When Government Fears The People

Got a show idea? Post them here!

Moderators: Loki, exposno1, Parrot, Quasigriz, NickDupree, nmoore63, robroydude, Spinny Spamkiller

When Government Fears The People

Postby hondo69 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:36 am

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
Thomas Jefferson


My steps to restore liberty:

1] Repeal the 17th Amendment
The Founders intended Senators to be ambassadors of their respective States - States Rights must reign supreme over Federal power.

2] Term Limits
US Senators and Congressmen limited to no more than 2 terms.

3] Eliminate Czars
It is illegal for Czars to usurp power from Congress.

4] Instate A Fair Tax
All citizens and businesses pay a flat 15% tax on earned income.

5] Balanced Budget Amendment
Government must live within its means.

6] Increase Unemployment
Eliminate Federal Departments that usurp power from the States (Education, EPA, etc).

7] Fairness Amendment
Politicians may not exempt themselves from the laws they create.

8] Streamline Government Regulations
No new Fedral laws may be passed that duplicate or conflict with existing law and new laws are to be written in plain English.

9] Transparency Amendment
Every penny of taxpayer money is accounted for and displayed to the public.

10] Safety Net
All US adult citizens are guaranteed a monthly income.
Fugitive from the law of averages
User avatar
hondo69
Nomarch
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:06 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:41 am

How would you reconcile (10) with (4)?
“If the human race is to survive, then for all but a very brief period of its history, the word ship will mean space ship.” –Arthur C. Clarke
User avatar
Dr. Strangelove
Archon
 
Posts: 36992
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:21 pm

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby hondo69 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:44 am

The last item, The Safety Net, requires further explanation.

And the best decription can be found in Charles Murray's Book: In Our Hands.

http://www.amazon.com/Our-Hands-Replace-Welfare-State/dp/0844742236

Overview
America's population is wealthier than any in history. Every year, the American government redistributes more than a trillion dollars of that wealth to provide for retirement, health care, and the alleviation of poverty. We still have millions of people without comfortable retirements, without adequate health care, and living in poverty. Only a government can spend so much money so ineffectually. The solution is to give the money to the people. This is the Plan, a radical new approach to social policy that defies any partisan label. Murray suggests eliminating all welfare transfer programs at the federal, state, and local levels and substituting an annual $10,000 cash grant to everyone age twenty-one or older. In Our Hands describes the financial feasibility of the Plan and its effects on retirement, health care, poverty, marriage and family, work, neighborhoods and civil society.

Personally, I believe $10,000 is much too low, but the book is more than 5 years old so adjustments would need to be made for inflation, etc.
Fugitive from the law of averages
User avatar
hondo69
Nomarch
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:06 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby Taliesin » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:57 am

hondo69 wrote:When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
Thomas Jefferson


My steps to restore liberty:

1] Repeal the 17th Amendment
The Founders intended Senators to be ambassadors of their respective States - States Rights must reign supreme over Federal power.

Amen

2] Term Limits
US Senators and Congressmen limited to no more than 2 terms.

Debatable. Term limits are useful in the President, but having a constant stream of newbies flocking through the doors only empowers the people who have been there the longest, and in this case it's the lobbyists. Just look at California.

3] Eliminate Czars
It is illegal for Czars to usurp power from Congress.

4] Instate A Fair Tax
All citizens and businesses pay a flat 15% tax on earned income.

Regressive, and doesn't even have the enforceability savings of a sales tax.

5] Balanced Budget Amendment
Government must live within its means.

Would government be allowed to run up a surplus as a "rainy day" fund against emergency? Otherwise it seems like you're throwing away the big advantage of sovereign government; their ability to keep racking up debt. Alexander Hamilton isn't very happy with you.

6] Increase Unemployment
Eliminate Federal Departments that usurp power from the States (Education, EPA, etc).

Don't all of them do that? And what about issues that truly do cross state lines like pollution of aquifers, erosion, damming of rivers, etc?

7] Fairness Amendment
Politicians may not exempt themselves from the laws they create.

Always a good idea

8] Streamline Government Regulations
No new Fedral laws may be passed that duplicate or conflict with existing law and new laws are to be written in plain English.

No conflicting laws? So no laws can be repealed or amended? What about reinterpreted? Plain English doesn't help with the loopholes; just look at the Commerce clause.

9] Transparency Amendment
Every penny of taxpayer money is accounted for and displayed to the public.

10] Safety Net
All US adult citizens are guaranteed a monthly income.

Hahahahahahahahahahahah good one.
"Come back clowny-shoes and argue with me some more!"
-DBTrek
Taliesin
Senior Member
 
Posts: 667
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 1:19 pm

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:21 am

hondo69 wrote:The last item, The Safety Net, requires further explanation.

And the best decription can be found in Charles Murray's Book: In Our Hands.

http://www.amazon.com/Our-Hands-Replace-Welfare-State/dp/0844742236

Overview
America's population is wealthier than any in history. Every year, the American government redistributes more than a trillion dollars of that wealth to provide for retirement, health care, and the alleviation of poverty. We still have millions of people without comfortable retirements, without adequate health care, and living in poverty. Only a government can spend so much money so ineffectually. The solution is to give the money to the people. This is the Plan, a radical new approach to social policy that defies any partisan label. Murray suggests eliminating all welfare transfer programs at the federal, state, and local levels and substituting an annual $10,000 cash grant to everyone age twenty-one or older. In Our Hands describes the financial feasibility of the Plan and its effects on retirement, health care, poverty, marriage and family, work, neighborhoods and civil society.

Personally, I believe $10,000 is much too low, but the book is more than 5 years old so adjustments would need to be made for inflation, etc.




I had considered something similar. Not advocating it.. but for the sake of argument, we actually do live in a mercantile system right now. *Within* that system we have these markets and competition, but the market itself is single organism. It is that market we enforce overseas over others, just as we enforce the petro-dollar. We could organize a better means of allocating the surplus from that machine. The GDP is something like 14.5 trillion dollars. Just allocating 1% of that GDP evenly to the American people would come out to several hundred thousand dollars a year for every American.

*If* we are to do this insipid globalized free market thing, I think that is the *only* reasonable compromise. Essentially, it turns Americans into the consumers that would drive the global economy. We would be like super wealthy Romans. The world would produce our luxuries. Of course, eventually somebody will kick our lazy asses, but that will happen anyway as our nation is taken over by lawyers and spreadsheet monkeys.

Personally, I would rather undo these globalist treaties and laws. Start over with a sound national-based economic model for every nation. Establish free trade with equivalent economies, and balance out trade with other zones using weighted tariffs.

What I would worry about the guaranteed income is a very fast regression in American expertise, ambition, and motivation. Surely many people will want to take a greater share of that business, but most won't.

Worse yet, our quality of life would absolutely depend upon the rest of the world NEVER gaining an edge on our per-capita income. If that ever happens, or if free trade ends, then several hundred thousand dollars a year would be the new poverty level.
“If the human race is to survive, then for all but a very brief period of its history, the word ship will mean space ship.” –Arthur C. Clarke
User avatar
Dr. Strangelove
Archon
 
Posts: 36992
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:21 pm

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby hondo69 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:57 am

Term Limits

I agree, it's a double edged sword. In fact my whole life I've argued against term limits primarily on the grounds that we're better than that. But eventually I've succumbed to reality. We're really not smart enough, moral enough or logical enough to boot the thugs from office that ensure the corruption machine keeps running full bore.

But we can’t sue the state of Massachusetts for re-electing Barney Frank term after term. And we can’t rely on the Justice Department to put these scoundrels behind bars, they’re in on the game too.

Maybe the best option is to repeal the 17th Amendment and allow the checks and balances system work as intended. If so, I’d be willing, actually more than happy, to forgo my Term Limits requirement.
Fugitive from the law of averages
User avatar
hondo69
Nomarch
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:06 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby hondo69 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:33 am

The Fair Tax

I'd be agreeable to a Consumption Tax in place of an income tax, but not both.

A Consumption Tax is fair to all as it treats every citizen equally. It doesn’t matter if you purchase $5,000 a year in goods or $5,000,000 a year, everyone is taxed exactly the same. And that is the key to any tax, equality. So the first step must be to ensure every citizen understands the system treats everyone the same from Warren Buffet right down to his secretary.

Plus, it is a much more simple concept than income. If I sell a TV on CraigsList is the cash I receive counted as income? If I receive a Social Security check is it income? So the arguments to define income can go on forever and ever. And income is easily hidden. Not so when you purchase an item from a store. There is a paper trail.

Of course the counter argument would be that a Consumption Tax would facilitate a black market for goods as many items would suddenly be exchanged for cash that leaves no trail. This is true. However, I would note that we would see a counter effort of enforcement over the black markets which currently has nearly zero enforcement. And spending on black market goods today exceed even that of the drug trade. If local, state and federal funds depend more heavily upon enforcement of the law it follows that you’d see a pretty severe crackdown on this activity.
Fugitive from the law of averages
User avatar
hondo69
Nomarch
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:06 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby hondo69 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:50 am

5] Balanced Budget Amendment
Government must live within its means.

Would government be allowed to run up a surplus as a "rainy day" fund against emergency?


Governments should always factor in a "rainy day" fund. When a disaster such as Joplin, MO occurs politicians race each other to the microphone to demand Congress convenes to address this unforseen emergency. And they proclaim anyone opposed to coughing up brand new spending for such an unpredictable occurance is just plain heartless.

Really? You mean you're going to sit there and tell me you are competent enough to run a multi-trillion dollar budget but don't have enough common sense to know that disasters occur? Well I've got a news flash for you, they are as predictable as the sun coming up tomorrow morning. They happen all the time. And if you're so out of touch with reality that you cannot understand this simple fact than you should resign in disgrace.

By the way, as you head out the door and say goodbye to your colleagues, we have a van waiting for you and these nice gentlemen in white suits that will help fit you into a brand new jacket.
Fugitive from the law of averages
User avatar
hondo69
Nomarch
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:06 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby Taliesin » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:36 pm

Term Limits

The "corruption machine" isn't the politicians. Believe it or not, most of them get into government for the "right" reasons -- they actually want to do good; or good as they see it. At least, they did when they started in politics. The problem is structural, not personal, and has to do with the size and scope of government. After all, properly done earmarks and "pork" are good things. They are the direct advocacy of otherwise-voiceless local concerns at the federal level. Legislators do represent their district, after all, and I should hope that they'd represent their constituent's needs and desires as well as their views.

Everything turns sour when the government becomes large enough that controlling it can make or break entire industries. At that point, it only makes sense that everyone and their mother would pour money into lobbying, hoping to not get screwed by rival pressure groups or even do some screwing of their own. Term limits do nothing to address this. All they do is create a huge class of ex-pols (ripe recruiting grounds for consultancies and lobbying firms), and ensure that no-one in the legislature ever actually stays in power long enough to fully suss out the byzantine problems they have to address. It's enforced mediocrity.

Taxes

The one problem with consumption taxes is that they encourage reliance on the black or grey markets for goods. This is both good and bad; bad in that it denies the government receipts. Good because the informal economy can be very good at getting cash to those who need it most and can afford the regressive tax the least. But even that has its downside; the informal economy is often hazardous and not subject to normal oversight.

I think the key to your scheme is ensuring that you tax capital gains and other forms of transactions just as heavily as you tax other things; that'll be what compensates for not taxing higher wealth concentrations at higher rates. Moreover, hopefully it'll discourage speculation and slow-down the pace of trading.

Rainy Day Fund

The one problem I have with Balanced-Budget Amendments is that they handcuff governments in a really, really restrictive manner, and don't necessarily slow down the pace of borrowing. A similar restriction has murdered the ability of California to govern itself, and yet we're still deep in the hole because the solution is for political interest groups to simply lobby to deadlock the legislature and not pass a budget -- the government has to honor its commitments, and so has no choice to borrow.
"Come back clowny-shoes and argue with me some more!"
-DBTrek
Taliesin
Senior Member
 
Posts: 667
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 1:19 pm

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby hondo69 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:50 am

Well said.


Taxes

I've looked at most every type of tax proposal out there over the years and find glaring holes in every system. For example, a small business with nothing but a handful of employees and a few computers might process data all day. After initial expenses, the company doesn't really consume much of anything at all besides electricity. But they might show a profit of a million dollars a year. That profit could easily be stashed away in a numbered account in the Caymen Islands and later used to buy a house in the Bahamas. The Consumption Tax would then be avoided altogether.

To me, the essential point is arrive at a system that treats everyone equally. No one could describe the current system as "fair and equitible". But it seems nearly impossible to change anytime soon as we've painted ourselves into a corner with no way out.

Take a look at government spending

Image

In short, we've basically doubled government spending over the past 10 years. Any attempts to reform the tax system will be met with the same silly arguments we hear today. "We have to increase taxes to pay for all this spending".

Our fearless leaders have put the American people in a no win situation. Step One was to spend like a raped ape, then Step Two was to go the public and say, "well look right here, we're a little short on cash".

The system needs to work in reverse. First, devise a system that all Americans can understand and recognize as fair. The government will then be notified of their new "allowance" and can budget accordingly.
Fugitive from the law of averages
User avatar
hondo69
Nomarch
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:06 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:53 am

But most of that doubling is military and bank bailouts. If you want to cut things, they certainly are not the typical right wing targets. More appropriate targets are right wing sacred cows like defense, intelligence, corporate subsidies and tax breaks. If all you wanted to do was erase that 200% increase over the past decade anyway.. That would do it.


Otherwise, look at it from the left's perspective. What if we doubled the national budget on all the social programs we want, and then when the bill comes due, argue that we need to cut all these other programs we don't like instead of the programs that caused the bill in the first place?
“If the human race is to survive, then for all but a very brief period of its history, the word ship will mean space ship.” –Arthur C. Clarke
User avatar
Dr. Strangelove
Archon
 
Posts: 36992
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:21 pm

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby hondo69 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:57 am

Dr. Strangelove wrote:Personally, I would rather undo these globalist treaties and laws. Start over with a sound national-based economic model for every nation. Establish free trade with equivalent economies, and balance out trade with other zones using weighted tariffs.


I like this idea and have thought about similar ideas over the years. The problem, or couse, is that everyone plays by a different set of rules.

If you view a trade agreement like a chess match you'd see one player who understands the rules and moves his pieces accordingly. The other player, however, doesn't follow those rules and treats all his pieces like a queen. He just moves his pieces wherever he wants any time he wants and he'll always win the game.
Fugitive from the law of averages
User avatar
hondo69
Nomarch
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:06 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby hondo69 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:25 am

Dr. Strangelove wrote:What if we doubled the national budget on all the social programs we want, and then when the bill comes due, argue that we need to cut all these other programs we don't like instead of the programs that caused the bill in the first place?

Let's see, right now we borrow 41 cents for every dollar we spend.
Image

If we double the budget on social programs that number would increase to 82 cents. So instead of becoming Greece in 5 years we'd get there in 2. That's one plan I guess. I mean, the end game has always been to bankrupt the country in the shortest time possible, right?

Military Spending - yes, this is a right wing sacred cow. But you might be surprised to find a large segment of the right, including the Tea Party, is flat out disgusted over military spending. And it's not so much the military budget their pissed about. First you have the military budget reported to the public. Now add that same amount again to spending that is off the books, black ops. So before you can go and start cutting the military budget you first have to discover all the real spending, then start cutting.

Social Programs - It's OK to paint me as a heartless bastard but regulars to this forum know I fully support a public safety net. First, I'd cut the hell out of social programs as they exist now. I can think of only a few that are not wrought with waste, fraud and abuse. The majority are setup to be abused by design. Instead, I'd replace them with steamlined systems that allow money to flow from Washington directly to the States. Those closest to the problems are in the best position to offer customized solutions. 50 experiments are obviously better than the one size fits all systems we have now.

But no, the argument on the other side is alway this: "We don't really care if 60 cents of every dollar spent is wasted, we'll just increase the budget more". It's just like dropping food into Africa from a plane. No one really cares if only a small portion gets to the people that really need it, we'll just keep dropping more. Nice plan.
Fugitive from the law of averages
User avatar
hondo69
Nomarch
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:06 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby hondo69 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:45 am

Taliesin wrote:The one problem I have with Balanced-Budget Amendments is that they handcuff governments in a really, really restrictive manner, and don't necessarily slow down the pace of borrowing. A similar restriction has murdered the ability of California to govern itself, and yet we're still deep in the hole because the solution is for political interest groups to simply lobby to deadlock the legislature and not pass a budget -- the government has to honor its commitments, and so has no choice to borrow.

I'm not sure California is a good example. They have so many self inflicted wounds it would take several months just to list them all here. But one example illustrates the point.

For years the State placed severe restrictions on the construction of new power sources and power lines. Just didn't like that nasty old electrical generation thingy. But they forgot to put salt peter in the water and the State just kept on growing. All of a sudden, shock of all shocks, they were faced with power shortages and brown outs.

So they had to turn to the open market to purchase power to makeup the shortfall. Turns out the cost on the market was higher than what they had budgeted from their homegrown power. And man were they pissed. For months we were forced to suffer through one news conference after another with some outraged politician spouting about how the State was getting royally screwed. They just couldn't find enough fingers to point in other directions.

Yeah, the State was getting screwed allright. It's just that they crossed up the screwers and the screwees. Now take this example time a thousand and you'll begin to get the big picture of California's borrowing problems.
Fugitive from the law of averages
User avatar
hondo69
Nomarch
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:06 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: When Government Fears The People

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:46 am

Huh? I didn't paint you as anything. The fact remains that our budget increased by that much because of military spending and the banking/corporate bailouts. Just behind those are the corporate subsidies and tax breaks. The budget didn't double because we created a welfare system that doesn't exist.

If you want to go back a decade, then you need to slash the hell out of defense spending, remove all units from occupied territories, shut down expensive bases built in SW and Central Asia, repeal Bush tax cuts, and take back all the money stolen from us by bankers, insurers like AIG, and all the corporations that sucked up government subsidies in these ridiculous stimulus packages.

If you really want to undo things anyway. The point I was making is that what right wingers are calling for now would be exactly like I described if done by the left. To properly understand it in context, just imagine if in the previous decade, we spent that same amount of money on generous and lucrative social welfare programs, speculative green technology, etc. And then when our government was about to go bankrupt, we targeted reductions in programs favorable to the right wing even though they had nothing to do with the budget increases. That is perhaps a good way for people on the right to properly understand how completely jacked this situation has become, and why our nation is about to rip itself apart.

You want to fix this country. We all do. Going after the budget is necessary. I agree with that. But there is no possible future in which our entire political spectrum is right wing and corporatist. This is not sustainable. Most Americans are decidedly left of all political representation we have. Most Americans are more like Bernie Sanders or Denis Kucinich, not Alan Greenspan, Bernanke, Boehner, and Obama. You need to address that. It is the obvious result of corporate corruption and control of our government. If this were a democratic nation, our government would not be ultra right wing. It's laughable that the average democrat is essentially a Ronald Reagan republican. You can't fix anything until you address that.

Your idea, though theoretically consistent and valid, is pointless because you don't live in a democracy. You don't even have true representation. Your representatives probably know Texan corporate CEOs by first name. But what happens if you call? That's not a representative.
“If the human race is to survive, then for all but a very brief period of its history, the word ship will mean space ship.” –Arthur C. Clarke
User avatar
Dr. Strangelove
Archon
 
Posts: 36992
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:21 pm

Next

Return to New Common Sense Show Ideas

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest
cron