July15 Sources: Fat Cats Like Regulation

The established rich are rarely friends of free markets. “The Big Rip Off” explains why. Big firms can afford the staff to cope with regulations, while expense and nuisance keeps out new players. Big firms also buy good will at the expense of weaker competitors. Wal-Mart supports minimum wage hikes because it already pays above it. Enron advocated Kyoto and Ken Lay discussed strategies with Clinton and Gore as far back as 1997. Firms can do well by appearing to do good.

The reality is that those being regulated capture regulations and use them to restrain competition. A businessman wants to make money. If rules and regulations help that, so much the better. Big tobacco, for example, favors bans on advertising. Why not? Their brands are established and w/o advertising it is very hard for competitors to break in.

On a more personal level, you can see the same thing among people who move into a nice neighborhood or a pleasant rural area. As soon as they get there, they want to close the door and prevent further development. They claim good motives and may even have good motives, but it doesn’t hurt that the regulations benefit them. The regulations prevent newcomers from doing what the established guys did last year.

Clearly, the free market is a threat to established individuals and firms. Their best strategy is to capture the coercive power of the state. Good examples were Jim Crow laws enacted by the white establishment to prevent free competition by blacks. The free market doesn't really care about color (except green as in money). But rules can be aimed more precisely.

The only way to prevent corruption of the system is to take away opportunities use the blunt tools of regulation only when necessary. Remember that the solution we enact today may well be the problem tomorrow.

Other sources are below.

The Hollow Force
President Bush in Europe: Shaping U.S. Policy Toward Germany
Political Report, July/August 2006
Explaining Why People Are Pessimistic About the Economy
Why a Higher Minimum Wage is Bad for the Economy
America A Abroad
Current Energy Use Seen as Threat to Environment
Deadly Conversations
Has Bush Gone Multilateral
Will Greater Foreign Aid Help the Poor, This Time?
Weekly Review of Human Rights


Posted by Jack at July 15, 2006 12:36 AM
Comments
Comment #167735

Jack,

You’re a decent seeming guy but you really need to learn more economics and business theory. The reality is that regulations cost and business hates cost. BTW: Regulations were reduced more effectively by Gores (D - VP) National Performance Review than anyhting else ever.
I notice you rely heavily on heritage, brookings, and aei. You really should try reading the other side, your “faith” in the co-called conservative web will be shaken.

Posted by: Dave1 at July 15, 2006 12:58 AM
Comment #167740

Business hates costs. But if my big firm already has staff to deal with these costs AND it will keep out competitors, it might be cost effective.

BTW - I have on the sources Brookings,liberal world public opinon and Yale. I also lean heavily on Pew, NPR and the Washington Post. If you consider these conservative, you are way left of the American center.

My favorite news show is the News Hour on PBS and my favorite magazine is “The Economist”, so I am mostly middle conservative.

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2006 1:23 AM
Comment #167747

Jack,

I never really considered regulations in the manner your article brings up, but I can see where this might be the case.

Posted by: 1LT B at July 15, 2006 2:27 AM
Comment #167755

Jack, there is an opportunity cost to every decision ever made, every policy ever enforced, and every action ever taken. But your article skirts the real issue in my opinion. The power of corporations to shape regulations in their favor regardless of cost to the nation and public, and their immensely deep pockets which are not shared with shareholders, but, instead put to the use of hiring 100’s of billions of dollars worth of public relations, and image marketing to cover and compensate for their many flaws, inadequacies, and inefficiencies as regards environment, consumer welfare, and transparency.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 15, 2006 3:56 AM
Comment #167778

Great lecture/subject! Multinational corporations and the way they often do business is nether supportive of democracy or true capitalism. The sooner both sides realize this the sooner we can head the country and the world in a direction of sustainability, peace and true democracy. People who continue to support these mega-companies in the name of “economic principals” no nothing of democracy and free markets.

Posted by: muirgeo at July 15, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #167782

David

We get to the question, “so wadda we do?” We need some regulations. But well connected businesses as well as NGOs and other pressure groups can use regualtions as offensive weapons.

The solution is to trim regulations to a minimum and not address every aspiration with a new law. Certainly, we should police corruption. But experiece in more than 200 years of American history as well as that of every other significantly sized country or organization since we stopped being hunter gatherers shows that what can be corrupted, will be. The best bet is not to create the environment that encourages it.

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2006 10:57 AM
Comment #167787

So, Jack, you seem to be saying our founding fathers design of our Constitution with its checks and balances and ideals of a United Nation of capable of resisting the corrupting influences of the darker side of humanity is a failure.

My, my, but you capitulate easy. I say the jury is still out, and can remain out, if we remain vigilant, diligent, and keep our eye on the prize, a nation of, by, and for the interests and welfare of the people. For afterall, what is a nation without its people.

To say we should minimize regulation and oversight and interdiction to practices that foster more harm than good to the nation and its future, is to concede the battle against the darker side of human nature. Doesn’t sound very American to me in a traditional sense.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 15, 2006 11:17 AM
Comment #167793

Jack,

“We get to the question, “so wadda we do?” We need some regulations. But well connected businesses as well as NGOs and other pressure groups can use regualtions as offensive weapons.”

I don’t have a problem with cutting back on some regulation, if those that are responsible for breaking any regulation were punished for that act.

My bottom line is that if a company wants to pay a CEO a ton of money, that the CEO would be totally responsible for any regulations that are sidestepped and any laws that are broken, even by their subordinates.

Let’s make the punishment so swift, and so severe that anyone in a position of responsibility in a corporation will think 3 or 4 times before allowing the laws to be broken.

I would think that if their asses were on the line, the reality of doing business in this country would change rapidly.

Posted by: Rocky at July 15, 2006 11:44 AM
Comment #167796

Walmart does not give their employees a living wage and then tells them how to make up the difference by applying for welfare. If that’s not taking advantage I don’t know what is.

Hey Jack, I thought you would be interested in this Op Ed from the Times:

Bush supporter: “Why doesn’t President Bush get credit for a great economy? I blame liberal media bias.”

Informed economist: “But it’s not a great economy for most Americans. Many families are actually losing ground, and only a very few affluent people are doing really well.”

Bush supporter: “Why doesn’t President Bush get credit for a great economy? I blame liberal media bias.”

To a large extent, this dialogue of the deaf reflects Upton Sinclair’s principle: it’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. But there’s also an element of genuine incredulity. Many observers, even if they acknowledge the growing concentration of income in the hands of the few, find it hard to believe that this concentration could be proceeding so rapidly as to deny most Americans any gains from economic growth.

Yet newly available data show that that’s exactly what happened in 2004.

Why talk about 2004, rather than more recent experience? Unfortunately, data on the distribution of income arrive with a substantial lag; the full story of what happened in 2004 has only just become available, and we won’t be able to tell the full story of what’s happening right now until the last year of the Bush administration. But it’s reasonably clear that what’s happening now is the same as what happened then: growth in the economy as a whole is mainly benefiting a small elite, while bypassing most families.

Here’s what happened in 2004. The U.S. economy grew 4.2 percent, a very good number. Yet last August the Census Bureau reported that real median family income — the purchasing power of the typical family — actually fell. Meanwhile, poverty increased, as did the number of Americans without health insurance. So where did the growth go?

The answer comes from the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, whose long-term estimates of income equality have become the gold standard for research on this topic, and who have recently updated their estimates to include 2004. They show that even if you exclude capital gains from a rising stock market, in 2004 the real income of the richest 1 percent of Americans surged by almost 12.5 percent. Meanwhile, the average real income of the bottom 99 percent of the population rose only 1.5 percent. In other words, a relative handful of people received most of the benefits of growth.

There are a couple of additional revelations in the 2004 data. One is that growth didn’t just bypass the poor and the lower middle class, it bypassed the upper middle class too. Even people at the 95th percentile of the income distribution — that is, people richer than 19 out of 20 Americans — gained only modestly. The big increases went only to people who were already in the economic stratosphere.

The other revelation is that being highly educated was no guarantee of sharing in the benefits of economic growth. There’s a persistent myth, perpetuated by economists who should know better — like Edward Lazear, the chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers — that rising inequality in the United States is mainly a matter of a rising gap between those with a lot of education and those without. But census data show that the real earnings of the typical college graduate actually fell in 2004.

In short, it’s a great economy if you’re a high-level corporate executive or someone who owns a lot of stock. For most other Americans, economic growth is a spectator sport.

Can anything be done to spread the benefits of a growing economy more widely? Of course. A good start would be to increase the minimum wage, which in real terms is at its lowest level in half a century.

But don’t expect this administration or this Congress to do anything to limit the growing concentration of income. Sometimes I even feel sorry for these people and their apologists, who are prevented from acknowledging that inequality is a problem by both their political philosophy and their dependence on financial support from the wealthy. That leaves them no choice but to keep insisting that ordinary Americans — who have, in fact, been bypassed by economic growth — just don’t understand how well they’re doing.

Posted by: Max at July 15, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #167798

I think David is on point here. When the game players are making the rules as they go, thats a problem.

We send our representatives to Washington under the guise “lawmakers” what are they supposed to do but make laws? I believe that this is a big part of the problem, they have to prove they are doing something, right?

Has anyone ever see a list of “pork” regulations? sort of like the pork report? I bet it would be interesting to see the list of regulations enacted on behalf of contributors etc…

JT

Posted by: JayTea at July 15, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #167804

David

The founding fathers had a minimalist view. The created the checks and balances just for that reason. They understood that power corrupts. They were going against centuries of theory that said that governments should be involved in the management of society and the economy.

Some things just cannot be done. It is not a fault. An olympic swimmer is much better than a beginner who can swim only to the edge of the pool, but neither can swim from California to Hawaii. So do we keep on trying to train our swimmer to do the impossible, or do we recognize that we can ask him to swim 100 metres really fast, but Hawaii is just something we cannot have.

A government that creates silly laws or interferes too much in the business of its citizens invites abuse. My wife is the head of our HOA. HOAs can be very nasty. They have all sorts of rules about the size, shapes and colors of porches, where and what you can plant etc. My wife was always upset because people were not following the rules. I told her that the only legitimate goals the HOA had were to maintain property, maintain safety and comply with county regulations. Most other things were none of her business. If she and the board just didn’t like something, that was too bad. HOAs are a kind of government. Lucky they don’t have armies and police.

I lived in E. Europe & Latin America where there was a lot of corruption. MOST of the corruption came from laws, regulation and programs they should not have had anyway. I considered it my duty to trade currency on the black market, since governments had no legitimate right to regulate on the retail level it anyway. Stupid laws invite abuse.

Rocky

Do you cheat on your income taxes? This is not a mean question. I try to be honest on my taxes, but I don’t know whether or not I am. The laws are too complicated. Even with software to help out, I am never sure if I am complying with all the laws. Firms have even bigger problems. It is impossible to comply with all employment laws at the same time. The courts cannot decide in many cases.

I take the reasonable man standard. If a reasonably educated man cannot understand a regulation, it may be too complicated. If he makes a mistake, it is just a mistake, not a crime and unless the regulation was essential, the government should consider getting rid of it.

Max

Wal-Mart would be unaffected by a rise in minimum wage. It is a phase change. Below a certain level it just doesn’t matter. Raising the minimum is like raising the temperature of water from 80 to 90 degrees. It still doesn’t boil. They currently pay above minimum anyway.

My teenage son is starting work today at the local multiplex. They are paying him $7 an hour. That is what ordinary decent entry level labor gets paid around her. The minimum wage affects few workers and anybody who has been in the labor force more than a short time is not making minimum unless he is really screwing up.

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #167817

Jack said: “The founding fathers had a minimalist view.”

Jack, in 1776, we were a minimalist nation of only 13 colonies. Catch up, guy. We are magnitudes beyond being a minimalist nation today. We are a SuperPower. Think about it. Their greatest fear was power. Corporations today have greater power than the entire United States in 1776.

You think our founding fathers wouldn’t have some different ideas if they were designing a constitutional government for a SuperPower. My Buddha, but they would be throwing in checks and balances like there was no tomorrow without them.

And that is exactly where we find ourselves.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 15, 2006 1:42 PM
Comment #167824

Jack-

The “I didn’t know it was illegal” defense is the weakest out there. I knwo all about confusing regulations. I’m a mortgage broker licensed in all 50 states. When I started 6 years ago there was a national set of laws, but during the refinance boom every state had to have their own set of regulations. Now, when I package my disclosures, I have to spend an additional 20 minutes or so double checking the state specific guidelines. Doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re disclosing 20-30 loans a week it really adds up. However, if I screw up (and I do), I lose money. Everyone knows this. These are the rules of the game. If you want to play, learn the rules. If you can’t figure them out, either run the risk of breaking them or play a different game.

That said, I identify strongly with your original post. Most of the predatory lending laws that have been passed in states have been pushed by the banking industry. It’s complicated, but basically brokers and mortgage companies make their money in more direct ways than banks do. So banks, knowing that lending restrictions were inevitable, used their considerable lobbying power to make sure the restrictions were only placed on aspects that would hurt their competition, not them. The end result? Less competition for the banks, fewer options for consumers.

The answer? Lobby reform! Regulations are absolutely necessary, but the politicians who develop the regulations need to answer to the consumer, not the business they are trying to regulate. It reminds me a lot of the Italian soccer scandal, where bribery of officials is just considered part of the game.

Posted by: David S at July 15, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #167826

David

The most important check is not to have the thing at all.

To use their sort of terms, we agree that both tyranny of government and uspurpation of business are dangers. My opinion is that government is potentially more dangerous because of its monopoly on coercive force. Beyond that, particular business can (and has) used government to maintain position by use of the government’s coercive force. That is a big danger.

I read the biography of JP Morgan. I recomment the Ron Chernow version. As you read that, you come to the understanding that Morgan (and people like him) thought a lot like socialists. They wanted rules to control competition and regulate markets. What made them robber barons and not socialists is that THEY would control those forces.

Since that time both business and government have become more sophisitcated and government’s fiat has grown. Now the lobbyists are there early to make the regulations before we even know it. By definition, government is status quo. It protects existing interests. This is usually good, but we need enough flex to allow change. Government is always also a little behind technology and management practices. So regulations tend to be backward instead of forward looking. That is why we should not have too many of them.

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #167828

Jack,

“I take the reasonable man standard. If a reasonably educated man cannot understand a regulation, it may be too complicated. If he makes a mistake, it is just a mistake, not a crime and unless the regulation was essential, the government should consider getting rid of it.”

You said yourself that corporations have staffs to help deal with the regulations. I can only assume that they also have staffs of lawyers that advise them on the legality of their policies.

If corporations spent half the time they do trying to get around the regulations, on staying within them, then the CEOs in my senario would have nothing to worry about.

As far as my taxes are concerned, I attempt to stay within the laws.
Because I cannot afford to retain a room full of lawyers, when and if I accrue penalties, I will have to deal with the consequences and get over it.

Posted by: Rocky at July 15, 2006 2:09 PM
Comment #167830

Rocky

The regulation may not tell you what you need to know. The lawyer’s “interpretation” is what you call getting around it.

In my paper today there is an article about a hotel that may not be built because the developer has been unable to get enough minority contractors involved. This is a kind of shakedown regulation. Now the question is, who is a minority? My daughter was born in Latin America, so I have always checked the Histpanic box. Her mother is Norwegian. I am Polish/German, but have we managed to produce a Hispanic daugher? I think we got them on a definition, but not everyone agrees. Thelaw itself is stupid and invites abuse.

Your point about laywers on staff supports my original contention. A small operator is at a disadvatage with the fat cat, since he does not have that staff. So government regulations support the established at the expense of the new commers.

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2006 2:23 PM
Comment #167846

Jack:

“The reality is that those being regulated capture regulations and use them to restrain competition.”

This is true and it supports my view that Big Business is too powerful and should be restrained.

Big Business likes some regulations, but hates other regulations, such as those pertaining to the safety, health and protection of the consumer. Big Business has demolished the regulations that enabled unions to flourish in the past.

We need regulation to protect the consumer and the wage earner from the greed of Big Bushiness. And Republicans are consistently against this.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at July 15, 2006 3:04 PM
Comment #167852

I would argue that without regulation, the small operator is at an even greater disadvantage. Most notably would be regulation against monopoly, which keeps at its very core the spirit of allowing competition in the market place. Colusion between large businesses that can offer incentives for continued relationships, thereby making it near impossible for small competitors to compete on a cost basis. But as you noted, regulations tend to eb behind the times, and s do large corporations. New technologies and market-changing innovation tend to come from smaller companies and start-ups, who are able to operate without much regulatory impact because the arena they are operating in has yet to be overly-regulated.

By the way, Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a nationality. I think you know this and I’m pretty sure you know you’re skirting the law there.

Posted by: David S at July 15, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #167853

David S

I know it is skirting the law, but I think I have it on a technicality. We don’t do anything with it besides checking the box sometimes. We checked no ethic box on her university application, so she got in on her own merits. I just do it as my little way of sticking it to the man.

I encourage everyone to wreck the racist statistics whenever possible (and technically legal).

Paul

The big business often captures the tools of big government. Regulations are like pesticides. Sometimes you need them, but it is not a good thing to use them too liberally.

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #167855

I think we agree in principle (principal?). I view the issue as corporate America having far too much influence over the law, you seem to see it as the law having too much impact over business, mostly small business. Its sort of a chicken/egg question.

Posted by: David S at July 15, 2006 3:32 PM
Comment #167858

David

The principal is your PAL. You are right with principle.

If we go back to the beginning, there was no difference between business and government. All early civlilizations were proto-socialist. The idea of business being really independent from government is a modern conception. We easily slip back into the old conception with business capturing government or government trying to manage business.

An individual business man is usually in favor or free market in principle, but not in practice. Most of us will belly up to the government trough if given the opportunity and most of us will convince ourselves that it might be a good idea for competitors to have to follow rules that make it more difficult for them to do business. We should not provide the tools to do this.

I think my analogy to pesticide and regulation is apt. I use pesticides on my land. I need it to produce good results. Sometimes a lot is appropriate, but I try not to use it unless I have to and I don’t use too much. It has negative side effects.

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2006 3:56 PM
Comment #167922

I think you are finally coming around, Jack. The pseudo free marketers want to run the show and profit from it at the same time. The perfect money maker.

It’s not less regulation that we need, it’s intelligent legislation. It’s transparency in government. It’s more direct democracy that requires our electorate to be informed and involved. Remove the big money from cmpaigning. Outlaw it outright. No infringement of free speech just make set up televised debates for free. Limit the time to campaign. Allow all points of view to participate under equal rules. You want to campaign? Join the debate. No good at debate? Too bad. Same rules. No slick campaigning period. Create unemployment and a depression for the political analysts and TV ad departments, save America.

Posted by: gergle at July 15, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #167926

Gergle

Some things we just cannot get. If you get a lot of regulation, you get corruption and slow growth. So I think we should regulate for health and some environment, but stay away from regulations of transfer payments or social engineering. And have a light touch on all.

Posted by: Jack at July 15, 2006 11:02 PM
Comment #167937

Jack, I am a firm believer in freedom, which to me is the essential issue here. I still recall my high school social studies teacher telling the class that every law resticts somebodies freedom. Every time we have a rule or regulation liberty is the price. But keep in mind that the vast majority of laws are meant to protect people from other people’s “liberty”. The old your right to swing ends at my nose argument. It is not easy to put regulations in place with our political system. For the most part somebody has to lobby pretty hard to get a rule passed. In a society based on the rule of law how do you see regulations and different than the rules that help us as a society live by the rule of law?

Posted by: 037 at July 15, 2006 11:55 PM
Comment #167939

Jack, does staying away from social engeneering include public education?

Posted by: 037 at July 16, 2006 12:05 AM
Comment #167945

Public education is a local matter (or should be).

I am thinking mostly of transfer payments and rules that regulate private voluntary relationships.

I think the government should create infrastructure but not determine who or how it will be used. That is the for the people to decide.

Regulation in general is necessary but should be used sparingly. As I wrote above, it is like a pesticide, necessary but poisonous.

Posted by: jack at July 16, 2006 12:25 AM
Comment #167953

Jack, good post. one question are you saying that regulation = corruption, meaning that lack of regulation = no corruption because it cant be corrupt cause its legal?

Posted by: j2t2 at July 16, 2006 1:40 AM
Comment #167955

I must say I agree. The government has no place regulating who should be allowed to participate in a marriage contract. That is my type of conservatism!!! Can you explain that to the Republicans?

Posted by: 037 at July 16, 2006 1:51 AM
Comment #168005

j2t2

Think about corruption in a simple way. Is it possible for me to bribe the owner of a firm to give me a lower price? Why not? Because if he gives me a lower price he pays for it and it is legal. The only people who can be bribed are those who control resources that belong to other people.

Is it possible to bribe a person to get him to let you borrow his car or his lawn mower? Why not? Because he has the right to lend it to you and if you give him money all you are doing is an economic transaction. You are renting it. The only people who can be bribed are those who control resources that belong to others.

Regulation gives officials power over resources that belong to others. Some regulation is needed, but you want to be careful giving people power over the resources of others.

There is also the question of legitmacy. Most of us understand that stealing and murder are wrong. Even if we could get away with it, good people would not do these things. It is easy to understand why these things are against the law. Now consider employment law. It is complicated. You may be required to hire particular types of people or keep people who you do not think are working well. There is no moral component. If you can get away with breaking or skirting them on a technicality, you feel no moral problem.

SO make regulations that make sense and they can be enforced. Over reach and you invite disrespect.


037
I have written in favor or gay marriage. In general, I support any type of contract that people enter into freely. The terms are their business, not that of the government. That is also why I am not enthusiastic about minimum wages.

Posted by: Jack at July 16, 2006 10:53 AM
Comment #168023

Jack,

And a good analogy of what your talkin’ about is the established incumbencies of irresponsible incumbent politicians.

For example, see how incumbent politicians have perverted the system and laws in their favor.

Over the years, they have cleverly stacked the cards in their favor, and voters have foolishly allowed it.

No healthy organization or government can operate responsibly without a sufficient amount of Education, Transparency, and Accountability.

All our problems can be distilled down to a lack of those three things, and a lack of true understanding of Education, Transparency, Accountability, and Power, which, depending on the mix, can yield varying degrees of Responsibility, or Corruption.

It is futile to hash and re-hash countless reforms, countless examples of irresponsible government and corporations and other organizations, the misdeeds of those that abuse power, and irresponsible corporations that buy influence from irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians, until the voters obtain the Education to understand the importance of Education itself, Transparency, and Accountability.

That all sounds like simple common-sense, and it is. But it is exactly where we fail. Too many have surrendered to laziness, which breeds Corruption, abuse of power, reduced Transparency and Accountability.
_______________________________________

  • Education = an understanding of the importance of: Education, Transparency, Accountability, Power, Responsibility, Corruption, and the fundamental human desire to seek security and prosperity with the least effort and pain, and that some will resort to dishonest, unethical, or illegal methods to obtain it;

  • Transparency = visibility and simplification of cleverly over-complicated processes to reveal and identify abusers, create outrage, reduce opportunities for abuse, and discourage abuse and dishonesty;

  • Accountability = consequences needed to encourage law enforcement, encourage ethical behavior, and discourage abuse and dishonesty;

  • Power = force required to enforce the laws, discontinue abuse, ensure consequences, punish abusers, and discourage abuse and dishonesty; but unchecked Power without sufficient Education, Transparency, and Accountability breeds Corruption.

_______________________________________
  • Responsibility = Power + Education + Transparency + Accountability

  • _______________________________________
  • Corruption = Power - Education - Transparency - Accountability

  • _______________________________________
    Voters can not arrive at a Solution, until voters understand the basics, and how to account for the human factor at the root of the Problem.
    Voters have the one simple, responsible mechanism, right under their very own noses, that voters were supposed to be using all along to peacefully force government to be Transparent, Responsible and Accountable too !
    • Stop Repeat Offenders.

    • Don’t Re-Elect Them !

    Posted by: d.a.n at July 16, 2006 12:25 PM
    Comment #168065

    Dan

    I don’t know if you read of saw Lord of the Rings. Government is like the ring light. It doesn’t matter who wields the power. The power itself is what needs to be limited.

    You can keep on not electing incumbents and lose what experience they had, but it is just like running water through the pipe faster. The pipe directs the water. If you don’t like where it is going, change the pipes.

    Posted by: Jack at July 16, 2006 3:10 PM
    Comment #168079
    Jack wrote: I don’t know if you read of saw Lord of the Rings. Government is like the ring light. It doesn’t matter who wields the power. The power itself is what needs to be limited.

    Jack,
    Yes, I’ve seen ‘em all. Great movies.

    Jack,
    I disagree, because

  • Power already exists.

  • Power is needed to enforce the laws.

  • Government can not be stripped of Power to the degree that it can no accomplish anything. Limiting Power risks that.

  • Power must be balanced. Not restricted or eliminated, which is futile.
  • So Limited is not exactly the right choice of words.
    A Balance of Power is the objective.

    So, how does continually re-electing those that abuse power help us ?

    Jack wrote: You can keep on not electing incumbents and lose what experience they had
    Ha! Don’t make me laugh ! : ) What experience?!
    • Experience voting themselves cu$hy perk$?
    • Experience voting themselves rai$e$?
    • Experience fueling partisan warfare?
    • Experience ignoring our pressing problems as they grow in number and serverity ?
    • Experience growing government ever larger to nightmare proportions?
    • Experience clouding the issues, obscuring the facts, manufacturing non-sequiturs to skirt the issues, change the subject, devising clever distractions, while they get theirs, pad their golden parachutes, and make they incumbency more secure?
    • Experience growing the National Debt ?
    • Experience creating Ponzi-schemes, like Social Security, skimming surpluses and replacing them with worthless bonds?
    • Experience pandering and trolling for big-money-donors to fund their campaign war-chests?
    • Experience votin’ on pork-barrel, corporate welfare, graft, bribes, and peddlin’ influence ?
    • Experience pitting American citizens and illegal aliens against each other (for cheap labor (and underpaid underclass) and votes?
    • Experience resisting campaign finance reform, term limits, One-Purpose-Per-BILL, Balanced-Budget-Amendment, tax reform, and many other common-sense, no-brainer reforms?
    • Experience fooling and brainwashing voters to lazily pull the party lever, vote straight ticket, and wallow in the petty partisan warfare ?
    • Experience scaring voters about all the wrong things?
    • Experience leaking top-secret information?
    • Experience at dirty, negative campaigning?
    • Experience spending and printing money?
    • Experience voting on waste and pork-barrel while our troops risk life and limb?
    • Experience blocking access to voting ballots and election debates for independent and third party candidates?
    • Experience at appearing to be doing very hard and complex work (like rocket science), while actually doing very little (if anything, since most of the time is spent working to merely get re-elected, troll for big-money-donors, bribes, and peddling influence). ?
    • Experience at pretending to care deeply for the increasingly unaffordable and unreliable health care crisis, while doing nothing to solve that was primarily caused by greedy, irresponsible middlemen (government and insurance companies?
    • Experience at pretending that homeland security is important, while both do nothing to secure the wide-open borders that are trespassed by thousands daily, and costs stemming from illegal immigration (exceeding $70 billion per year) are heaped upon U.S. citizens.?
    • Experience perpetuating the myth that we can all live at the expense of everyone else?
    • Experience making their incumbency more secure?
    • Experience lying to The People (“Read My Lips”, “WMD”, “Your President is not a crook”, “I did not have sex with that woman”, etc.)?
    • Experience using and abusing everyone?

    What good is that ?

    The “EXPERIENCE” excuse is the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard to justify not voting out irresponsible incumbent politicians.

    Vote for me !
    I may be as crooked as they come,
    but I have EXPERIENCE !

    Jack wrote: The pipe directs the water. If you don’t like where it is going, change the pipes.

    That’s an interesting theory about “pipes” and “water”
    Too bad it doesn’t hold water.
    Are you sure you didn’t get that confused somewhere along the way?

    Here’s how it works.
    Here’s a much more accurate analogy.

    People are like water (or electricity).

    Both People and water find the path of least resistance (likewise for electricity).

    Most people, naturally, seek security and prosperity with the least amount of effort and pain. There is nothing wrong with that, except some (cheaters) resort to unethical or illegal methods. Some have surrendered to laziness, and it can be contagious, and in excess, it breeds Corruption and abuse of Power.

    A lack of Education creates an environment ripe for Corruption. A lack of Transparency creates opportunities for self gain. A lack of Accountability means there are no consequences. Hence, there is no Responsibility, and Power amplifies the problem.

  • Responsibility = Power + Education + Transparency + Accountability

  • Corruption = Power - Education - Transparency - Accountability

  • Voters can’ arrive at a solution, until voters understand the basics, and how to account for the human factor at the root of the Problem.
    Voters have the one simple, responsible mechanism, right under their very own noses, that voters were supposed to be using all along to peacefully force government to be Transparent, Responsible and Accountable too !

    Hence, a Balance of Power can be achieved if the voters remember to do the one simple, non-partisan, no-brainer, responsible thing they were supposed to do all along, always.

    • Stop Repeat Offenders.
    • Don’t Re-Elect Them !
    Posted by: d.a.n at July 16, 2006 5:01 PM
    Comment #168085

    Jack,

    I will vote to keep incumbents as soon as they are responsible.
    When they are responsible, then their “EXPERIENCE” will mean something.
    But there are far too few that are responsible.
    The proof is in their voting records, pork-barrel, resisting reforms, ignoring problems, fueling partisan warfare, spending, fiscal irresponsibility, lying, leaking, stealing, graft, peddling influence, etc., etc., etc., and looking the other way.

    That is why no one can name 10, 20, 50, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are responsible ?

    I can’t.
    I don’t think anyone can.
    What’s that tell ya ?

    Sure, keep the good ones (if there are any).
    But, these days, that’s gonna be pretty damn hard to find more than a couple (if any).

    Posted by: d.a.n at July 16, 2006 6:03 PM
    Comment #168090

    There are economic studies which point to regulatory induced cost savings.

    In other words, the effluent from the factory is a waste product (a poor use of resources). It’s more efficient not to waste. Regulation corrects the internal failure (and the costs of implementing the regulation are small compared to the savings made from more efficient practices).

    Market failures are not necessarily self-correcting. Some areas of business (partic. concering the environment) are rife with market failures…therefore letting “well and good” alone is not helping anyone. Least of all the corporations/businesses engaging in inefficient practices.

    Also such regulations lead to inovation.

    Arguments against regulation tend to be ideological and reasoned ex post facto rather than based on sound economic evidence.

    Posted by: abhcoide at July 16, 2006 7:07 PM
    Comment #168091

    sorry, that should read “innovation”. I guess 70wpm is only achieved if I make a gazillion errors.

    Posted by: abhcoide at July 16, 2006 7:09 PM
    Comment #168175

    I forget who said this (I’m paraphrasing as I don’t remember the exact quote either, but I think it holds water), but I know it was some Roman:The more laws a state has, the less just it is.

    The beauty of laws is that are specific and allow people to cheat them because what matters is the letter not the spirit. For instance, if a white person who was born in Africa immigrated to America, would he be allowed to claim African American? Technically, he’s born in Africa and is more African than almost every black person in America. Of course, this is not the spirit of the law, but it is technically correct, I think.

    Posted by: 1LT B at July 17, 2006 7:30 AM
    Comment #168223

    Transparency is the key.
    But Education is needed to understand its importance.
    Motivation is needed to learn.
    Pain and Misery is a good Educator.
    When voters suffer enough, they will start paying attention, and they will see that Transparency is one of the first casualties of those that abuse power, because it hides their selfish and illegal activities.
    How do you get Transparency when those in power reject it?
    Fire them.
    Stop Re-Electing Them.
    Hold them accountable.

    Posted by: d.a.n at July 17, 2006 12:34 PM
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