Every US president for the last 30 years broke the law?

Ed Thompson's picture
Submitted by Ed Thompson on Wed, 2016-02-17 09:23

It appears to be the case that every US president in the last 30 years is guilty of breaking the law. It seems pretty absurd on its face, though. How can you have every president break the law for 30 years running and have no one notice until now? What law (you ask)? It's called the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act (or "Humphrey-Hawkins" Act) and it was passed into law in 1978.

It states that, if you are going to administer the government of the United States, then you have to keep 2 things low: unemployment and inflation. How low? The law states that you have to do all that you can in order to hold unemployment to 4% or less while--at the very same time--holding inflation down to a certain number. Down to what number?


That's right. Zero inflation. Now, if you do not follow a law, you are said to be in violation of said law and, a cursory glance at these 2 rates for the last 30 years, reveals that all of the presidents (not some, but all of them) were in violation of this 1978 law--if not to the letter, at least to the spirit of it. No president has overtly adopted the goals which the law prescribes for them to adopt. Instead, they have adopted goals which hamper or mitigate the attainment of the 2 rates.

In 1992, the Euro-folks had a treaty in a place called Maastricht (the Maastricht Treaty) which said that you are not going to be allowed into the EU if you do not meet at least 3 economic standards:

(1) annual budget deficits less than 3% of GDP
(2) government debt less than 60% of GDP
(3) annual inflation rate less than 2.4%*

Even the USA could not get into the EU under these "capitalistic" standards! That's because of socialist politicians and their cronies.


*this rate was actually true back in 2004; I don't have the figures for what it was in 1992, but the formula for inflation rate involved the cut-off of 1.5% above the average inflation of the best 3 EU nation-states (if you were inflating by more than 1.5% over-and-above the best three-nation average--then you do not get into the EU)


Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

I miss Vera! Smiling


Jules Troy's picture


I really miss Ed.  Hope he is ok.

No consensus

Doug Bandler The Second's picture

There is no consensus on economic theory. Neo Classical economists especially Keynesians would argue for entirely different policies to affect those 2 conditions. Guys like Paul Krugman would argue for never ending monetary stimulation combined with public works projects. Whereas Austrians would argue the opposite. And sadly there are not enough Austrian influenced people in politics. For all the reasons that Ayn Rand argued; ie rejecting the dominant ethical paradigm of altruism (at least in practice).

So this law can never be obeyed given the cultural corruption that has occurred.

Thanx Ed

VSD's picture

I'm also here only for short stints over longer periods of time - it's good to have your calm voice back among all this raging ; )

Good points, Vera ...

Ed Thompson's picture

... and good to see you again--after my years-long absence from this world-wide web.



VSD's picture

funny that you added the EU inflation rate: I never really understood why Draghi so desperately tries to raise inflation rate across the EU to at least 2.5%, in effect punishing countries who actually adhere to the EU entry criteria ... flooding a market with money does not create more value - and it certainly does not tempt capitalists to invest more money by cheapening it ... on the contrary: it makes them that much more nervous and economic with spending, or investing it abroad ... the funniest part is that because of all these measures we now have negative interest rates and it's not the banks or 'money-grabbers' who complain the loudest, but the 'little people' afraid for their savings in the bank : D and ironically they are also those spending the most giving in to this fear of devaluation, naively believing they are getting better value for cash by spending now instead of rationally investing it - housing bubble being just one example ...
this is just a lay view of the EU money policy but I don't think their financially complex and high-flying calculations aren't working out any better than my simplified views from down below the new ECB tower in Frankfurt ; )
PS: that politicians constantly break the law is a given ('our laws were made to be broken') - that they (almost) never get convicted for it is a sad reality - that our masses of voters continue to accept that is the real tragedy

What Detractors & Critics (DC types) might say in response

Ed Thompson's picture

DC types, when discovering that every US president is in violation of the law, might respond by saying that it's too hard to remain inside the boundaries of the law. They may say that it is fine to pay lip-service to the 2 goals--but actually expecting politicians to follow law is too much to ask of them. Besides, they may say, how in the world can a president discharge his legal obligation to place these 2 goals above all other considerations?

Well, to meet capitalist goals--and low unemployment and low inflation are capitalist phenomena--you have to have a president that is over-ridingly capitalist (their "capitalism" has to supercede their "other" goals as a president of the United States).

That's how you get it done.


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