Third Party & Independents Archives

Government Gone Mad

Perhaps most Americans deserve the federal government they have. A government that, contrary to the lofty rhetoric of Barack Obama, is pure politics as usual. A government that is as corrupted by moneyed interests as ever. A government that is as dysfunctional and inefficient as ever.

A government that should have prevented the current recession but did not and now has spent horrendous amounts of money that has largely been wasted. A government that has put many future generations in debt. A government that makes a mockery out of the concept of democracy.

As Robert J. Samuelson has aptly said, the federal $787 billion stimulus package is “mostly a political exercise, designed to claim credit for any recovery, shower benefits on favored constituencies and signal support for fashionable causes. As a result, much of the stimulus’s potential benefit has been squandered.”

The result is that most Americans hit hard by the recession have seen very few meaningful benefits. Unemployment not only has mounted, but will surely keep increasing and may well approach 15 percent nationally. Indeed, it is already that bad in some places, like Michigan.

If there was ever something that should have sparked a Second American Revolution it is the Goldman Sachs story in this recession. Goldman Sachs reported that it earned $3.44 billion in the second quarter, and is preparing its largest bonus payout in history. Did this company with so many former executives running the federal government’s financial system manage this strictly on its own merits? Not exactly. It received a $10 billion injection of TARP funds to help it handle the fiscal crisis. It was allowed to convert itself into a commercial bank and member of the Federal Reserve system, gaining access to low or zero cost capital at the Fed Discount window and access to federally guaranteed borrowing through the FDIC Temporary Liquidity Guaranty Program. And it had the good fortune (literally) to receive a $13 billion payout of federal dollars at one hundred cents on the dollar for its outstanding credit default swap contracts with AIG.

Was all this recession garbage the change we were waiting for? Have we seen anything other than politics as usual? No.

The whole Obama story and the Democratic control of Congress are a disgrace. Progressives who eagerly supported Obama should be ashamed of themselves. They should be leading a revolution, not make excuses for Obama and the Democrats.

The icing on the corruption cake will probably be phony and delusional health care reform, as stupid and deceptive as all the federal efforts at reversing the recession. It could not be clearer that most Democrats are totally under the thrall of the health insurance industry. How do you explain the incontrovertible fact that even though the US spends more money per capita on health care than any other nation we have some of the worst health statistics of any nation? Simple. A huge fraction of the national spending on health care goes to the private health insurance industry. Does the US offer some of the very best health care in the world? Yes, but unless you are wealthy or have terrific health insurance, like members of Congress have, you will not have affordable access to that terrific health care. So our national statistics stink because such a huge fraction of the population does not get the first rate health care.

When he campaigned Obama said he supported single payer universal health care. But not now. Unless we get rid of the dominant private health insurance industry and replace it with an extension of Medicare, we will not get true and necessary reform. Nor will we really see decreases in health care costs. Nor will all people get effective health insurance.

As I feared, Obama and the Democrat controlled Congress is giving us government gone mad, exactly what most Americans deserve. Don’t hold your breath for the populist revolution.

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at July 20, 2009 7:33 PM
Comment #284754


I don’t mean to be rude but all we have heard for months is this wailing and gnashing of teeth, and not one solution.

Things are a bit rough right now, but would they be truly different with McCain, or whoever you voted for?
Shall we throw Obama under the bus 6 months into his administration?
The time for bitching has long since passed. It’s time now for those with a truly better idea to step up and be counted.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 20, 2009 8:57 PM
Comment #284756

Another poignant and hard hitting article Joel. So many will agree that government is broken. Yet, come 2010 they will eagerly pull the lever for their incumbent or at worst ping pong back to the Republican side. Few seem willing to look for a solution or consider reform of government. Should I accuse you of the same? You write with august zeal about the foibles of government and the delusional voters that allow the Corpocracy to continue to reign. You wrote a wonderful book, “Delusional Democracy”, but I seldom find in your articles postulations toward a solution. I note in your book you were pushing for a third party as a mechanism for reform. I understand that you no longer believe a third party is possible and lean heavily to Article V Convention as a means of reform.
Well, you are a good writer and I appreciate your work but to hold out for the Congress and Supreme Court to get right with Article V Convention is, I believe, playing to the weak side. d.a.n writes about ’10 abuses’ by government. The Republic Sentry Party agenda must list more than 50 reform issues. We have so many serious problems to address.
Let’s just take one major issue. Campaign Finance Reform. How would you propose to solve that bucket of worms via AVC? AVC might work well for a single facet issue like abortion or a balanced budget. But, gaining ratification by 2/3rds of the states is a time consuming, arduous process that could take years to achieve. While AVC has merit I don’t see it as a vehicle for major government reform.
I have similar doubts for organizations that advocating that we vote out all or under-performing incumbents. History shows that this was done in significant measure during the depression era. But, history also shows that within a few years following such an event the re-election rate returns to normal, as does the status quo in government. Again, there is some merit to voting incumbents from office. But, we need a long-term solution. We want to achieve reform and KEEP IT THAT WAY.
Which brings me back to a third party. It must have been as easy brain fart for Jefferson and Hamilton to come up the political party as a means of organizing to strengthen the influence of like-minded citizens of the day. Not so today. People dislike, abhor political parties as they are seen as the behind the scenes driving force for corruption in government. Too few people trust political parties based on the history of the two major parties. Therefore, it is imperative that any third party that wants to be a serious contender and find broad acceptance from the public must offer something different. Something tangible. Something they can trust and believe in. The Republic Sentry Party does just that.
It is a Party founded in rules that are near indelible. Requires 66% of favorable membership vote to change edit or delete a rule.
Presents an agenda targeted solely at reform of government, void of social issues.
Through membership oversight for elected officials it creates a fourth branch of government.
It puts accountability into the political equation. Those officials who fail to support the Party’s agenda or act against the will of the Party membership will be, or may be, rejected from the Party through mandatory membership vote.
This is truly a Party with a different political attitude. Most positions will be filled with volunteers mostly gleaned from the ranks of retiring baby boomers. This is a Party people can see is different and with ironclad rules, a Party that can be trusted for the long term. This is a Party that can achieve reform of government and KEEP IT THAT WAY.
So, Joel, I urge you. Let’s debate the merits of such a party in context with other parties and other advocacy’s. Is it not time to stop throwing eggs and get on with finding a solution to our common problem – a broken government in need of reform?

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 20, 2009 9:12 PM
Comment #284757
Joel Hirschhorn wrote: Perhaps most Americans deserve the federal government they have.

No doubt about it. Of course, that offends many partisan loyalists.

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 July 20, 2009 9:16 PM
Comment #284758

Obama is screwing up. He gave the power to Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats, who have been fashioning truly bad policies.

Joel is right about the corruption. It is monumental in the stimulus. The first stimulus, the one passed last fall, stopped the economic free fall. The second stimulus, the one nobody had a chance to read, was just a costly and corrupt boondoggle.


I think McCain would have done better because he would not have had the momentum to screw up on such a large scale. The second stimulus would have been much smaller and so less expensive and less harmful.

When people questioned Obama’s experience, they were right. You are right that he has been in only for six months, but that is already clear. He may learn fast, but the damage already done is terrible.

Posted by: Christine at July 20, 2009 9:17 PM
Comment #284759

I agree with pretty much all of what has been said. All I want to say is that I am officially in love with the word Corpocracy!

Posted by: Mike Falino at July 20, 2009 9:25 PM
Comment #284760


I don’t disagree except to say the “damage” was begun long ago, and we all just let it slide.

Actually our representatives allowed it to happen and we let them slide.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 20, 2009 9:35 PM
Comment #284761


Agree that the damage started before Obama. The downturn started in 2007 before Obama was a serious candidate. (Of course, we can still give Pelosi her share of the blame.) But Obama more than doubled the already big deficit. Amazing.

BTW - I know that early polls are not very useful, but Rasmussen finds that Romney and Obama are tied at 45% each. The god has feet of clay and if he doesn’t wise up quick he will end up like Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: Christine at July 20, 2009 9:55 PM
Comment #284762

Yes, we have evolved to this sad state of state over a couple of hundred years. These two quotes might help us to understand: “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. ~Thomas Paine
The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. ~Louis D. Brandeis

I think there are few government or civics courses available in high schools anymore. I find myself guilty as so many others in going through life with little though or care for politics. As long as I drew a paycheck and the family was doing ok then let the world go by. A good one from a farmer friend who used to live down the road from me: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Thomas Jefferson

I think we’d better be looking for a solution and find one pdq.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 20, 2009 10:02 PM
Comment #284764


To my knowledge Obama was never called a God by anyone other thanthe right wing pundits.

Unless Romney can get his “Christian” brethren to get over their “Mormonphobia”, and unless Palin reinvents herself so totally that she might appeal to other than “the base”, neither of them has a snowballs chance no matter how bad things get.

But…like you said, it’s still early


Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 20, 2009 10:33 PM
Comment #284766

And so Joel starts with his usual optimism.

I have lived through almost thirty years of similar such optimism, and it occurs to me that we don’t have the government we deserve, we have the government we think we deserve.

You claim the stimulus money has been largely wasted. You claim this only about five months into a two year project, meant to maintain long term demand.

You attack the bank bailout, but as ugly and painful as it is, is letting the major financial institutions of this country fail any better of a strategy now than it was over several decades ago?

The interesting thing is that you claim that this is the cause of the recession. Kind of problematic then, that by most measures it started last year or earlier as the Housing Market cratered and started taking the financial sector with it.

As cute as you may think it may be to put out the latest iteration of “that’s not change we can believe in”, you miss a major point. We didn’t want a leader who was unwilling to do politically problematic things, who would put ideology over sorting the mess out. We wanted a problem solver, not somebody who ran away from tough choices.

As for single payer healthcare? Obama’s position is that if we were to start from scratch, that would be our position. But we’re not, so he’s not, so I invite you to produce evidence that Obama ever promised Single Payer Healthcare on the Campaign trail.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 21, 2009 1:29 AM
Comment #284768

Why I like your title, the fact that the government is going mad has been part of the Old Guard or Good Old Boys complaint for longer than I been alive. For given the choice of having your Democatic and Republican Leaders tell you what you can or cannot do or living your life the way you think is right does make pretty good political hay; however, seeing that the Founding Fathers put “We the People” in charge where is the personal responsibilty for dealing with such things as the Healthcare Issue or Energy Crisis?

I mean if every American would stop paying the insurance companies for health coverage that they may or may not recieve. For I am sure like the auto manufactures and banks, the industry would be at the doors of the government looking for a handout and than “We the People” could demand the change to a system that allows the HMO decide for the Doctor and Patient what is good for them. Yes, a bold statement of action, but well within the peaceful unrest talked about in the Founding Documents. Yet, are you and others willing to walk away from a security blanket in order to protect your children and children?

As far as the current economic conditions, look back at what President Ragen said about Global Economic Meltdown when he proposed his Trickledown Economic Theory. For why reasons of National Security I can’t prove that the Republican Leadership in 2005 took a page out of that play book. I do believe that if you look at the global demand for oil over the last four years and the inability of the oil companies to meet and sustain such production rate that the Leaders of the World at the time did not have a choice but to slow down global consumption or spark a global war over energy.

And for President Obama, passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act did and will help federal properties become more energy efficient. And why it will not create a fire in the market or respark uncontroled consumer consumption, it will help the Children of the 21st Century lower the cost of the Federal Governent in the long run. Because other than building the Infrastructure needed by Commerce and Industry to conduct business, what else should Obama do to help stabilize an economy that for now must learn to live within a limited amount of oil?

Since surely he has cuaght all sorts of BS for loaning the Auto Manufactures money and is taken hits for President Bushs’ failure to hold the Financial Institutes of America to include Wall Street accountable for not knowing what would happen when you split a piece of gold in two and tell people they have more money.

No, I agree that President Obama and the Democratic Leadership is doing what they have accused the Republicans of for the last 8 years. However, limited to the Debate of Labor and Management and the inability and/or unwillingness for the Barons of Society, their CEO’s, and Top Management to give up their million dollar bonuses in order to quickly increase the wages of average Americans to afford the higher cost of living to include healthcare insurance. What are Americas’ Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders to do when “We the People” remain silent to the Business of “We the Corporation?”

So why you talk about a revolution in America, seeing that even if My Brothers and Sisters of the 70’s would let me make every 10-year-old child on Earth a million dollars a year they would be no better off than they are today. Where is your plan to fix healthcare, Education, Energy, and all the other problems that has faced Americas’ Elected Officials since the 1960’s and 70’s? For why I may not agree with Americas’ Democratic and Republican Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders on almost any political stance. Having taken many off to the side, I will say that for the most part, they will listen to the voice of “We the People” provided that it is the Adults in Charge and not the Dream of a Mad Man.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at July 21, 2009 4:55 AM
Comment #284775

As always, I appreciate the comments and various viewpoints. To be crystal clear, here is what I support and think absolutely necessary to revitalize the USA:

A truly competitive and unique (free of moneyed interests) third political party that openly and savagely attacks the two-party plutocracy.

The first Article V convention, which the Founders believed we would need to use when citizens lost trust and confidence in the federal government.

A number of constitutional amendments to truly reform our government and political system, but that Congress under the Dems and Repubs will never propose.

Capitalism that must let companies fail if they have been incompetent, criminal and unable to prosper on their own without government bailouts.

Citizens who are smart enough to vote out ALL incumbents in Congress and who stop falling for the clever rhetoric of politicians like Obama who are nothing more than products of and servants for the two-party plutocracy.

Consumers who learn that their spending drives the economy and uses it to get public policies that truly serve the public interest; that means buycotts they control, in contrast to the current reductions in spending produced by the recession.

The death penalty for major white collar criminals.

Strong prosecution of the many federal elected and appointed officials in the George W. Bush administration that broke laws and disobeyed our Constitution; there should nothing but disgust with the Obama desire to look to the future but not the past, as if not consistently following the rule of law and our Constitution can be tolerated. This is the way to restore public confidence in American democracy.

Posted by: Joel Hirschhorn at July 21, 2009 9:39 AM
Comment #284780

Obama promised transparency. And in unparalleled fashion, we have it on the White House’s public web site covering who is getting how much with the economic recovery funding. We know how much the banks are getting, the Fed has committed to, and how much GM and Chrysler are into taxpayers for.

The first step toward better government is free and open information about what government is doing. The second step is: “THE VOTERS HAVE TO USE THAT INFORMATION TO REMOVE THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WASTE, DEBT, AND DEFICITS”.

Obama is working to take the horses to the water. But, he cannot make the horse’s asses drink the water. There are limits to what government can do, unless the people choose to do nothing.

Obama has asked Congress for a health care reform that is cost neutral. Congress has in effect told Obama to go to hell. Congress has said this is too good an opportunity to bankrupt the future to secure reelection in 2010, to pass up.

The BALL is in VOTER’S COURT! All this government bashing is bullpucky. The government does EXACTLY what the voters allow them to do. And it is the height of hypocrisy for Republicans in the Congress to bash this government, THEY are part of it, and THEY doubled the national debt from 5.65 Trillion to over 10 Trillion in just 8 years.

When are voters going to hold their OWN Congress persons responsible? Until they do, we will continue to have this abomination of a government which WE VOTED FOR, again, and again, and again. We are long over due for voting against this kind of government. Vote Out Incumbents Democracy has lit the way. But, it is up to the voters and people to follow the lighted path of their own accord and by their own reason.

And Joel, there will be no Article V Convention UNTIL voters subscribe to Vote Out Incumbents Democracy’s advocacy, FIRST ! The voters have to first vote out the incumbents who are refusing the state’s petitions for a Constitutional Convention, before an Article V convention can ever become a reality. One does not get to where one wants to go if the cart is pulling the horse.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 21, 2009 11:03 AM
Comment #284781

your position on health care (wanting government to take it all over) seems inconsistent with your complete lack of confidence in government. Is that due to your individual circumstances?

I do agree about getting seriously tough on white collar criminals - that might even send a message to politicians.

Posted by: Schwamp at July 21, 2009 11:52 AM
Comment #284785
A truly competitive and unique (free of moneyed interests) third political party that openly and savagely attacks the two-party plutocracy.

A belligerent focus is a mistake. Let me explain why:

1) First, you don’t have a large enough established base in any party to set up fights you can win. At best, you can spoil elections, but that spoiling, in a majority rules situation, tends to rebound on those splintering from the mainstream.

The presence of the third party needs to be one that lends it to be a valued member of a coalition.

To do that, you have to build a base. To build a base you must peel off folks who might be dissatisfied with a main party, but aren’t apt to choose other parties on a whim. If, indeed, your approach is to be a browbeater or a hostile attacker with them, it will tend to backfire unless they’re already in your camp. But if they were already there, the hostility is useless or worse than useless.

You are the voter’s friend, so why set up a situation where you play their enemy, or can be portrayed as such?

Make sense. Don’t underestimate the value of being the person in the room who can admit to the actual state of affairs, and speak about it in plain, sensible terms, while others dance around things with spin and deception. Be the adult, the responsible person in the room.

2)Belligerence tends to create a rather tribal way of thinking about things. The point of any political movement for reform worth its salt will not be the change in politics, but the change in policy.

Political movements that constitute themselves based on rivalry often end up arranging their positions and sensibilities to suit that, rather than being more pragmatic, more open to different solutions, and less dependent on party dogma. If we want a redemptive third party movement, and not just another party engaged in pointless partisanship, the focus must be on policy and on shaping the government’s overall policy towards that end.

3) There is also an ends justify the means mentality that goes along with this kind of attack dog politics.

Such mentalities, as we can observe in the history of the recent Republican Majority, distorts decision-making. People do terrible things, and don’t fix terrible mistakes because the party must be protect from its attackers.

A redemptive third party must be better than that. Policy must be first priority, not winning the playground fights of politics.

The first Article V convention, which the Founders believed we would need to use when citizens lost trust and confidence in the federal government.

We may or may not need a convention. The best approach is to do all that you can under your current statutory and constitutional authority, and only add amendments or repeal them when its absolutely necessary. How have you made this determination that we need a new convention and on what grounds?

If you cannot answer this question, your efforts are doomed to fall to better counterarguments, which will steal the energy for action. Also, it seems a rather muddled approach to go in without some kind of plain objectives out there.

All too many folks reach for amendments as their method to bring change, and don’t do the thinking and legal work to really figure out what can be done short of that.

A number of constitutional amendments to truly reform our government and political system, but that Congress under the Dems and Repubs will never propose.

If you don’t think Democrats and Republicans want them in Congress want them, what makes you think that Democrats and Republicans in the State Legislatures want them either?

Or are you trying to cut them out of their constitutional right to call or not call a the convention discussed above?

Capitalism that must let companies fail if they have been incompetent, criminal and unable to prosper on their own without government bailouts.

Even if it destroys the economy, and punishes those who did nothing wrong by the rules of the market as they were?

The capitalism that lets everything run without much restriction is part of what failed. The truth is, you’re trying to run a 21st Industrialized economy on the rules of an 18th century agrarian economy. Too few companies had too much market share, and too much incestuous interconnection of interests, for failure to be survivable for the rest of the economy. As it is, parts of our economy are running on flat tires already.

Citizens who are smart enough to vote out ALL incumbents in Congress and who stop falling for the clever rhetoric of politicians like Obama who are nothing more than products of and servants for the two-party plutocracy.

ALL incumbents? That seems to be a rather high threshold. Are we doomed, yeah verily, should even one pass unscathed from the voter’s wrath?

Seriously, it’s all about sending a message. I Have no problem with incumbents being tossed for more tractable, more sensible people. But it doesn’t have to be everybody, nor should we wait for that to believe that better things are possible.

Consumers who learn that their spending drives the economy and uses it to get public policies that truly serve the public interest; that means buycotts they control, in contrast to the current reductions in spending produced by the recession.

That DRIVE the recession. See, what’s happened is that people’s ability to pay for products has been reduced, either through banks unwilling to finance purchases, or employers unwilling to pay employees any new checks (that is, laying them off). Of course, things get worse as the reduced profits and reduced employment causes further people to be laid off, and so on and so forth.

We need better trade and labor laws. That much is clear. We don’t need to be imagining improbable uses of buying power.

The death penalty for major white collar criminals.

Off with their CEO’s?

I don’t think the death penalty for theft and fraud passes current interpretation of the Eight Amendment. Or were you interested in changing that?

David R. Remer-
I’ve been hearing different stories. Congress has proposed legislation that is better than deficit neutral. The problem is, Republicans and Blue Dog Dems (who aren’t very popular right now among Netroots Dems), are either trying to road block it or alter many of the provisions that actually make things cost-effective.

As for Article V? The operative question here is, are the states pursuing this supposed dereliction of duty? Or do they accept an interpretation that requires 34 states at a time to sign on together, concurrently?

I think the latter is the case. And I believe that if this is so, no amount of begging and pleading will change what is necessary for such a convention to go forward. I think the framers were looking for more than just the casual connections of being on the same list in order to call this convention. I think they designed it with a supermajority of the states in mind, cooperating towards whatever reforms they were commonly seeking. I don’t think they meant process on a technicality to be the driving force for getting a convention called. I think they wanted the actual and present consent of the states. What’s the point of calling a gathering where the folks who will be present didn’t ask for the gathering themselves?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 21, 2009 1:06 PM
Comment #284789

Why I may be stepping over the line, I do believe that every voter needs to ask and answer the following question.

Since your Elected Officials are duty bound to “Building a Better World” are they voting for the Special Interest Groups or the Freewill of the People who sent them to Washington, the State Assembly, or Local Government?

For why both sides of the political coin (Money and Public Willingness) are important in Americas’ System, the fact that one can make the case that to many Representatives and Senators fall victim to the Status Quo of their Party Leaders due to the influence of Charlatans and Vagabonds. I personally think it has to remain up to the Individual Voter to be informed about what someone running for Political Office will do given the Issues they may face while holding their term.

So, not being one allowed to directly interfere in the Democratic and Republican Business. Let me ask if advocacy groups like are permitted to establish forums that would allow those running for or seeking reelection to go through a Public Hearing and answer the questions of the average voter. In the same manner the House and Senate are allowed to question those people seeking to serve our nation?

For Joel,
Why I won’t say your wrong, money interest or better yet having the available funds to effect change is part of the American Political Game and is the only true Check and Balance of Generational Madness. For if some of the ideas that came out of the 60’s and 70’s as well as the 80’s and 90’s were allowed to go unchecked, the idea that any American would be safe today from the Tryanny of a few can be found just by looking at the agenda of C Street.

And why I applaud the effort of getting Article V Convention together, I do believe that all advocacy groups and the American Public would be better served if “We the People” would bring about the conditions (Tweeter possible) that would allow the average American to voice their Personal Ideas and Opinions on How and Where America as a Government and Society should be by say the year 2050.

For why I can see America as a 3 Giga Watt Society by the turn of the next Century having mastered the Art of Renewable Resources. Knowing that it is up to My Brothers and Sisters of the 70’s as well as their Chidren and Grandchildren to build that Better World.

I do believe that Americas’ Democratic and Republican Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders would be shocked and amazed at how many Americans are willing to give up th Old Ways of doing business for hope of the day when Americas’ Elected Officials did not have to choice between being the Bad or Good Guy. For as we all know (or should know) being Right as an Adult or Parent is slightly different than being right as a 10-year-old Child.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at July 21, 2009 2:19 PM
Comment #284791

Government of private health insurance?

Even if, in general government is dysfunctional and inefficient, my experience with Medicare and all the data on the high cost of a system more dependent on private health insurance convinces me that we need a government, single pay universal health care system. It is a fact that the chief reason why we are overpaying nationally for too little health care is the dominance of private health insurers. They are now spending many millions of dollars on lobbying to prevent true health care reform. Like most in Medicare I also purchase supplemental insurance (to cover what Medicare does not) in addition to paying for Medicare (I think some believe it is free); that combination gives me excellent coverage and FREEDOM to use what physicians, labs and hospitals I want. The biggest flaw is the prescription drug coverage, which I hope will be fixed in this round of “reform.” What is worse than government? Easy: corrupt, profit-crazy private insurance companies that make sure that government does not make them provide really great health insurance.

Posted by: Joel Hirschhorn at July 21, 2009 3:09 PM
Comment #284793

Every so often I really like what NYTimes columnist David Brooks says:

You would have thought that a stimulus package would be designed to fight unemployment and stimulate the economy during a recession. But Congressional Democrats used it as a pretext to pay for $787 billion worth of pet programs with borrowed money. Only 11 percent of the money will be spent by the end of the fiscal year — a triumph of ideology over pragmatism.

His column today is excellent and absolutely correct in seeing congressional Democrats as the cause of so much that is wrongheaded:

Posted by: Joel Hirschhorn at July 21, 2009 3:15 PM
Comment #284794

Joel, I would take issue with the speed at which that 787 billion is being spent. Trying to spend that much money in an all out hurry would result in grotesque mismanagement and fraudulent use of those funds. I am glad the government is not handing out our tax dollars to any and all who ask for it, without red tape and oversight as to who is asking for it, and why.

And, NO! I absolutely disagree with your depicting the stimulus package as nothing more than pet programs. We have construction taking place right in front of our home today as a result of some of that money going to a shovel ready project to upgrade the dangerous highway in front of our house. Two lane, 60 mph highway, with limited visibility due to steep hills, and no shoulders for cars leaving the pavement.

You can critique this money as borrowed against our future and I will sing your chorus. You can claim that not every dollar of it will be spent wisely, nor on infrastructure needs, and I will chime in.

But, your attempt to depict the package as all pork and no national benefit, misses the truth by a very wide distance. If your comments seek to persuade, they should aspire to objectivity and factual truthfulness.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 21, 2009 5:15 PM
Comment #284795

Joel, couldn’t agree with you more on the health care issue. But, what you call for is not politically possible in a single year’s reform package. It would never pass.

The incremental approach is the only politically possible route toward such a reform.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 21, 2009 5:18 PM
Comment #284803

Thanks for laying it out Joel. I am in complete agreement with your viewpoints. But, there is plenty to debate. By the numbers. “A truly competitive and unique (free of moneyed interests) third party that openly and savagely attacks the two-party plutocracy”. Looking over all third parties efforts I believe the Republic Sentry Party more closely matches your ideal party, sans being competitive. Well, it’s clear a party has to start from a non-competitive position and grow from there. The Party agenda calls for removing the moneyed influence by abolishing corporate personhood and money is free speech from public law. Following that, a clean election system will be established. All campaign fund donations will be from the individual, through the IRS for legal accountability, and then to the FEC for planning and distribution. Political parties will receive FEC funds based on the number of viable candidates in any given race. An ironclad Party rule forbids a Party member and/or elected official from receiving anything of value that relates to funding campaigns (FEC excluded), lobbying or influence peddling. I would say Republic Sentry is more outspoken in opposing the duopoly than other parties but I’m not convinced that savagely attacking is the right choice of words. We try to maintain a decent decorum on our website. Party rules and agenda are posted on the site. We will strive for transparency in all aspects. If you are any reader can suggest an additional, or a better way of putting accountability into the political equation we’d like to hear about that. Of course, it needs to be legal. It is difficult to tighten down too much for fear of impeding an official’s right to function in a political environment, freedom of speech, etc. The Party can enforce accountability by having members act as a fourth branch of government if you will. Should a party member serving in any capacity be perceived as not supporting the party agenda that person can be voted out of the Party. He/she would continue to serve out their remaining term of office but would not be supported for any future political endeavor.
Congress hasn’t loosened up on AVC since Independence and I can’t imagine that the duopoly would share power by stopping their violation of the Constitution in this regard. Republic Sentry supports AVC and will work to bring it to fruition. I believe we will first have to achieve major reform of government through a third party with a different political attitude before AVC can be realized.
Republic Sentry’s agenda is chocked full of amendments that target reform and that the duopoly would never bring to the table. Reorganize the administration and pecking order of the House and Senate, place the federal bank under the Dept of Treasury, rely on civil servants to serve as agency heads, make election day a national holiday, and many more, some suggestions from your book “Delusional Democracy” are included. We believe there is too much democracy, that we need to restore the Republic and our sovereignty and that will require major reform of government.
Agree on capitalism. Business must be regulated and those regulations must be enforced. No business should become to large to fail. We need to bring back anti-trust and break up big business. TYCO International comes to mind with over 600 companies under its umbrella. Breaking them into smaller operations will increase competition and stop or severely limit the accumulation of vast wealth at the very top. Also, we need to ensure workers are paid a living wage. Government and government contractors should pay workers a living wage at minimum. This will encourage the private sector to adopt similar pay plans. Tighten down at the top and push up from the bottom.
I support voting out all, or at least all under-performing incumbents. But, here again, I don’t believe voters will act in such a way until we are deep in a depression or some similar situation. History shows that it happened during the depression era and also shows that voters returned to their bad habits when the economy recovered. While I hope the voting public would become educated and angry enough to vote out significant numbers of incumbents I don’t see this as a means to achieve major government reform. IMO little to nothing can be done to improve our lot until we achieve reform and that will require a third party with a different political attitude.
I see boycotts as similar to voting out all incumbents. Difficult to organize on a national basis and seemingly impossible to continually maintain a footing to carry out a boycott in a timely manner. I believe consumer interests are better achieved through anti-trust action and adequate regulation of business. This would certainly include a real consumer affairs agency, a real FDA, a real EPA, etc. Again, we can’t have any of this stuff until government reform is achieved. I should note that Republic Sentry’s agenda calls for building a merchant fleet with testing laboratories on board for testing food shipments en route. This would serve safety and health requirements in dealing with countries that won’t allow US testers on their soil or in adequate numbers to be effective. Also, building these ships would develop high tech, create jobs and provide for delivering US war materials rather than renting vessels from Russia.
I believe in stiff penalties for the Bernie Madoff’s but stop short of calling for a death sentence. If some of Bernie’s underlings go down with him then I believe that justice will have been served. I put some blame on investors and lots of blame on the regulators, SEC in particular. Republic Sentry would take care of any party members that were regulators, agency heads, etc, as they would most likely be rejected from their Party. Think about the consequences of that for a minute.
Let me disagree somewhat with you on prosecuting past offenses. It may be because I see a way to the future with a reform party. I feel we should put our anger into a solution for reforming government rather than expending time and energy prosecuting. We should try to stop the Corpocracy in its tracks and go from there.
Appreciate the post. Hopefully, this will be an interesting and useful debate on looking for a solution to reform of government..

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 21, 2009 8:27 PM
Comment #284809


You are right that we shouldn’t spend money that fast, but it kind of defeats the whole idea of stimulus if we spread it over years. The economy will recover on its own by the time that money hits.

The Democrats insisted that we had to have the stimulus so urgently that nobody could read it before the vote. It doesn’t seem so urgent now when they cannot spend the money. Maybe they were being dishonest back then … or are they dishonest now?

Posted by: Christine at July 21, 2009 10:07 PM
Comment #284817

Christine, why would you think the economy would recover all on its own, without cash infusion to spur economic activity? May I remind you that the Depression era recessions continued to reappear several times over the course of a decade, even with modest stimulus spending (modest compared to the WWII spending, that is).

Economic stimulus is very much like a saline solution I.V. drip administered to a burn patient. Too much, too fast, can kill the patient, too little too slow can kill the patient. Except in this case, too much too fast is wasted, and too little too slow will never jump start the economic activity.

An optimal balance is sought which doesn’t overdo it on either side, and which is less than optimal in each direction. Sure, we can stimulate the economy hard and fast, but, then large portions of the deficit spending would be wasted in fraud and abuse.

Your comment seems to be trying to damn the stimulus whichever way it is implemented. Too much too fast, and it would be damned for wasting taxpayer dollars in the billions. Non-wasteful infusion would be damned for being too little too slow to return the economy to a healthy state in a matter of months.

No matter how you cut it, it takes 6 to 12 months for stimulus money to work its way through to the end consumers in terms of economic stimulus, and up to 18 to 24 months for jobs to follow suit. One can try to rush this timetable, but it would be imprudent and wasteful.

Doesn’t help that the 2008 stimulus came in the form of tax cuts which largely went into savings or paying off debt, which did virtually nothing to stimulate the economy. Obama’s plan to create jobs, which should have been implemented in early 2008, wasn’t implemented until a couple months ago. There are no magic wands here.

Americans are so absolutely addicted to TV SitCom 30 minute resolutions to all of life’s problems. Americans literally live in a fantasy world, frustrated by the fact that the real world doesn’t conform to the fantasy one.

Rescuing the financial sector was the right thing to do for jobs, and the economy. What has been lacking is their breakup into smaller non-monopolistic lines of business which no longer pose a “too big to fail” risk to the economy going forward.

The jobs based economic stimulus is the right approach to stimulating this economy, but, there is no way to prudently implement such a stimulus in a hurry. The Republicans (and Democrats in Congress) screwed the pooch last year with TAX CUT stimulus, which didn’t stimulate anything except lender’s and banker’s profits in their non-mortgage backed lines of business. This economy is not suffering from a lack of capital formation, it is suffering from a lack of consumer demand brought on by home foreclosures, high personal debt and service costs on that debt, and job losses.

This is where Republican ideology truly blinds them. Giving GM capital will not permit GM to hire more workers as long as the demand for their vehicles is a shadow of previous demand levels. This is not a recession brought on by a lack of money supply or capital. Therefore, tax cuts for business will NOT result in job creation.

Job creation, stemming the housing foreclosures, and low returns on savings will all work in concert, with some time, to stimulate consumer demand again. And consumer demand makes up over 2/3 of our economic activity. Which means, the Obama administration’s approach here is the right one. Just because there is no magic wand or 30 minute sit-com scenario to turn this economy around, does not negate the reality that the approach being taken, with its limitations, is the best and right approach in the short term.

The long term debt remains as the dark sky on the horizon, and spiraling costs of Medicare/Medicaid, and private sector health care inflation, lie at the heart of that storm.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 22, 2009 8:35 AM
Comment #284818
Stephen Daugherty wrote: And so Joel starts with his usual optimism.
Right, because there’s so much to be optimistic about, eh?
Stephen Daugherty wrote: I have lived through almost thirty years of similar such optimism, …
Not even 30 years of age yet, eh? Gee, with all of the experience, what were we thinking?
Stephen Daugherty wrote: … , and it occurs to me that we don’t have the government we deserve, we have the government we think we deserve.

We have the government that we elect, and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect, until that finally becomes too painful, as evidenced by what the majority of unhappy voters did in years 1929, 1931, 1933, and 1993:

  • Start __ End __ Congress _ Re-Election ___ Party Seat-Retention

  • Year ___ Year ___ # _____ Rate ________ Rate

  • 1927 ___ 1929 ___ 070st ___ 83.6% ________ 96.4% (087 incumbents ousted: 22(D), 64(R), 1(FL) )

  • 1929 ___ 1931 ___ 071st ___ 79.7% ________ 92.5% (108 incumbents ousted: 51(D), 44(R), 2(FL), 1(S) )

  • 1931 ___ 1933 ___ 072nd ___ 76.8% ________ 88.5% (123 incumbents ousted: 36(D), 87(R) )

  • 1933 ___ 1935 ___ 073rd ___ 61.2% ________ 78.7% (206 of 531 incumbents ousted: 59(D), 147(R) )

  • … … … … … … … …

  • 1989 ___ 1991 ___ 101st ___ 90.1% ________ 99.6%

  • 1991 ___ 1993 ___ 102nd ___ 87.7% ________ 98.3%

  • 1993 ___ 1995 ___ 103rd ___ 73.5% ________ 98.1% (142 of 535 incumbents (mostly Democrats) ousted)

  • … … … … … … … …

  • 1999 ___ 2001 ___ 106th ___ 89.2% ________ 99.3%

  • 2001 ___ 2003 ___ 107th ___ 89.2% ________ 98.7%

  • 2003 ___ 2005 ___ 108th ___ 87.9% ________ 98.1% (65 of 535 voted out)

  • 2005 ___ 2007 ___ 109th ___ 88.6% ________ 98.7% (61 of 535 voted out)

  • 2007 ___ 2009 ___ 110th ___ 84.9% ________ 93.1% (81 of 535 incumbents voted out (68=16(D)+51(R)+1(I) in the House) + (13=3(D)+9(R)+1(I) in the Senate)

  • 2009 ___ 2011 ___ 111th ___ 86.9% ________ 94.0% (70 of 535 voted out (57=13(D)+44(R) in the House) + (13=3(D)+10(R) in the Senate)
Until then, the voters do have the government that the voters deserve.

Stephen Daugherty wrote:You claim the stimulus money has been largely wasted. You claim this only about five months into a two year project, meant to maintain long term demand.
No nation has ever borrowed, money-printed, and spent it’s way to prosperity. Especially the largest debtor nation in world history.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you want to know, one of the reasons why I don’t respond that enthusiastically to your focus on numbers and percentages is that I don’t believe that those things are determinative of the outcome.
Only a fool ignores the numbers.

The $57 Trillion nation-wide debt has grown from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to over 411% of GDP today (and the per-capita figure for nation-wide debt is far worse than the debt-to-GDP ratio).
The $11.6 Trillion National-debt per-capita ($37K) is 70% higher today than the National Debt per-capita ($22K in 2008 inflation adjusted dollars) in year 1945 after World War II.

Yet …

Stephen Daugherty wrote: I don’t believe that those things are determinative of the outcome.

Stephen Daugherty wrote: You attack the bank bailout, but as ugly and painful as it is, is letting the major financial institutions of this country fail any better of a strategy now than it was over several decades ago?
Beyond the guarantees from the FDIC and banks and corporations clearly capable of repaying the loans in a reasonable period of time: YES

Rewarding failure doesn’t work, and it’s also not fair to the losers’ competition.
Many banks, GM, and Chrysler went bankrupt anyway, and the tax payers now own 61% of GM, and most of the jobs were lost anyway.
Not everyone buys into the extreme beliefs that want a nanny-state with citizens increasingly dependent on the government; with massive cradle-to-grave government programs (which are usually severely mismanaged) that nurture a sense of entitlement and dependency on government; wants to grow government ever larger (despite the already current nightmare proportions); rewards failure and laziness; and perpetuates the myth that we can somehow all live at the expense of everyone else. Next thing you know, there will be a BILL in Congress to wipe our noses and butts to, eh?

Stephen Daugherty wrote: The interesting thing is that you claim that this is the cause of the recession. Kind of problematic then, that by most measures it started last year or earlier as the Housing Market cratered and started taking the financial sector with it.

The housing crisis began several years ago.


  • 350K |———————————-

  • 325K |———————————-

  • 300K |9———-9—9—8————

  • 275K |—-9—————————-

  • 250K |———8-8-8-8—————

  • 225K |8-8-8—————-7-7—-7

  • 200K |———————7——-7—

  • 175K |————7-7-7—————

  • 150K |7-7-7-7————————

  • 125K |—6————————6-6-6

  • 100K |6—-6-6-6-6-6-6-6———

  • 075K |5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5

  • 050K |————————————

  • 020K |__________________________ Months of Year

  • 000K |J-F-M-A-M-J-J-A-S-O-N-D

    • Where:
    • 9=Year 2009: 1.5 million as of Jun-2009 (on schedule to exceed 3.0 million for 2009)

    • 8=Year 2008: 2.0 million as of Aug-2008

    • 7=Year 2007: 2.0 million

    • 6=Year 2006: 1.2 million

    • 5=Year 2005: 846,000

    • _______________________________________

    • TOTAL FORECLOSURES = 9.3 Million (from Jan-2005 to JUN-2009)

Stephen Daugherty wrote: As cute as you may think it may be to put out the latest iteration of “that’s not change we can believe in”, you miss a major point.
Funny how some people do the very thing they accuse others of, eh?
Stephen Daugherty wrote: We didn’t want a leader who was unwilling to do politically problematic things, who would put ideology over sorting the mess out. We wanted a problem solver, not somebody who ran away from tough choices.
And you believe we have that now?

Especially in the 111th Congress, which consists of 87% of the 110th Congress?

Stephen Daugherty wrote: As for single payer healthcare? Obama’s position is that if we were to start from scratch, that would be our position. But we’re not, so he’s not, so I invite you to produce evidence that Obama ever promised Single Payer Healthcare on the Campaign trail.
I recall Obama saying it would NOT be mandatory like Hillary Clinton’s version. But now we’re hearing it will be mandatory?
Stephen Daugherty wrote: 2)Belligerence tends to create a rather tribal way of thinking about things. The point of any political movement for reform worth its salt will not be the change in politics, but the change in policy. 3) There is also an ends justify the means mentality that goes along with this kind of attack dog politics. Such mentalities, as we can observe in the history of the recent Republican Majority, distorts decision-making. People do terrible things, and don’t fix terrible mistakes because the party must be protect from its attackers.
That’s really funny when it comes from someone whose majority of comments fuel and wallow in the partisan warfare, eh?
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Or are you trying to cut them out of their constitutional right to call or not call a the convention discussed above?
Article V is clear. The states have already submitted many times over (730 applications from ALL 50 states) the sufficient number of applications for Congress to call a peremptory Article V Convention:
  • 129 Article V Applications were submitted by 34 Different States in the 4 years between 1977 and 1980 (inclusive).
  • 123 Balanced Budget Article V applications were submitted by 38 different states between years 1955 in 2000 (inclusive).
  • 180 Balanced Budget/General-Call-for-an-Article-V-Convention applications were submitted by 39 different states.
  • 140 Balanced Budget/General-Call-for-an-Article-V-Convention applications were submitted by 34 different states between years 1955 and 1990.
  • 118 Balanced-Budget/General-Call-for-an-Article-V-Convention applications were submitted by 34 different states between years 1965 and 1983 (and 31 of those states filed applications between 1975 and 1979).
  • 135 Apportionment/General-Call-for-an-Article-V-Convention applications were submitted by 38 different states (inclusive).
  • 158 Article V applicaitons were submitted by 36 different states between years 1975 and 1980.
  • 167 Article V applications were submitted by 36 different States in 7 years from 1963 to 1969 (inclusive).
  • 496 of the 730 Article V applications were submitted by 47 different states between years 1955 and 2008 (inclusive).
  • 47 Tax-Related Article V applicaitons were submitted by 25 different states (104 Applications from 40 different states including all General Call for AVC).
  • 730 Article V applications were submitted by ALL 50 states between years 1789 and 2008 (inclusive).
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Seriously, it’s all about sending a message. I Have no problem with incumbents being tossed for more tractable, more sensible people. But it doesn’t have to be everybody, nor should we wait for that to believe that better things are possible.
That’s not very convincing when there are numerous contradictory comments showing an obvious disdain for anything NOT-DEMOCRAT.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: As for Article V? The operative question here is, are the states pursuing this supposed dereliction of duty? Or do they accept an interpretation that requires 34 states at a time to sign on together, concurrently?
There are not same-subject or expiration time-limits on Article V applications, and the conditions have been met. Congress is in violation of Article V. Eventually, one or more states will most likely press the issue in the Supreme Court. Never mind Congress’ obvious conflict of interest against things such as TERM-LIMITs, Campaign Finance Reform, BALANCED BUDGET amendment, General-Call-for-an-Artcle-V-Convention, etc., etc., etc.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: I think the latter is the case. And I believe that if this is so, no amount of begging and pleading will change what is necessary for such a convention to go forward. I think the framers were looking for more than just the casual connections of being on the same list in order to call this convention. I think they designed it with a supermajority of the states in mind, cooperating towards whatever reforms they were commonly seeking. I don’t think they meant process on a technicality to be the driving force for getting a convention called. I think they wanted the actual and present consent of the states. What’s the point of calling a gathering where the folks who will be present didn’t ask for the gathering themselves?

More than 2/3 of the states have already submitted over 730 Article V applications (see list above).

So your circular logic appears to be that Congress doesn’t have to obey Article V until one or more states sue for Congress violating Article V, eh?
Well, that may very likely happen in the not too distant future, as the painful consequences of Congress violating the Constitution finally becomes too painful:

Would the nation be swimming in an ocean of debt of nightmare proportions today if Congress had allowed the states (39 different states which submitted 180 Balanced Budget/General-Call-for-an-Article-V-Convention applications)?

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 July 22, 2009 9:11 AM
Comment #284822

Corporate reality:

UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest health insurer, had a huge increase in second quarter profit, $859 million, an increase of 155 percent over the same period last year; its revenues rose 7 percent to $21.66 billion. In contrast, Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor earned $734 million, a 17 percent decrease from a year earlier. Its sales were up slightly to $11.24 billion.

Boston Univ. professor Alan Sager got it right: Health insurers “give us very bad value for the 10 to 20 percent share of the health dollar they skim off the top.”

Posted by: Joel Hirschhorn at July 22, 2009 12:40 PM
Comment #284823


Right, because there’s so much to be optimistic about, eh?

Right, because pessimism towards government solved so much under the Republicans.

People who do not believe improvement in government is possible are the first folks to quit trying to do anything to deal with the waste and corruption, to let that political “reality” settle in as the status quo. Feelings of futility are never a strong starting point for reform, because they encourage one not to try, never to test the limits of what is possible.

Not even 30 years of age yet, eh? Gee, with all of the experience, what were we thinking?

I have lived the experience of this particular experiment in political cynicism. I have seen the consequences personally effect my family and generally affected the nation. We’re to a point now where the default position of many analysts are that certain things can’t be done. Yet, earlier in my life, I saw them done anyways.

You can ridicule the length of my experience, but its the depth of that experience that I think is crucial. I have seen a time when we believed we could do better and did. I have seen a time where, despite inferior technology, we believed we were capable of doing so much more.

What we have here in America is a crisis of confidence, an imposed inferiority complex. We are told, despite our history, that we are incapable or ill-advised to collectively embark on grand projects, grand enterprises designed to improve the lot of America’s citizens altogether. We’ve been taken over by a philosophy that imposes an unwillingness to sacrifice for such gains, which values low taxes over the ability of our nation to do great and powerful things with its wealth.

This is not about having a nanny state. This about recognizing that an ideology whose economic perspective is stuck in a nostalgic distortion of economic principles from the 1700s is no longer suitable for a modern, post industrial, digital economy. We aren’t a nation of rugged pioneers anymore. We are a much more civilized and city-centered nation, and we are having to deal with a much more complex economy, with a much more complex infrastructure.

We are also having to deal with companies whose reach is not only national, but many times international, and whose economic power would beggar the imagination of the Adam Smith centered folks. We don’t need this strong of a government to wipe noses and butts, we need it to wipe the floor with huge conglomerates that otherwise would wipe the floor with us. We need it to coordinate and fund the systems that make ordered, productive life in this country possible.

The many banks, by the way, that went bankrupt are the same banks that the FDIC handled. Did you know that? The big reason why we didn’t just let the big banks fail is that the legal structure of the FDIC is insufficient to allow the federal government to process the composite financial companies that blessed deregulation helped produce. Ironically enough, the bank divisions weren’t doing so badly.

Which brings me to another point: one part of what made this big disaster was the unwillingness of many, of either party, to confront the system as a whole, and do something about it.

You talk of the evils of rewarding failure, but I don’t think, the way Obama has the government intervene, with all the restrictions, that government intervention is reward. Neither do you speak that way about the FDIC’s intervention.

The truth is, there’s only a certain scale of failure you can allow before the secondary effects of that failure become destructive to the economy. The economic failure, as it was would have caused deficits anyways, without a dollar extra being spent. If we let the failure proceed naturally, it would have guaranteed, not prevented future debt.

No nation has ever borrowed, money-printed, and spent it’s way to prosperity. Especially the largest debtor nation in world history

We did. The facts are plain. We created a huge debt to GDP ratio in winning WWII. Did that cripple us from there on out? No. We invested in our economy, though not as an object in and of itself, and the creation of so many jobs helped yank the country out of the Great Depression.

If we had spent all that money giving Americans tax cuts, it would have been a terrible way to stimulate the economy, a terrible thing to do. But we spent it towards productive, jobs-creating ends, which meant the money circulated back into the economy and allowed people to make more money.

Now, do I recommend we do this all the time? No. My point is not that adding extra debt is always good. That point is obviously false. My point is that under certain situations, stimulative investment in the economy from deficit spending can hold up an economy long enough to where it can effectively recover.

You’re so wrapped up in these numbers of yours that you fail to remember that many of the predictions are just projections. They aren’t facts yet.

Which reminds me:

I recall Obama saying it would NOT be mandatory like Hillary Clinton’s version. But now we’re hearing it will be mandatory?

Within reasonable limits, I expect a politician to set aside some campaign promises, if they’re doing things right. The real world is more complex than campaign rhetoric can ever allow for. I expect the campaign promises to be a first draft of intended policy, not an ironclad contract. But I do expect somebody to at least move in that direction.

Let me ask you a question about that percentage, regarding the 1930, 1932, and 1934 elections: If only one of these actually features changes that go below about 90%, why do you consider them valid.

Let me ask you another one: are the numbers important, or what those counted among those numbers do? These numbers do not argue actual policy positions, nor account for phenomena such as the party-line Republican opposition to the Democratic Party agenda.

Numbers can be helpful, useful, and meaningful, but only in a framework that also looks to the non-quantifiables in the situation.

Speaking of nonquantifiables, let’s talk about Article V. Do you seriously believe that the Framers wanted a constitutional convention to happen on accident? Do you believe that they set this same high threshold of two thirds on both the Congressional and the Convention methods, with the intention of having them operate differently? Do you believe that when the Framers created this article, that they did so with no care whatsoever that this be a concurrent decision of the states?

You have to abstract everything down to just the words, and then take a rather counterintuitive interpretation of what a two thirds majority is supposed to look like in order to say that there already is a sufficient level of support.

And nothing about that level of support means that the states as they are now actually support it.

I don’t know, I’m funny about things like this. For one thing, this thing about textual over-literalism is kind of new, a product of a day and age where lawyers twist legal meanings into mobius strips, and where everybody aspires to an impossible level of scientific precision in legal language. Most of the literature I see around Article V has the folks responsible for drawing it up talking about concurrences, and unions. This wasn’t meant to be a bureacratic accident. This was meant to be the act of two thirds of the states deliberately deciding on their support of this together. That’s what makes the dates and subjects legitimate criteria for figuring these things out, because how else do you determine such unity on matters, how else do you even have a test as to whether there is a sufficient number?

With your interpretation, there’s no test that can determine, in substance, whether all the states you say are signed on support the measure. With mine, the test is built in. The unity and concurrence, as expressed, does the job. There’s no ambiguity whatsover.

What’s more, you don’t have to explain away why the states made so many calls and never got anything. It’s perfectly natural: the threshold was never reached.

You don’t have to explain how fifty states that somehow must know that they are entitled to a convention, somehow stupidly keep applying despite their present qualification. You don’t have to explain why they’ve never complained about the matter themselves, not in over two hundred years of American history.

These are self-evident truths that I describe, which your interpretation cannot account for.

You can’t explain why Hamilton and Madison spoke of this provision as if everybody had to be in it together, despite your claim of it being the plain reading. If your reading is so plain, why are the FOAVC the only people to figure this out in two centuries? Maybe it’s plain to you, but to most people it’s a rather obscure kind of interpretation of an otherwise simple to understand threshold.

33 states together on the matter? No convention. 34? See you at the convention. No past numbers, just present legislatures, making their will known. No ambiguity as to the political will involved, no question as to whether the people involved actually want it done. It’s a high threshold, but wasn’t that the point, in order to ensure that constitutional revisions were done out of general, rather than special, or regional interests?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 22, 2009 12:44 PM
Comment #284829


You are looking a little defensive. Wondering if you are seeing something you care about starting to unravel.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 22, 2009 5:51 PM
Comment #284832

“Was all this recession garbage the change we were waiting for? Have we seen anything other than politics as usual? No. The whole Obama story and the Democratic control of Congress are a disgrace. Progressives who eagerly supported Obama should be ashamed of themselves. They should be leading a revolution, not make excuses for Obama and the Democrats.”

As others have pointed out, the mess we’re in now was years in the making. If you really think that in 6 months the Obama administration should have SOMEHOW prevented all the negative blowback from 8 years of idiotic Bush/Cheney rule, there’s just no hope for you. And I say “somehow” because in spite of all your invective against the disappointment that all 182 days of the Obama administration has been, you inexplicably fail to describe one single thing you would have done differently.

You are right about Goldman. But stop and think for a moment - whose idea was the TARP program in the first place? Wasn’t it Bernanke and Paulson? Weren’t they Bush’s appointees? Wasn’t Bush still in office then? So how does blame for the Goldman controversy fall on the current administration?

Posted by: Greg House at July 22, 2009 6:42 PM
Comment #284834

Well, the lack of folks touting a solution to our broken government leaves one to believe that the status quo will remain for some time to come. Got me to thinking about 2012. Will there be a viable 3rd party presence to vote for? I would think Nader and the Libertarian Party would still be around.
Tomorrow Glen Beck will present a House report on the ACORN group. Chuck Schumer was able to stop a congressional investigation of ACORN but looks like there are some still working to get it on the front burner. And, Harry Reid voted for a gun carry bill today. He is waning in the Nevada polls and will be standing for re-election the next cycle.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 22, 2009 6:56 PM
Comment #284835

Craig Holmes-
Let me fill you in on something: from my point of view, things have already unravelled. However, they are not the things you believe I’m talking about. This isn’t defensiveness speaking. What’s unravelled are the supporting institutions of this country.

Why do you think a big government liberal like Obama gets elected? It’s not merely his charisma, thought that was helpful. It’s not merely his political innovation, though that was helpful. It’s that he was a clear, unambiguous voice for something most Americans were thinking themselves.

We have seen the failure of the Republican Party as a responsible engine of policy. It has failed to deliver the way it always boasted it would on the battlefield. It failed to deliver on its promises that we could gain prosperity by shedding regulatory safeguards, and by shaping policy to benefit the special interests of the corporations out there, rather than to protect the public interest.

People, faced with the critical failures of the GOP on the policy front no longer feel that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that the Right is digging this country into. Despite their promises, our country is less safe, in a situation as bad, if not worse than what we were thirty years ago on the economy. Healthcare has become the monster that they predicted it would become, only it became that way asa private enterprise rather than a Government one as they were warning.

Why don’t I be blunt about it: The right, by heedlessly pushing its policies for the good of the country, have gutted their acceptance for the next generation. Even if they can revive fears of liberalism in Reagan Democrats now, the trajectory of conservative politics is downhill.

The concern of people like myself is that Republicans, instead of seeing the situation, and deciding to compromise, have decided instead to roadblock time critical legislation which they’ve made necessary by the failure of their own policies. They have decided to be worse than useless, and get more worse than useless every day, with apocalyptic rhetoric and a reckless willingness to say anything and do anything to claw back to the positions they lost when they broke the patience of their constituents.

If I have become more partisan these past few months, its because I see no point in negotiating with a brick wall, when time is of the essence. If the Default Republican position is to do nothing and let nothing be done, then there’s no possible agreement to be had. There’s no point in compromising legislation, no point in offering olive branches. If the Republicans want a war in Washington, they’ve chosen the worst possible time to do so.

We really meant it when we said we were willing to talk with the Republicans. But that didn’t mean we were willing to just sit around and let them take Grover Norquist’s approach to bipartisanship- date rape, in his own words.

This is not the Democrats pushing a minority, extreme left position on the country. This is Democrats trying to push the legislation they got elected to push. At least those who can remember what their supporters actually wanted.

And yes, we’re getting desperate. But it’s got more to do with the issues than the idea that we might lose some political strength. This nation doesn’t need another decade of selfish partisan warfare from the Republicans. We don’t need this continuation of an “Our way or the highway approach,” especially from people who are now the minority on account of that. The country needs people who make the good of the country first priority, rather than the good of themselves.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 22, 2009 7:26 PM
Comment #284873


There is no need to negotiate with the brick wall. You have 60 votes, enjoy yourself. Republicans are not roadblocking anything. They don’t have the power to roadblock.

Just do what you want to do and stop whining about Republicans. If you are so right, then do it!! Why attack people without the power to stop you?

Correct all you say is wrong. Fix it all, and create utopia for us all.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 23, 2009 10:41 AM
Comment #284875


I hate to burst the bubble here, but the Democrats are being hammered by the Republicans/conservatives in the court of public opinion just as they were before the ‘94 elections.
The right in this country has “talk radio” on their side.
Nothing the right says even has to be true. If they say it often enough, and loud enough, people will eventually believe it despite what they have seen with their own eyes.

There is no more effective way to obstruct than a precise propaganda campaign aimed at gullible electorate.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 23, 2009 11:50 AM
Comment #284886


So what you are saying is that even though you have 60 votes, enough to pretty much do anything, you don’t have the people on your side. This is true in that 50% of voters do not like Obama’s health plan.

But why is the people not on your side the Republicans fault?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 23, 2009 2:23 PM
Comment #284887


And why are Republicans obstructionists when over 50% of Americans oppose Obama’s health care plan?

The simple fact is Democrats find themselves on the wrong side of public opinion, and are looking to blame someone. It can’t be their plan that is at fault.

Let me give you a hint, the CBO report tanked the plan. It’s time to scrap it and start again.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 23, 2009 2:36 PM
Comment #284888


“But why is the people not on your side the Republicans fault?”

My side?

As I am neither a Republican, nor a Democrat I don’t see your point.

Look, the Republicans seemingly took great delight in scaring the bejeezus out the American people for the last 8 years.
Bush may have been trying to make the country more secure but every step he took to do so made America appear to be looking out only for America’s interests, and when we failed we seemingly took the rest of the free world down with us.
Health care reform is something every person in this country appears to believe needs to happen, yet no one seems interested in actually doing any reforming.
The Democrats came up with a plan, and it seems the best the Republicans can do is to criticize the plan without bothering to put forward any plan of their own. Just because the Republians are in the minority doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of putting forth a plan, but have they bothered…no.
I personally don’t give a damn who comes up with a good health reformm plan, as long as it something that at least most of us can agree with.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 23, 2009 3:09 PM
Comment #284890


BTW, I am just using health reform as an example of the obstruction that is happening now.

I believe that those in Congress, whether they be Republican, or Democrat, work for all of us, not just their respective constituents.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 23, 2009 3:13 PM
Comment #284896


I certainly agree with you that health reform is necessary and we need a good plan.

There is only one main thing right now, which of course is the economy. Adding addition burden to a lame horse only hurts the horse. So there is also a timing. Unfortunately all of the money has been spent. There is no money for additional health care. We are heading for bankrupcty now!

So if we want to “spend” additional obviously we need to cut somewhere first. I want to hear about plans that make sure our children will have a country to inherite first.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 23, 2009 5:04 PM
Comment #284898


Not arguing the merits for or against the Dem or Reps plans, however you may want to research a little before you make comments like “Just because the Republians are in the minority doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of putting forth a plan, but have they bothered…no.”

Google found me this link in 0.18 seconds:

The headline: June 17, 2009 12:45 PM
House Republicans Offer Health Care Plan

It kind of dilutes the rest of what you are saying.


Posted by: JayTea at July 23, 2009 5:28 PM
Comment #284902


I don’t mean to be a nudge here but the Republican “plan” in the article only covers Medicare and children.

“How much the Republican plan would cost and how many uninsured Americans would gain coverage remains unclear. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said “we believe we can come up with a plan where every person in the uninsured has access to insurance.”

So where is it?


Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 23, 2009 5:52 PM
Comment #284908

Craig Holmes-
Because we pay for medicare, we the taxpayers will pay for the increase in healthcare costs not just in private premiums or the cost of absent healthcare insurance, both significant, but also in taxpayer dollars. Of course, you could suggest dumping medicare and medicaid. That’s sure to improve the healthcare situation.

Or we could rein in the costs.

I want you to consider that every time the right has gotten what it’s wanted for the last decade and a half, that it’s been to America’s regret.

Healthcare is no exception. Republicans won on Healthcare fifteen years ago. Now all the bureaucracy and cost has come anyways.

The Public option is a compromise. The compromise is being offered now, and will not be offered again. If things keep up as they are now, the next time this matter comes around, we won’t be voting on a public option. We’ll be voting on nationalizing healthcare.

That’s where we’re going, if the stresses and strain the current healthcare system is inflicting on this country are not resolved. That Four page JOKE of a proposal won’t do crap to resolve the situation. It’s their placeholder for a serious bill. Just like that spiffy folder they offered in the place of a budget, it’s just put there so they can claim that they’ve put forward an alternative.

Healthcare is not the only issue. At some point, people’s outrage will just simply boil over. The Democrats who aren’t stopping them right now will be replaced with ones willing to throw elbows and knock heads. The vulnerable Republicans will be replaced with Democrats.

Even now, people are putting the majority of the blame on the Republicans and the right for what’s going on. They’re not buying the Republican narrative as nicely and neatly as they would want to believe.

How angry do folks on the right want the rest of America? How hardened do they want their hearts? You may think you’re getting your way, but ultimately, you’re running on fumes. You are not getting the traction you think you’re getting.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 23, 2009 7:20 PM
Comment #284910

The RAND Corporation reports that significant rises in healthcare costs cost jobs.

Of course, those are only the jobs where healthcare is mostly covered, but as the article says, workers might not find jobs where healthcare is not covered equivalent.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 23, 2009 7:51 PM
Comment #284921


“I want to hear about plans that make sure our children will have a country to inherite first.”

What a lovely thought, however, if this country does bankrupt itself, it truly is going to matter.

Not to keep harping on Bush, but he was the omly President that had an MBA, and that, I think, should tell you something.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 23, 2009 10:13 PM
Comment #284922

“it truly is going to matter.”

Sorry that sould be;

it truly isn’t going to matter.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 23, 2009 10:25 PM
Comment #284927


I favor a Scandinavian style health care system that cuts costs by covering everybody and effectively rationing service.

But we have to recognize that one important reasn Scandinavians are healthier than Americans on average is that they have better habits.

If we could bring American habits and levels of obesity down to Scandinavian levels, or even down to what American levels were in 1989, we would not really have a health care cost crisis.

American health care is expensive to a large extent because Americans are fat and lazy. Being fat is a kind of voluntary sickness. Scandinavians have a wonderful way of judging people and conveying it with a mere look. One reason health care works cheaper in places like Norway is that they have an effective social control and can “guilt” people into behaving in ways that make more sense for their own health.

We Americans have become too respectful of personal failure. A comprehensive healthcare must DEMAND that people cooperate in their own health care. There is no way any reform can work unless we change the way some people act.

Most people don’t consume much health care most of their lives. There is a relatively small number of people who suck up much of the resources and most of us waste a lot of resources in the last year of our lives. A serious reform would target the serious problems and not pretend that it is merely a question of unfortunate people not have access.

Posted by: Christine at July 24, 2009 5:37 AM
Comment #284928


One more thing. When American anger boils over, as you say, they might just look down at their bloated bellies to see where they should direct their anger.

Fat sickos like Michael Moore are the source of the problem.

Posted by: Christine at July 24, 2009 5:39 AM
Comment #284929

Michael Moore does not make people fat. What we have is a culture that regards healthy eating as a denial of freedom. Just like restrictions against smoking, and drinking are portrayed as being similar tyrannies.

We’re fat because we’re a nation that has preserved working class calorie loads without preserving working class calorie expenditure.

The Republicans tell us, any time the Government even warns us about such problems, that the government telling us about these things is just some slippery slope to all that we eat being regulated.

The Republicans love to hold up these vices as being fundamental freedoms, and then adopt this punitive position when the exercise of those so-called freedoms sickens and even kills people.

But what about simple human dignity? What about the economic burden this is inflicting? What about the jobs lost and the lives ruined, simply because the healthcare industry isn’t doing its job, and the insurance companies are basically running bureaucratic rackets instead of paying out like they should?

If we’re going to moralize, why don’t we quit making the average person a scapegoat for a system that is quite plainly rigged to profit off of their suffering, rather than provide the promised service of defraying the out of pocket cost of healthcare, a system that lets illnesses get out of control, rather than encouraging checkups and preventative measures to head off the often expensive results of not catching a disease in time.

Let me put this plainly: American’s should not be forced to hope that they don’t get sick. We’re mortal. We inevitably will get sick, no matter how well we take care of ourselves. Some people just don’t have good luck with their genetics. Turning it all into a morality play, with them the villains is just a joke of an excuse for a set of industries that aren’t doing their job, for all the money we pay them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 24, 2009 8:29 AM
Comment #284931


“Fat sickos like Michael Moore are the source of the problem.”

Regardless of what you might think about Michael Moore, he did put the spotlight on health care, and, oh BTW, we are now talking about it.

As far as his physicality goes, I doubt seriously that anyone would aspire to look like Moore.


PS, I am quite sure that Moore can afford his own health care.

Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 24, 2009 9:19 AM
Comment #284936


I want you to consider that every time the right has gotten what it’s wanted for the last decade and a half, that it’s been to America’s regret.

So you pick 1994 as your arbitrary marker.

So when Republicans worked with Clinton to balance the federal budget, America regrets that?

America does not regret killing Clinton’s health care plan.

America does not regret welfare reform.

As of today, Obama went below 50%. As of today America is starting regret Obama and the left.

It is sad that from when bush went under 50% in his second term we have only had six months with a president who has the will of the American people behind him.

It’s just not good. this jerk to the left is going to really hurt.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at July 24, 2009 11:32 AM
Comment #284955

Craig Holmes-
Nothing arbitrary about it. That’s when they took over Congress, right? That’s also around the time they killed Healthcare the first time, right?

You talk about the balanced budget, but if they wanted it that bad, they wouldn’t have let Bush take us into record deficit territory.

If you think America doesn’t regret killing healthcare reform, then you haven’t seen the poll numbers. There’s clear evidence people want change in that respect.

Obama’s not below 50%. Most polls have him mid-fifties to sixties.

We’ve tried things the right’s way. And what did we get? Every problem they claimed they were going to solve they made worse. They’re the ones who left Obama with record deficits, partly by their own overspending, partly by their tax cuts, and partly, ultimately by the failure of the economy. They’re the ones who assured us that the market would police itself, only to have that market repetitively prove that wrong. They’re the ones who told us that if we bought into their more hawkish policies, everything would turn out better.

Instead, we repeated the mistakes of the past.

So let me be blunt with you: you have things backwards. The jerk to the left already happened. But it was the pain and suffering this nation experienced under Republican rule that prompted it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 24, 2009 2:29 PM
Comment #284968


Nobody is fat because of the government or big business or big agriculture.

I agree that we have kept a rich diet of a hard worker even as we moved into the sedentary phase of life, but it is a choice we all make. I worry that we are beginning to give our tubby fellow citizens special rights based on their slovenly ways. When you go to the store and see fatties parking in the handicapped spots - because they have literally made themselves handicapped.

Personally, I think we should tax high calorie foods to push up the price of donuts and sugary soft drinks.

I recently read a good book called “Nudge” written by the guy President Obama picked to oversee regulations. Lots of interesting ideas.


I just don’t like Michael Moore. And people like him, with his bad habits, are driving up the cost of health care for all of us. I resent their lack of discipline costing us so much.

Posted by: Christine at July 24, 2009 10:39 PM
Comment #284972


” think we should tax high calorie foods to push up the price of donuts..”

Homer Simpson would be catatonic!

The problem isn’t the high calorie foods, it the lack of time, or yes, a lack of discipline to sit down at a more “healthy” meal.
I eat on the go a lot. As I am on the road a lot, stay at a lot of hotels, and I have to eat my main meals restaurants. Yes I am a bit chubby, however I wouldn’t call my weight a handicap.

So where do you suggest the tax be applied? Even upscale “fast food” is just as unhealthy as MacDonalds.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 24, 2009 11:25 PM
Comment #285025


Of course, I know it is impractical overall and there is too much variation. But I do think we should not just accept that people get fat to the point of disability. I am always appalled by those 500+ pound people who cannot even get out of bed. Whoever fed them up to that weight should also be ashamed. My kids or family would not get that way, since I would simply not bring home enough food to make it possible.

If you are chubby, but it doesn’t cause you trouble, it is none of anybody’s business. BTW - there are lots of variations. Winston Churchill was chubby but was okay. On the other hand, some people look like melting scoops of ice cream. They should just say no to all the food.

I guess I could sum up my rules on fat -

It is your business if you want to be fat, but don’t complain or ask for special treatment. If you take up two seats on a plane, pay for them. If you find yourself popular with kids on sunny days as a shade source, just accept it.

Posted by: Christine at July 25, 2009 9:45 PM
Comment #285029


“If you take up two seats on a plane, pay for them.”

One of my major pet peeves is being stuck in the center seat with a person on the aisle that the extension belt barely works, or even worse I have been stuck with a woman so obese that the arm rest wouldn’t go down.
Unfortunately that was on a full plane, on a flight from Phoenix to Chicago.

Never again.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at July 25, 2009 11:38 PM
Comment #285041

I do believe we will get a new healthcare plan this fall. The Dems have the votes to push one through. I’m not advocating for a change. I see this healthcare thing as incremental amnesty. The Corpocracy is desparate to slow or stop the illegal population from leaving and they will do what is necessary, as long as all the risk is on the taxpayer, to keep them here. That’s about the only change we will see in this new plan. The price of coton swabs and maybe aspirin will change a little but not much beyond that.
Biden recently made a statement that Russia is doomed as a major economical power because they have a failing birthrate. Our leaders have told us for yers that a low birth rate is bad for business. Let’s get it correct. Bad for the Corpocracy. If you want wages to go up make less people available for the work force. Competition for labor works to raise wages just like competition by conglomerates works to lower prices on products.
If we continue to buy into this ‘gotta have more people or we are doomed economically’ then I would expect the Corpocracy to deliver a wave of Asians to our shores within a few years of amnesty for the current wave of illegals.
An increasing population quickens the pace of using up our finite resources and if you are running out of something you can expect to pay more for it. Good for business. Bad for the working man. There will come a time when our ship becomes wrecked through such an economic policy. Business will then relocate to countries having cheaper wages. Did business relocate to Vietnam for ‘an increasing population’ or for cheaper wages? What might the working man do?

Want to putpeople in this country to work? Toss NAFTA, WTO, IMF. Set some tariffs to insure a balanced trade. Then US companies could begin to start manufaturing again. What we used to have can hardly be dreamed about now. Sad, but true.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 26, 2009 9:51 AM
Comment #285162

Exactly right my friend. Its no mistake that the Goldmen people, Freddie people, & Fannie people have been involved in government posts etc.. These are the same idiots who couldnt manage their own companies from financial destruction. Yet somehow voters keep electing folks who keep appointing the same groups time and again. I agree that the economic down fall started before Obama, but he is NOT helping matters. You never expand gov’t when the wheels that drive our very existence are stuck. But then again, when the gov’t wants to take control of the economic engine, they let people suffer, in order to convince them that gov’t is the only way out of the woods. Its a power scam of the highest order.

Posted by: Ron at July 28, 2009 11:22 AM
Comment #285192

Let me see if I can untangle your “fact-based” argument. It wouldn’t hurt to start new paragraphs on occasion.

You are aware, are you not, that the Nixon Administration pushed the formation of HMO’s, and the law that required employers to offer them was signed into law by Richard Nixon himself? It’s no accident that Republicans and conservative Democrats are leading supporters of this garbage.

But of course, you would say that the best way to get healthcare is the free market. Correct? Okay, you try to afford decent, necessary healthcare out of pocket. Pooled resources are necessary, regardless of whether it’s the market that runs it or not.

And why? Because medicine is considerably more sophisticated now than it was several decades ago. It is more expensive and technologically advanced. People go to school to learn this stuff, and that costs money.

Now not all of the cost increases are the result of advancement. Many are the result of the anti-competitive nature of PPOs and HMOs. Their whole purpose, one defended constantly by the Republicans, is to restrict people to only seek out healthcare from certain hospitals and certain doctors. Republicans, in the name of the free market, defend that.

Funny how it works.

By the way, about that war on poverty. The cheeky answer to that question is that we had a war on poverty, and poverty, and poverty won. Yet, in its triumph, poverty has been halved in this country, across all groups. Funny how it works, I guess we can’t win for losing. Or lose for winning. Whatever.

The fact of the matter is, we live in a world that’s different from that of the founding fathers. Profoundly different. They didn’t even have the typewriter, and yet we make lights move on screens with keyboards and mouses. They had horses and buggies, and we’ve got planes trains and automobiles. Fact of the matter is, we tried running things their way with their old style of governance. It simply did not work.

We’re no longer farmers and villagers living far from the city on average. Most of us are no longer sustenance farmers. Most of us now live in suburbs or cities. Most of us own our own vehicle, and not a horse. We depend on infrastructure that most people hadn’t even have dreamed of in the framer’s day and age.

And the markets? When the Framers started everything, there was no such thing as a corporation as we understand it today. That is a product of post-civil war decisions on the meaning of what a legal person is. You’re trying to make a 21st century corporate culture, in the digital age, behave how a proprietorship, partnership or joint stock company would have behaved in the 1700s, where a monopoly by economic strength alone was nearly impossible.

Society’s operating at a bewildering level of complexity, yet you seem to want us to run things in the same style as the framers.

The constitution is a necessary start for all law in this country. But it has to be intepret as is appropriate to the times in which we live, not according to the times we so idealize.

The market has every bit as much capacity to be tyrannical, to inflict disastrous consequences on us, as any government does, so long as it’s not checked and balanced my other forces.

Necessity can be an idle claim for the need of some change, or it can be the substantive reason that this need is no longer ignored. We ought to look at that argument, weight its merits, rather than dismiss it out of politically closedmindedness.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 28, 2009 1:56 PM
Comment #285256

Lets start fresh here. Sorry for the jabs.. I re-read my comments and they sounded a little too sarcastic. Wasn’t really my intent. I’ll try to break up my running paragraphs ( LOL )

Perhaps we have a small misunderstanding. First off, I’m no longer a republican. A long story. I’m certainly not what you would call a ” liberal” either. Both parties have let us all down and not accomplished what they claim to want to. I’m a true, old school conservative. My argument was not republican vs. democrat ideas. I was simply pointing to what I felt was your insistance that democrats have taken up the cause and have proposed the only real solutions to our problem in this area. ( Did I misunderstand ? ) Because my argument was that you could point to a number of flaws they too have committed, which have not created any meaningful change, and in some cases, have made the problem evern worse.

That said, here go’s. Yes I’m aware of the HMO thing by the Nixon admin. But it did not have a major impact on the overall causing or fixing of problems in the healthcare industry. Dont forget, his bigger NHI initiative ( which was too much ) was out-right rejected by the democrats in congress, as well as the fights against it by big labor unions. Though its ironic how these groups have now changed their position.

My argument for letting the free market sort through most of these issues is not based on the premis you eluded to. ( The whole horse and buggy days thing.) Ofcourse I realize that we live in a different world. Ofcourse I realize things change with the times. Just not the principal. The federal government does not have the right to create or administer these types of industry or the basic function thereof. Thats not my opinion, thats a fact. The current administration and congressional leadership ( if you can call it that ) has already written legislation to do just that. I’ve taken the time to read some of the verbage in the bill. I dont like it. Its not the duty of government to expand itself in such a role and not going to help. My argument against too much government intervention is somewhat bolstered by the fact that the Johnson administration sponsored the government ” feed backed expansion” for high cost medicine. As well as the problems with the formation of medicare and medicaid, in terms of how these things would work collectively with private healthcare.

My point here is that with the requirements of pooled care coverage & caps on fee based re-payments, over the years, have given us more complexity and chance for manipulation of the system by insurers and practitioners. Hence my argument against the mandates and requirements of government in this industry. Not that private companies or providers are innocent. They too have manipulated the system. I clearly will agree on that point. But its the system that government mandates and requirements have given us. They are just playing ball in the system.

I also disagree that pooled care coverage is necessary. Its not. Not by a long shot. But thats an even longer part of the agrument.

Look at it this way stehpen. Not only is the mistakes by government a big part of why the system costs so much, so is the fact that too many of us are to blame for our own healthcare problems. I poured over some studies commissioned by the ( w.h.o / a.m.a / & dartmouth healthcare commission ) The reports are eerily similar. In it, stated that most healthcare providers practice defensive medicine. That is to say that they are too agressive in exploring and treating cases what a more conservative approach would be better. The reason is that people are not as likely to dr. shop and sue their dr. because of the medical mal-practice problems. Even though medical mal-pracitce suits are only a small part of the problem, in terms of cost for pay outs. The mal-practice insurance has become too expensive and has dr.’s running scared.

There is much more information on how the healthcare industry has been spending hundred of millions a year too much on un-necessary things, in order to protect themselves. Which brings me to my other point. That we too play a role in this problem. And encouragment by the government for lack of tort reform, lack of allowance by private practice to adopt consistant standars, ( due to gv’t repayment requirements ) and so on.

Oh…. Sorry… I have to go. ( Believe me or not, but I have a DR.’s appointment at 9:15 my time ) So, I have to shove off. We can pick this up some more if you want.

Posted by: Ron at July 29, 2009 11:42 AM
Comment #285264

Ron, from my perspective some things are pretty evident. An incestuous relationship has developed between elected officials and corporations that have effectively put a stranglehold on the Republic, our Constitutional rights and sovereignty. This situation has evolved over a couple of hundred years and is now big time serious. Compounding this problem is the fact that we have too much democracy. Too many people voting along lines that will increase their dependency upon government. Now we have the US President giving us a 4500 dollar rebate if we buy a more energy efficient car. I’m not advocating for a return to the horse and buggy days or to the times of our Founder’s. I am advocating for adherence to the Constitution where possible and use the Constitution as the guiding principles for navigating in a more complex and sophisticated world.
That said, wasn’t to long ago that the government busted up a plan by google and yahoo to team on a search engine for the Internet by using anti-trust law. What does that say about Leman Brother’s or AIG? Says to me that the Corpocracy makes winners and losers as they see fit. I would assume that if this weren’t so then government would have busted up Leman, AIG, Tyco Intl, and others. Others being huge Pharms, HMO’s, medical institutes and insurance consortiums. This could be done based on profit figures, by country region, by number of customers being served, etc. They could have reduced the cost of drugs by permitting citizens to procure drugs from foreign entities. They could reduce the number of foreign students taking up classroom positions or they could have added more instructors and classrooms. The more you have of something the less its going to cost. Supply and demand, etc. What we have experienced is just the opposite. The Corpocracy has worked to limit supply, thereby driving prices up. At the same time this Corpocracy has worked to sabotage worker wages making it harder for them to afford the ever increasing cost of healthcare.
From that environment why should we expect reform that would significantly improve the lot of the citizenry? I expect any change in healthcare will be minor. Insurance will cover your hospital stay for 3 hours longer or the cost of an aspirin might be changed, etc. IMO this reform action was brought about to cover the illegal population to try and prevent them from returning to their home country during this recession. And, if the Corpocracy can grant them citizenship that will be millions more that can vote for government handouts.
Let’s assume that government reform has been achieved to take the influence of money out of politics. Assume we have busted up the big corps allowing for competition and local manufacturing to exist. Today we crank out more engineers and scientists than we have jobs for. Let’s double the number of seats available in medical training. Nurses, Doctors, Physicians Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, etc. The illegal population would be returned to their home countries. Then we could set about to deliver a real healthcare package to the people. This could be done through such works as; doing away with generic vs brand name, allow citizens to procure drugs overseas, establish regional not-for-profits to administer insurance and access to healthcare. Every medical provider, however small, would have a national computer database with your medical bio and payment history/status. There you could buy a healthcare package for several levels of healthcare. You could pay cash or CC for immediate care. If you couldn’t pay you would be treated immediately and a payment schedule set up for you.
You could be treated at any regional office across the country. Regionals serve the purpose of providing healthcare for an area based on population, level of treatment centers and diagnostic equipment available.
In a nutshell, create competition to lower the price for healthcare. Work to restore manufacturing and create jobs that pay a living wage, organize not-for-profits to handle insurance and share in supporting a national database for medical records-history/insurance.
In doing so we are providing good healthcare for the population, abiding by the Constitution in keeping government out of the healthcare business.
But, first we must reform government.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 29, 2009 3:57 PM
Comment #285283

In theory, you and I basically agree. One of my points to stehpen was that I was more independant than republican or democrat these days. Thats why I agree with some of the things you guys have said. However, I still maintain my true conservative roots to a degree. And that said, I still look at these issues through those glasses, so to speak.

I agree in terms of some of the corporate greed connected with polititians. We’re not far apart on that point of view. I do however, have a little different take on the level of the problem and what to do about it. You see, I still maintain that our free market capitalism works better than any system ever devised, despite its inherent downfalls. I.E.. the notion that it creates haves and have nots. Which, to me, is not really a major concern. Why? No system is perfect. We could spend hours and hours picking apart any number of problems created by any number of systems. But ours still works the best. In my opinion anyway.

Before addressing some specifics, let me say this. I too want free and unfettered access to all that this country has to offer. I do believe its governments duty to percipitae and create an atmoshpere where I can do so. I dont agree that the government has a duty to decide exactly what those offerings are. Healthcare for example is not a right. Access to the private healthcare system that we have created is what should be the concern of gov’t. And to that end, I dont have a problem with some government guidlines, etc.. But I think we all know that they’ve gone way past that at this point.

Your ideas dont seem too bad on the surface. But I do disagree on a few specific points. In terms of the whole corpocracy thing, I would agree to a point. But not entirely. Corporate actions follow government and other stimulating factors, which in turn drives what they do. For example, Bill Clinton and a few wayward republicans fought hard to repeal the Glass-Steagle Act of the 30’s. Why? The Feds argued that people were not getting what the gov’t decided was enough quality financial product. In short, the burst we now feel in the financial industry is a direct result of gov’t deciding who should get what and what should qualify them to get it. Some of the very companies affected, rallied against this at the time. There were hearings in congress about this and they were warned of the problems that we would face if the fire-wall between types of financial products sold, purchased, and invested in, by the same companies maintaining these holdings, was destroyed. Government played a major role here, not the corpocracy. There are other examples as well. But I’ll move along.

The next point is on the “not for profit institutes.” I’ve sat on boards for non-profits before. I try my best to be charitable and give back, in time and effort, as well as my money. I also know for a fact, that the term Non Profit, is misleading. Non Profits do make a profit. Just not the way most people think. The money simply shifts from profit to overhead burden. Non Profits are exploited all the time in the overhead category. Everything becomes “Expense.” The difference between them and normal corporations is that income ( - ) expense is profit, and the banks are happy, in a normal corporate world. Versus income ( - ) everything is an overhead expense, and no profit, and the public is happy, with non profits. So the notion that healthcare cost can be helped downward by this is nice, but I can promise you that wont stave off exess cost.

You also stated that we should double Nurses, DR’S, PA’S, and so on. We need more competition and so on. How do we do that without government mandate? If the current leadership gets their way, more mandates and requirements will push private, free market, companies to slow their growth. And if the gov’t ever gets price control on these things, then no-one will want to get into the fields. I believe that you stated that the corpocracy is driving down wages etc.. Did I get that right? If so, I disagree. The free market dictates what people can be paid, by what consumers are willing to pay. And the fact that corporations are not giving away all their profit to bolster pay raises doesnt make them bad. You see, everyone wants to make this great living wage to get ahead. Yet so many of these same people are un-willing to go take a risk and create their own company and make what they want. Others did, thats why you have private companies. Someone saw opportunity and did something about it. There is your competition. You may say, well people dont have the money, or their scared to take that risk. Why? Others did. What makes them less than capable of doing the same? Its self doubt and fear. These people are destined to be the worker and not the boss. So they have chosen to make what they make. I dont feel at all bad for these people. If they want to make the competition that drives down cost and come up with free market choices and solutions, then they need to speak up and do it. Otherwise they just sit and dont contribute to the solutions to the problems. I mean Roy, I came up hard. I went to work early on. Went into the service during Desert Storm and later got out. Got myself to work and decided to become more than what I was. So I figured out how to work hard and do it. And it was painful. Hey, I’ve maid minimum wage. I’ve worked my way up. I had to take a full time job and for a while a part time job on top of the full time, just to make ends meet. Including paying for healthcare. But I did it. Finally a few years ago, it happened. Now I run the company and decide how the cow ate the cabbage. That has taught me a lot about myself.

You see, I dont disagree with the notion that we need some corporate reforms where blatently applicable. And we all know by now that I would love to see government reform. But I dont see big companies as the same enemy as perhaps you might. I dont see them drowning out competition and so on, at the level that a lot of folks have bought into. Even THEY dont have that much power over individual dreams and liberties. We the people in a free socioty have choices. Which ones we make depends on our own mind, talent, and ability. Some go far and others do not. I dont begrudge that at all.

Posted by: RON at July 29, 2009 9:28 PM
Comment #285298

Good response Ron. There’s not a dimes worth of difference between us. We are each a product of our experiences and thus, tend to come at things differently. I meant to convey that the Corpocracy has strangled competition. I think that’s pretty well accepted by all these days. My position was developed primarily by the few books I’ve read on the subject and from what I’ve observed over the last 40 years or so. It’s clear that during the Regan era anti-trust law was put in the closet and free trade was put on the front burnere. It was time to toss the weak companies and merge the strong ones. The seven sisters of big oil busted up in the early 1900’s have morphed into the seven sisters again. Tyco International had over 600 companies under its umbrella several years ago and assume that hasn’t changed. Then there’s AIG with so many insurance companies. Companies were built up to conglomerate level to compete in the world markets under free trade. And what a misnomer that is. Just one example. If we truly have a globalized economy and free trade why can’t I procure drugs from overseas? Any answer you give me will come back to government intervention. You seem to put more weight on government intervention in the free market as opposed to Corporations acting badly, price fixing and that sort of thing. My knowledge base tells me that government intervention is done mostly at the hand of the Corporation. I can’t pick up the phone and schedule a half an hour meeting with Senator so and so. But Bill Gates can. IF you look at the personal wealth of those in the legislator you find that the more senior and high position folks most often show more wealth. Speculation on my part as to how they achieved that wealth. For sure there are, at a minimum, 20 lobbyist for each legislator. None, I believe represent individuals. All, I believe, represent Corporations, Institutions, Financials and the like. They want something from government and are willing to pay for it. They want government to act on their behalf to improve their lot in life. Most of the legislators come from Corporations and will at some point return to Corporations. Let’s just use Phil Gramm from Texas. He slipped an amendment bill into a super-duper defense bill, which nobody read, called the Commodoties Futures Modernization Act which led to ENRON and the oil speculation with hedge funds leveraging at 90 to 1 and such crap. He did take a little heat so he bailed for a cushy job with UBS who is now in a lawsuit with US for harboring tax evaders.
I’m not saying all the players are bad. I am saying that enough of them are bad to cause serious damage to our Republic, our sovereignty and the democratic principles we have lived by. I am saying that if something is not done to restore the Republic, the Constitution and our sovereignty we will soon be like so much flotsam on the high seas. It is ludicrous to think, believe, pray that the Corpocracy will give up their ill gotten gains based on public opinion. It will be a real and prolonged fight. Only way I see achieving reform of government is through a new third party with a different political attitude. A Party that puts forth a reform agenda, void of social issues like healthcare. A Party that can put accountability into the political equation. by having their membership serve an oversight function for elected and appointed officials who belong to their Party.
IMO Joel is not so far off with his title ‘Government Gone Mad’. With little or not public debate, often in secrecy, we have been given the NAU, NAFTA, WTO, IMF, Cap and Trade and the like. Legislation is being crammed through the system with few ever reading the contents of the bills. At this time HR1250 is making its way through the process. This is a continuing attempt by corporations, international conglomerates and the like to weaken our patent law. They use the ruse of ‘harmonizing’ US patent law with the rest of the world. What they want is access to patents rights held by US individuals. US patent law has protected the small inventor which encourages innovations and ingenuity by individuals. Japan seldom invents anything because their patent law protects the corporation and not the individual. So, the lobbyists are at work and the corporations are looking to improve their lot in life.
IMO, it’s now or never to set about to try and change things.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 30, 2009 10:10 AM
Comment #285307

Good food for thought Roy,
You’re right. There is really little difference between us. And in considering your comments, I guess I must admit, deep down, that I agree with more of what you say, than I elude to. I do believe in corporate america. I am corporate america. But in truth, you’re right about the big corporate money. I mean,… Bill Gates could certainly get a meeting with senator so and so, any time he damn well pleases. If little old “small corporate Ron.” places the same phone call, they’ll tell me to go pound sand. So to that end, I must agree. And I certainly do believe that big money has screwed up the political system. I have been telling those who know me well, that we need to have serious restrictions on corporate money in elections. I also do not feel that a polititan should be on any committee, providing oversight, in any industry, where they have recieved campaign contributions. I’ve been feeling like that for years. Though my republican friends say that I’m not a true conservative to believe that. Its the whole limit of free speech thing. But I dont believe it limits free speech. It puts it into a right frame of content. I mean, we have free speech, but cant simply say things out of hand, if it causes damage or harm to another person. There are laws against that. So why not laws restricting big money in government, which would help keep you and I from harm or damage ? Believing that is your point, yes, I’d agree.

Perhaps I just dont know enough about big coprporate structure to address specific things with intelligence. I just know that I love my country, served it well, and in time of war, work hard every day, pay my taxes, and do my best to give back. What else can I do ? I pay decent wages, offer full medical expense compensation for my employees, though they pay for their dependants. And that includes me too. I give gift cards and thank you cards from time to time to show my appreciation, and I dont spend much to pay for political points or lobby for things in my industry. Maybe its true that more companies do those things than I know of. Food for thought I guess.

Like many of you, I just dont want the big governmet we’re being saddled with to continue to grow. I’m tired of being saddled with more and more regulation and restriction on my freedom to do well and make a good living. I get tired of people like Joe Biden telling me to be a patriot and pay more taxes. Tired of being told that I need to be more generous and compassionate when I feel that I am. Especially when, ( if public tax info is accurate ) I give way more to charity each year than both of them combined. And, I’m no millionare. This type of attitude in my opinion is dangerous for government to take. Because a government big enough to give us all that we want, is big enough to take all that we have. That old saying is true. Thats what scares me. I do believe the government has gone mad.

Posted by: Ron at July 30, 2009 1:07 PM
Comment #285318

We are on the same ether wave Ron. By manipulating GM the government can, in effect, manipulate the entire auto industry around the world. Obama said, on 2 July, that he wants a civilian national defense force funded as well as the military. Is this just a way to make the population more dependent on government? Is this just a way of creating more government jobs? Glen Beck has called Obama a racist and Lou Dobbs is all the buzz asking about obama’s birth certificate. Let’s see if free speech and talk radio takes a hit withing a year or so.
So much to bitch about, so little time (before 2010).
So, Ron, IMO in order to restore our republic, our sovereignty and the democratic principles we live by I’m advocating for the following:
Establish a 3rd party to serve as the fourth branch of government. Elected and appointed officials that are members of this party can be rejected from the party if they fail to support the Party’s agenda. They would continue to serrve out their term in office but have no party support for future political endeavors. When strong enough the Party’s agenda would be carried out and reform of government would be achieved. First to go would be ‘Corporate Personhood’ and ‘money is free speech’. Next, route all campaign donations from the individual through the IRS for accounting/legality. Now the audit trail is broken and the IRS will then direct those funds to a reorganized FEC who in turn will distribute funds to the top four or five viable parties based on the number of viable candidates running during that election cycle. Now that you have removed the influence of money from politics and established a clean election process you can begin reform in other areas.
A few examples:
Implement a flat tax, 17% based on earned income. The 1040 is on one side and instructions are on the back, that’s it. No deductions, no perks for having kids, etc. No corporate or business tax. All tax paid to the government is based solely on earned income by the individual. That’s fair nad thatt keeps government from making winners and losers and manipulating the population through the tax code.
Bust up the pecking order in the legislative branches to ensure that a junior legislator has as much clout, one vote, as does the seniors and well positioned legislators. Right now a bill doesn’t come to the table unless the Corpocracy says it can come to the table.
Place the Federal Reserve under the Treasury Dept and managed by a senior civil servant.
Use senior civil servants to serve as agency heads in the Executive Branch. They serve at the Presidents pleasure and can be replaced by the President. No vetting or approval by congress required here. No hot and cold appointees or czars running around the WH.
Those are the areas where reform is most needed but, by all means, not the end of reform. Let’s cut the cost for political parties to the bone by having a six month election cycle, same day primaries, mandate free air time for viable candidates of the top four or five parties, and operate parties with volunteers for the most part. Also, make election day a national holiday, mandate that everyone votes, allow felons who have served their sentence to vote. etc.
All things that the Corpocracy will never let happen.
Such a Party would make use of the Internet to communicate and debate about pending legislation, party agenda, who is performing and who is not, etc. If a legislator wants to shun the public, bring up bills that work against the Party’s agenda, vote on bills they haven’t read, rob a McDonalds at gunpoint or get frisky with the interns then they should expect to get voted out of the Party toute suite or pdq.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 30, 2009 3:04 PM
Comment #285354

Wow !!
This is exactly the type of tyraid that makes people like me, not want to blog. Just hateful rants and accusations with NO base in truth. All you do is show your lack of intelligence and knowledge by ranting and raving about stuff. You dont make an informed argument for your point of view. You simply accuse people of things and spit out liberal, far left, talking points. Thats all you’ve done. Bush this… Bush that… Big oil, big construction, big greedy business owners. You sound angry and bitter. Thats it. Nothing more. You got cheated once or twice so now you hate the whole thing. And you want Barack Obama to save the day. Come to your aid, level the playing field, and give you what you could not otherwise get for yourself. Is that really your belief ? Is that really the country you want to live in ? Give me a break !

Here go’s smart guy. As I’ve maintained, I agree that we need to get big conglomerate money out of politics. Well, restric it I should say. It has its place. But not like it currently is. I also agree that there are some bad actors out there as well. They should be punished for any mis-deeds or corruption. But the government is also corrupt. And the government through its tentecles encourages that corruption. The government invites and fosters this behavior. It also worsens the problem with its policy making prowess, which creates circumstances where the only way to make a buck is to play ball. It also does so by policies which fly in the face of honest business. Thereby turning people who want to make a living, ( and God forbid a profit ) to find ways to userp the system. The government also, even without private backing, wants to determine winners and loosers. Thats what I have a problem with. We need good reform on both sides of the issue. Not just more government intervention by Obama and his corrupt little minions.

Look at whats going on with your precious Obama now. The stimulus bill was filled with pork. Pet projects for both parties. We were told that the stimulus would be strong enough to cap unemployment at roughly 8%. Well… unemployment will top out at more than that. Biden claims ( on tape ) that they may need another stimulus because they mis-read the economy to begin with. Are you kidding me ? And by the way, most of the stimulating money in that bill would not drift its way into the market place for a couple of years. Boy, thats good leadership. Obama says he has no interest in running GM. Really ? Because thats exactly what the feds are doing. If you read the bail out package you’ll find that there are strings attached to that money. Big time. So whos manipulating the industry now ? I mean, I could go on, but really, whats the point ? You get the idea.

I just dont see the coprporate world as this big, evil, beast, that needs to be beaten back, by big liberal government. I also know for a fact that there are big congomerates who are dishonest and screw people. I also believe that they do buy polititians and get favors in return for doing so. And I want to see some kind of change in that. I dont know exactly what that should look like, but it needs to happen. And my point is that there are as many factual examples of liberal democrat polititians who are on the take as republican ones. If need be, we can go round and round with facts and figures on who those people are. I’ve had that discussion before. And we can get that one on, if you like. But that isnt really my interest here.

As to your accusations of who I am. All I can say is it must be tough being you. What, with all that anger and so on. Hey bobby, the economy sucks. So do my sales right now. And do you know what is keeping me in business ? Thats right ! Money I saved from making a profit. GeeeWizz… Imagine that. Along with cutting my pay in half. Laying off 40% of my normal work force, and one of my office girls. Things I had to do to survive. It cost me close to 200,000.00 more to operate last year, than I took in. Where do you think that money came from. The stimulus fairy ? ME buddy… Thats who. And I’m set to do about the same this year. Not looking good for me, but I’ll manage. You know why ? My savings, my retirement, my saved profits, etc.. are gonna keep me in business, until I can make some more money to replenish the well. Do you follow me ? And guess what ? The employees I have left did not loose their healthcare plan, did not take a pay cut like I did, and I still give them their thank you’s and gift certificates, etc.. to show my thanks for a job well done. So stop lecturing me on how evil I am, just because I own a private, small, corporation. Thats ridiculous.

And by the way bobby, the reason I dont strip myself of the bottom line, and give away the farm to my workers, is real simple. I’m the one assuming all the risk. I’m the one who leveraged his house and raided his savings to get going, and keep the ship afloat. Do you think my employees would go deplete their savings, raid the piggy bank, leverage their house, and come up with the cash to pay the loss, and stop the financial bleeding, when we dont make money ? NO FRIGGIN WAY ! So thats why I reap the benefits of my investment. They earn a decent living and get a few perks. Thats the way it works. If they dont want to settle for that, then I understand. They can jump in and test the water themselves. I dont mind compettion. I deal with it daily.

P.S.. I was proud to serve my country. War time and all. I’d still lay down my life to defend its honor, and all the people who reside here. Yes Bobby… Even you.

Posted by: Ron at July 30, 2009 9:07 PM
Comment #285362

Respect is the keyword on a political blog. Does no good to just piss people off or turn them off to a point where they stop blogging. It’s clear the whole country is divided a thousand ways and getting worse as the economy worsens. The best way out of this situation IMO is to discuss the pros and cons and work for a consensus. The worst thing that could happen IMO is that we can’t find a concensus and the Corpocracy takes us over the cliff. And, they will, just like they did in the depression. Just like the Corpocracy said nothing or did anything about this recession until about six months into it. There ain’t no controlling it once it gets started. Seems we would want to be smart enough to save ourselves least we end up in the streets someday. The far left and far right have ceded the middle ground. Why not take the middle ground and run with it? I believe thats where we will find concensus. Capitalism is a good thing, has made this country into a great nation. Nobody wants to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. We desperatly need to tamp ddown the corruption and clean up government least we become like some third world country or worse. We should understand that the Corpocracy doesn’t care. The Corpocracy is worldly, international. Governments are seen as impediments to doing business, just in the way, INO.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 30, 2009 10:45 PM
Comment #285363

The Corpocracy will go to Africa every few years, pass out condoms for the masses and dump some money on the tin horn dictators in exchange for mining their tantalum, etc. The EU has paid off the tin horn dictators for fishing rights and between the EU, Russians, and Japanese, every minnow along the African coast has been caught at least once! That’s your Corpocracy at work.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 30, 2009 10:58 PM
Comment #285385

Too much democracy and social engineering. The Corpocracy has already spent their 1st billion on giving folks rebates to purchase new vehicles. Now they are going to the well, taxpayers, for 2 more billion to extend the program. I guess that will encourage lots of folks vote for the dems in 2010.
And, the House is going forward with $6.9 billion in spending for warfare systems the military doesn’t want.
Wouldn’t it be more wise to expend those monies on something like setting up hydrogen fueling insfrastructure around the country or on battery technology or some form of alternative energy. Even the moon/mars NASA projects would be a better recipient.

Otherwise, we have the orpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 31, 2009 1:59 PM
Comment #285388

Sorry, Roy, but your statement is wrong in using the word ‘More” referring to tax payer dollars. The bill is reallocating 2 billion dollars already allocated elsewhere. No new deficit or debt or tax increases to fund the extension of the cash for clunkers program, which is actually a pretty smart program for the economy, the environment, and consumers with clunkers. It’s only downside is that it is advancing future economic activity that won’t be there later as a result. But, it may prove to be the case that the economy needed the boost more today, than in will next year, or the year after - IF health care reform is passed. If health care reform doesn’t pass, then the economy is screwed in any case.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 31, 2009 2:13 PM
Comment #285389

David, some very good posts by ‘Ron’ have disappeared from this thread. What’s that all about?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at July 31, 2009 2:14 PM
Comment #285418

Fret not my friends, I’m here. Just had a busy schedule with clients and chasing long overdue invoices owed to me.

I see some good thoughts but dont agree all the way. For starters, I go back to the principal of my belief against the government tweaking things. We talk about the corpacracy, but what are we really saying ? I mean we all know that there is manipulation by private industry in goverment. Anyone who says otherwise is not paying attention. But I still maintain that the government too manipulates and makes winners vs. loosers, all by itself.

The cash for clunkers seems almost like a good idea on the surface. But, what is it really doing ? By independant study, only 50,000 more people will trade in and use the program than would trade in on their own, without government help, in the same time period. So the Billion dollars slated for this time period would end up costing the tax payer 20,000 for each additional transaction. The cost / benefit analysis doesnt add up in my book. The whole environment thing can be argued, but it depends on which side of that argument you land. I mean, there is a group, ( the name escapes me ) of environmentalists who claim the program doesnt even go far enough. Others claim that the impact will be little, and if people want to save the planet, they’ll do it anyway. So whats the point of forcing the issue by the feds ? Other groups maintain that no-one wants these “go green cars” or to give up their s.u.v’s, no matter how old, and that this is just another attempt by big government to manipulate the system. I believe that a little of both sides is probably true. But I oppose the feds tweaking the system. This is just one more area IMO that the government needs to take a break from. If they really wanted equality by virtue of the program, then why not expand the system to cover big and small business fleet vehicles. And why stop there ? Why not give people who cant afford a new car, even with the current rebate program, enough to buy a new car, and get rid of the old beater they’re driving ? I mean why even cap the dollar amount of the program ? Now I know you may say, … but.. you’re being extreme. Am I ? I mean what are we really talking about ? The point of the initial article is that government has gone mad. And it has. Its lost its friggin mind. Its gone wild and out of control. Even more that the corpocracy IMO.

On the issue of energy. I’m sort of with Roy on that. Why are we spending so much money on programs that agencies and industries dont even want ? Moreover, why are we spending so much money on welfare and other social programs that have been pilfered and plundered by polititians, when fixing these programs is not as hard as they tell us it is ? Its about perspective and spending control. Why not stop the allowance of these programs to be plundered by the shoving of them, into the general fund, ( which they were’nt to start with ) and to be used for other things ? I hate that the polititians have shoved these items into the general budget and plundered the necessary money to make them survive, and then tell us that we need more money, because they’re bankrupt. Its a total scam by elected official. We cant blame the corpocracy for that one. Sorry, got off track. My point was that I agree with the need to invest tax dollars into more productive things. Like more oil and gas exploration. Like hydrogen technology. Like nuclear energy, and so on. I’m for all those solutions. Especially hydro plant energy and nuclear energy. Its a documented fact that more people have died from carbon based energy and the exploration thereof, than have ever died from hydro or nuclear energy. I’m mostly for finding more earth friendly solutions, but I dont object to some short term oil and gas production here in this country. I mean we really do need to get off the foriegn energy thing. How it should all come about is still up for us to throw out ideas. But it does need to be done.

I also think like Roy in the tax area. It starts with government being held to account for living on what the people want to pay. Not people pay for what the government wants to live on. I hate the manipulation by the government of the tax code. It plays a major role in deciding winners, loosers, and in betweens. I dont know that a flat tax system is the best way though. If you study the raw data, it does sort of hurt the least earning amoung us. Perhaps a national consumption tax or something. I dont really know. There are good argument for both. We may still need some form a progressive system, but it needs to be much simpler, more of an equal share for all of us. No more claims, deductions, this guy gets this, but this guy only gets that. The current system sucks. Thats what I know.

Last thought today. Even though I’m not totally crazy about the guy, I love this point. Newt Gingrigh was on a …. radio show.. or t.v. show.. of something. I heard an exerpt that I like. ” If a peice of legislation is too complex to understand, then its probably too complex to work.” Like the guy or not, I totally believe it. I mean think about it. Look at our tax system and social programs. They’ve become so stinking complex to understand and follow, that now they’ve become increasingly too difficult to manage. We need change ! And fast. And in my opinion, neither party, especially the dems at this point, are going to deliver a real constitutional and strait forward form of government.

Posted by: Ron at July 31, 2009 9:00 PM
Comment #285428

Hey Roy,
You’re right. Where are my posts ? Hmmmm…..
I wonder if that other guy who attacked me made the watch commanders delete our comments ? But I didnt think mine were too bad in response to him. Do you think thats it ?

Posted by: Ron at July 31, 2009 10:57 PM
Comment #285457

Yeah, looks like Remer pulled your posts along with the posts of the fellow who attacked you. No response from David as to my inquiry. Also, there was a brief post by ‘banned’ that disappeared.
Otherwise, I was in agreement with your thoughts as best I can recall. I see too much government in our lives. We need to get back to our Republic roots, get the government out of the business of business. But, we have evolved to a point where that is impossible, I do believe. The numbers lead me to believe thats true. Both houses with such low approval ratings while incumbents are re-elected at something like 95=97% of the time. Folks seem equally divided and content with the status quo.
I think we really need major reform, as recommended by many of our forefathers and Founders. I would like to see several strong parties in the fray but third parties get little attention by the public. People realize that a third party may start off with great ideas but that within a couple of years the moneyed interest will have turned the new idealistic party into the party of the status quo that we have with the duopoly today. That’s why I’m advocating for a Party with a different political attitude. A Party with rules that are nigh impossible to change, similar to the US Constitution. Put forth a stricly reform agenda, void of social issues. Put accountability into the political equation by having the Party membership serve as oversight for elected/appointed officials. Be able, through their vote, to reject those officials from the Party if they fail to support the Party agenda, violate ethics law, etc. I think if people see this is a different kind of third party, one that can achieve reform of government and keep it that way, they will want to support and belong to such a Party. Time will tell. I, and a couple of supporters have been at it for little over a year now. Not getting much traction at this point but starting from nothing, you could say we’ve come a long way. The right and left have conceded the middle ground so I continue to believe we will find success one voter at a time.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 1, 2009 2:39 PM
Comment #285459

Good points. I did a little post yesterday, with some responses to David, but it too was pulled. Perhaps even before you saw it. But strangely, they left my comment of the pulling of my posts on the thread. Weird. I hope they’re not nit picking my opinion posts. I just responded to the guy who attacked me. Thats it. I havent been calling names and disrespectful. Have I ? At any rate. I agree with the whole government gone mad thing. And I pointed out to david yesterday, that the cash for clunkers is another area the government needs to back out of. I did a little cost / benefit analysis for him. The post was pulled & I dont have time right now to go over it all again. Gotta go in a minute. But I also agree with a third party. I often thought of starting one myself. I tired of the same old same old from the two we have in place. We the people have lost control of our employees. ( the polititians that is ) And its frustrating. Did you say you’re in a third party of some kind, or something ? Let me know about it.

Posted by: Ron at August 1, 2009 3:40 PM
Comment #285464

Ron, I don’t know what went on relative to removing some posts from this thread. Maybe David will enlighten us.
I feel the same way re government helping to buy folks new cars at the expense of those who aren’t. Suppose you just paid full price for a new vehicle a couple of weeks ago. I’ll bet those folks come in wanting a retroactive rebate from Jan 1st and I don’t doubt the gov would oblige. We just need to get government out of our lives as we are a Republic, we weren’t meant to be a Democracy.

Yes, the Party is Republic Sentry. Don’t know if it is populist, independent or what since nobody has put a label on us yet. Check it out at and, if you like, contact me via the site contact info. Be glad to field any questions.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 1, 2009 5:17 PM
Comment #285465

Ron’s posts were unpublished pending confirmation of a valid email address, according to WB’s rules.

The other person’s posts were removed for clear violations of WB’s rules.

Posted by: WatchBlog Manager at August 1, 2009 5:23 PM
Comment #285837

Fascism in America?

The more I observe what is going on in our country, the more I am reminded of what took place in Germany after World War I. The war had impoverished the nation and the situation was exacerbated by the harsh terms of the Versailles treaty imposed on Germany by the allies. Reparation payments made it extremely hard to repair the economy. A previously unknown leader named Adolph Hitler soon began to gain influence with the masses with his captivating oratory and promises to right the injustices that he blamed on the previous administration. Soon after being voted into the most powerful office in the land he began to take over the chief financial and industrial institutions insisting that it was necessary in order to avoid total chaos that was developing because of a world wide depression. The takeovers were often in violation of the law, but they were tolerated by most of the press and a vast majority of an adoring public. The justification was always the necessity of correcting things caused by someone else. Over time he began to put his chosen people in charge of key elements of the economic and political structure of the country. These people were not elected officials and answered only to Hitler. He began restructuring the democratic form of government into a socialist/fascist one. Everything was done with great haste, ostensibly to forestall the crisis that was always on the horizon. As each crisis was averted a new one was found to justify the continuation of his program. Does this sound familiar?

I don’t know if our nation is actually on the same path that Germany was on just prior to World War II, but there are enough parallels to make me extremely uneasy.

Our current president was a relative unknown with few qualifications and little experience when he came on the scene. He was an accomplished orator of good appearance and personal charm who became wildly popular with the masses by promising sweeping changes to correct perceived wrongs of the previous administration. His message was welcomed by people who were in panic mode because of fears of another great depression. By playing on these fears at a time when there was a great deal of turmoil in the financial community, he was able to make changes to the democratic form of the government that sometimes violated law with little opposition. He has begun creating governmental officers, popularly called Czars, to administer key elements of the financial, industrial and political institutions. These officers are presidential appointees rather than elected officials. The Czars do not answer to the people or to congress, but only to him. When criticized he ignores the criticism or blames his predecessor for the necessity of doing whatever he is criticized for, yet, despite the criticism he frequently levels at his predecessor, many of his policies are continuations of policies of his predecessor.

Not only are there disturbing similarities with fascism, but also with communism. In 1985, it was revealed by former member of the Soviet propaganda organization that the Soviets had instituted in the United States a program called “ideological subversion.” The program involved four stages. Stage 1 was called Demoralization and involved the dissolution of moral values so that principles of Marxist/Leninist theory could be more easily accepted by the American people. This process was expected to take at least 15 to 20 years since that was the length of time required to educate one generation. The process involved the placement of teachers who were sympathetic to the Marxist/Leninist cause into the American education system at all levels. Stage 2, the Destabilization phase, involved an effort to discredit the free market system and promote socialist principles; call into question the American foreign relations policies, especially in areas where the Soviets sought influence, and blame them for unrest and violence around the globe; de-emphasize the need for a strong defense system especially and military preparedness. Stage 3, the Crisis phase, involved the creation of a series of crisis situations for the nation and/or the world in which the socialist principles were to be seen as the only solution for averting disaster. No time was to be allowed for natural forces to correct the situation. Stage 4 was to be the Normalization phase in which socialism of all national institutions would be realized and a Soviet style government imposed. This four-stage program has been remarkably successful despite the imploding of the Soviet system in its birthplace – Russia.

Watch what is happening carefully, America. Do not let a great smile and glib tongue deceive you. Know your history and trust common sense. Look with suspicion upon anyone who tells you he can make the nation better by imposition of government control over our economic and production institutions. Beware anyone who promises you a better life by massive government spending.

We may soon be facing the greatest debt the nation has ever seen. You, as an individual, cannot prosper by spending more money than you earn and neither can the government. If either of you try it you will fail. In both cases you, the American citizen will be the one who suffers.

We are near the edge of a precipice so step carefully. Slavery may be at the bottom.

Posted by: Credo at August 7, 2009 3:50 PM
Comment #285847

Credo, one ENORMOUS flaw in your parallel.

Obama was pressured by the Left to nationalize the banks. He refused. That is an act of a president who believes in our mixed economy which has been extant for 80 years in this country: capitalism where the private sector can provide the nation’s needs, and social programs where the private sector cannot, or will not.

Your hyperbole fails also with the following comment: “Our current president was a relative unknown with few qualifications and little experience when he came on the scene.”

If a law degree, and experience as a Constitutional Law instructor, and experience as a community organizer and state Senator, is insufficient for you, you should not vote for such a person. But, the Constitution requires citizenship and over 35 years of age and a majority of the electoral college. Our current president meets the Constitutional standard and a whole lot more.

Nice try, no cigar.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 7, 2009 5:06 PM
Comment #286455

Hmmm…. Interesting posts…
I’m with Remer on the qualifications thing. The constitution doesn’t specify much to be President. But I’d say this. I dont look for a political pedegree when electing an official. I study the things that face us ( as best I can ) and look at the character of who wants to represent us. I look at their past, present, and overall ideology. If it lines up mostly with mine, then I pull the lever. If not, I don’t. Its a personal thing.

On the issue of the corelation between Germany & currently the U.S. I’d say Credo is closer to correct. The financial industry is not in theory nationalized, but they technically are. By being tax payer owned and the President of the U.S. having a ( Czar ) be in charge of who is compliant and also what pay and benefits they can recieve,.. I’d say its real close to nationalized. The president put up NO such fight against what has happened. I’m a true market believer. If these companies were bound to fail, then let them fall!! All of them. The corporate buzzerds would have swooped in and picked them clean. Thus forming new companies and reviving the market. Yes, that would be real painful & time taking. But better for us all in the end. No one bails out all the small businesses going down the tubes at high rates. If they aren’t strong enough to survive then let them go. But thats me. I believe the government has gone mad. I believe the Federal government has no business deciding on who’s company lives or dies. The same applies to healthcare as well. The lines between private and public sector have become way too blurry. And thats never a good thing.

Remember your history. Tyrrany, Statism, Socialism, & Communism are hallmarks of how MUCH of the world has operated for centuries. And look at how little progress those socioties have made politically & economically. I mean, in Europe, they had to ban together ( so to speak ) just to make their currency worth something. In many cases, people pay high taxes and get little in return. Too much government. So now, contrast that with the great experiment known as the United States Of America. We grew more in a couple hundred years than most of those countries did in several hundred or more. I fear that this new “pied piper” is gonna take us strait for the off ramp to the same type of garbage that hasnt worked in those places. Goverment is not the answer. Government is the problem. I believe that quote. I also believe the current administration is totally content to confiscate as much private control as possible. It furthers his far out socialist belief system. His past suggests that he is a complet Statist. But I will give him props on one thing. He hasnt really hidden it form us like some polititians have. Its been there all along. But Oprah, Hollywood, Jesse Jackson, and the like, all bought into style over substance. They were mesmorized by all the charming speeches and platitudes in which he spoke. He’s a complete collectivist. No two ways about it. And now, the government is completely out of control.

“Necessity is the plea for infringment upon human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants and the creed of slaves.”

Posted by: Ron at August 17, 2009 8:27 PM
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