Sunday, July 1, 2018

Rise and fall of progress

The Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th century is a fascinating period in US history. It‘s rise and fall can be explained in terms of the SAMVA USA chart. What is even more interesting, is that we are witnessing a revival of a similar political shift in the USA since 2016, which was predicted from 2008 based on the chart. Let us review the socio-political nature of the developments along with an analysis of this amazing mundane horoscope.

The essence of progress
In the late 19th century, the Progressive movement arose in the USA in an effort to end corporate abuses of working people and consumers. These abuses had developed in the post Civil War era, now known as the Gilded Age. While the period was one of economic progress its rewards were increasingly maldistributed and it was subject to frequent banking crises and recessions. The Gilded Age is associated with “Robber Barons“ and large monopolies, known as trusts, who practiced exploitation through high prices and poor quality related to their monopoly position. Two key initiatives to fostering more equitable growth was to break up monopolies and protect manufacturing industries and employment through higher tariffs. Indeed, the Progressive movement followed a popular surge from 1890, which brought the Sherman Anti Trust Act and a Populist Party. While the Populist Party did not achieve poltical power, the ideals of the movement continued, and can be said to have gained political power with the election of Republican William McKinley in 1896. The Progressive movement continued under the vibrant leadership of Theodore Roosevelt following McKinley's assassination on September 6, 1901. It gained steam through his second term. Roosevelt raised tariffs on foreign imports and sought a graduated income tax, in order to strengthen American industry and diversify the funding of the Federal government. Roosevelt also forcefully applied the anti-trust legislation to break up monopoly trusts. As a result, the economy grew and unemployment came down. In the 1908 election, Roosevelt was replaced by William Howard Taft, who continued with the progressive mantle of the Republican Party. However, soon, Taft began to make compromises on the policies in favour of corporations, including by reducing tariffs. In the 1912 election, Roosevelt came out of retirement with the aim of replacing Taft but the party bosses wouldn't have it. Roosevelt then founded the Progressive Party and ran on that ticket but lost. As Taft and Roosevelt were competing for the same Republican voters, the Democratic party candidate, Woodrow Wilson, easily won the Presidency in 1912. Wilson used progressive rhetoric and instituted the federal income tax and improved the regulation of businesses. However, he reduced the tariff again. Inequality began to grow again along with economic imbalances. Warren G. Harding became President in 1921. Under his stewardship the reforms of the Progressive Era were dismantled, resulting in an economic and financial boom based on growing inequality and imbalances. Eventually, the bubble burst and a deep and painful depression unfolded.

Astrology of progress
Progress in a horoscope is seen during a major period of strong and well placed functional benefic planet. However, a counter trend may take place during a shorter sub-period of an afflicted or afflicting planet within the major period, or due to adverse significant events associated with stationary transit afflictions in the chart involving functional malefic planets. The Vimsottari dasa-bukhti cycle spans 120 years, that can repeat for mundane entities, like nations.

This huge political shift from iniquity to fairness is clearly seen in the 20° Cancer rising SAMVA USA chart. The Gilded Age developed in the major period of Ketu (1869-1876), which afflicts in the chart, and peaked in the major period of a weak and badly placed Venus (1876-1896). The progressive movement took hold in the major period of a strong and influential Sun (1896-1902). It peaked in the major period of an exalted and well placed Moon (1902-1912). It then softened in the major period of a strong and well placed Mars, but which has Rahu afflict its house (1912-1919) and ended with the onset of the major period of Rahu, which afflicts several houses in the chart (1919-1937).

Let's look at what the sign and house placement and aspects involving these planets suggest about how their indications are expected to fare during their periods. Of course, the rapidly changing transits are outside the purview of a survey article like this, spanning decades.

As predicted, the major period of the Sun as 2nd lord of assets and status (due to its ownership of the sign Leo in the 2nd house) represented a positive change in the country. This is because the Sun is well placed and strong at 23° 44' Capricorn and the most effective point of the 7th house, from where it aspects the 1st house of self, giving additional confidence. Saturn as 8th lord aspects the Sun, which adds easy gains to its indications, but also obstacles and endings. The tragedies befalling the Presidency are also linked to the aspect of Ketu in the MEP of the 4th house, from where it aspects the 8th house. Rahu also aspects the 2nd house, adding manipulations to the wealth and reputation of the country. Hence, there are also these adverse influences seen during the Sun major period.

The period of the exalted Moon, as 1st lord of self (due to its ownership of the sign Cancer in the 1st house), at 7° 19' Taurus and 11th house of income, friendships, future plans and ideals is expected to be auspicious, more so as 2nd lord Sun at 23° 44' Capricorn and the most effective place in the 7th house, aspects the 1st house of self, boosting its indications further still. Hence during the Moon period 1902-1912, there was genuine progress in the national affairs.

By comparison, the major period of Mars as 10th lord of government, legislation and foreign trade (due to its ownership of the sign Aries in the 10th house).  Mars is well placed and strong in its own sign Scorpio and the 5th house, where it is in a mutual aspect with the auspicious Moon, giving fame and recognition to the country on the world stage. Morevover, the USA has tended to prosper also during the Mars period, but not so unambiguously. This is because the functional malefic planet Rahu, ruling manipulations, is conjunct the most effective point of the 10th house, owned by Mars. As a result, business has tended to encroach on the government, seeking favours in the form of legislation that helps businessmen secure more profits.

Finally, the Rahu period, is indicated by the affliction of this planet to the 10th house, 2nd house, 4th house and 6th house, giving a wide variety of problems during its period. This has been explained in another article.

Sun major period (April 1896 – April 1902)
William McKinley (1843-1901)
William McKinley was elected President in 1896, which historians consider as a “realigning election,“ in which the political issues of the post–Civil War era gave way to issues defining the Progressive Era, resulting in rapid economic growth. McKinley promoted the 1897 Dingley Tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition, and in 1900, he secured the passage of the Gold Standard Act. On September 6, 1901, an anarchist shot President McKinley. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in. He had a well‐deserved reputation as a “trustbuster.” During Roosevelt's administration (1901–09), fourty four antitrust actions were filed against the nation's largest corporations, including the Northern Securities Company (a railway holding company). But the essence of the president's Square Deal — Roosevelt's approach to social problems, big business, and labor unions — was that he distinguished between “good” and “bad” trusts and strongly preferred to regulate corporations for the public welfare rather than destroy them.

Moon major period (April 1902 – April 1912)
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
Roosevelt enacted the Elkins Act (1903) and the Hepburn Act (1906) to control the railroads. Regulation meant protecting the interests of consumers as well as controlling the power of big business. Roosevelt also regulated the pharmaceutical and food industries, the latter of which is ruled by the Moon.  William Howard Taft, Roosevelts handpicked successor, was elected President in 1908.  Although more conservative than his predecessor, Taft filed twice the number of antitrust suits as Roosevelt, and the Supreme Court upheld the breakup of Standard Oil under the Sherman Antitrust Act (1911) during his administration. Through the Mann‐Elkins Act (1910), the authority of the ICC was again expanded to cover regulation of telephone, telegraph, and cable companies. Taft actively supported both the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments (which provided for the federal income tax and direct election of senators, respectively) and established new agencies, such as the Bureau of Mines, which set standards of mine safety, and the Federal Children's Bureau. Despite his strong reform record, President Taft lost support among Progressives within the Republican Party. Taft wanted lower duties on imports, but was unable to stop his own party from pushing through the Payne‐Aldrich Tariff (1909) which kept rates on some products high over the objections of the Insurgents. Early into Taft's term a major split in Republican ranks between conservatives and progressives became apparent. Whatever other goals they had, the Progressive Republicans were determined to gain control of the party and deny Taft's nomination for a second term. Roosevelt began to seriously consider running again when he returned from a safari in Africa in 1910.

After the 1908 election, when Roosevelt was out of office, he continued to promote progressive ideals, a New Nationalism, much to Taft's dismay. Roosevelt attacked his successor's administration, arguing that its guiding principles were not that of the party of Lincoln, but those of the “Gilded Age.“ Indeed, there were some major differences between Roosevelt and Taft that may be summarised as follows. Roosevelt wanted higher tariff, but Taft wanted to lower the tariff. Roosevelt was in favor of a national income tax but Taft was against it. Roosevelt wanted to further circumscribe the behavior of corporations in favour of consumers, while Taft was more lenient towards big business.

Mars major period  (April 1912 – April 1919)
William Howard Taft (1857-1930)
In the election of 1912, Roosevelt had indicated early on that he would accept the Republican nomination if it was offered to him. Even though the former president won several primaries and carried a number of state conventions, Republican conservatives controlled the nominating convention and made sure Taft was chosen to run for a second term. Roosevelt and his supporters bolted and formed the Progressive Party, whose platform called for presidential primaries, direct election of senators, the vote for women, greater regulation of the trusts, and a ban on child labor. The Democrats selected the past president of Princeton University and governor of New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson, as their nominee. Although put into the State House by the Democratic bosses, Governor Wilson had proved himself to be a reformer, pushing through a direct primary law, workmen's compensation, and public utility regulation.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
The election of 1912 was a contest between Roosevelt and Wilson and their respective progressive philosophies. Roosevelt campaigned for his New Nationalism, which maintained that large corporations were an integral part of modern industrial society. The responsibility of the federal government was to regulate, not to destroy, business combinations while protecting the interests of the underprivileged. Wilson's New Freedom called for restoring competition through elimination of the trusts and lowering tariffs. Although recognizing that federal power was necessary to accomplish these goals, he was just as concerned with big government as big business; any expansion of authority from Washington he considered to be only a temporary expedient. With the Republican vote split between Roosevelt and Taft, Wilson won with the largest electoral majority of any presidential candidate up to that time.

Wilson mobilized public opinion for a reduction in tariffs by „denouncing corporate lobbyists“. The revenue lost by the lower tariff was replaced by a new federal income tax, authorized by the 16th Amendment. Wilson used progressive rhetoric in instituting the federal income tax. He created the Federal Reserve System in 1914, to control money and liquidity in the private banking system and he also created the Federal Trade Commission, to improve the regulation of businesses. However, he reduced the tariffs again, which was the backbone of Roosevelt's progressive platform. As a result, inequality began to grow again and along with it economic imbalances. In 1914, World War I and its after effects took over the agenda of his presidency.

Rahu major period (April 1919 – April 1937)
Warren G. Harding (1865-1923)
Warren G. Harding served as President from 1921 until his death in 1923. At that time, he was one of the most popular U.S. Presidents, but the exposure of scandals in his administration, such as Teapot Dome, and revelations of an affair by his mistress, reduced it, such that he is one of the worst rated Presidents today. Harding's attitude toward business was that government should aid it as much as possible. He was suspicious of organized labor, viewing it as a conspiracy against business. Harding‘s administration abolished the excess profits tax on corporations instituted by the Wilson administration. Harding also sought to deny a bonus payment to veterans of WW I and to reduce tariff rates further. The passage of the tariff bill is said to have caused a “feeding frenzy of lobbyist interests.“ Income tax rates and government spending were also pared, resulting in a boom in corporate profits and economic activity. Modernisation of the economy, with increased use of electricity, mass production and an infrastructure boom ended the recession. "Business progressivism" took further hold under Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. A stock market boom materialised, stoked by insider manipulation, which set the scene for a catastrophic financial meltdown that was followed by a long lasting and painful economic depression.

Comparison to the present time
Donald J. Trump (1946-)
The election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President in 2016, when a new cycle of the major periods of strong functional benefic planets began, also represents a transformation of the political landscape. His election was preceded in 2010 by a popular groundswell against the economic and financial abuses, with the Occupy Wall Street protests and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, also with as its aim to break up the banking behemoths. His Presidency recalls the earlier Progressive era with its pronounced focus on the need to protect manufacturing industries and employment through higher tariffs and curbs on illegal immigration. His tax cuts favour both corporations and working people, with as their aim to fire up the economy after a period of "secular stagnation," and to attract huge funds held abroad by the globalised corporations, to be e.g. invested in US manufacturing. Already, around $300 billion have flowed back into the economy since 2017, an eight-fold increase from the inflows of earlier years. Wage incomes have also begun rising, which may start to reduce the huge inequality that developed in prior decades of free (unlimited) trade and poorly controlled immigration, which led to an outsourcing of well paid jobs and pressure to reduce wages, also in the service sector. As such, President Trump is fighting the interests of the globalised corporations, which benefited from those policies, while ordinary workers suffered. He is also trying to end the political corruption that made it possible. This has all been predicted (see also this article). The transits of 2019, will bring adverse events for the US economy and will test the resilience of the economy, which is seen to be less when inequality is great. This is due to the fact that economic growth is then more reliant on an increase in household and government debt. Under normal conditions, the economy should grow more based on rising incomes to fund the growth of consumption and housing investment.

In short, while economic progress is sometimes identified with technological progress, or human achievements, true such progress requires the rise in the welfare of all people, and not just some (very rich) people. While real progress was seen to be made from the late 19th century and to peak in the early 20th century, it declined again in the 1920s. We are now witnessing the reemergnce of true economic progress again. Moreover, as the progress is being developed on the basis of greater fairness in business organisation and operation, and less on tax and spend policies, it is likely the Democrats will eventually embrace it, even if it is expected to decline again as the 2040s approach.