The Ponzi Molecule

Atoms have charges which pre-dispose them to particular molecular combinations.   Congresspeople are the atoms in our political system.   They also carry “charges” which pre-dispose them to create particular laws.    This charge has nothing to do with party or even political philosophy, because in the modern era, re-election depends on bringing back to your district more than your taxpayers put in.   So the charge can be called “more out than in”, and it is now the orientation of all Congress.   It is automatic, it flows from their personal self-interest and the self interest of their district.  

Chemists understand that if you know the charge of the atom, the molecular results are entirely predictable.  They share an elective affinity.   It’s not like  the atoms decide what kind of shape to form; their properties govern their possible combinations.  You’d never combine certain atoms and then be amazed at the molecule that appears.  By now, you’d understand the intrinsic properties of the atoms predetermine the molecule.   You wouldn’t peer at the molecule and then complain about the choices of the atoms.    You wouldn’t get up in the morning and rush to the microscope to see if some other molecule formed just this one time.  

 Yet every day, massive amounts of words, images, and ink are wasted by intelligent commenters in trying to deny the properties of our political atoms or change the shape of the political molecule.    We seem to think that individual districts and individual politicians will someday “put aside their self-interest” and act in the interest of the larger nation.   Really?   You do remember the definition of insanity?   While you are busy trying the same atomic combination over and over again, hoping for a different molecule, remember also this: no system can succeed which depends on the suicide of the parts.  

“More out than in.”   That’s all you need to know.   Each State and district re-elects people who are charged thusly — and the political party makes little difference.   Those who talk about fiscal discipline, reducing spending, lowering taxes, and the other slogans are actually talking about the theoretical properties of the theoretical molecule they’d sincerely like to see.   But it would take a suicide pact on the part of the atoms to accomplish it, since what actually allows them to survive is to bring money home.   When you aggregate that goal — bring money home — you get a molecule shaped the opposite of what they all individually espouse.  It’s predictable.   All the rest is rhetoric. 

We blame “politicians”, as if they start out pure but the Washington environment corrupts them.   This is a myth.   The truth is that the politicians get their assignment from the people who elect,  then re-elect them, and Congress in the aggregate represents the people nearly perfectly.   (Politicians are initially elected to stop the successes of other constituencies at getting “more out then in”.   But they are then re-elected to continue their own “more out than in”. )     

 This definition of success may be the opposite of certain things the candidate said in seeking election.   No matter.   It only takes one grant of money in the name of the official to guarantee his re-election.   The platform and the issues are what people talk about, but the money is what wins re-election.   So each congressperson is predisposed by it to support certain structures — “more out than in” —  and oppose their opposites.   This means the overall ledger of the enacted political agreements (i.e. laws) will always tally to a financial deficit.   I can’t say it enough; it is inevitable.  

Those who send the little atoms off to the atom meeting do so, over and over,  expecting their atom to bring back the money but simultaneously expecting a different sort of aggregate structure — the political molecule — to appear.   In other words, every electoral district expects their representative to win appropriations for back home but also resist the same agenda in all the other districts.   This is a physical impossibility, of course; the only way to get money is to agree to collude in giving it.    So, mathematically, more must be given out then is taken in.   Each atom blames all the others for the shape of the molecule.   And this is critical:  none of the atoms actually intend the result.   But, nevertheless, the molecule must be Ponzi-shaped.   An upside down pyramid.   It is destined to form, and it is destined to collapse.   In this determinism is the political course of civilizations.

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