon the public in a torrent of liberal policies that accomplished much good, but also had unintended consequences.10 If the mutual reception of Uranus and Neptune created a volatile gas of radical compassion, Pluto in Sagittarius was the torch that ignited it. Fueled by good intentions and inflamed by a sense of limitless possibility, a firestorm of debt swept across the economic landscape from 1995-2008 that threatened to consume the fortunes of an entire nation.11
It was against this backdrop that Obama took office on January 21, 2009. Prior to his inauguration, however, and throughout most of 2008, the presidential campaign unfolded in a climate of unabashed liberal-Democrat sentiment. Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’ was certainly in synch with the tenor of the times, but his leadership in the war on terror and his decision to invade Iraq eclipsed whatever popularity he might otherwise have achieved (remember, liberals are instinctively anti-war/anti-Aries). So great was the animosity toward the Bush presidency that it undermined the candidacies of Republicans everywhere, paving the way for a complete sweep by Democrats of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.
In November 2008, the very month Obama was elected, Pluto ingressed into Capricorn where it would remain for the next 14 years. A new economic era had begun. But it may turn out to be an era for which the Obama administration is ill-suited. Over the course of 2008, the firestorm of Pluto in Sagittarius slowly morphed into the ice storm of Pluto in Capricorn. When the dark Lord finally settled into Capricorn for good, the economic climate chilled like a nuclear winter. Wall Street shuddered, and then froze. Lehman brothers went bankrupt. Merrill Lynch and AIG were on life support. And the Federal Reserve was scurrying about in damage control resorting to their usual tricks to stem a tsunami of debt that threatened to capsize the ship of state: more regulation, more intervention, more spending, more money creation, and (you guessed it) more debt. The 700 billion dollar Fed bailout of Wall Street spawned a trillion dollar sequel under Obama—the stimulus package—that was force fed to a comatose economy that swallowed the medicine, burped, and promptly went nowhere.
The great credit freeze was underway. Banks stopped lending. Businesses downsized. Workers were laid off. And everyone started cutting the fat wherever they could. Pluto in Capricorn had tested the soundness of our economy and revealed it for what it was: a bloated, profligate mess. For the first time in more than a decade, people actually began saving. Everyone except the federal government, that is. Driven to ‘stimulate’ the economy while at the same time attempting to regulate away problems it had created with its own Keynesian monetary policy, the government went on a spending spree like Paris Hilton on steroids. From 2009-2012 the Obama administration spent more money per/year than any government in the history of the world—six trillion more than it took in—blowing the national debt up to 16 trillion dollars in less than one term.
To understand the government’s predicament, we have to appreciate the radical change in outer planet sign positions following Obama’s election in November 2008. It wasn’t merely the oceans that parted, it was the heavens. First, Pluto transited out of Sagittarius and into Capricorn. This is like winning a vacation in Vegas and upon arrival being clubbed, mugged, and waking up two months later on a cold day in Washington with a troubling 700 billion debit on your Visa card and a thank you note from the Bush administration stapled to your forehead.
Next, Uranus left Pisces in June of 2010 and at long last broke an incestuous affair with Neptune in Aquarius that had been going on for nearly two decades.12 This transition was epitomized in the 2010 award winning film Blind Side in which a passive, homeless, traumatized youth of a drug addicted single (welfare) mother unexpectedly finds himself in a new family that values self-reliance, courage, and take-no-prisoners competitive zeal. The result: a resuscitated life on the fast track to all American status and first round NFL draft pick. We’re talking Aries here.13 Blind Side is the perfect metaphor for the change in national mood that occurred when Uranus transited into Aries. There was a new toughness in the air, a celebration of initiative and entrepreneurship, and a readiness to fight for the personal and economic freedoms that have been America’s signature strength.
While it’s certainly true that Obama faced a drastic and unexpected change in the archetypal weather following his election, one hoped that he was up to the challenge and could steer the ship of state into safe harbor. But given the values and sentiments that inform his politics, was it realistic to expect that he could? Again, Obama was elected during the perfect storm of Pluto in Sagittarius with Uranus and Neptune in mutual reception. He dreamily embodied the sentiment of that time—the radical compassion of Uranus in Pisces; the idealization of change (toward a more inclusive, humane world) of Neptune in Aquarius; and the hope of limitless prosperity symbolized by Pluto in Sagittarius. His inflated oratory and soaring promise of a new ‘united’ America struck just the right note. Hope and change won the day.
But the only thing that changed was the national tenor, and not in a hopeful direction. Legislative goals that seemed right in 2008 fell flat in 2009-2012—most notably, national health care reform that provides coverage for the previously uninsured but drove up costs and created massive uncertainty for businesses. Obama’s attempts to combat the recession seemed to make things worse—or, at least slow down the recovery. The 2009 stimulus funded a slew of liberal projects, but produced few real jobs. Unemployment figures have remained stubbornly above 8% for 46 consecutive months. Efforts to protect citizens from unscrupulous banking and business practices—that is, to prevent future victimization and suffering (the liberal raison d’etre)—put a stranglehold on economic growth, contributing to the slowest recovery from a recession in our nation’s history.14
Moreover, Medicare is near bankrupt with no realistic plan to fix it. Due to unprecedented and accelerating national debt, America’s credit rating has been downgraded by Standard and Poor’s for the first time ever. Distribution of food stamps has doubled under the Obama administration, encouraged by government ads exhorting the needy to join an ever growing list of recipients. Unemployment benefits that were once merely a temporary aid have been transformed—due to endless extensions—into a way of life for millions of Americans, making them dependents on government welfare.And the Obama foreign policy of appeasement and ‘leading from behind’, which he promised would win over the Muslim world, seems grossly out of synch with the Arab Spring born from Uranus’ ingress into war-like Aries. The militant Muslim Brotherhood has taken over Egypt (at the very least), a resurgent Al Qaeda has murdered our foreign ambassador in Libya, frenzied Islamists have attacked our embassies in twenty countries, Afghan recruits are killing their American trainers, and an increasingly belligerent Iran is on the brink of having a nuclear bomb (with the avowed intention to annihilate Israel). To all this, Obama’s response has been some version of “Let’s not say mean things about our Muslim brothers…and, can’t we all just get along?” Again, a Democrat’s instinctive response to an Aries situation is either Libran appeasement or Piscean denial.
Frankly, hope and change should have been put on hold, but it wasn’t. Rather than tack right after losing the House in the mid-term elections of 2010, Obama doubled down in his attempt to push liberal programs and policies.15 But his efforts have stalled precisely because he is sailing against the tide of Uranus/Aries and Pluto/Capricorn. When he put forth his March 2012 budget to the House, it was defeated 414-0. When it went to the Senate in May, it was unanimously rejected 99-0, and for the same reason: it did nothing to reign in out-of-control federal spending.
While the rest of the country is downsizing, streamlining, and putting the brakes on unnecessary spending, Obama has pressed the accelerator to the floor in an attempt to expand the size of government. If one could convert the rate of deficit spending into MPH (taking inflation into consideration), G.W. Bush was driving at 64 mph, faster than any president before him. However, Obama is driving at 174 mph, nearly three times as fast as Bush.16 Experts warn that unless we slow down, within twenty years mandatory spending (primarily Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the national debt) will exceed tax revenues. All discretionary spending (e.g., defense, homeland security, law enforcement, education, etc.) will require borrowing and related deficit spending. Oversight agencies have used such language as “unsustainable” and “trainwreck” to describe such a future.
Making the Tough Decisions
If one accepts that the cosmos is intelligently ordered and unfolds in a purposive manner, then new directives are implicit in the changing of planetary sign positions. We know that adjacent signs are compensatory to one another, with the succeeding sign serving as a corrective to the excesses and deficiencies of its predecessor. Just as economies expand and contract in accord with a natural business cycle, so planets expand and contract as they transition from yang to yin signs. In this way, the zodiac symbolizes a process of perpetual rebalancing. It follows, therefore, that human actions are best ordered when they likewise conform to the natural and orderly rhythms of the heavens. An obvious example occurred in 2008 when Pluto moved from yang, fiery, and expansive Sagittarius to yin, earthy, and conservative Capricorn. Since Pluto rules the financial realm, the entire global economy contracted in perfect synchrony with the change of planetary position. In effect, Pluto in Capricorn served as an injunction, a command to the human world:
This is a time for fiscal discipline and austere economic measures. Run a tight ship. Be frugal, downsize if necessary. Clear the decks and eliminate fluff. This is a shakedown. Organize your finances in a maximally efficient manner and be prepared for lean times ahead.
Capricorn, of course, is associated with hierarchical structures, which is why it is the sign of government. And because Pluto symbolizes a transformational, regenerative process, its occupation of Capricorn suggests a period during which governments are apt to be transformed, especially in a financial sense. Inefficiencies, ethical failures, and flawed policies that compromise the integrity of governance must be rooted out, exposed, and eliminated. This was exemplified in the mid-term elections of 2010 when the populace focused on the economic policies of Congressional Democrats—record deficits, 9% unemployment, and sweeping reforms in the health care system—with the result that Democrats suffered massive defeats and lost control of the House in the largest seat change (63) in any mid-term election since 1938. In addition, Republicans gained a record 680 seats in state legislative races and took control of 29 of the 50 State Governorships.17
During this same period, Uranus transited out of Pisces and into Aries, which was the second sea change that occurred during the Obama presidency. Whereas Uranus in dreamy, idealistic Pisces (2003-2010) awakened compassion for marginalized out-groups and victims of every persuasion, its tenancy of Aries shifted the focus to personal survival, which is the primary need of that sign. Predictably, gun sales skyrocketed in anticipation of a possible breakdown in civil order, such as might occur following a terrorist attack, blackout, natural disaster, or pandemic virus outbreak. Sales nationwide were up 50% to achieve a record high of 992,975 firearms sold in fiscal year 2011.
Uranus in Aries has awakened our collective need to be free, autonomous, and self-reliant individuals. In the Middle East, this has spawned revolts against local tyrants (the Arab Spring) in which young Muslims demanded freedom from their oppressors. Similarly, but less noticeably in the U.S., there has been an explosion of growth in separatist groups and local militias who see the federal government as untrustworthy. The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report stating there were 149 such groups active in the United States in 2009 (before Uranus ingressed into Aries). Today, the number has ballooned to 1,274—an increase of more than 755% in just a few short years.18
There has also been a tremendous increase in survivalism—individuals and groups actively preparing for possible disruptions in the socio-political order. As a movement, survivalism has been fueled by worldwide economic uncertainty (Pluto in Capricorn) as well as doomsday fears associated with December 21st, 2012 (end of the Mayan Calendar). Preparations include building shelters, self-defense training, stockpiling food and medical supplies, and growing one’s own food. Increasing numbers of people are attracted to the idea of living off-the-grid, which means generating your own electrical power and being entirely self-sufficient without need for public utilities.19 All of this is symptomatic of Uranus in Aries.
Whereas individuals and communities are clearly shifting in a conservative (Aries/Capricorn) direction in synchrony with changes in outer planet sign positions, our federal government is not. If anything, Obama has doubled down in his conformity with outer planet sign positions that prevailed when he was campaigning—that is, Pluto in Sagittarius and the mutual reception of Uranus and Neptune. He entered office in early 2009 knowing that federal debt was exploding; yet, instead of promoting policies that supported economic growth and addressed our fiscal entitlement crisis, Obama went in exactly the opposite direction. He passed a massive new entitlement program (ObamaCare) rather than trimming existing ones; he increased annual welfare spending by one third (the largest increase in U.S. history); he weakened Clinton’s 1996 Welfare Reform Act by ending work requirements to receive welfare; and he’s stubbornly sought to raise taxes on top income earners—small business owners that drive economic growth—despite overwhelming evidence that raising taxes during a recession is counter-productive.
With regard to Uranus in Aries, the situation is the same: Obama’s policies have consistently gone against Aries values. Rather than encouraging independence and free enterprise, his policies stifle entrepreneurship and foster dependency on government. Moreover, he favors new gun-control legislation, military downsizing, and a weakening of the U.S. Border Control. When Arizona drew a line in the sand in an attempt to stem the tide of illegal immigration—in other words, took a hardline (Aries) position against the 5000 illegals that stream across our borders every day—the Obama administration sued the state and accused them of racial discrimination. Far from being tough, strong, and decisive in dealing with America’s enemies, critics charge that Obama’s foreign policy is one of comparative weakness, conciliation and apology, as evidenced by his recent refusal to back Israel in drawing a red line to combat Iran’s nuclear threat.
Hand-outs, giveaways, and rescue operations (think Solyndra) have been the hallmark of the Obama administration. At best, such policies might be suitable during an economic boom. In the present era, they seem tone deaf. Headlong pursuit of green energy, clean air, and the welfare state may be defensible during good times, but in bad times it’s like sending your child to an elite private college for $40,000 per/year despite your wife’s need for expensive medical treatments to survive breast cancer. “Sorry honey. I would love to help you out, but Weston just got accepted to Columbia!”
If this sounds like Neptunian denial, maybe it’s because it is. Neptune’s ingress into Pisces—its own sign—in April 2011 harkens back to the halcyon days of the mutual reception when wishful thinking blissfully substituted for reality. No administration in recent memory has been more pilloried for corruption, distortions, cover-ups, deceptions, and outright lying—all bearing Neptune’s signature—than the Obama administration.20 Clearly, the goal is to get our beleaguered president over the finish line for a second term. Political pundits on the right marvel at Obama’s staying power. Given his low approval rating (under 50%), divisive politics (class warfare), anemic foreign policy, soaring deficits, lost jobs, and sputtering economy, Obama is defying gravity. No president since F.D.R. has been re-elected with unemployment over 8%; yet, at the time of this writing, he is still ahead of Romney in the polls. Again, one suspects Neptune is a factor here, not only in Obama’s campaign strategy (deceitful), but in the nation’s willingness to enable his incompetency.
With Neptune in its own sign we should expect an intensification of Piscean sentiments within the culture. As the final sign of the zodiac, Piscean values trump all, and Piscean values reside at the heart of Democrat/liberal politics. This is why Democrats so often presume a contemptuous, moral superiority in their attitude toward Republicans. Who can argue against the spiritual ideal of sacrifice for one’s fellow man and compassion for all sentient beings? Yet, innumerable studies show that too much of a good thing can actually be bad. The psychological term for this is enabling, which means to protect people from the consequences of their own choices. This prevents them from learning and is the equivalent of stealing their karma. Enabling is usually done out of genuine compassion, but with consequences that are unintended. The proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, as exemplified in the Community Reinvestment Act that was a prime trigger for the real estate crash of 2008.
Other Neptunian pursuits include meddling and helping too much, which again leads to unintended consequences (usually some version of fostering dependency). Journalist John Stossel has made a career out of exposing the government’s disastrous attempts to help the poor, defeat racism, and eliminate suffering.21 A classic example goes back to the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 60’s when Democratic President Lyndon Johnson initiated welfare programs to help inner city black families—his so called ‘war on poverty’. Recognizing that their families would get more money from the government if mothers were single and pregnant (the more children the bigger the check), fathers moved out or never claimed paternity, and black families gradually disintegrated. The result: unemployment among young black males has more than doubled since the 1950’s; imprisonment rates have dramatically increased; and inner city poverty is essentially the same as it was in 1964.
Ironically, poverty in black families had nearly been cut in half in the 20 years prior to the 1960s when government assistance was minimal and most black children were raised in two-parent families. “None of these facts fit liberal social dogmas,” writes black economist Thomas Sowell, with a hint of sadness.22 Likewise, Charles Murray writes in his book Losing Ground: “The first effect [of social-welfare policy] . . . was to make it profitable for the poor to behave in the short term in ways that were destructive in the long term. Their second effect was to mask these long-term losses—to subsidize irretrievable mistakes. We tried to remove the barriers to escape poverty, and inadvertently built a trap.”23
This should not imply that extending a helping hand is always bad; only, that it’s not always good, especially when what’s needed is simply to get out of the way—or, perhaps on some occasions, give a good kick in the pants. When government provides food, shelter, and healthcare to welfare recipients, they lose the incentive to provide for themselves; moreover, they are insulated from having to face the consequences of unfavorable choices. To reevaluate government welfare may seem radical, but perhaps that is precisely what the cosmos is saying with Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. The global message to humanity seems to be:
Toughen up and get real. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and stay the course. There’s no free lunch. Life is what you make it, so be accountable for the consequences of your own choices.
If this is one variant of the Prime Directive of the cosmos (for the present), then it’s also what we need to be telling one another; yet, such an attitude flies in the face of liberal-Democrat values. No doubt this is why the Obama administration is struggling to align itself with the tenor of the times. Republican values were certainly not what Obama had in mind by his campaign slogan of ‘hope and change’. It is ironic that by stubbornly adhering to ideals that enjoyed heightened popularity during the last decade—Pluto in Sagittarius, Uranus in Pisces, and Neptune in Aquarius—but that are dangerously out-of-place now, Obama is actually sailing against the archetypal winds of change. Republican vice presidential hopeful, Paul Ryan, describes an Obama presidency desperately clinging to power as it heads into the next election:
It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new. Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at the moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.24
Rebalancing the Equation
Even though Neptune is strong in its own sign, Uranus and Pluto give strength to Aries and Capricorn; thus, it would appear that conservative values have a slight edge within the collective psyche for the current decade. The Uranus-Pluto square from 2012-2015 (exact 7 times) will further draw out the respective powers of these two signs, if only by virtue of their struggle with one another. As always, the work at hand is to weave the archetypal strands of fate into a socio-cultural tapestry that is both functional and harmonious. The question arises, how can the body politic best accomplish this?
From the perspective of Austrian economic theory, we are clearly in a contraction phase of the business cycle, which favors Republican/conservative policies of reduced spending, lower taxes, and smaller government. Since the current administration has been unwilling to do this—and, in fact, has moved in precisely the opposite direction—it is possible that this has exacerbated the contraction and prolonged the recession. John B. Taylor, Senior Fellow in Economics at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, writes that excessive government regulations, the stimulus package, quantitative easing (QE), ObamaCare, and a general failure to rein in government spending has caused massive uncertainty within the economy and made business owners reluctant to hire new workers or expand production (thus keeping unemployment high and economic growth low).25
The antidote, of course, would be to move in the direction of policies that are more in accord with Aries and Capricorn values—in other words, Republican policies. Unleash private enterprise by streamlining regulation, and restore business confidence by reducing the deficit and balancing the budget. As every astrologer knows, government is an inherently Capricornian institution. Capricorn favors maximum efficiency, reduction of waste, and a lean and mean style of operation. The principle of contraction manifests as limits, frugality, caution in taking on new projects, and, above all, following tradition—established policies and fixed rules—that have been proven to work and which provide the necessary certainty to plan one’s individual affairs confident in the assurance that no one is going to move the goal posts. Too much ‘hope and change’ plays havoc with the simple, predictable rules that are necessary for an economy to grow.
That Republicans favor lower taxes, smaller government, and less regulation is often shrilly attacked by Democrats as evidence of avarice, uncaring, and selfishness, for it would appear to be at the expense of the needy. The usual charge is that Republicans want to reduce services to the needy and give tax breaks to the rich solely to become more rich (as if greed is their only conceivable motive). Yet, studies consistently show that when taxes are levied at an optimally low rate it increases business investment, raises GDP, and leads to greater tax revenue. The resulting surplus enables government to pay for social programs without having to resort to deficit spending; thus, it’s a win-win situation all around.26
Tax reductions by Harding and Coolidge in the 20’s, Kennedy in the 60’s, Reagan in the 80’s, and Bush in 2003 all immediately stimulated the economy and resulted in tax dollar increases to the federal treasury.27 More money in tax revenues means more people have jobs, since they are the ones paying the taxes. In states with current Republican governors, the average unemployment rate is a full point lower than in states with Democratic governors. Moreover, says Governor Bob McDonnell of VA with obvious pride, “Republican governors lead seven of the ten states with the lowest unemployment rates, and 12 of the 15 states ranked best for business. While the Obama administration borrows over $3 billion a day just to keep the lights on, Republican governors have closed $65 billion in budget shortfalls, without raising taxes.”28
With Neptune in Pisces through 2025, there’s no question that Democrat/liberal values will remain strong in the body politic. What we should be shouting from the rafters, however, is that government is not the only, and certainly not the best, vehicle for dispensing charity and expressing compassion. In fact, government was never designed to be a Piscean charity dedicated to rescuing the poor, sick, or elderly. Prior to the inception of the modern welfare state under F.D.R. in the ‘30’s (Uranus closing square to Pluto), and expanded by L.B.J. in the ‘60’s (Uranus conjunct Pluto), charity had always been the province of individuals and communities, usually headed by local churches and fraternal societies who purportedly did a better job than the welfare state.29 Now, with Uranus again aligning with Pluto (opening square), there is an urgent need to put the brakes on and reassess the wisdom of federal programs that are linked to this planetary pairing.
An abundance of evidence suggests we need to reverse course, as is common with the square. The reason is simple. By siphoning funds away from the private sector and funneling them into failed government projects to help the disadvantaged (examples are endless), government actually diminishes the ability of civil society to deal with the problems of living. For example, Charles Murray writes in his classic text Losing Ground that poverty was steadily declining through the ‘50’s and ‘60’s until L.B.J’s ‘Great Society’ programs kicked in at the start of the ‘70’s.30 Echoing Thomas Sowell, Murray argues that Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’ actually made things worse for its intended beneficiaries. By eroding self-reliance, destroying families, and making more and more people dependent on government, welfare has been a disaster and quite possibly one of the worst ideas in the history of the planet.
This led to welfare reform under the Newt Gingrich led Republican Congress during Clinton’s tenure. Responding positively to pressure from Gingrich, Clinton famously trumpeted his intention “to end welfare as we know it,” and later stated that the 1996 legislation they mutually enacted allows us “to break the cycle of dependency that has existed for millions and millions of our fellow citizens, exiling them from the world of work.”31 Gingrich went on to find more effective ways to increase employment opportunities for the poor—encouraging volunteerism and spiritual renewal, creating tax incentives, and reducing regulations for businesses in poor neighborhoods. In his volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, Gingrich observed it was more rewarding for people to be actively involved in improving their lives—building their own homes—than to simply receive a welfare check.32
The point is that Neptune in Pisces can be utilized for the greater good by taking the initiative (Aries) and assuming personal responsibility (Capricorn) for acts of charity and compassion (Pisces). This can take the form of volunteerism, being a good neighbor, or joining any of innumerable organizations dedicated to good works, all of which are time honored traditions of particular relevance today. Again, this had been the norm for the greater part of human history up to the 20th century when the force that leveled it was indeed powerful—the modern welfare state. It’s easy to feign being an altruistic person while projecting responsibility for charity onto the nanny-state, but to walk the walk one needs to take responsibility for being charitable within one’s means. The great tragedy of the welfare state is that it not only undermines self-respect and turns people into semi-permanent victims, it also diminishes any sense of responsibility the average citizen feels for helping his fellow humans. Increasingly relieved of both duty and financial means for voluntary acts of compassion—since government usurps the role—our capacity for altruism atrophies over time.
One of the more intriguing aspects of astrology is how planetary configurations can be integrated into more functional wholes. Uranus in Aries, Neptune in Pisces, and Pluto in Capricorn all have a part to play in the cultural zeitgeist; yet, all are interdependent, too, especially with Uranus and Pluto in square. While Uranus is awakening the collective to the importance of personal freedom, individual initiative and self-reliance, Pluto is transforming government into a more financially responsible, fiscally disciplined entity. In combination, this suggests a cultural movement to aggressively demand an administration that is sufficiently self-restrained and non-interfering that it supports free enterprise to the maximum extent possible. For this to occur, government has to rein in spending, eliminate excessive regulatory burdens, and once again allow individuals to assume responsibility for their own welfare.
At the same time, Neptune in Pisces highlights a collective concern for the disadvantaged. This concern, however, does not occur in a cultural vacuum; it must find a way to combine with the implicit injunctions of Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. If these latter injunctions are obeyed, it suggests a restoration of personal responsibility for individual acts of charity. With less money being drained by inept government programs that actually encourage dependence, more is available to the private citizen that can be funneled into reputable charities that empower recipients to truly change their lives.
We have all heard the saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” In keeping with Aries and Capricorn values, attempts to help the needy should stress the importance of self-help, good character, and living a prudent lifestyle if the individual expects to regain self-reliance. Charitable organizations in the past believed that aid given without nourishment of a man’s character would accomplish little except to demean him. Obviously, there are those who due to chronic illness, disability, or old age will never be entirely self-reliant; yet, others are gaming the system out of an inflated sense of entitlement, encouraged and abetted by policies that are excessively lenient.33
Beyond doing everything that can be done to help those who cannot help themselves, a strenuous effort should be made to help those who can help themselves do just that: help themselves. This means championing policies that encourage self-improvement, personal initiative, entrepreneurship, and participation within a competition-driven free market economy, for it is only through wealth creation that poverty is reduced and human progress assured. In a recent campaign speech, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney contrasted enabling with empowering by stating a simple but obvious truth: “Compassion should not be measured by how many people are on welfare, but by how many people you have helped find jobs.”
As a Mormon, Romney was brought up in a tradition that stressed personal responsibility, spiritual faith, and good character as the most effective combatants of indigence. In its 1936 “Church Welfare Plan,” the Mormon Church formulated the guidelines that underpinned their policy on charity. Not only was it framed during the last square of Pluto and Uranus, but it seems exceptionally appropriate now in providing a model that integrates Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Aries, and Neptune in Pisces under one inclusive policy. The plan was simply: “A system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and that independence, industry, thrift and self-respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves.”
Summary and Conclusion
Growth of government and deficit spending is exacerbated when the cultural zeitgeist favors liberal values, as occurs when the outer planets occupy liberal signs. This was the situation that prevailed during the ‘perfect storm’ of Pluto in Sagittarius and Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius or mutual reception, which traversed the period from 1995-2008 and culminated in the election of Barack Obama. Following Obama’s election and with Democrats in control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency, the national debt exploded. At the current rate of deficit spending, the Obama administration will have increased the national debt by more in a single presidency than all previous presidents combined: 12 trillion dollars in 8 years.
During Obama’s first term, all of the outer planets changed signs, which is highly unusual and underscores that we are living in a time of tremendous transition. With Uranus and Pluto moving into Aries and Capricorn, the cultural zeitgeist shifted rather suddenly from hyper-liberalism to strong conservatism. While the country as a whole lurched strongly to the right as evidenced by the emergence of the Tea Party and the rout of Democrats in the mid-term elections, Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate doubled down, dug in their heels. and clung tenaciously to their leftist agenda. The resulting stalemate set the stage for a referendum in the presidential election of November 6.
In effect, the Obama presidency is sailing against the archetypal winds, but not entirely. Neptune has ingressed into its own sign, Pisces, which heightens liberal values of charity and compassion. As every outer planet-sign combination constitutes a cosmic injunction, Neptune in Pisces has to accommodate itself to the radically different agendas of Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries. If all three can function together in an integrated way, we could have a fiscally disciplined administration that liberates entrepreneurship and free enterprise which, in turn, promotes charity from the bottom up rather than the top down. In other words, by reining in spending, government would empower individuals and communities to take responsibility for helping the least among us become strong, self-reliant, productive citizens.
The great irony of our times is that by acting more Republican we better achieve Democratic ideals. Each side is enriched by its counterpart; thus, through fiscal discipline and smaller government, charities at state and local levels are reinvigorated. One thing is certain: if we continue to export responsibility for charitable giving onto the federal government we will soon be in need of it ourselves, for there will be no more government to depend on; it will be bankrupt, and so will we. For a preview, one merely has to look at Europe. America is approaching a tipping point where fewer and fewer people are working for more and more dependents. This is like bailing out a sinking ship during a heavy storm by taking water from the bow and pouring it into the stern. Such a ship cannot long stay afloat, much less arrive at its destination.
In the final analysis, the issue is not which party is right, but which party is right for the times. If we identify too rigidly with either side of the political equation, we become cardboard stereotypes of the worst of each tradition: the cold, heartless, greedy Republican or the morally smug, bleeding heart, airhead Democrat. In truth, real people embody both sensibilities to varying degrees, and neither side has a monopoly on goodness. The goal is to recognize and integrate complementary opposites, adjusting one’s sails to the archetypal winds so that a dynamic equilibrium is maintained over time.
Archetypal astrology postulates that the real spiritual ideal is differentiation and coordination of all modes of being into a balanced whole. From a Gods-eye view, Aries and Capricorn are no less valued for their toughness and hardness than Pisces for its softness. In the current archetypal zeitgeist, all three have to be woven into a functional composite that complies with the Prime Directive of the cosmos:
Transform organizations at every level and make them fiscally responsible. Respect limits, but do not fail to act in your own self-interest, for if you cannot help yourself you cannot help another. Encourage the weak, do not enable them. While compassion has no limits, the gift of charity is best given with conditions that foster self-reliance.
* * * * *
1 The so called ‘gender-gap’ underscores the archetypal nature of politics. For decades women have been more closely aligned with the Democratic Party and men more likely to identify as Republicans. The gender gap—the difference between how men and women vote—represents on average a seven point gulf between the sexes during presidential elections.
2 Excessive focus on leveling the playing field sometimes devolves into attempts to level the natural social and economic hierarchy, i.e., extreme liberalism aspires to assure equal outcomes with regard to success, happiness, and prosperity. Conservatives argue, however, that people differ in their motivation and capacity for success. Different views on this point reflect the tension of the square between Libra/liberals and Capricorn/conservatives.
3 Hayek, F.A. (2007). The road to serfdom: The definitive edition. Chicago: U. Of Chicago Press
4 John Maynard Keynes was a 20th centry British economist whose ideas profoundly affected the theory of modern macroeconomics and informed the monetary policies of governments. For more, go to: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/k/keynesianeconomics.asp#ixzz27FuazDM0
5 For example, since Obama took office the price of gas has doubled. While not the only cause, devaluation of the dollar through expansion of the money supply is thought to be a major cause.
6 Bush increased the debt from 5 trillion to 10 trillion in eight years.
7 Again, this was one of the prime causes of the economic meltdown that occurred in 2008 when borrowers massively defaulted on mortgage payments they could not afford.
8 By definition, to be a priest in the Catholic Church means you are sexually repressed, or need to repress your sexuality, or have no particular interest in woman to start with. Whatever the case, it does not bode well for normal expression of sexual feeling.
9 Biggs, Andrew G., “Claims and Facts: Common Arguments against SS Reform Featuring Voluntary Personal Retirement Accounts,” Cato Institute, 9 July 2002, http://socialsecurity.org/pubs/articles/art-biggs020709.pdf.
10 So total was the liberal hegemony of the period that by 2008 it spawned a host of conservative books as a kind of counter-insurgency. The titles speak volumes: Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg (2008); The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb (2008); The Tyranny of Nice by Kathy Shaidle (2008).
11 In Europe, these same policies ultimately bankrupted Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland, who survive now largely by virtue of Germany’s largesse.
12 Neptune and Uranus were conjunct in Capricorn from ’92-95; were in the same sign (Aquarius) from ’98-2003; and were in mutual reception from 2003-2011.
13 As so often happens with memorable films, they metaphorically encapsulate emergent ideas, values, and evolutionary trends circulating within the objective psyche at the time of their release. In this regard, they are like collective dreams.
14 The Dodd-Frank act of 2010 produced 8,840 pages of new restrictions and made starting a new business exceedingly difficult. Over the past three years, economic growth has been creeping along at an average of 1.7% (as compared to 2.7% during the Bush presidency). For more comparisons, see peter Wehner’s article: “In Bush v. Obama, Bush Wins in a Rout,” at: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/in-bush-v-obama-bush-wins-in-a-rout/
15 Faced with an identical situation in 1994, Bill Clinton famously declared, “The era of big government is over,” rolled up his sleeves, and began working with a Republican controlled Congress headed by Newt Gingrich. The result: a balanced budget, tax revenue surplus, and booming economy.
16 Using this same conversion rate, Reagan was at 50 mph under a Democratic Congress. Under a Republican Congress, Clinton was at 18 mph (thank you, Newt). Under Obama and a Democratic Congress, the debt has exploded from 10 trillion to 16 trillion in three years, or 2 trillion per/year (Bush was only 500 billion per/year). See “The National Debt Road Trip” at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=P5yxFtTwDcc
17 See ‘United States Elections, 2010’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_elections,_2010
18 “Obama’s election sparked dramatic rise in militia groups in US, report finds”. http://thegrio.com/2012/03/08/officials-see-rise-in-militia-groups-across-us/
19 “The Business of Survival: A Look at Growing Trends and 2012,” by Scott D. http://survivalblog.com/2012/03/the-business-of-survival-a-look-at-growing-trends-and-2012-by-scott-d.html
20 See, for example, Promoting Decline: Obama vs. America by Scott Wheeler. Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream by Dinesh D’Souza. The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House by Edward Klein. Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin. Any one of these books is alarming but collectively they paint a picture of a president who is astonishingly arrogant, callow, incompetent, deceitful, treacherous, and destructive.
21 See Stossel’s books. Give Me a Break (2005) documents his opposition to government regulation and his rationale for shifting social services from government to private charities. His second book, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity (2007) exposes the ineffectiveness of government programs that purport to help victims. His latest book, No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails – But Individuals Succeed (2012) extends the argument for individual initiative over government dependency.
22 “The Welfare State: Rhetoric vs. Reality,” by Thomas Sowell, WND Commentary, 03/19/12, http://www.wnd.com/2012/03/the-welfare-state-rhetoric-vs-reality/
23 Murray, Charles (1994). Losing ground: American social policy, 1950-1980). New York: Basic Books
24 From his address at the RNC Convention, September 9, 2012
25 Taylor, John B. First principles: Five keys to restoring America’s prosperity. New York: W.W. Norton
26 Hubbard, Glenn R., “Tax Cuts Won’t Hurt the Surplus,” Wall Street Journal, 22 August 2001, p. A16
27 Jackson, G. Conservative comebacks to liberal lies. Ramsey, NJ: JAJ Publishing, p. 291-293
28 From Governor McDonnell’s speech at the RNC in September, 2012
29 Blanchette, Jude. “The Shortcomings of Government Charity: Private Charities Offer the Best Cure for Chronic Poverty,” in Freeman, May 2007, Volume 57, Issue 4.
30 Murray, Ibid
31 Skorneck, Carolyn (July 31, 1996). “Clinton Says He Will Sign Welfare Overhaul; House Passes It.”. Associated Press
32 Gingrich, N. (1998). Lessons learned the hard way. New York: HarperCollins Publishers
33 After their unemployment finally runs out, an increasing number of people now apply for disability—generally for some form of alleged “mental illness” such as depression—which applicants claim prevents them from working. See: “As unemployment benefits claims decline, disability claims rise,” at: http://www.pri.org/stories/politics-society/government/as-unemployment-benefits-claims-decline-disability-claims-rise-7705.html