America’s Imperial Overstretch

By Patrick J. Buchanan

This week, SU-24 fighter-bombers buzzed a U.S. destroyer in the Baltic Sea. The Russian planes carried no missiles or bombs.

Message: What are you Americans doing here?

In the South China Sea, U.S. planes overfly, and U.S. warships sail inside, the territorial limits of islets claimed by Beijing.

In South Korea, U.S. forces conduct annual military exercises as warnings to a North Korea that is testing nuclear warheads and long-range missiles that can reach the United States.

U.S. warships based in Bahrain confront Iranian subs and missile boats in the Gulf. In January, a U.S. Navy skiff ran aground on an Iranian island. Iran let the 10 U.S. sailors go within 24 hours.

But bellicose demands for U.S. retaliation had already begun.

Yet, in each of these regions, it is not U.S. vital interests that are threatened, but the interests of allies who will not man up to their own defense duties, preferring to lay them off on Uncle Sam.

And America is beginning to buckle under the weight of its global obligations.

And as we have no claim to rocks or reefs in the South China Sea — Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines — why is this our quarrel?

If these rocks and reefs are so vital they are worth risking a military clash with China, why not, instead, impose tariffs on Chinese goods? Let U.S. companies and consumers pay the price of battling Beijing, rather than U.S. soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Let South Korea and Japan build up their forces to deal with the North, and put Beijing on notice:

If China will not halt Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program, South Korea and Japan will build their own nuclear deterrents. Half a century ago, Britain and France did.

Why must we forever deter and, if need be, fight North Korea?

And why is the defense of the Baltic republics and East Europe our responsibility, 5,000 miles away, not Germany’s, whose economy is far larger than that of Russia?

Even during the darkest days of the Cold War, U.S. presidents refused to take military action in Hungary, Czechoslovakia or Poland.

When Moscow intervened there, the U.S. did nothing. When did the independence of Eastern Europe become so vital an interest that we would now risk war with a nuclear-armed Russia to ensure it?

Under Article 5 of NATO, an attack upon any of 28 allied nations is to be regarded as an attack upon all.

But is this the kind of blank check we should give Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, a few months back, ordered a Russian fighter plane that crossed into Turkish territory for 15 seconds be shot down?

Do we really want to leave to this erratic autocrat the ability to drag us into a war with Russia?

When Neville Chamberlain in 1939 handed a war guarantee to a junta of Polish colonels, who also had an exaggerated opinion of their own military power and prowess, how did that work out for the Brits?

America should not write off the Baltic Republics or Eastern Europe. But we should rule out any U.S.-Russian war in Eastern Europe and restrict a U.S. response to Russian actions there to the economic and diplomatic. For the one certain loser of a U.S.-Russian conflict in Eastern Europe — would be Eastern Europe.

As for Iran, the U.S. intelligence community, in 2007 and 2011, declared with high confidence that it had no nuclear weapons program.

Since the Iran nuclear treaty was signed, 98 percent of Iran’s enriched uranium has been shipped out of the country; no more 20 percent enriched uranium is being produced; the Arak reactor that could have produced plutonium has been scuttled and reconfigured; and nuclear inspectors are crawling all over every facility.

Talk of Iran having a secret nuclear-bomb program and testing intercontinental missiles comes, unsurprisingly, from the same folks who assured us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

The goal is the same: Stampede America into fighting another war, far away, against a nation they want to see smashed.

Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, this country has been steadily bled and slowly bankrupted. We are now as overextended as was the British Empire in the 1940s.

And like that empire, we, too, are being challenged by nations that seek to enlarge their place in the sun — a resurrected Russia, China, Iran. And we are being bedeviled by fanatics who want us out of their part of the world, which they wish to remake according to the visions of their own faiths and ideologies.

Time for a reappraisal of all of the war guarantees this nation has issued since the beginning of the Cold War, to determine which, if any, still serve U.S. national interests in 2016. Alliances, after all, are the transmission belts of war.

This is not isolationism. It is putting our country first, and staying out of other people’s wars. It used to be called patriotism.

Trump Is Right on Trade

Trump Is Right on Trade

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Republican hawks are aflutter today over China’s installation of anti-aircraft missiles on Woody Island in the South China Sea.

But do these Republicans, good free-traders all, realize their own indispensable role in converting an indigent China into the mighty and menacing power that seeks to push us out of Asia?

Last year, China ran up the largest trade surplus in history, at our expense, $365 billion. We exported $116 billion in goods to China. China exported $482 billion worth of goods to us.

Using Census Bureau statistics, Terry Jeffrey of CNSNEWS.com documents how Beijing has, over decades, looted and carted off the greatest manufacturing base the world had ever seen.

In 1985, China’s trade surplus with us was a paltry $6 million. By 1992, when some of us were being denounced as “protectionists” for raising the issue, the U.S. trade deficit with China had crossed the $10 billion mark.

In 2002, it crossed the $100 billion mark. In 2005, the $200 billion mark. In each of the last four years, Communist China has run an annual trade surplus at the expense of the United States in excess of $300 billion.

Total trade deficits with China in the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama era? $4 trillion. Total U.S. trade deficit in 2015 — $736 billion, 4 percent of our GDP.

To understand why Detroit look as it does, while the desolate Shanghai Richard Nixon visited in ’72 is the great and gleaming metropolis of 2016, look to our trade deficits.

They also help explain America’s 2 percent growth, her deindustrialization, her shrinking share of the world economy, and the stagnation of U.S. wages as manufacturing jobs are replaced by service jobs.

Those trade deficits also explain the rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

Yet, with the exception of Trump, none of the GOP candidates seems willing to debate, defend or denounce the policies that eviscerated America — and empowered the People’s Republic.

Workers, however, know what our politicians refuse to discuss.

They are being sold out for the benefit of corporate elites who pay off those politicians with the big cash contributions that keep the parties flush.

Politicians who play ball with Wall Street and K Street know they will be taken care of, if they are defeated or when they retire from public office, so long as they have performed.

Free trade is not a zero-sum game. The losers are the workers whose jobs, factories and futures are shipped abroad, and the dead and dying towns left behind when the manufacturing plants shut down.

America is on a path of national decline because, while we have been looking out for what is best for the “global economy,” our rivals have been looking out for what is best for their own nations.

Consider OPEC, which is reeling from the oil price collapse. Russia is colluding with Saudi Arabia and Iraq to cut production to firm up the market and prevent prices from falling further.

This is pure price fixing, but we all understand self-interest.

What might a U.S. national-interest-based trade policy look like?

Controlling the largest market on earth, we might impose on foreign producers a cover charge, an admissions fee, a tariff, to get into our market.

Example: Impose a 20 percent tariff on foreign cars entering the USA. This might raise the cost of a Lexus or Mercedes produced and assembled abroad from $50,000 to $60,000.

However, if Lexus or Mercedes buys or makes all their parts in the USA and assembles all their cars here, no tariff. Their cars could still sell for $50,000. This would be a powerful incentive to shift production here. As an added incentive, all tariff revenue could be used to reduce or eliminate corporate taxes in the USA.

Between the Civil War and World War I, under Republicans, the U.S. became the world’s greatest industrial power and a wholly self-sufficient nation. How? We taxed foreign goods entering the United States, but did not tax the profits of U.S. companies or the incomes of U.S. workers.

The difference between economic patriots and globalists who inhabit corporate-funded think tanks and public policy institutes is that the latter think of what is best for their corporate benefactors and the global economy. The former put America and Americans first.

Academics revere Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Richard Cobden.

But none of them ever built a great nation. Patriots look to Alexander Hamilton and those post-Civil War Republicans who built the greatest national industrial powerhouse the world had ever seen.

Indeed, what great nation did free trade ever build?

As father of a united Germany, Chancellor Bismarck said, when he decided to build Germany on the American and not the British model, “I see that those countries which possess protection are prospering, and that those countries which possess free trade are decaying.”

So it is true today. Unfortunately, it is America, now wedded to the fatal dogma of free trade, that is decaying.

Is Trumpism the New Nationalism?

Is Trumpism the New Nationalism?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Since China devalued its currency 3 percent, global markets have gone into a tailspin. Why should this be?

After all, 3 percent devaluation in China could be countered by a U.S. tariff of 3 percent on all goods made in China, and the tariff revenue used to cut U.S. corporate taxes.

The crisis in world markets seems related not only to a sinking Chinese economy, but also to what Beijing is saying to the world; i.e., China will save herself first even if it means throwing others out of the life boat.

Disbelievers in New World Order mythology have long recognized that this new China is fiercely nationalistic. Indeed, with Marxism-Leninism dead, nationalism is the Communist Party’s fallback faith.

China has thus kept her currency cheap to hold down imports and keep exports surging. She has run $300 billion trade surpluses at the expense of the Americans. She has demanded technology transfers from firms investing in China and engaged in technology theft.

Disillusioned U.S. executives have been pulling out.

And the stronger China has grown economically, the more bellicose she has become with her neighbors from Japan to Vietnam to the Philippines. Lately, China has laid claim to virtually the entire South China Sea and all its islands and reefs as national territory.

In short, China is becoming a mortal threat to the rules-based global economy Americans have been erecting since the end of the Cold War, even as the U.S. system of alliances erected by Cold War and post-Cold War presidents seems to be unraveling.

Germany, the economic powerhouse of the European Union, was divided until recently on whether Greece should be thrown out of the eurozone. German nationalists have had enough of Club Med.

On issues from mass migrations from the Third World, to deeper political integration of Europe, to the EU’s paltry contributions to a U.S.-led NATO that defends the continent, nationalistic resistance is rising.

Enter the Donald. If there is a single theme behind his message, it would seem to be a call for a New Nationalism or New Patriotism.

He is going to “make America great again.” He is going to build a wall on the border that will make us proud, and Mexico will pay for it.

He will send all illegal aliens home and restore the traditional value of U.S. citizenship by putting an end to the scandal of “anchor babies.”

One never hears Trump discuss the architecture of our rules-based global economy.

Rather, he speaks of Mexico, China and Japan as tough rivals, not “trade partners,” smart antagonists who need to face tough American negotiators who will kick their butts.

They took our jobs and factories; now we are going to take them back. And if that Ford plant stays in Mexico, then Ford will have to climb a 35-percent tariff wall to get its trucks and cars back into the USA.

Trump to Ford: Bring that factory back to Michigan!

To Trump, the world is not Davos; it is the NFL. He is appalled at those mammoth container ships in West Coat ports bringing in Hondas and Toyotas. Those ships should be carrying American cars to Asia.

Asked by adviser Dick Allen for a summation of U.S. policy toward the Soviets, Ronald Reagan said: “We win; they lose.”

That it is not an unfair summation of what Trump is saying about Mexico, Japan and China.

While the economic nationalism here is transparent, Trump also seems to be saying that foreign regimes are freeloading off the U.S. defense budget and U.S. military.

He asks why rich Germans aren’t in the vanguard in the Ukraine crisis. Why do South Koreans, with an economy 40 times that of the North and a population twice as large, need U.S. troops on the DMZ?

“What’s in it for us?” he seems ever to be asking.

He has called Vladimir Putin a Russian patriot and nationalist with whom he can talk. He has not joined the Republican herd that says it will cancel the Iran nuclear deal the day they take office, re-impose U.S. sanctions and renegotiate the deal.

Trump says he would insure that Iran lives up to the terms.

While his foreign policy positions seem unformed, his natural reflex appears nonideological and almost wholly results-oriented. He looks on foreign trade much as did 19th-century Republicans.

They saw America as the emerging world power and Britain as the nation to beat, as China sees us today. Those Americans used tariffs, both to force foreigners to pay to build our country, and to keep British imports at a price disadvantage in the USA.

Then they exploited British free trade policy to ship as much as they could to the British Isles to take down their factories and capture their jobs for U.S. workers, as the Chinese do to us today.

Whatever becomes of Trump the candidate, Trumpism, i.e., economic and foreign policy nationalism, appears ascendant.

Will the GOP Capitulate Again?

Will the GOP Capitulate Again?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Free trade results in giving our money, our manufactures, and our markets to other nations,” warned the Republican Senator from Ohio and future President William McKinley in 1892.

“Thank God I am not a free-trader,” echoed the rising Empire State Republican and future President Theodore Roosevelt.

Those were the voices of a Republican Party that believed in prospering America first.

For a quarter century, however, the party of the Bushes has been a globalist, New World Order party, and fanatically free trade.

It signed on to NAFTA, GATT, the World Trade Organization, most-favored-nation status for China, CAFTA, and KORUS, the U.S.-Korean trade treaty negotiated by Barack Obama.

So supportive have Republicans been of anything sold as free trade they have agreed to “fast track,” the voluntary surrender by Congress of its constitutional power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations.”

With fast track, Congress gives up its right to amend trade treaties, and agrees to restrict itself to a yea or nay vote.

And who is leading the fight to have Congress again surrender its power over trade? The GOP vice presidential nominee, and current chairman of ways and means, Paul Ryan.

Yet when one looks back on the devastation wrought by free trade, how can a party that purports to put America first sign on to fast track yet again?

In the first decade of this century, the United States lost 5 to 6 million manufacturing jobs. We lost 55,000 factories, a devastation of industry not unlike what we inflicted on Germany and Japan in 1944-45.

The trade figures are in for 2014. What do they show?

The United States ran a trade deficit of $505 billion. But as the Economic Policy Institute’s Robert Scott points out, in manufactured goods, the U.S. trade deficit rose to $524 billion, a surge of $77 billion over 2013.

The U.S. trade deficit with China soared to $342 billion. Our exports to China amounted to $125 billion. But our imports from China were almost four times as great, $467 billion.

Since Jan. 1, 2000, U.S. trade deficits with China have totaled an astronomical $3.3 trillion.

How do Clinton, Bush II and Obama defend these trade deficits that have done to our country exactly what McKinley warned they would do in 1892 — given away “our money, our manufactures, and our markets” to Communist China?

Have the Chinese reciprocated for this historic transfer of America’s productive capacity and wealth by becoming a better friend and partner?

While the United States ran a $505 billion trade deficit overall, in goods we ran a trade deficit of $737 billion, or 4 percent of GDP.

And while our trade deficit in goods with China was $343 billion, with the European Union it was $141 billion, with Japan $67 billion, with Mexico $54 billion, with Canada $34 billion, with South Korea $25 billion.

Our Mexican neighbors send us illegal migrants to compete for U.S. jobs. And our multinationals send to Mexico the factories and jobs of Middle America, to exploit the low-wage labor there. One can, after all, assemble Fords more cheaply in Hermosillo than Ohio.

Of particular interest is Korea, with which the United States signed a free-trade agreement in 2011. Since then, U.S. exports to Korea have fallen, U.S. imports have risen 80 percent, and we ran a $25 billion trade deficit in 2014.

With the KORUS deal the template for the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, how can Republicans vote to throw away their right to alter or amend any TPP that Obama brings home?

Was the national vote to give Republicans majorities in Congress unseen since 1946 a vote to have the GOP turn over all power to write trade treaties to Obama and his negotiators who produced the greatest trade deficits in American history?

Do these record deficits justify such blind confidence in Obama? Do they justify Congress’ renunciation of rights over commerce that the Founding Fathers explicitly set aside for the legislative branch in Article I of the Constitution?

“If we don’t like the way the global economy works,” says Paul Ryan, “then we have to get out there and change it.”

No, we don’t. The great and justified complaint against China and Japan, who have run the largest trade surpluses at our expense, is that they are “currency manipulators.”

Correct. But the way to deal with currency manipulators is to rob them of the benefits of their undervalued currencies by slapping tariffs on goods they send to the United States.

And if the WTO says you can’t do that, give the WTO the answer Theodore Roosevelt would have given them.

Instead of wringing our hands over income inequality and wage stagnation, why don’t we turn these trade deficits into trade surpluses, as did the generations of Lincoln and McKinley, and T. R. and Cal Coolidge?

Pat Buchanan: America is Rejecting the GOP’s Big Business Wing

Buchanan: America Is Rejecting The GOP’s Big Business Wing

By Scott Greer, Associate Editor at The Daily Caller

When it comes to the future of the GOP, conservative commentator and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan thinks America has flat out rejected one wing of the party: The wing that embraces Wall Street and big business interests.

Buchanan shared his opinion on the GOP’s big business wing in the second part of his interview with The Daily Caller over his new book, “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

“You’re not going to get back the middle class when you’re constantly appeasing big business — when folks are losing their jobs because of these trade deals, these masses of imports, these open borders, and the wars we’ve gotten into. I think the whole country is rejecting that,” Buchanan told TheDC.

Buchanan strongly rebuked policies that have favored opening up America’s market to foreign goods and have encouraged businesses to outsource jobs to other countries and recruit low-skilled immigrant workers to come to the United States — policies that have been favored by the big business-wing of the party.

“In the first decade of the 21st century, we lost six million manufacturing jobs and 55,000 factories,” Buchanan listed off as the damage he says have been done by these policies. “Do any of these people have an idea why that’s happening?”

In the commentator’s opinion, the GOP appealed to the general public when it could demonstrate that it could protect American jobs and prevent foreign incursions into our market.

“Take a look at the history of the Republican Party, they made sure we had the highest standard of living in the world, protected American jobs, American factories, and American plants by putting up tariffs, keeping taxes low on business, putting up tariffs on foreign imports, and invading foreign markets,” Buchanan said.

“Now, our markets are being invaded!”

According to Buchanan, the only way to demonstrate a so-called “America First” economic policy is to embrace the tariff and use it to keep jobs in the states.

“You’ve got to find a way to equalize prices of products made by people in countries where labor is far cheaper with those in the United States. I haven’t figured out how to do that other than the tariff and use the tariff revenue to cut the taxes on American businesses,” he declared.

But he thinks that many within the party’s establishment are unwilling to even consider these policies, have a limited view when it comes to appealing to blue collar Americans, and cling to worn-out ideas from the Bush years.

“The trouble is that, at the elite level, the party doesn’t even think in these terms. They just go back to ‘We gotta cut regulation.’ Right, but I don’t care how much you cut regulation, you can’t cut it below the production costs in Vietnam and China,” the conservative firebrand said.

“The establishment still has its feet in the policies of the Bush I and Bush II era, and I don’t think that’s the future.”

In contrast, he sees his own brand of conservatism — populist conservatism — as the wave of the future for the GOP as he believes it has a much better ability to appeal to the middle class.

“The populist conservatives — who are basically going for the middle class — I think eventually are going to prevail,” Buchanan said.”The other side, frankly, don’t have enough troops. I think a populist conservative in a one-on-one race can win against them.”

“They’re the future,” he concluded.

Read more at The Daily Caller

Abolish the Corporate Income Tax!

Abolish the Corporate Income Tax

By Patrick J. Buchanan

News that Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, plans to buy Britain’s AstraZeneca for $106 billion, renounce its U.S. citizenship, and declare itself a British company, has jolted Congress.

Pfizer is being denounced as disloyal to the land of its birth, and politicians are devising ways to stop Pfizer from departing.

Yet Pfizer is not alone. Hedge fund managers are urging giant corporations like Walgreens to go nation-shopping for new residences abroad to evade the 35 percent U.S. corporate income tax.

Britain’s corporate income tax is 20 percent, and Pfizer stands to save over $1 billion a year by moving there.

In what are called “inversions,” dozens of U.S. companies have bought up foreign rivals, and then moved abroad to countries with lower tax rates, cutting revenue to the U.S. Treasury.

But Pfizer is far and away the biggest.

The real question, however, is not why companies are fleeing the USA, but why our politicians continue to drive them out of the country.

Consider. Here in America we do not tax charities, churches or colleges. Yet these institutions produce a fraction of the jobs that businesses produce.

If, as a nation, we are committed to “creating jobs,” does it make sense to impose the highest corporate tax rate in the Western world on our biggest and best job creators?

Is this not economic masochism?

Many governors understand that if you want something in your state, you do not drive it out with high taxes. You strengthen the magnet of low taxes. Florida wants residents of other states to move there and retire there, so it has no income, estate or inheritance tax.

For years, Rep. Jack Kemp urged the creation of enterprise zones in poor communities like Benton Harbor, Michigan, and Harlan County, Kentucky. Businesses that relocated there would be exempt from corporate income taxes.

Why not make the United States the largest enterprise zone on earth — by abolishing the corporate income tax?

If the corporate income tax were repealed, no U.S. company would think of moving abroad, and every transnational company would think about moving to the USA.

What a message this repeal of the U.S. corporate income tax would send to corporate headquarters worldwide: Relocate your company or next factory to the USA, keep every dollar of profit you earn, and either reinvest it here or take it home. Your call.

How would America benefit?

Every U.S. company, liberated from its corporate tax burden, would see its profits soar and have more cash on hand for cutting prices, raising wages and salaries, and new investment and hires. And every company that relocated here would create new U.S. jobs.

This would be a stimulus package to end all stimulus packages.

Isn’t this what we all want? Or are we not willing to create jobs here if the means of doing so conflict with redistributionist ideology?

Consider the other benefits of abolishing the corporate tax.

Corporate lobbyists, who spend their days walking Capitol Hill corridors seeking tax breaks, and their evenings at fundraisers handing $1,000 checks to congressmen who can create tax loopholes — in a form of legalized corruption and glorified bribery, could be put out to pasture.

Armies of tax lawyers, accountants and IRS agents could be shifted to more productive work. Companies could focus full time on creating new wealth, not finding ways to keep what they have earned.

Many politicians seem to think the corporate tax punishes the rich and powerful and is an indispensable weapon in reducing inequality and redistributing wealth. This is neosocialist myth.

As Ronald Reagan used to say, corporations don’t pay taxes, people do.

The billions in corporate income taxes paid by Wal-Mart and McDonald’s come out of the dollars spent by consumers who shop at Wal-Mart’s and eat at McDonald’s. Where else does Ford Motor get the money to pay its corporate income tax, if not from dollars spent by Middle Americans on Ford cars and trucks?

Middle America pays the corporate income tax.

How could we make up for the lost revenue to government?

Simple. The corporate income tax last year produced $273 billion, less than a tenth of federal revenue. Imports, which kill U.S. jobs and subtract from GDP, totaled $2.7 trillion last year.

Put a 10 percent tariff on imports, and the abolition of the U.S. corporate income tax becomes a revenue-neutral proposal.

Looking back, consider what our political class has done to our once self-sufficient American Republic.

We impose on businesses, our principal job creators, the most punitive corporate tax rate in the West. Through “free trade,” we tell U.S. companies that if they wish to avoid our taxes and get around our minimum wage, health, safety, and environmental laws, they can move to China, produce there, and bring their products back free of charge — and kill their competitors too patriotic to leave America.

“The Decline and Fall of the United States of America” is going to a piece of cake for future historians to write.

Why Congress Is Held in Contempt

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“I’ve got a pen,” said President Obama early this week.

“I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions … that move the ball forward.”

“When I can act on my own without Congress, I’m going to do so,” the president added Wednesday at North Carolina State.

Thus did Obama signal that he will bypass Congress and use his executive powers to advance his agenda of national transformation.

This dismissal of Congress has gone almost unprotested. In an earlier age it might have evoked talk of impeachment. But not now.

For though Congress may be the first branch of government in the Constitution, with the longest list of enumerated powers in Article 1, its eclipse has been extraordinary.

Congressional powers have eroded or been surrendered. The esteem in which Congress is now held calls to mind Emily Dickinson: “It dropped so low in my regard I heard it hit the ground.”

Congress boasts a 13 percent approval, a surge from its all-time low of 9 percent last fall before the budget deal.

While ex-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates expressed disappointment in Obama and Hillary Clinton in his book “Duty,” and was dismissive of Joe Biden, his view of Congress dripped with venom:

“Uncivil, incompetent in fulfilling basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned, often putting self (and reelection) before country — this was my view of the majority of the United States Congress.”

At Congressional hearings, Gates says he was “exceptionally offended by the constant, adversarial, inquisition-like treatment,” and lines of inquiry that were “rude, insulting, belittling, bullying, and all too often personal.”

Admirers of Obama, Hillary and Biden have all come forward to defend them. Where are the defenders of Congress from this searing indictment by Gates? Almost nowhere.

What happened to Congress? Not so long ago, school children were taught more about Sens. Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster than many of the presidents of that pre-Civil War era.

High among the causes of Congress’ decline has surely been the loss or surrender of its constitutional powers — to presidents, the Supreme Court and a federal bureaucracy Congress itself created.

Consider this. Under Article 1, Congress is entrusted with the power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations.”

With the exception of slavery, there was not a more divisive issue before the Civil War than the tariff question.

In the Jacksonian era, South Carolina almost seceded over the tariff, and Andrew Jackson threatened an invasion.

Today, Congress first surrendered to the executive the authority to negotiate trade deals, and then passed fast track, denying itself the right to amend those treaties. Congress has restricted itself to a yes or no vote on what the executive negotiates.

The transnational corporations that finance campaigns are delighted.

But as a consequence of NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO, a third of U.S. manufacturing jobs and a huge slice of our manufacturing base have been shipped overseas, and we have run $10 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I.

The stunning industrial decline of the United States has been matched in two centuries only by the USSR.

Congress was granted the power to “coin money” and “regulate the value thereof.” But in 1913, Congress transferred that power to the Federal Reserve.

With the Fed as its steward, the dollar’s purchasing power had fallen to that of a couple of pennies in 1913. And the Fed was responsible for the stock market bubble that bought on the Great Crash of 1929 and Great Depression, and the real estate and stock market bubbles that brought on our own Great Recession.

Yet, the Fed is untouchable.

Though Congress was granted exclusive power “to declare war,” our last declared war was in 1941.

Obama today draws “red lines” and tells nations not to cross them or we bomb, and announces to the world that, in dealing with Iran, “all options are on the table,” meaning war.

But when did Congress authorize Obama to wage war on Iran? Never.

Nor did Congress authorize Bill Clinton to bomb Serbia.

While Congress was granted the power in the Constitution to restrict the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, that court has been on an ideological tear, remaking America without a nod to Congress.

The court has created new rights for criminal suspects out of thin air. It ordered all states to integrate public schools, even if that meant forced busing by race across cities. It declared abortion and homosexual relations to be constitutionally protected rights.

Congress often complained, but almost always did nothing.

Congress has behaved more timidly than the Court, whose justices serve for life. And unlike the president, Congress cannot act decisively or speak with a single voice. It’s a cacophony.

Sundered by party and ideology, with 535 members, and rules and regulations that inhibit decisions and impede action, Congress appears a 19th-century anachronism at sea in a 21st-century world.

Who looks to Congress today as the bulwark of our liberties?