Third Party & Independents Archives

Tax Solution to Wretched Greed

By now most Americans have experienced extreme disgust upon hearing about the nearly $20 billion in bonuses given to people in New York City’s financial sector at the end of 2008. We need a bold reaction.

After sending the nation into the current economic black hole there is no way of comprehending the audacity of financial company executives in giving themselves and their colleagues shameful rewards for abysmal and disgraceful performance. Other than screaming and moaning about all this dishonorable behavior what should the Obama administration and Congress do?

Here is the solution that the overwhelming majority of Americans should demand: A law should be immediately passed that imposes a new special federal income tax of 99 percent on all income in excess of $500,000 annually for single taxpayers and $1 million for couples, starting for 2008 income. Call it a greed tax. Call it justice. Call it getting even for too many years of uncontrolled greed that has given the nation nothing but economic injustice and inequality, and given capitalism a very bad name. Call it a sensible way to raise federal revenues to help offset the cancerous national debt.

Considering that nearly all of the people who received the 2008 bonuses also received high salaries and even larger bonuses in previous years, and the many billions of dollars of federal dollars going into bailouts of companies, there should be no qualms about such a greed tax. For example, in the two previous years a total of about $70 billion in bonuses were received by these greedy financial sector elites.

Even outside the financial sector, executives also received obscene bonuses in 2008 despite terrible performance. The compensation research firm Equilar, for example, reports that the average performance-based bonuses for top executives, other than the chief executive, at 132 companies with revenues of more than $1 billion increased by 14 percent, to an average of $265,594, in the 2008 fiscal year, in addition to high salaries.

As just one of countless examples of greed, consider that the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Mark Hurd, received $42.5 million in 2008 pay. He had received over $20 million in signing inducements in 2005. During his tenure some 40,000 jobs have been eliminated at H-P. And consider this nice little perk: In 2008 the company also paid out about $181,000 for his business meals.

And then there is the case of Robert Rubin at Citigroup. During his nine years there the company lost over $65 billion. What did Rubin earn? He pocketed $126 million. What did he say when he left? “I bet there's not a single year where I couldn't have gone somewhere else and made more.”

Enough already. Drastic action is needed to achieve some justice. With all the attention on the Obama stimulus plan based on spending money the nation does not really have or can afford, it is appropriate to use this proposal to raise more revenues. Tax greed!

[Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through delusionaldemocracy.com]

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at January 30, 2009 2:38 PM
Comments
Comment #274585

So much for the future Bill Gates’s of the world and the Gates Foundation.

So much for Buffet who has donated a huge %% of his fortune to the Gates Foundation.

Let’s hang all of them. It is the new American thing to do.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 30, 2009 3:14 PM
Comment #274587

Couldn’t disagree more. Many persons making wealthy incomes are ethical, honest, and running their businesses in a responsible way.

Justice requires the punishment fit the crime, and the that the punishment ONLY be rendered unto the guilty.

I agree we taxpayers need our TARP money back from those for whom it was used for Bonuses. That is just.

Recommending Communism in the form of a maximum income before confiscation of the balance by the state, as you suggest, is just a bit radical for these United States of America, don’t you think?

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 30, 2009 3:17 PM
Comment #274588

Joel you Just would substitute one form of greed for another IMHO Getting our government working Again for we the People would work Much Better.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at January 30, 2009 3:37 PM
Comment #274592

Joel, you ask other than screaming and moaning about the excessive CEO pay what should Obama do? I suggest he can do anything he wants and it will make little difference. The pens of Congress are remotely controlled by the corporations and financial institutions. Matters not what Obama says or does, it’s business as usual, the status quo as we know it. Amazing enough that the Rep’s was able to give Paulson’s buddies some $300B, after greasing the skids by throwing in $150B of pork for Congress’ pet projects. Now, the Dems’ have dredged up every proposed project in their databases and piled them onto the next $1T of bailout. They must feel they are alive and well in heaven.
But, more amazing yet, the electorate seems to mostly be just fine with it! In a nutshell. Congress has given business the keys to the treasury and emphatically told the people to go to hell. Congress understands the people aren’t going anywhere, they will always be around to pick up the pieces. Recessions and bubbles are not big deals as long as they have protected the interests of their corporate clients. Kinda wish I was too big to fail or had a Henry Paulson on my payroll.
We should not look for change – correction – for government to reform itself. Too much money influence, revolving door, etc. These folks are determine to congresspersons for life. It seems many of them want to die in office and be carried off the floor to a waiting ambulance.
As I see it there are two ways to reform government. One is through voter action, such as www.voidnow.com, to remove a large percentage of congress from office. The second, which I prefer, is to focus reform through a new 3rd Party with a different political attitude. Put some accountability into the political equation. Provide members with a way to counter the moneyed influence and corruption in government. Such a Party or Parties, www.demreps.com, could achieve reform and KEEP IT THAT WAY.
Rodney, that’s how we can get our government working for the people again. Any SUPPORT out there??

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve!

Posted by: Joel, you ask other than screaming and moaning about the excessive CEO pay what should Obama do? I at January 30, 2009 4:46 PM
Comment #274600

Joel,
Why I agree that something needs to be done when Management gives out bonuses despite their Stockholders losing trillions. Given the loss of over 2000 points in the DOW, the worst quarter in the last 25 years, and no profits in the foresseable year I do believe that Every Stockholder in America should file papers.

However, unless “We the People” have bought peffered stock in the company or loaned them money that is an issue IMHO between those who have invested their hard earned money and the Broad of Directors.

So why I agree that “We the People” should file a law suit against the companies we have an invested interest in. I do believe that those citizens who hold individual stocks in any company who has paid their executives a bonus equal to 2004 when the DOW was 10,000 could send Wall Street a clear message by removing their support unless those bonuses are recended.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 30, 2009 5:45 PM
Comment #274611

Henry, I think your thinking is outmoded, old fashioned, etc. I keep bloggin that ‘this ain’t your grandpappy’s government’. Meaning, folks are more, dare I say it, sophisticated these days. Years ago, or at least before the internet, folks were somewhat naive and lacking knowledge in the law, etc. So, if an Obama told them to straighten up and fly right they quite likely would respond favorably. But, this is 2009. I think the Wall Street response to Obama will be ‘that little puke, I’m gonna double my bonus next year just to show that little twerp”, etc.
In other words we do need some regulations for this sophisticated society and some accountability in government. In a nutshell; ‘sticks and stones might break my bones but words will never hurt me”.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 30, 2009 7:48 PM
Comment #274617

Roy,
How are you going to double your bonus when you have no Stockholders and are facing millions in law suits. Sounds like a certain governor saying that he did nothing wrong. And yes it may be Old Fashion, but why should “We the People” do for the Stockholders what they will not do for themselves? Isn’t that like the Republicans crying that the Democrats support the Poor?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 30, 2009 8:33 PM
Comment #274625

Problem with taxing the rich is that Congress and the President are holding to those people for getting them elected. Look at how much Hillary had to pay to clean up her campaign and she got it from Obama.
Give the money to those that make less then $100,000 a year so they can stimulate the economy instead of the 18billion dollar Wall St got for screwing up the economy.

KT

Posted by: KT at January 30, 2009 9:50 PM
Comment #274633

Agree KT. The moneyed interest has congress by the throat. Wall St. is saying Obama just doesn’t understand. I think we understand well enough. These CEO’s went into the mouth of the recession proclaiming everything was just rosy and rode their Corp’s into bankruptcy. At the same time they were asking the taxpayer to bail them out they were doling out bonuses to upper management. Doesn’t take a lot of understanding. Does take super arrogance to make a statement that Obama just doesn’t understand. Talk about being over rated and overepaid. Rudy Juliano (sic) says it’s not good to take away their bonuses as they spend a lot at restaurants and Dept. stores and it will further add to the recession. Man, that’s as weak as pee on a plank.
While some CEO’s are giving up their jets it seems Pelosi and top Fed officials are loath to do the same. More of the ‘let them eat cake’ syndrome around Washington.
I’m always saying that there is often more to what doesn’t get said than what does. The House stimulus bill has a provision that prohibits illegal aliens from jobs created through the stimulus package. Senators Sessions and Nelson are trying to get the same mandate in the Senate bill. Of course, E-verify would be used to check the status of employees. So, the CofC and special interest are trying to nix the E-verify program. It was to go into effect on Federal contracts the 15th of Jan. That has now been delayed to February. And, the Obama administration is seeking a delay until late May, saying that it’s too big of a program to rush. What isn’t getting said here is that with no E-verify system in effect there is no way to check the status of employees. So, it is likely illegals can take jobs created through the stimulus package as they is no way, other than E-verify, to check the status of an employee. Business is desperately looking for ways to shovel taxpayer funds to illegal workers to carry them through the winter and the recession if need be.
The manufacturing sector is getting very little of the bailout. That is where you would expect jobs to be created. But, I guess Congress realizes there ain’t much use in pumping up manufacturing in this country. Like trying to pump up a balloon with a hole in it.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 30, 2009 10:41 PM
Comment #274634

“Rodney, that’s how we can get our government working for the people again. Any SUPPORT out there??

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve!” Was this said by Roy I’ve read your words and have Agreed with most of what you have said, You Present the Plain Truth And i’m getting older but there’s still a big Bite left in this old dog. It’s about the Children and the future Thank you.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at January 30, 2009 10:45 PM
Comment #274649

Posted by: Joel, you ask other than screaming and moaning about the excessive CEO pay what should Obama do? I at January 30, 2009 04:46 PM

Watchblog Manager,
Is this an accurate entry or an aboration in need of correction?

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 31, 2009 1:49 AM
Comment #274650

I met a Canadian that had just retired from a folded telecom company. According to him, the CEO had pretty much ruined the company but managed to get himself a huge golden parachute. The Canandin parliment passed a special tax law that raised the CEO’s tax rate to %150. Sounds good to me.
The tax rate for the top percentage has been as high as %90 before. Kennedy managed to cut it to %70. Now its lower than most people that do honest work for a living. Teddy Rosevely pointed out that the rich should pay more as they use more services,”were it not for the constant minstrations of the constabulary they could not sleep in their own beds at night.”
The best reason to raise rates on the top percentile is to keep money in their businesses. Pretty simple. If they want to keep their wealth then they must leave it in the businesses they own. Same with capital gains taxes. The best way to avoid them is not to sell.

Posted by: bills at January 31, 2009 1:52 AM
Comment #274670

Thanks Rodney, yes, for many of us it is about the young folks and future generations. Litening to a fellow on cspan this morning and he noted that we have an aberation in the economy about every 25-28 years. 1880’s they had to deal with big oil, 1913 anti-trust law, then Hoover/Roosevelt, then Ike and buy American, then Regan with anti-anti-trust and now Obama with ‘greed was good.’
We could smooth it out by reforming government. Implement true campaign finance, repeal corporate personhood and money is free speech, implement fair trade, etc. But, reform will not come through the duopoly. Change yes, reform no. So, I’m advocating for a new 3rd party with a different political attitude. A party that can achieve government reform and keep it that way.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 31, 2009 10:17 AM
Comment #274672

The very least Congress can do is make the tax system fair and simple.

As it is now, the current federal tax system is regressive and unfair.

  • ___ Total Federal Taxes (Income Tax + Social Security + Medicare taxes:____

  • 35% |——————-o-o—————————————————

  • 33% |—————-o——-o————————————————

  • 30% |————-o—————-o—————————————— = (30% total

  • 27% |————o—————————o——————————— federal tax for

  • 24% |———-o————————————-o———————— secretay making $60K)

  • 21% |———-o———————————————-o—————

  • 18% |———o—————————————————————o = (17.7% Warren

  • 15% |——-o—————————————————————— Buffet’s total

  • 12% |——-o—————————————————————— federal taxes on

  • 09% |——o——————————————————————- $46 Million)

  • 06% |—-o———————————————————————

  • 03% |—-o———————————————————————

  • 00% |ooo———————————————————————-

  • ____$0__30K__60K__90K_120K_150K_180K_210K_240K … . $GROSS INCOME

Warren Buffet agrees.

By the way, Congress not only just gave itself its 10th raise in 12 years, but Congress also gave each member of Congress a raise of $93,000 for petty cash. Cha-Ching! ! !

Well, don’t blame it on me, because I didn’t vote for ANY of those incumbents in Congress.

And if voters want to do something about it, perhaps it would be wise to stop repeatedly rewarding irresponsible, FOR-SALE, incompetent, and corrupt incumbent politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates? Perhaps that will happen some day, as it did in year 1933 when enough unhappy, unemployed, broke, homeless, and hungry voters ousted 206 members of Congress.

Until then, it is becoming increasingly difficult to muster up much sympathy of the majority of voters who insist on learning the hard and painful way, and who mostly have only themselves to than for their government and allowing the countless manifestations of unchecked greed and the federal government to grow and grow beyond nightmare proportions and into hellish proportions.

There are many things the federal government could do, but won’t, since Congress is where good ideas and solutions go to die.

More solutions …

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 31, 2009 11:26 AM
Comment #274673

CORRECTION of 4th from last sentence: Until then, it is becoming increasingly difficult to muster up much sympathy of for the majority of voters who insist on learning the hard and painful way, and who mostly have only themselves to than thank for their government and allowing the countless manifestations of unchecked greed and the federal government to grow and grow beyond nightmare proportions and into hellish proportions.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 31, 2009 11:30 AM
Comment #274676


The common people have always had a problem with governance and as a result, the have almost always been governed by an aristocracy or a demagogue. Even with a Constitution that palces the responsibility for governance on the people, they pretend at politics with political parties and voting while the aristocracy rules.

Posted by: jlw at January 31, 2009 1:45 PM
Comment #274678

D.a.n. Are there any members in congress today that support the flat tax, I know there was in the 1990s. Thanks. Looks like Coleman is trying to use Bush vs Gore.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at January 31, 2009 2:14 PM
Comment #274686

jlw, I would say we have always been governed by folks that have a BIG dog in the fight. For those among us who can garner the ability to influence government to their benefit they will do it. Likewise, government works hard to make the populace feel government is needed. Like what is going on right now. “we’ve got to act right now, spend this money quick, or otherwise we will fall off a cliff”, etc.
I agree that 3rd parties have generally been ineffective. I think the last 3rd party to achieve power was the Republican Party. I do see our new 3rd party as having the ability to put accountability into politics and where politicians fail to push their party’s agenda they are subject to having their party membership rejected. Becoming sort of a wasp with one wing, etc.
Rodney, a flat tax is one of those things, like campaign finance, that will be talked about forever but never implemented. Adopting a flat tax system is a reform issue. Goes beyond the status quo so, we shouldn’t expect a flat tax. We can play in the sandbox but don’t try to play outside the sandbox. erego status quo.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at January 31, 2009 3:36 PM
Comment #274695
Rodney Brown wrote: D.a.n. Are there any members in congress today that support the flat tax, I know there was in the 1990s.
Yes.

H.R. 1040 was introduced by: Rep Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26] (introduced 2/14/2007)
Cosponsors:
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] - 7/17/2007
Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4] - 4/14/2008
Rep Drake, Thelma D. [VA-2] - 2/14/2007
Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] - 3/1/2007
Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] - 4/14/2008
Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] - 3/7/2007
Rep Myrick, Sue Wilkins [NC-9] - 2/14/2007
Rep Wamp, Zach [TN-3] - 6/15/2007

Also, based on polls, a flat percentage and eliminations of most (if not all) tax loop-holes is what most Americans consider most fair.

However, I don’t like parts of this BILL H.R. 1040 (introduced by my Congressional Representative in Texas). For one thing, H.R. 1040 also tries to exclude tax on inheritance, and in my opinion, inheritance is still income to whoever receives it and should be taxed the same as any other income. Why should a ditch digger working his butt off for a wage pay tax on his hard-earned income, while another person can receive income without paying an equal percentage. Income is income. The only type of income I don’t think taxing makes much sense is taxing income that was initially derived from taxes to begin with, such as Social Security, Medicare, and welfare, since taxing those funds is essentially getting taxed again on what people paid in as taxes (i.e. a true case of double taxation).

I wrote Michael Burgess about the problems with his flat rate tax system, but you know how useful that is … or more accurately: useless.

Any way, here’s what I consider a better tax system.
However, it appears unlikely that will happen anytime soon, since Congress is where common-sense ideas go to die.

Rodney Brown wrote: Thanks. Looks like Coleman is trying to use Bush vs Gore.
Yep: www.kansascity.com/440/story/1010927.html

What a mess. How apropo they should be foisted on their own petard. Justice isn’t important. The legal system we have today is to use (and abuse) the laws to find ways to defeat justice. At any rate, I don’t care much for Coleman (the incumbent) or Franken (who cheats on his taxes). Either way, the people of Minnesota will get screwed, as are many Americans these days. Perhaps someday, when enough voters are jobless, broke, homeless, and hungry, then perhaps enough voters will wise up and stop rewarding these crooked, FOR-SALE, incompetent, and corrupt bozos with 85%-to-90% re-election rates.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 31, 2009 5:57 PM
Comment #274698

There should be legislation requiring wall
street to return their bonuses. Limit their pay
to a certain percentage over the average working American.
Get rid of all the corporate excess. Have banks place dividends paid out of taxpayer
dollars back into the general fund. Force banks
to utilize taxpayer money to begin lending money
to small businesses who need to get through the crisis. To consumers who need new vehicles,
for home energy conservation, insulating, heating, cooling, replacing windows, doors and installing
alternate energy systems. This will put most of the construction workers back to work who
were building homes when the crisis hit. It will create manufacturing jobs, materials and new systems.
Congress needs to scrap the “credit score system” to many hard working Americans are
denied access to capital for worthwhile investment, simply because they are struggling
juggling their bills. The sole criteria for credit should be “does this person pay their bills?” &
If they have been unable to do so at some point “is there a legitimate reason?” For
the banks to go out and purchase other banks with taxpayer money is wrong. One of the arguments on
TARP was i.e. AIG is “to big to fail”. Congress
needs to stop consolidation of these institutions and begin the process of breaking them into little pieces.
Smaller companies, lower CEO pay,less threat to our economic well being. I
litteraly cringe when I look at the next economic recovery package. With the piece of junk like the
TARP, how can we trust Congress to do it right
this time?

Posted by: bobhenry at January 31, 2009 9:00 PM
Comment #274715

bobhenry
That is unconstitutional. It would require a law to do what you propose and that law cannot prosecute faults committed before the law was passed.

Fault lays squarely on the shoulders of our government, not on the people who took advantage of our government’s incompetence.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 1, 2009 8:14 AM
Comment #274728

bobhenry, Weary Willie is right.
Some of those restrictions would be unconstitutional.

We can not legislate against all forms of greed and selfishness.

However, we don’t need a lot of new laws as much as we need existing laws to be enforced.

However, we do need some usury laws to stop greedy banks from taking advantage of the poor, young, old, and financially naive with usurious interest rates and other predatory lending practices. What the banks have been doing is disgusting.

Also, Congress is a joke and that problem will never improve as long as most voters continue to repeatedly reward corrupt, FOR-SALE, incompetent, and/or corrupt incumbent politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates (despite voters’ dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress).

That voters are culpable too.

There are a LOT of abuses that the federal government could be stopping to make things better for most Americans, but there is simply too much greed and too many puppets in Congress who cater to their big-money puppeteers. The vast majority of 200 Million American voters are vastly outspent by a very tiny 0.3% of the wealthiest voters who make 83% of all federal campaign donations of $200 or more. As long as so many (if not all) in Congress are FOR-SALE and enjoy 85%-to-90% re-election rates, Congress is likely to continue doing what they are repeatedly rewarded for doing. Try that on your own children. Repeatedly reward your children for bad behavior and see what happens. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to change until allowing the nation’s problems to grow in number and severity finally grows too painful.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at February 1, 2009 1:18 PM
Comment #274739

I see zillions of words going back and forth lamenting this problem or that problem but not to much talk on real solutions. We all know why our government seems dysfunctional or often times working against the people. Not like it’s a secret. Forty years ago lobbying was carried out by a small group of lawyers and fixers. Today they now number something like 35000, including some 200 ex-Congressperson’s. According to Rep. Walter B Jones, (R-NC), lobbyist wrote the 2003 bill that created a drug benefit for all Medicare recipients. Jack Abramoff stated that he “participated in a system of legalized bribery”. “All of it is bribery, every bit of it.” Former DNC Chairman, Robert Strauss, explains the growth of lobbying; “There’s just so damn much money in it.”
Well, there will be little change except where big business wants change. We will get change. Your water bill may go up or down, unemployment might be extended a week or two, etc. But, don’t look for REAL campaign finance REFORM, or adoption of a flat tax policy, meaningful reform of healthcare, or approval of Article V Convention, etc. Several hundred attempts to use Article V Convention to gain a balanced budget amendment have been denied.
REAL reform of government can come about in two ways. One, through voter action such as occurred in 1933 when something like a third of Congress was voted out of office. Took the pain and misery of a long depression to get that done. Two, support a new 3rd Party with a different political attitude. A Party whereby citizens provide oversight for their elected/appointed members. If their elected members stray to far from supporting the Party’s reform agenda then they are subject to having their Party membership rejected through majority vote. By focusing on reform and putting accountability into the political equation through citizens oversight REAL reform can be achieved. What we have now is a ping ponging of the duopoly, acting as good cop, bad cop, changing laws put in place by the previous administration but in reality, making few substantive changes. How about a REAL reform Party that could achieve reform and keep it that way? Let’s do something for our children and grandchildren. Let’s do it right in the 21st century. We need a little less talk and a lot more action! Let’s kick the tires on a new 3rd Party.

Otherwise we have the government we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at February 1, 2009 4:13 PM
Comment #274749
Roy Ellis wrote: I see zillions of words going back and forth lamenting this problem or that problem but not to much talk on real solutions.
Good point.

Here’s a stab at some solutions …

  • (01) Stop these abuses now.

  • (02) Stop the dishonest, usurious, predatory, lending practices. Stop the Ponzi-scheme and the steep leveraging of debt-to-reserves (i.e. 9-to-1 fractional lending) by the Federal Reserve and the federal government; banks are loan-sharking, with ridiculously high interest rates (commonly up to 10%-to-20% and as high as 64%) and other predetory lending practices. Banks are preying on the young, poor, minorities, and financially naive.

  • (03) Stop growing and eliminate all of the massive bloat and waste in the federal government now. We don’t need all of this bloat: www.akdart.com/gov1.html

  • (04) Stop the war in Iraq;

  • (05) Stop the war in Afghanistan too perhaps? Insist that other nations help or suffer the consequences of refusing to help in Afghanistan. The terrorists are now mostly in northern Pakistan.

  • (06) Stop the U.S. presence in 134 nations around the world. That costs a LOT! Is all of that necessary? No. Reduce that presence significantly (if not totally), without becoming excessively protectionist.

  • (07) Stop throwing money, subsidies, tax breaks, and welfare at failing banks, financial corporations, the wealthy, and Wall Street; stop rewarding failure;

  • (08) Stop rampant corruption by increasing and enforcing more transparency and accountability;

  • (09) Stop Constitutional violations; reduce lawlessness; enforce existing laws (e.g. Article V); stop illegal immigration and $70-to-$327 Billion in annual net losses due to illegal immigration;

  • (10) Stop plundering Social Security surpluses; $12.8 Trillion has been borrowed and spent, leaving Social Security pay-as-you-go, with 77 Million baby-boomers approaching;

  • (11) Stop regressive taxation: One-Simple-Idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm#Taxes

  • (12) Stop killing 195,000 per year due to preventable medical mistakes. Between 1999 and 2004, over 1.5 million people were killed by preventable medical mistakes. That is more than all the American soldiers killed in the American Revolution (4,435), the War of 1812 (2,260), the Indian Wars (1,000), the Mexican War (1,733), the Civil War (462,000), the Spanish American War (385), WWI (53,402), WWII (291,557), Vietnam War (58,209), Korean War (36,574), the Iraq Gulf War (529), and the current Iraq war Mar-2003-present (3,963), combined! Create a non-profit national health insurance system (get rid of the millions of unnecessary middlemen); build non-profit hospitals and clinics.

  • (13) Stop Congress from rewarding itself with a raise almost every year (Congress recently gave itself the 10th raise in 12 years; the raises are actually automitic and a BILL is required to stop the automatic raise; must be nice, eh?). Is that necessary? No. What arrogance! ? ! Especially when U.S. Troops go without armor, adequate medical care, promised benefits, and have to do 2, 3, or 4+ tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.

  • (14) Stop pandering politicians who are virtually are FOR-SALE. Allow only equal public financing of elections. Otherwise, politicians will continue to sell-out most Americans.!

  • (15) Stop pork-barrel; pass a ONE-PURPOSE-PER-BILL amendment;

  • (16) Stop career politicians and judges; pass TERM LIMITS for all offices;

  • (17) Stop the unfair incumbent advantages: One-Simple-Idea.com/FAQ.htm#UnfairAdvantages

  • (18) Stop the deterioration of public education; eliminate the over-paid and incompetent adminstrative staff; More education solutions: One-Simple-Idea.com/Education.htm

  • (19) Stop repeatedly rewarding irresponsible, FOR-SALE, incompetent, and/or corrupt incumbent politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates. Stop rewarding corruption, or suffer the painful consequences: One-Simple-Idea.com/NeverWorse.htm

  • (20) Create jobs to research, develop, and implement better and renewable energy resources and rebuild and improve the nation’s infrastructure (which will create long-term savings and benefits);

  • More solutions …

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at February 1, 2009 8:06 PM
Comment #274758

Yeah! Punish them!!!

Oh, let me know how it turns out for you, though, when the rich stop spending their money on the products of the working class.

Posted by: JP at February 2, 2009 8:39 AM
Comment #274759

I’d hate to be in this guy’s class. I don’t like being smarter than my teacher.

Posted by: JP at February 2, 2009 8:41 AM
Comment #274760

I couldn’t agree more. Let’s start with the following:

Wealthy families who have money in trusts and currently only pay 15% capital gains on what they pull out (Kennedy’s)

Movie stars and producers who earn tens of millions picture

TV Stars (Oprah) and rock stars (Springsten)

Pro athletes (Tiger Woods) - all endorsements at 99% tax

Posted by: alfred hussein neuman at February 2, 2009 8:44 AM
Comment #274762

d.a.n, While commendable, recommending we stop those issues you cited doesn’t address my question. I’m saying there is a lot of talk about problems with government but, what can we do to solve them. One, we can vote a large percentage of lifer careerist from office. Or, two, we adopt a 3rd party approach to gain control of the legislative process. I like ‘two’ as it allows for a focused agenda targetting reform of government and void of most social issues. Can’t be done with just any third party. Must be done through a party with a different political attitude. Provides oversight for it’s elected/appointed members and puts accountability into the political equation. Such a party can provide the necessary countervailing measures to fight the duopoly, achieve reform and keep it that way.
Seems a simple process that should gather popular support from the voting public.
Using Tom Daschel as an example; he is likely to be approved and help the healthcare industry write the next round of healthcare legislation for us. If he was a member of a Party with a different attitude he very well could be rejected from the party by failing to garner a 2/3rds majority vote by the membership.
Accountability in politics! What’s wrong with that?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at February 2, 2009 10:03 AM
Comment #274763

Surely this article must be satire. I simply do not believe that any member of academia could be so ignorant to the workings of our financial system as to believe anything like the above would be anything but a disaster.

This article strikes me as a piece penned by a liberal arts student who has recently discovered Marx but has never worked a day in his or her life. Perhaps once the true author in question completes economics 101 and world history a more realistic mindset will take hold.

One can only hope that with further education the next article we see by our young author in disguise has a stronger basis in reality. Perhaps we can expect an article on how the government should encourage individuals to become so successful that they can earn over half a million a year, instead of implementing a ridiculous policy to encourage someone of exceptional talent to stagnate their success at that mark.

Posted by: Matt at February 2, 2009 11:14 AM
Comment #274764

Another one I’m sorry about my taxes Holy Cow! http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090202/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/daschle_taxes

Posted by: Rodney Brown at February 2, 2009 11:21 AM
Comment #274765

New York city and state are seeing over 1 billion in lost income tax revenue because Wall Street is reigning in these “outrageous” bonuses.

New York City is cutting out city services and thousands of jobs as a result.

Yeah - limit a person’s incentive to work to get ahead, and they won’t. And then who will be forced to pay the tax bill?

Posted by: Eric C. at February 2, 2009 11:22 AM
Comment #274769

I would not want Paterson’s job he’s been honest and forthright since day one ,Anyways he picked a upstate senator , Now i understand why Hill left Thanks! They need to promote Business and Industry and agriculture again and while wall st was roaring since the 1980s until 2008 they made upstate a bastion for the prison industry and social services and city state and federal jobs Not good.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at February 2, 2009 11:51 AM
Comment #274774

Joel,

Your idea strikes me as pretty capricious. Let me propose an alternative.

First, what is the financial services industry for? It is supposed to allocate resources to maximize the efficiency of their use. That implies to me that we want resources to make a contribution to greater productivity. Let’s reward that and discourage the extreme concentrations of resources in unproductive hands.

Second, when one looks at financial services in that light it becomes obvious that government and financial services have overlapping functions. We should require GOVERNMENT to contribute to greater productivity as well. No matter how well-meaning and honest government is, if its activities impede productivity in the economy we will be poorer by its efforts and the poorest will always suffer the most.

So, let’s peg the taxability of bonuses to how far removed their criteria are from the production of goods and services. Profits on speculations like currency exchanges and short sales, and on the sort of arcane derivatives that created the housing bubble, would be taxed at higher rates than profits on shares of companies that produced real consumer goods and services.

Bonus policies that, likewise, could not be explained to people with a bachelors degree in business in 250 words or less so that they could accurately predict what the bounses would be would be taxed at a much higher rate.

In other words we tax business opacity, and chase the really talented people back into jobs where they do something useful.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at February 2, 2009 12:20 PM
Comment #274790

Joel, was that a serious attempt at expressing opinion, or were you quoting an Ayn Rand villain? Come on, like what we really need now is a bunch of petty populist grandstanding.

I’m sorry, but punishing people for making money won’t help matters. You can throw the words “greed” and “fairness” around all you want, but the only Utopia that will ever be reached is one of equal squalor and misery. You want to know why the American Revolution worked as no other revolution in history did? It was because it was spearheaded by a bunch of the “evil rich” who were sick of being taxed by an all-too-powerful government.

The French and the Russians put their revolutions in the hands of the rabble, and used the corrosive fires of wealth envy and class hatred to overthrow the system. The result was brutality, chaos, and oppression.

Go ahead and start sharpening that guillotine, buddy. See how far it takes you.

Posted by: Steve at February 2, 2009 2:38 PM
Comment #274792

For the naysayer’s out there I recommend you read Joel’s latest book, “Delusional Democracy.” He understands the problems with our system of government very well. What set’s his book apart are the recommendations he offers for reforming government. A couple that I can recall; make election day a national holiday and, mandate that every citizen must vote on election day. I’m sure I added those two to our new 3rd Party VISIONUSA page at www.demreps.com.
Joel is making the point that IF the electorate were as greedy as the Wall St. gang we would push taxation of their income to the max. It’s an amusing article.
I find nothing wrong with compensation for performance. But, at the same time, I don’t like greed. To be greedy is to disrespect those who help you be successful everyday, those that helped you along the way in achieving great success. For instance, major sports associations pay their players (workers) very well. But, they are overpaid, IMO, and that means that the public is paying way too much at the boxoffice for seats. One could debate forever that a major athlete is little or no better than a competitor who didn’t make the cut and went to play ball for the American legion, etc. Notice too, how sports clubs keep a tight control over where and how many clubs are allowed. Straight up – they practice price control, with the help of your government. Likewise, the big institutions practice price control – with the help of your government. Car manufacturers do it, universities control the number of doctors, etc. The ultimate is to become too big to fail or a conglomeration of some sort. When you have that much control over your product no one can figure out the true cost of your product. That’s true with so many financial instruments. I think anything over a 10-15% profit margin on a deal, a product, or whatever, is excessive, usury, greed. Of course, greed is a very subjective matter.
Another way of looking at it is there are too many eng’s, scientist, and the like out there being creative, innovative and producing useful and lifesaving products that are making civil wages $100-400k. Therefore, I can find no reason why the financial sector, or any other sector should be compensated beyond that range. Try as they might – they didn’t get to their high position without parents, teachers, mentors, advocates, and a kind boss or two along the way. We really are in this together and to put yourself too far beyond the (can’t think of the word) is perceived by many as arrogant and well, just greedy.

I see where Chris Dodd is going to refinance a couple of his houses where he had received special low interest rate loans because of his status. Things were find and long as nobody made any waves. That’s a form of greed, don’t you think? Now, a 3rd party with a different attitude would address his greed poste haste. But, the duopoly doesn’t seem to mind. In fact I’ll bet he is getting lots of inquiries about how to get such favored loan rates.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at February 2, 2009 3:08 PM
Comment #274794

To comment #274672: I’m not sure where you found that data, but it is clearly wrong.

Check out the official report from the Congressional Budget Office and you will see that effective federal tax rates are quite progressive. The bottom 40% don’t pay any taxes at all and many actually get a check from the goverment (negative tax rate).

Posted by: Dave S at February 2, 2009 3:40 PM
Comment #274807

Was just thinking that if the NASA ran the space program similar to the way Wall Street financials are being run the space station would be embedded somewhere in an Australian desert.
Also, it would seem to hold true, based on the ever increasing number of lobbyists, that business is more interested in buying deregulation than in old fashioned competition.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at February 2, 2009 4:55 PM
Comment #274809

How very American of you to attack people who earn their money.
I guess University Professors deserve their 6 figure salaries, but executives don’t.
This just proves the old maxim: those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.
I’d like to add a new maxim: those who teach, should be ignored for the whiny, non-working morons they are.
This idiot is a college professor, and clearly a bad one at that.
This idiot rails against the rich, apparently oblivious to the fact that the rich pay most of the tax load already.
This idiot suggests a 99% tax on anyone individual making $500k a year. That would leave that person with a $5000 a year income and qualify them for an Obama tax credit, adding another person to the government feedbag.
I have a suggestion: Tax college professors at the highest tax bracket, then fine everyone of them an additional 10% for being sucks on humanity. College tuition is through the roof so idiots like this can spew angry, nonsensical ideas that reflect his hatred for anyone who COULD work and make money - after all, as a Professor, he couldn’t make it in the real world and hides behind his tenured position. He can’t be fired, for the most part, and as such has no idea what real people’s jobs are like.
Those ‘evil rich’ are the one’s paying down the debt. Most actually pay their taxes, unlike the democrats Geithner and Daschle. I don’t see this guy showing any anger towards them. And who cares that the new stimulus package is full of pork, won’t work, and has the bulk of the money being spent in 2-3 years instead of right now. Who cares! It’s the evil rich, not the evil democrats, who are responsible! Never mind the massive revenue shortage New York state expects over the massive cut in bonuses. Who cares that the largest, most significant charitable donations come from the evil rich?
It is time for America to wake up. The rich aren’t the enemy. The poor are. The democrats aren’t the saviors - they are behind the economic crisis: in their quest to do everything they could to hurt George Bush’s legacy, they resisted Republican calls for oversight and more regulation and did everything they could to make sure the economy collapsed.
Wake up.

Posted by: jeff at February 2, 2009 5:16 PM
Comment #274824
jeff wrote: How very American of you to attack people who earn their money.
I don’t think anyone is faulting others for earning their money.

The problem is greed, usury, fraud, and these 10 abuses used to cheat most Americans.
However, I have increasingly less and less sympathy for the majority of voters who repeatedly reward corrupt, FOR-SALE, incompetent, and corrupt politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates.

jeff wrote: This idiot rails against the rich, apparently oblivious to the fact that the rich pay most of the tax load already.
Yes, but do the pay an equal percentage? No. The current federal tax system is regressive and unfair.
  • ___ Total Federal Taxes (Income Tax + Social Security + Medicare taxes:____
  • 35% |——————-o-o—————————————————
  • 33% |—————-o——-o————————————————
  • 30% |————-o—————-o—————————————— = (30% total
  • 27% |————o—————————o——————————— federal tax for
  • 24% |———-o————————————-o———————— secretay making $60K)
  • 21% |———-o———————————————-o—————
  • 18% |———o—————————————————————o = (17.7% Warren
  • 15% |——-o—————————————————————— Buffet’s total
  • 12% |——-o—————————————————————— federal taxes on
  • 09% |——o——————————————————————- $46 Million)
  • 06% |—-o———————————————————————
  • 03% |—-o———————————————————————
  • 00% |ooo———————————————————————-
  • ____$0__30K__60K__90K_120K_150K_180K_210K_240K … . $GROSS INCOME
And Warren Buffet agrees. Study the total federal tax on gross income (before a myriad of tax-loopholes). Also, capital gains are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes and are taxed at a much lower 5%-to-15% than most Americans pay. That’s how Warren Buffet paid 17.7% on $46 Million in year 2006, while his secretary paid 30% in total federal taxes on a salary of $60K. Do you think that’s fair? Do you think everyone should pay an equal percentage, or an equal amount, or what. As it is now, the wealthy are paying a smaller percentage than most middle-class Americans. Did you know that?
jeff wrote: This idiot suggests a 99% tax on anyone individual making $500k a year. That would leave that person with a $5000 a year income and qualify them for an Obama tax credit, adding another person to the government feedbag.
Of course that is dumb. I don’t think he was serious about a 99% tax. The point is that wealth is power, and power corrupts, and that power has been abused in many ways for several decades. For example, the vast majority (99.7%) of all 200 million voters are vastly out-spent by a minuscule 0.3% of the wealthiest voters who make 83% of all federal campaign donations of $200 or more. No wonder Congress ignores most voters … especially when most voters still repeatedly reward incumbent politicians in Congress with 85%-to-90% re-election rates.
jeff wrote: Those ‘evil rich’ are the one’s paying down the debt.
False. The wealthy pay a smaller percentage of their gross income to federal taxes than most Americans.
jeff wrote: Most actually pay their taxes, unlike the democrats Geithner and Daschle.
Most of who? Politicians? It wouldn’t be surprising of half (or more) in Congress cheat on their taxes. Obviously, Obama is having some trouble finding appointees that don’t cheat on their taxes.

Can you name 50, 100, 200, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are responsible and accountable?
Perhaps the voters should start holding Congress responsible as a whole, instead of trying to figure out who (if anyone) is responsible and accountable? Unless someone can name at least 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are responsible and accountable, what does it mean about Congress as a whole, and the voters that repeatedly reward those same incumbent politicians with perpetual re-election?

jeff wrote: I don’t see this guy showing any anger towards them.
Joel doesn’t have much use for those tax cheaters.
jeff wrote: And who cares that the new stimulus package is full of pork, won’t work, and has the bulk of the money being spent in 2-3 years instead of right now. Who cares! It’s the evil rich, not the evil democrats, who are responsible! Never mind the massive revenue shortage New York state expects over the massive cut in bonuses. Who cares that the largest, most significant charitable donations come from the evil rich?
That doesn’t justify cheating on taxes, selling out Americans, pitting Americans and illegal aliens against each other for profits and votes, and these other abuses.
jeff wrote: It is time for America to wake up. The rich aren’t the enemy. The poor are.
Pure nonsense. Abuse of power is the problem. The poor wield very little power.
jeff wrote: The democrats aren’t the saviors - they are behind the economic crisis: in their quest to do everything they could to hurt George Bush’s legacy, they resisted Republican calls for oversight and more regulation and did everything they could to make sure the economy collapsed. Wake up.
Funny how some people tell others to wake up, when they themselves haven’t a clue.

You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think wealth can be abused to control and manipulate government, and then use and abuse its citizens.
The proof of it over the past few years is overwhelming.
True, many (if not all) in the two-party duopoly are pathetic as it swings from one extreme to the other (i.e. one rewards failure, laziness, and bureaucracy and the other rewards usury and other manifestations of unchecked greed).

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).


Posted by: d.a.n at February 2, 2009 8:05 PM
Comment #274826

Lately I’m hearing things that make me think our new 3rd party is on the right track. For example, our VISIONUSA page has since inception called for ‘buy American’, protectionism to balance the trade deficit, and fair trade vs free trade. We’ve been looking for a fitting name for this new party. I’ve heard the term ‘populist’ mentioned a couple of times of recent. I think a party of We The People should find affinity with the word ‘populist’ as a form of government advocacy. My wife is reading a book on Andrew Jackson. Surely, he is the Father of Populism in it’s true form. He fought against the so-called educated folks and the moneyed interest. He experienced the same problems with government we are trying to correct today. A banking system out of control and the influence of money in government. We just need one other word, something populist, or populist something. Your suggestions are solicited.
Lou Dobb’s, a Independent Populist of note, said tonight that the CofC is fighting a ‘buy American’ position that might be taken as part of the recovery package. The Davos crew is super upset about ‘buy American’.
Today a Calif. paper actually printed a byline that suggested that illegal aliens were costing the State about $8B a year. That’s about one-third of their budget deficit.
As d.a.n has often said, it takes a lot of pain and misery to get folks off the block. Maybe we are getting close-r.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at February 2, 2009 8:58 PM
Comment #274847

Roy,
Why I do not know if it will take a 3rd Political Party to change Americas’ Debate I do know that it will take the RNC somework to keep a coalition together that can protect the interest of their members. So keep your eyes open and hopes high that even if “We the People” cannot excape the Democratic and Republican Civil, Political, and Relious Leaders. Maybe by giving their members some room to have Independent Thought instead of following in lock step with Hannity and Rush. Maybe the Independents can influence how they look at the Future Opportunities of America.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 3, 2009 4:57 AM
Comment #274874

Joel said “A law should be immediately passed that imposes a new special federal income tax of 99 percent on all income in excess of $500,000 annually for single taxpayers and $1 million for couples, starting for 2008 income.”

Jeff said “This idiot suggests a 99% tax on anyone individual making $500k a year. That would leave that person with a $5000 a year income and qualify them for an Obama tax credit, adding another person to the government feedbag.”

Jeff you seem to misinterpret what Joel is saying. If you read the “in excess” portion of the statement you will see your math is wrong. He would be taxed at the regular rates as the income goes up so at $499,000.00 he would still be in the 35% or so tax bracket. The 99% tax would be on the amount over the $500k I believe.

http://taxes.about.com/od/2008taxes/qt/2008_tax_rates.htm

Posted by: j2t2 at February 3, 2009 1:56 PM
Comment #274895

Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity passed away today. He expended his wealth building houses for folks in need. A great and generous individual.
Heard that Tom Daschle dropped out for HHS. Another one caught up in the greed factor. Seems one of his benefactors was providing him with free transportation which he failed to claim on his taxes. I’m surprised he couldn’t make it as he was a popular fellow in Congress. He gave donations to several democrats while in Congress. Maybe there was more that we haven’t heard about.
j2t2, thanks for pointing out the oversite in Joel’s article. I read his article correct the first time but had forgotten it by the time the hot posts started flying.
And Henry, it’s going to be a long pull but I expect, over time, that our new third party will achieve the goals set for it. For sure, it’s a fight worth fighting. I think there are a lot of Independents out there looking for relief.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at February 3, 2009 5:45 PM
Comment #275522
Roy Ellis wrote: d.a.n, While commendable, recommending we stop those issues you cited doesn’t address my question. I’m saying there is a lot of talk about problems with government but, what can we do to solve them.
Good question.

We should stop those abuses.
But how?
What you recommend here (as follows) is part of the solution:

Roy Ellis wrote: One, we can vote a large percentage of lifer careerist from office. Or, Two, we adopt a 3rd party approach to gain control of the legislative process.
Which of those two could be done sooner, easier, with the least expense, organization, and effort?

One or both will most likely happen eventually … when the absence or failure to do one or both finally becomes too painful.
If not, less peaceful changes are not far fetched, and more societal and economic chaos may occur first (again).
Greedy banks and their ilk have swindled nations all over the planet.
They bundled up toxic debt, rated it as AAA securities, and fraudulently peddled it to the rest of the world.
And what does the government do?
They give them trillions of dollars to continue partying and giving themselves exorbitant bonuses and salaries.
Eventually, when the many manifestations of unchecked greed finally become too painful, it will very likely give rise to a third party and/or mass oustings of incumbent politicians (as most unhappy voters did in year 1933 when they voted-out 206 (of 533) members of Congress.

Back to your question.
What can we do now?
Focus on the voters.
Educate the voters with information.
The federal government is lying about a lot of economic information, to help keep the masses docile.
Education is the first step.
Too many voters are simply unaware of what is happening.
Voters are culpable too, because:

  • 99.7% of all 200 Million eligible voters are vastly out-spent by a very tiny 0.3% of the wealthiest voters who make 83% of all federal campaign donations of $200 or more;

  • 90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money (ususally the incumbent politician).

  • too many politicians in the federal government are FOR-SALE, but too many voters repeatedly reward those politicians with re-election.

  • Congress carries the water for their big-money puppeteers (corporations and their owners and operators) who fill the politicians’ campaign war-chests;

  • incumbent politicians have many unfair advantages that make their cu$hy, coveted incumbencies more secure;

  • Congress is programmed (by voters) to ignore the electorate, since voters repeatedly reward Congress with 85%-to-90% re-election rates, despite voters’ dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress;

  • Congress just gave itself its 10 raise in 12 years, plus an extra $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expense. Cha Ching! All while U.S. Troops risk life and limb, go without adequate medical care, promised benefits, and have to do 2, 3, 4 or more tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.

  • too many voters choose to put party before everything else … at least, until that becomes too painful;

  • too many voters love THEIR party more than their country.

  • 40%-to-50% of voters do not care to vote at all.

  • too many voters fail to see how the clever No-Same-Party-Challenger mechanism keeps the incumbent politicians’ re-election rates high, and their incumbents’ incumbencies more secure, since most voters will NEVER vote for challengers in the OTHER evil party, despite the voters’ dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress, and despite their inability to name 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, or merely 268 (half of 535) incumbent politicians in Congress that are not irresponsible, corrupt, FOR-SALE, and/or incompetent, and deserve re-election. Too many voters find it easier to pretend that the problem is everyone else’s incumbent politicians, and/or ONLY the OTHER party. Since too many voters have been convinced to hate the politicians in the OTHER party, those voters are more likely to re-elect the incumbent politicians in THEIR party, despite the fact that the incumbent politicians in THEIR party are equally irresponsible, corrupt, FOR-SALE, and/or incompetent. As a result, often, even convicted felons if ever indicted or convicted, many receive pardons or commuted sentences; placing them above the law. And even if convicted and incarcerated, many still receive their multi-million dollar pensions and benefits.

  • too many voters focus on indeterminable issues issues (e.g. abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, etc.), to fuel the circular partisan warfare, rather than build unity to solve many other pressing problems that most voters already agree upon (i.e. both the problem and solution).

  • too many voters succumb to group-think and lazily choose to wallow in the circular, distracting, divisive, partisan warfare. And politicians love to fuel it for obvious reasons. Many politicians are experts at fueling the circular partisan warfare, and capitalizing on many voters’ laziness, and propensity to pull the party-lever. Who among us has never pulled the party-lever? The party-lever was one of the many clever mechanisms that help maintain very high re-election rates for incumbent politicians.

  • too many voters lazily choose to be partisan-centric or people-centric, instead of principle centric, educated, and informed. The lazy way is only easier for a short while, but eventually there are painful consequences for choosing the lazy route. However, people are imperfect, but principles are timeless. Too many voters are not aware of their own principles, much less the principles and policies of their own incumbent politicians. Most voters only care about the politician’s party affiliation, and little (if anything) more.

  • too many voters let THEIR party do their thinking for them, assume that THEIR party has already carefully thought most things all through, and is truly lookin’ out for them, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary and the voters’ dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress. The truth is embarrassing, which explains the reluctance to face the truth, and the stubborness to take a serious look at THEIR own party.

  • too many voters simply blame the OTHER party, rather than admit few (if any) real differences of any importance between the parties.

  • too many voters lazily and blindly pull the party-lever, rather than do the work to research voting records, deeds, and official positions and policies. Many voters don’t even know who their Congress persons are, much less their voting records.

  • too many voters fail to understand that short-sighted selfishness, laziness, and choosing the path of least resistance, like water running down-hill, is the path to more pain and misery.

  • too many voters choose to ignore the important issues even THEIR own politicians are wrong about (e.g. illegal immigration, regressive taxation, unnecessary wars, constitutional violations, and numerous other abuses), or sacrifice previous held principles by mimicing a pretzel while trying to somehow rationalize, minimize, and/or justify those abuses. Too many voters rationalize blind partisan loyalty with the excuses:
    • that the OTHER party is worse (which isn’t likely to any significan degree, except for the usual shift of abused power and obstructionism available to the current IN-PARTY/OUT-PART);

    • too many voters choose to blame anything and everybody but themselves … at least until that becomes too painful.

    • too few voters sufficiently understand that the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Roy Ellis wrote: I like ‘two’ as it allows for a focused agenda targetting reform of government and void of most social issues.

A third party will most likely materialize when enough voters get tired of the two-party duopoly.

However, most voters are not feeling enough pain and misery yet.
And when they do, they will largely only have themselves to thank for it.
Especially after rewarding Congress with 86.9% re-election rates on 4-NOV-2008.
And Congress almost immediately gave itself its 10th raise in 12 years and another $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses. Cha Ching!

Roy Ellis wrote: Can’t be done with just any third party. Must be done through a party with a different political attitude. Provides oversight for it’s elected/appointed members and puts accountability into the political equation. Such a party can provide the necessary countervailing measures to fight the duopoly, achieve reform and keep it that way.
It will probably happen.

The sooner the better, because the longer that voters allow so many abuses to continue, the more pain and misery they will bring upon themselves. It’s up to the voters.

Roy Ellis wrote: Seems a simple process that should gather popular support from the voting public.
Yes, it is simple.

The diffuculty is one of choice.
Reforms aren’t likely to materialize until the lack of reforms finally becomes too painful (which is inevitable).

Roy Ellis wrote: Using Tom Daschel as an example; he is likely to be approved and help the healthcare industry write the next round of healthcare legislation for us. If he was a member of a Party with a different attitude he very well could be rejected from the party by failing to garner a 2/3rds majority vote by the membership. Accountability in politics! What’s wrong with that?
Nothing.

However, it still requires enough voters to choose to do the right thing, and the voting and/or rejection of government appointees inside the party (as you described directly above) would still require responsible voting. That is, I’m not sure a 3rd party will vote more responsibly, or be more responsible as a whole. Also, if all offices are contingent on elections, instead of appointments by someone elected (as we have today), it still boils down to how responsibly the voters voted for the person whose doing the appointments.

Ross Perot almost started a very successful party and might have possibly received a huge following if he had not turned out to be unreliable.
Many voters at that time seemed ready for change and reforms.
The point is, while we need responsible leaders (regardless of party), we also need responsible voters.
Until then, there will be painful consequences for the majority of voters for their irresponsible voting habits.
After all, 86.9% re-election rates for Congress and 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress makes no sense.
The reason for this paradox is because too many voters love THEIR party more than their country.
But it will be the voters who suffer the painful consequences (as they should, if they ever hope to learn to vote more wisely).
Until then, those with the most power and money will continue the abuses that are hammering most Americans, and the voters only have themselve to thank for it.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 14, 2009 2:55 PM
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