Third Party & Independents Archives

Why We Need Divided Government

In November of 2006, Americans will go the polls to elect our congressional representatives once again. All of the members of the House of Representatives and a portion of the Senate will be up for election. Perhaps more than ever, it is vital that at least one house of congress elect a majority that is not of the same party as the current administration installed in the White House. Why?

Because as Lord Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt, but absolute power corrupts absolutely". The Republican party has enjoyed a majority in both houses of Congress and in the presidency for a number of years now. The result has been an extraordinary failure of leadership in each area of government. The "corruption" here is the erosion of the checks and balances in our government when there is a single party in control.

The Cato Institute has an excellent piece on why divided government works. The major factors of influence by single party control: War and Governmental spending are Cato's points of argument for divided government. Each example they provide shows that at least since the 1950's, our government works better (or as the Cato Institute says, works less, which may be the same thing) when one party is in control of the White House and the other has control of Congress. Ideally, we would see independents grow to the point that would require coalition governments, but that is unlikely in our system.

From the article:

American voters, in their unarticulated collective wisdom, have voted for a divided federal government for most of the past 50 years. Divided government is not the stuff of which legends are made. But the separation of powers is probably a better protection of our liberties when the presidency and the Congress are controlled by different parties

I would add a third factor of influence: Lack of governmental oversight is much higher when a single party controls the White House and Congress. The recent hoopla over Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's finding of the warrantless wiretapping by the Bush administration unconstitutional speaks volumes over the lack of the Congress in doing it's job. The matter of whether or not the Bush administration is breaking the law by conducting wiretaps without a warrant should not have to be settled in the courts. The Congress is responsible for writing the law. They should know whether or not the Bush Administration's behavior violates the statutes they have created or not. It's easy for the Congress to sit back and allow the courts to render a decision that never should have had to been made. It's red meat for some, who love decrying "activist judges" and "legislating from the bench". Had this action been done by a Democratic president, it's safe to say that there would be non-stop hearings on whether the administration had exceeded its authority.

An opposition Congress can have a chilling effect on the executive branch's actions, and it should. As the Cato Institute's article suggests, we seem to have better results with a divided government. This November's election, with luck will see a more balanced government prevail.

Posted by Dennis at August 20, 2006 5:19 PM
Comments
Comment #176663
“Power tends to corrupt, but absolute power corrupts absolutely”

Here’s a better idea, let’s quit giving our politicians absolute power. In fact, why not just limit their power to only what they NEED in order to protect our rights, regulate inter-state commerce and keep our country safe from foreign invasion.

I know, radical idea as I have been told, but then we wouldn’t have to try to play games with our elections and instead vote for who we think would be best no matter what party they belong too.

And the notion of voting the party out that holds both congress and the presidency just insures that people won’t vote their conscious and possibly vote for a 3rd party candidate for fear of doing just that.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2006 7:55 PM
Comment #176669

Yes, the Republicans have done a terrible job, and the Democrats have done almost as bad too. It may be in the best interest of the nation and the Republican Party itself, to lose its slight majority in the House and/or Senate. There are many voters (many former Republicans; myself included) that are not voting Republican this year (of for some time to come).

But, looking at the graph below, there is sommething interesting about it. The totals for each party have been fairly close since 1994. The Republicans are barely hanging onto a majority. Compare the trend of the last 10 years to all periods past.

Therefore, what would truly be in the best interest of the nation is for voters to stop re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, corrupt, incumbent politicians in both parties.

And bought-and-paid-for they are, considering that 83% of all federal campaign donations ($200 or larger) come from a mere 0.1% of the U.S. population. How can the remaining 99.9% of the U.S. population ever hope to compete with that? Government is FOR SALE, and 90% of elections are won by the candidate the spends the most money. Incumbents currently enjoy an high re-election rate of about 90%. 1% of the U.S. population has 40% of all weatlh (which has never worse since the Great Depression of 1929).

So, we have tried Democrats for a while, the Republicans, then Democrats again, … , then Republicans again.

Perhaps a better approach is to finally do the one simple thing we were always supposed to do:

  • Stop Repeat Offenders.

  • Stop re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, incumbent politicians ?

Posted by: d.a.n at August 20, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #176673

Dennis, good article. I think the topic can be dug deeper into, however. You put the responsibility upon one party majority government. I say it is more basic than that. Our checks and balances in the Constitution were written in place before there were political parties. Hence, our founding fathers calculated that a non-partisan government would hopefully be checked and balanced by the Constitution’s own stipulations.

What I am getting at here, is that a divided government is a grossly inefficient government which fails to solve major problems facing the nation and in their attempts almost always miss the mark through compromising of otherwise effective solutions.

So, as I see it, a bi-partisan government is, in the end, no better for the nation than a uni-party government. The culprit is the voters who permit their own political ignorance to insulate them from being responsible for government. Our founding fathers established that white male land owners would only be permitted to vote, initially. There was method to their proscription. White male land owners by and large were more educated, had far more to lose at the hands of confiscatory government, and therefore, a vested interest in voting to maintain limits on federal government by upholding the checks and balances written into the Constitution.

So, I don’t think the answer is a split party government, which will only be very inefficient in different ways than a one party government. I think the answer lies our nation mandating far better political and history education in our schools, incentivizing voting by revesting voters in the process (a tax cut for voting, for example), and educating voters that it is their duty to vote out incumbents when bad government peformance speaks to incumbent inefficiency, incomepetence, or abuse of office.

Democracy, whether direct, or republic in form, ultimate succeeds or fails on the shoulders of the voting electorate, and whether or not they hold their politicians accountable for government performance on election day.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 20, 2006 8:58 PM
Comment #176675
Here’s a better idea, let’s quit giving our politicians absolute power. In fact, why not just limit their power to only what they NEED in order to protect our rights, regulate inter-state commerce and keep our country safe from foreign invasion.

The Constitution limits the power of our elected officials. The problem is that they have sized more and more unconstitutional powers and the voters have let them.
Now the voters have to take that unconstitutional power away from them. And let our elected employees know that they aint all powerful. But as long as either major party holds the majority in either house of Congress and the White House it won’t happen.


Posted by: Ron Brown at August 20, 2006 9:24 PM
Comment #176679

Democracy, whether direct, or republic in form, ultimate succeeds or fails on the shoulders of the voting electorate, and whether or not they hold their politicians accountable for government performance on election day.
————————————

David,

I agree with your overall thesis that the electorate must be the group that eventually holds politicians accountable. However, given the country’s abysmal voting percentages in everything but presidential elections, I don’t see this happening for some time. As I said, I’d prefer an influx of independents to Congress to balance things, but alas, this too is something that will take time. Until such time as we see these actions come to light, I’d prefer to see the split government and at least have someone, anyone, watching the store.

Posted by: Dennis at August 20, 2006 10:04 PM
Comment #176683

Dennis,
Interesting reseach by CATO. Yes, divided is better than one party with too much power. If only there was some way to achieve better than mere dysfunction. Voters do not yet see what is going on. The middle class is being squeezed. Inflation, our fiat funny-money system, rampant spending, borrowing, printing of money (M3 Money Supply increased by $721 billion in 2005; that’s $2 billion per day!), illegal immigration to drive down wages and shift the burden to U.S. citizens, falling median incomes for the last 6 years, two or more workers required per household, a war started on bad intelligence, Social Security surpluses being plundered and $12.8 trillion in the hole, hundreds of unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Medicaid, the PBGC is $450 billion in the hole, a total of $22 trillion of total federal debt (current debt; not future debt), $1 billion per day of interest alone on the $8.4 trillion National Debt, declining public education, college becoming increasingly unaffordable, healthcare becoming increasing unaffordable, increasing foreign competition, etc., etc., etc.

To observe some that attempt to spin a rosy picture of all that is an experiment in incredulity and blind partisan loyalty (as can most often be observed in the current “In-Party” column; coincidentally, the rosed-colored column).

But, as bad as that all sounds, it can get much worse, and we may not yet be anywhere close the voters’ pain threshold? The bad thing about that is the lagging time factor before the consequences are realized. The decay will continue for several years before the voters start feeling the pain and misery. By then, the road to recovery will be much, much more difficult. Certainly, the severity of the next recession (or depression), and the ability to recover from it is not going to be diminished by the current course we are on.

So, what will it most likely take for enough voters to understand the problem and the solution? It will take sufficient education. But, don’t worry. That education is coming. We are on the right path to guarantee that lesson is on the way … in the form of pain and misery. It is a good teacher.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 20, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #176684

So, what will it most likely take for enough voters to understand the problem and the solution? It will take sufficient education. But, don’t worry. That education is coming. We are on the right path to guarantee that lesson is on the way … in the form of pain and misery. It is a good teacher.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 20, 2006 10:43 PM

——————

I shudder to think what our kids will think of us for allowing this to happen. While we individually speak to them of prudent thinking, we are trashing their future at the macro level.

Posted by: Dennis at August 20, 2006 10:50 PM
Comment #176685

Yes….$22 trillion of federal debt is staggering. And, the government will merely print more money to shrink that debt. On top of all our other problems, we have a fiat funny money system tbat erodes savings and hammers the poor on fixed incomes. Also, as the debt grows, the inflation will increase. And, the debt is growing fast.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 20, 2006 10:53 PM
Comment #176686

Still, I agree with what you’re saying.
Divided (even if it is dysfunctional) is better than government that grows more tyrannical.
Unfortunately, things have to get worse before they can get better, which is why this cycle seems to occur over and over …

Unfortunately, we may not (in our lifetimes) see a return to (3) liberty, growth, abundance.

We are definitely in (4) and/or (5).
There are a few signs of (1) (e.g. wiretapping, starting wars on bad intelligence, torture, abuse of eminent domain laws, legal plunder such as Social Security ponzi-scheme, fiat funny money system, etc.).

Posted by: d.a.n at August 20, 2006 11:16 PM
Comment #176689

“As the Cato Institute’s article suggests, we seem to have better results with a divided government. This November’s election, with luck will see a more balanced government prevail.”

First, I could not agree with you more about the critical need to get to a “divided government” state in this November election. In fact I was pre-agreeing when I wrote this last May:

To support the documented benefit of divided government by voting Democratic in the 2006 election, is not the same as “finding a home” in the Democratic party. It is simply tactical support to obtain an immediate and desireable result: Fiscal restraint and better federal governance through the mechanism of divided government. To continue to support Republican single party control of the Federal Government in the face of what has actually transpired over the last five years can only be read as a naked appeal to “pay attention to what Republicans say, but ignore what they. In fact, by achieving the result of divided government through the support of Democratic candidates in 2006, the supporters of limited government will have a stronger foundation for supporting the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, with the enhanced hope that the next Republican President will actually “walk the walk”.

Second, it is not going to happen by itself, and it is going to take much more than luck to change the status quo. Dissatisfaction with the current administration is not sufficient to make it happen. Because of the inertia of “all politics is local” (i.e. “I don’t like the administration or congress, but I will still vote for my representative or senator.”) combined with the crushing advantage that redistricting confers on incumbent congressman, we are on a hell-bound train for two more years of single party control. that train can still be derailed, but only if ther is a concerted effort to get the message out and work to make it happen.

Yes, there are many systemic problems that need to be addressed in our government, some articulated in this comment thread. The important point, is that none of these reforms can realistically be implemented between now and November. Electing a divided government can. There is no action that can be taken in this time-frame that will have a greater positive impact on our country, than electing a divided government in November. Perhaps, if enough people hear this message, it might be enough to overcome the incumbent intertia.

If anyone is interested in exploring this further, William Niskanen (the author of the Cato article your cite) wrote a follow-up paper about a year later, the expands his research supporting the benefits of Divided Government. I link to the paper on my blog post: “Divided government, statistics, and war.”

Anong other findings, Niskanen documents that the “Divided government” effect is even more beneficial if congress is also split between the parties, in addition to splitting between the exectutive and legislative branch.

Vote for better government. Vote for divided government.


Posted by: mw at August 21, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #176694

The better approach is to finally do the one simple thing we were always supposed to do:

  • Stop Repeat Offenders.

  • Stop re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, incumbent politicians ?

That will accomplish both objectives.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 21, 2006 1:40 AM
Comment #176715

mw, check the polls, things have changed. Voters are pissed off at their own representatives in record numbers not seen since 1994.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 21, 2006 9:51 AM
Comment #176717

Dennis, perhaps a divided gov’t will be better in the interim. But, I have my doubts. The Republocrats have a very sophisticated nod and wink compromise game they can play when they are forced to it by a divided government. Unless there is a President willing to veto those winks and nods in Congress, I doubt the ending of deficits you perhaps hope for will ever come about, not without a serious challenge to incumbency by the voters.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 21, 2006 9:54 AM
Comment #176718

David, I agree, the “Old School” in DC has way too much power. All the more reason we need to work hard and get new faces into Congress.

Posted by: Dennis at August 21, 2006 9:59 AM
Comment #176735

If after the election the congress and/or the senate shifts majorities we as Americans have won a small victory. Short term it is the best we can hope for. I for one will have someone new representing me in Congress, only because Gibbons has decided to run for Governor of Nevada. Hopfullly he is sent packing this time.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 21, 2006 11:21 AM
Comment #176776

“check the polls, things have changed. Voters are pissed off at their own representatives in record numbers not seen since 1994.” - David

The polls are not as clearcut as you indicate. Relevant quote from the linked article: “Only 41 percent of Americans believe that Democratic leaders in Congress ‘would move the country in the right direction,’ ” Mark Preston, CNN’s political editor, writes on the network’s Web site. That is slightly less than the 43 percent of Americans who believe that Republican leaders in Congress ‘would move the country in the right direction.’ “

It is not at all clear whether dissatisfaction with the administration will result in sufficient votes against incumbents. It is entirely possible that voters are using the polls themselves to express their dissatisfaction, but will still vote for their incumbents once behind the curtain in November.

The “Divided Government” and “Vote Incumbents out” memes are complimentary in ‘06, when the majority of incumbents are Republican. I posted about my hope for an incumbent bloodbath here.

I just don’t have confidence that voters uncomfortable with either party, will not simply revert to the mean and vote for the “devil they know”.

The unassailable factual basis (Niskanen article) for the benefits of “Divided Government”, provides voters a solid rationale to vote against Republican incumbents in ‘06.

I propose a marriage of convenience in ‘06.

VOID + DWSUWF = Better Government in ‘07.

Posted by: mw at August 21, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #176833

I and many others will continue to hammer the message home well after November’s elections that elections need to be about government results, not politicians excuses and explanations for why things aren’t better.

That is the only way things will get better: When politicians recognize that reelection depends upon substantially and obviously better results, first and foremost.

Bush thinks promising to cut the deficit in half in his last and final year in office is sufficient. I pray the voters tell Pres. Bush, they ain’t buying that crap anymore, in November’s elections. We want the deficits turned into surpluses, and until that happens, many of us are not voting for incumbents from either party who don’t act to make that happen.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 21, 2006 5:59 PM
Comment #176855

Especially since we know how they will cut the deficit by 50% … they will simply print more money.

In year 2005, the M3-Money-Supply increased by … are you ready ? By $721 billion!

That is $2 billion per day! = $83.3 million per hour = $1.29 million per minute = $23K per second).

Get ready. More inflation is looking more and more unavoidable. Currently, $1 billion per day on interest alone (and that’s interest only on the $8.5 trillion National Debt; that does not include the $12.8 trillion of Social Security debt or trilluions of unfunded liabilities for Medicare, Medicaid, welafare, and the PBGC) must be paid. Borrowing must continue. But borrowing increases debt. And, borrowing may not be enought. Thus, what can’t be borrowed will be printed. It’s a classic snowball effect. The problem grows, and grows, and grows.

For those think 4.5% inflation ain’t bad, think again. At only 4.5% inflation, $100.00 erodes to only $81.75 in 5 years ($63.50 in 10 years, and only $35.43 in 20 years). Remember the double-digit inflation of the 1980’s ? Get ready … history has a way of repeating itself … especially when we are doing just about everything we can to guarantee it happens.

And, who seriously thinks government can control spending? Rampant debt, spending, borrowing, and printing money will continue. The growing debt (already astronomical at over $22 trillion of current federal debt) will increase pressure to print more money. It’s out of control.

But, still I am confident that voters will figure it out. Too late perhaps, but they will figure it out. Pain and misery is a good teacher, and we’re on the perfect path to learn the hard way (again).

Posted by: d.a.n at August 21, 2006 7:02 PM
Comment #176856

That’s a lot of new money … the printing presses at the Federal Reserve must be running non-stop.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 21, 2006 7:03 PM
Comment #176873

The more important step to fixing our government is to expand the size of the House of “Representatives”. The reason our “representatives” do not represent the peoples’ interests and concerns is because the limit on the size of the house has contributed significantly to their lack of accountability and increases as time goes on.

In 1911 the House (not the people) voted to stop growing with the population largely in order to make sure new immigrants at the time were Not represented. The effect over time has been the all Americans are less and less represented for a few simple reasons:
1) The more people in a congressional district, the less important and represented each individual is. If a couple thousand of the people you represent are displeased - who cares, they are insignificant compared to the masses you represent.
2) The more people in a congressional district, the louder the megaphone a candidate will need to be heard and elected - who provides that megaphone - corporations and their paid for political parties. Grass roots is hard to do when you need to be on TV to even get your name recognized.

More interesting problems created by this decision:
1) Right now, only the House can change the size of congressional districts - clearly more representation for “the people” would make our “representatives” less powerful - can you say conflict of interest?
2) Presidential elections are less tied to popular vote and more tied towards winning small states - if the house grew (like it is supposed to) large states would have a much bigger impact in elections.
3) The UK (that country we broke away from because of “taxation without representation”) has more representatives for their little islands that the entire US has for its states - they have over 600 reps right now.
4) The gerrymandering that both major parties cooperate on to keep more elections uncontested is much easier to do when you can predict the small changes as a result of the fixed size of the house, if new seats were added as voters came of age, immigrated, moves, etc the elections might be much more interesting.

What’s the right number or representatives - the cubed root of the population would be a good start.

Posted by: Redlenses at August 21, 2006 7:58 PM
Comment #176886

Hmmmmm … Redlenses,

Interesting, but it’s debatable whether it is merely a problem of number of representatives. It appears that the real problem is that government is FOR SALE, and mere numbers could possibly amplify the problem.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 21, 2006 9:01 PM
Comment #176914

Redlenses, a larger House would be far more cumbersome and inefficient. I am for it, but, there are costs associated with enlarging the House. The larger the House, the more powerful become the Committees. Also an opportunity cost. Not to mention the taxpayer cost increases.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 21, 2006 10:51 PM
Comment #176915

d.a.n, printing money to float debt is the mechanism in play. Halt the deficits and begin generating surpluses, and the money printing will slow.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 21, 2006 10:52 PM
Comment #176931

We have with the internet, a means to more direct democracy.

I’m with Rhinehold in limiting the power of the government. This was the main wisdom of our founding fathers.

Keeping us focused on strategic ideas, such as national security, energy policy, social welfare, and economic poliicy rather than appropiations of political patronage, by requiring congress and the president to remain focused on issues it brings to the public forum, through the internet, would be a way of limiting power. Limit complexity with the intent of avoiding subterfuge. That is the political game of today. Make it arcane and complex so the stupid people won’t know you’re screwing them.

This would turn the power of K street to having to deal with and educate the electorate, rather than some backdoor deal of patronage.

Posted by: gergle at August 22, 2006 12:18 AM
Comment #176950

gergle, until a huge leap in improved education takes place, more direct democracy would be a nightmare at times resulting in some disastrous tyrannies of the ignorant majority. As a trade-off to bankrupting the nation, however, it is a tough choice, if there is one. Start cutting spending on voters, and suddenly, cutting spending may not be so appealing in a more direct democracy.

More direct democracy works in countries where the voters do not suffer from delusions of knowing far more than they actually do, which is the case in America. In America, vast 10’s of millions of voters believe having an opinion is knowledge. Not so in previous Eastern bloc countries or places like India, where specialization is cultural and people know their informational and knowledge limits, and are more willing to defer to experts.

Though as those countries advance, expert specialization of knowledge has its own downfalls in areas of knowledge that rely upon interpretation of probablistic data sets, rather than empirical proof data sets. The difference is that of metallurgical stress tests and economic measurement. Huge differences in confidence of data sets.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 22, 2006 7:08 AM
Comment #176990

David, frankly I think that is BS. I agree that the average education level of Americans is 8th grade, I don’t think India is any better off that way.

My point is that unless we include all in political debate, our understanding will not increase. I am not advocating replacing congress, just opening up those musty halls to America. I think a. reducing the amount of legislation that occurs would vastly improve the quality of legislation. b.Having to explain his vote to his constituency by having the action and results of his votes in a clear and accessible form, would quickly root out the corrupt.

I do not believe most policy is arcane or difficult to understand. It is those that wish to make it their personal domain who make it so.


c. making the budget clear and sensible would eliminate a whole slew of problems and encourage self reliance.

Posted by: gergle at August 22, 2006 3:32 PM
Comment #177016
d.a.n, printing money to float debt is the mechanism in play. Halt the deficits and begin generating surpluses, and the money printing will slow.

Looking at the rampant debt, inflation, printing new money, borrowing, and spending, and considering the lack of discipline in government, it may be too late.

It’s looking more and more impossible, considering the total federal debt of over $22 trillion ($8.5 trillion of National Debt, Social Security is $12.8 trillion in debt (that’s current debt; not future debt; it’s unlikely it can ever be repaid), the PBGC is $450 billion in the hole (this will make the S&L bailout look miniscule), and Medicare and Medicaid are not funded (several hundreds of billions short for the next 12 months)).

Where will the money come from?
Can we grow enough to overcome that much debt?
Can we immigrate enough?
How does massive immigration of uneducated and impoverished help?
Can we become more productive?

Not likely. The will only have one choice left. They’ll print it. They will have no choice. The size of the debt, the service on the debt, and massive unfunded liabilities will make it necessary.

We could be looking at double-digit inflation (like in the 1980’s) again (or worse) in a few years. At 12% inflation, $100 is eroded to only $89 in one year ($78 in 2 years; $70 in 3 years; $55 in 5 years, $43 in 7 years, $30 in 10 years, $15 in 15 years, $9 in 20 years, etc.).

Massive borrowing and printing money is a recipe for disaster. The biggest counterfeiter in the world is the Federal Reserve, and the majority of Americans don’t understand how they are being ripped off every day by ever present inflation, because they have been brainwashed to believe it is OK.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 22, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #177026

The interesting thing about the graph above is that it reveals how Clinton cut deficits. Look closely. Between 1995 and 2000, there was rampant printing printing of new money. It was a fraud! You heard it here first. What some thought was fiscal responsibility was a clever misdirection.

But, it gets worse. As you can see above, debt, printing money, and borrowing escalated drastically, and we (and future generations) will suffer the consequences, eventually. Things take a long time, which fools everyone, but there will be consequences.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 22, 2006 8:18 PM
Comment #177028

Now I understand the recession that started in 2000. Of course, 9/11/2001 didn’t help, but the decay had already started before that (for those that remember).

Posted by: d.a.n at August 22, 2006 8:24 PM
Comment #177038

American Pundit,
Sorry, but that must surely burst your bubble.
You thought Clinton was so fiscally responsible, but it was merely massive printing of new money.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 22, 2006 9:41 PM
Comment #177045

d.a.n, the answer to our future is insuring future credibility for our debt obligations. To accomplish that, radical health care reform which drives down the cost of health care without diminishing care quality or availability on a real need basis is central. Central too, is raising taxes on those who won’t be impoverished by them, concurrently with cutting spending on projects and policies that our future can survive without for as long as it takes to stabilize modest economic growth and eliminate deficits fiscal deficits altogether. And finally, a reprioritizing of continuing spending to vastly improve educational output and quality. There is no greater investment America can make in her future than to demand, expect, and pay for the absolute best educational product the world has ever seen.

It is a prescription many will oppose for selfish reasons. It is a prescription that will cause more to sacrifice along the way. It is a prescription that politicians will choke on at election time. But, it is the only prescription that can salvage America’s future with the least amount of pain and sacrifice in overall in the long term.

If and when investors see America exercisizing fiscal discipline, and investment in her future human resources, they will have no cause to lose confidence in American investments at some point down the road, which, is now an inevitability if we don’t get off this path we are on.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 22, 2006 10:05 PM
Comment #177103
David wrote: The answer to our future is insuring future credibility for our debt obligations. To accomplish that, radical health care reform which drives down the cost of health care without diminishing care quality or availability on a real need basis is central.
That’s part of it … this list (below) of serious issues is long.
David wrote: Central too, is raising taxes on those who won’t be impoverished by them.
The tax system most certain needs reform to make the wealthy pay a fair percentage, because they are not (now) due to a ridiculously complicated (by design) and perverted tax sysetm that lets the wealthy avoid taxation. The shrinking middle-income-class is getting hammered. The 1% of the U.S. population, that has 40% of all wealth, has never been more lop-sided since the Great Depression (1920’s and 1930’s).
David wrote: concurrently with cutting spending on projects and policies that our future can survive without for as long as it takes to stabilize modest economic growth and eliminate fiscal deficits altogether
That’s where the math is making that look more and more impossible. There is a snowball effect that can occur with massive debt, massive interest on the debt, massive unfunded liabilities (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, pensions, etc.), and massive money printing (counterfeiting).
David wrote: And finally, a reprioritizing of continuing spending to vastly improve educational output and quality. There is no greater investment America can make in her future than to demand, expect, and pay for the absolute best educational product the world has ever seen.
We used to have it. Not any more. And importing massive million per year of of uneducated and impoverished won’t help anything (except the greedy employers that exploit cheap labor).
David wrote: … which, is now an inevitability if we don’t get off this path we are on.

Yes, not only is it inevitable IF we stay on this path, but:

  • (a) what consequences are already inevitable, even if we get off this path now?

  • (b) can we get off this path (voluntarily; before it is too late)?

  • (c) if we can get off the path, what will it take?

  • (d) is it possible we may already be too late to avoid substantial consequences?

  • (e) the longer we stay on this path, the worse it will be later (not just us, but future generations).
A recession is looking inevitable for 2007 because:
  • of the inverted bond yield curve in 2006 (there may be something to that indicator afterall?)

  • a real-estate bubble, falling home sales (bubbles fueled by ever present inflation; bubbles that always have many losers)

  • the worsening conditions and growing cost of war in Iraq

  • increasing inflation due to excessive (perhaps, unavoidable?) money-printing, debt, and spending

  • massive unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and welfare

  • growing costs of hurricanes Katrina and Rita

  • rising fuel and electricity costs

  • rising interest rates

  • falling median wages (for 6 consecutive years)

  • skyrocketing property taxes

  • increasing healthcare costs and decreasing reliability

  • increasing education costs and decreasing quality (this hurts our future)

  • massive losses (estimated to be over $70 billion per year) due to massive, uncontrolled illegal immigration; how is importing massive numbers of uneducated and impoverished helping Americans?

  • rising foreclosures (nation-wide)

  • … more …

Recessions come and go (every 2 to 11 years for the last 46 years), but the next recession will be worse because what we are doing now is going to make a potential recovery from the next recession more difficult, and it is unlikely congress will suddenly become fiscally responsible now when congress has no previous track-record of ever being fiscally responsible. It appears:

  • many people are oblivious to all this,

  • many people don’t care (despite the impact it will have on them)

  • some don’t believe the problems are that serious and believe we will muck through somehow as always (despite history to disprove such a laisser-faire veiwpoint),

  • some want to spin a rosy picture of it (mostly for partisan motivated reasons),

  • and the rest are just waiting for the inevitable train-wreck. Even if the coming train-wreck is inevitable, must we accelerate the speed at which it happens, making it much worse when it finally occurs?

David wrote: It is a prescription many will oppose for selfish reasons. It is a prescription that will cause more to sacrifice along the way. It is a prescription that politicians will choke on at election time.
Hmmmmmmm … politicians will never do it voluntarily, and it is doubtful that voters will stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians until their level of pain and misery is too great to do much about it.
David wrote: But, it is the only prescription that can salvage America’s future with the least amount of pain and sacrifice in overall in the long term.
So, we’re screwed, eh? Well, we only have ourselves to thank for it, since we keep re-electing the very same irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, corrupt, incumbent politicians; litterally empowering them to use and abuse us, year after year. Like Forrest Gump said: Stupid is as stupid does.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at August 23, 2006 1:08 PM
    Comment #177110

    d.a.n, take heart, hope has a way of realizing outcomes that pessimists said were impossible. Hope has moved mountains when mountains said they would not be moved. The 1960’s civil rights legislation is a case in point. Nixons’s opening of the U.S.-China dialogue in the middle of the cold war with Communists, was another.

    Keep hope alive. Hope and some determination can accomplish the impossible with a little help from its friends. Corny, but true.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2006 1:40 PM
    Comment #177124

    David, Ofcourse, giving up won’t accomplish anything, but what lays ahead ain’t looking too good. Even the most optimistic must be concerned? Foreclosures continue to rise …

    Home sales just hit a 2.5 year low (dampened by higher interest rates). Sales in every region (north, midwest, south, and west) fell, and home prices are falling, and will more.

    A large number of economic factors look weak (to say the least), but there is an astonishingly small amount of concern or publicity.

    Some keep saying things are OK, even “good”. They talk about increased net worth, but that net worth will decrease almost instantly when the next recession (or depression) occurs. Especially on over-valued real-estate that isn’t paid-off yet. Other than the trumped up net worth and historically low unemployment, there does not seem to be many good economic factors and conditions, nor anything good about the money-printing that is almost surely to continue?

    At any rate, a divided government may be better than what we have now, but it won’t do much to help us get out of the situation we’re in now.

    Posted by: d.a.n at August 23, 2006 3:45 PM
    Comment #177136

    Remember what happened in the early 1990s where many people owed more on their mortgage than their house was worth (negative equity)? That’s happening again, and it will drive up foreclosures even higher. And, the bad part is that even though many would be willing to sell for a loss, they still can’t find a buyer. So, for many, it’s easier to file bankruptcy. What caused this bubble? Inflation helped cause it, as people fled from the bursting stock market bubble into real-estate. What caused the stock-market bubble (prior to the real-estate bubble)? Inflation helped cause it. What caused the inflation? Massive printing of money helped cause it. How? Because people are searching all over for a place to invest savings to keep it from shrinking away to zero (by inflation). That creates bubbles and economic instability. The government and Federal Reserve want you to think they know what they are doing. They do, but not like what you think. The banks and government benefit from printing more money, by benefiting from the value of the money (early in the cycle, before it loses its value). Increasing M3-Money-Supply by $2 billion per day is causing inflation now, and it is likely to get worse because of massive debt also (see above).

    Posted by: d.a.n at August 23, 2006 5:32 PM
    Comment #289562

    I’d like to nominate a third party for your list, or for watching until it meets criteria for your list. I have just founded the Center Party of the United States, centerparty.us . So far we have two candidates for Congress in 2010, and we’re looking for more. Jeff Vanke, Roanoke, Va.

    Posted by: Jeffrey Vanke at October 21, 2009 6:25 PM
    Comment #381224

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