Me as Republican Candidate: Part I

Born of evangelical, Republican parents, I was raised in Sterling Heights, Michigan. In 1995, I went to James Madison College, inside of Michigan State—Go Green. My major, Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy, made me more curious about American government. I voted for Dole in 1996 and W. Bush in 2000 (and for McCain in the primary). But I wasn’t a “party member,” even after having worked for Republican State Representative Caul my senior year. Since 1995, I have thought of myself as an independent who, if forced to run for office, would run as a Republican. In 2008 I voted for Obama. In 2012, I picked up my six-year-old daughter, gave her the pencil, and let her choose.

A political candidate makes two commitments: the first to the people, the second to the party. Strong candidates are congruent, or, said differently, a good candidate will have the same message for the people and the party, and go about implementing the platform in agreement with both the party and the people. For example, I favor economic gardening, and I think it should be expanded.  Have you heard of it?

I would affiliate with the Republicans because my message to the people will be most likely captured by the Republican Party. Basically, I believe in God, capitalism, and good governance. Economic gardening is good governance (see here, page 22). Capitalism, based on Locke’s meaning that people have a fundamental right to property, does solve many problems without government’s help. But capitalism isn’t going to maintain roads because roads are a public good. And no one believes that local governments should privatize the police force. Yes, we designate government to solve many collective action problems, especially the protection of our blessed country.

And we must also protect our children’s future. Real capitalism requires that everyone have a fair chance to develop and succeed. As a Republican, I will advocate more efficiency in education and higher education. On the one hand, no kid should be in a school that Average Joe would feel is dishonorable to his or her basic sense of justice. And we must rapidly reduce the chance that our brightest are not attending college due to financial costs. The people have been making great investments in higher education and workforce development. While I agree that Obama’s student loan program is an improvement, future investment into education should do more to link job growth skills needed with high schools certifications. Every student should have the information to become his or her potential every step of the way. This is a promise we make as a united people.

Teaching political science (2006-2013) allowed for countless conversations about politics. In general, Republicans see a moral hazard in governmental interference in capitalism. Rather a non-profit run a hospital or a school than the government. I certainly don’t think that healthcare should have for-profit institutions in its structure, but much lee-way should be provided for costs when it comes to the non-profit’s investments into research and development—even paying for promising kids to go to college. The government does have a role in creating new technology and educational endeavors, and successful endeavors should be released to either non-profits or for-profit industries at the earliest convenience.

As Americans, we expect that tomorrow will be better than today. This is because we believe in bettering our own place through freedom. The government has no right to infringe upon our responsibility to better ourselves, and therefore bettering our community. This is our goal. This is our responsibility. All people have a right to life, liberty, and property–to freedom and happiness. Today, I believe that our government should recognize Gay marriage, and that no government should disenfranchise felons after released from jail. In both cases, the government is labeling these groups as second-class citizens. No one in America should ever be a second-class citizen.

Good governance is difficult, but we are half-way there. For example, unemployment benefits really work, but people on unemployment should do community service (8 hours the first month, 20 hours each additional month). And if the recipient chooses not to complete the community service, then the government would reduce the payoff amount. The cost-benefit savings will be good. The unemployed will be doing a service for being paid, and this would be a good place to recruit people for workforce development. This would mean increasing the bureaucracy, even though the Court system already has a list of community service places. Perhaps in time a non-profit would do this work. As for now, this is an issue of good governance.

Yes. I believe in God, capitalism, and good governance.


154 thoughts on “Me as Republican Candidate: Part I

  1. It’s remarkable how you focus on education and health service. But, It isn’t very clear to me what exactly your position is on these points. Would you agree when I say that education and the health service are crucial in people’s life and the main source for social mobility and that therefore not only the most efficient, but also the effective (in the sense that everybody should have access to high quality education and health service) way should be taken. If the government can do it better, capitalistic freedom has to make way.

    I wish you good luck in the Republican Party!

    Greetings from a European socialist.

    • Hello Euro Socialist! “If the government can do it better” isn’t going to happen in America. So let’s make that clear. Most political scientists here believe that Hartz (1955) was on the right track–We have a liberal tradition which excludes socialists from our political system. Liberals believe in Capitalism and Democracy. So, education and healthcare will have to be decentralized, capitalistic, and accountable to the people…

      I certainly do agree with you that “education and the health service are crucial in people’s life and the main source for social mobility and that therefore not only the most efficient, but also the effective (in the sense that everybody should have access to high quality education and health service) way should be taken.” Absolutely.

      However, what solutions could work in America? I would advocate that healthcare and education be non-profits. We still have a lot of “for-profit” health insurance companies, which has created all sorts of moral hazards and negative externalities. Now, I’m not advocating non-governmental interference; because, the people in our democracy are able to regulate healthcare and education. Like, the government could even provide incentives for community college / university job development. But the government will never “run it” here. This comes back to the basic premise: if the government runs it and fails–then it’s all gone (kind of like the Soviet Union). But if a thousand different institutions are sovereign corporate entities (albeit non-profit), then when one or two of them fail–then the system still works–and more can be created according to real demand.

      For instance, Hartz said that Roosevelt’s “New Deal” actually fortified capitalism, and I would argue that the same is true about Obamacare.

    • I think history shows, at least American history, that most government programs fail to provide the service adequately and eventually go broke, unless the government keeps printing money, and then ultimately, everyone loses. Social Security and Obamacare depends on the young healthy workers supporting the old, disabled and retired persons. It is possible that one day there will be more people getting government assistance than workers contributing to it in the form of taxes. Some government intervention is necessary, but I believe it is unwise to put the government in charge of health care and education. Most governments tend to be corrupt.

      • It’s definitely a very difficult issue. When combined systems in which both the state and the private sector are involved we can claim opposite things. It failed because of too much state! Or, it failed because it isn’t completely organized by the state! And, I’m sure we can make arguments for both of them.

        Similarly, history isn’t that great in “showing” things. It depends on selection and interpretation of sources. I don’t want to push this into the ridiculous post-modernistic extreme, but I’m sure that we can all agree that every party can state “history shows us this and that.”

        I can say that Belgium has throughout history had the creation of three so-called “columns”: Catholic, liberal and socialist. Each had their party, union, women organization, book club, … name it and they had it. So that’s why until today there is still both in schools and hospitals the situation in which about 50% is Catholic and the others are from the state. I just want to explain this very briefly to you to be fair. Because, today those boundaries don’t mean anything. They are all fully funded by the state and they are all subjected to the same laws and rules from the state. So in this way, I can say that both education and the health system are fully controlled by the state in Belgium (if we ignore the 0.1% of exceptions). Now, when I look to the results on a website like, the US is far behind. In fact, a lot of the countries on top are countries with a huge focus on state schools.

        I wasn’t sure what category to take to measure the level of the health care, but life expectancy at birth seems fine. Belgium isn’t on top, but it’s still above the USA.

        Maybe it’s easier to organize things in a democratic way in a country with only 11 million people (btw, education is organized on the regional level, so it’s divided in 2, that means only 5.5 million people!).
        And maybe the current situations in the USA and Europe are the result of historical processes that make it nearly impossible for Europe to take the way of privatization and the USA the way of complete state control.
        But then again, politics is also thinking about the long run. To say it with a cliche, the future is the product of today. The past shouldn’t burden us too much. I still believe that in some parts of the society (education and health care) the state should step up. One system, well organized, efficient, effective and with as much room as possible for public debate.

      • nice normative ending! Also, you might want to think about taking a state like Massachusetts to compare to Belgium–not the USA, which is the size of Europe.

        The historical process is often a culmination of our “culture”–and culture matters. We could create rational and efficient national healthcare program, but since the program would clash with culture (i.e. strong state’s rights / states creates those types of laws), then the program is probably doomed to fail–unless it was unleashed in a serious time of crisis (like the disaster of WWII in Europe which helped socialists), and we should expect chaos to rise up to make the program fail… which is very bad. Like, if we had a national healthcare single payer system, we wouldn’t have a Republican Party. That wouldn’t be good for democracy.

        Of course, public opinion changes, like on Gay Rights…when the Republican Party will “come along”–like after the New Deal; even if they continue to give a lot of blow-back. So you never know, maybe one day we’ll have a single payer system, but I doubt it.

      • “Culture matters”, sure, but once it conflicts with vital issues I’m sure that “culture” will be flexibel enough to coop with changes. From a distance, and uniquely through liberal media (The Colbert Report and The Young Turks), I’ve followed the American news. To me it was really remarkable how the opinions could change so quickly about gay marriage. Yesterday people were still screaming “Why don’t you marry a duck?!” Today everybody seems to agree about gay marriage as an obvious right of the individual*. For my point, it doesn’t matter what the reasons were. All I want to say is that public opinion can change although views on sexuality are deeply rooted in “culture.”

        Now you made me curious. Because you’re saying that the European way is bad because there would be to much protest to make it work. This is a very pragmatic way of being against a European health care system. I was expecting a plea for capitalistic freedom! Freedom for the sake of freedom, not for the sake of good education and health care. Although the latter are often considered being positive outcomes, they aren’t the ideological ground. But in your case, it’s more a “freedom for the sake of good education and health care.” That’s interesting, because the discussion will become less ideological and more empirical.

        Ultimately both ideological and empirical discussions are important. But as long as the goals are different, we should stick to a discussion about the goals. Only when those are set, there is a possibility to go beyond into the empirical.

        *In a discussion with a Polish (conservative) friend, there was a gigantic clash between my focus on the right of the individual and his focus on the family. It’s not so much that he was scared that gay marriage will be negative for heterosexual marriage or that people will demand to marry ducks. It’s the idea to start from the right of the individual, which assumes the individual as the basis of society, which was unacceptable for him. Instead, the heterosexual families are the building blocks of society. It’s interesting how long we were simply talking next to each other, not understanding our fundamental different starting point.

        PS: I’ll reply on Derik later, there is just sooo much going on there! (spoiler: I disagree with pretty much everything)

      • Just as an aside, no major religions endorse gay marriage. Not Muslims, not Christians and not Jews. You may find some minority Christinity viewpoints that do, but the majority do not. Many states, including California, had a majority of voters decline to endorse gay marriage. As of today, gay marriage is not a constitutional right in that states may still prohibit gay marriage. The Supreme Court avoided that issue.

      • Belgium, until recent a very Catholic country, made gay marriage possible 10 years ago. Today I read in the newspaper that the Jesuit pope Franciscus is making an opening towards homosexuals (as a former student of a Jesuit University, I’m quite pleased about it). The Belgian cardinal Daneels applauds him in doing so.

        I’m sure you’re right about the facts. But as far as I’ve heard, there is a trend, a change. Even if gay marriage is still illegal and opposed by the majority of the Americans, it doesn’t necessarily prove that there isn’t a change going on. The minority might be growing. I know that I’m on thin ice here since I don’t have enough knowledge about it.

        I know Catholicism isn’t as dominant like here, but it’s a major religion on the global level nevertheless. Anyway, don’t worry, you Americans will catch up some day.

      • If you want to reduce corruption, increase mandatory transparency… The issue with making education or healthcare “private” is that there will likely be no (or limited) transparency. Private corporations are NOT accountable to the people; rather, to profit. Private healthcare or education might not necessarily lead to more corruption, but I’ll bet the bank that it will lead to extracting high rents (payment) from “the people” for the service. And when talking about healthcare or education, it’s vitally important to state whether or not people can be excluded. For the private sector would indeed exclude people who don’t pay. I think that, when we are talking about healthcare and education, exclusion at some point becomes unethical. My guess is that you rely heavily on this moral hazard: if the government provides the service, then you don’t have to do anything in return; thus the moral hazard of laziness and an all-around poor work ethic arises.

  2. Your last sentence is right-on. If the service is free or greatly subsidized by the government, there is the moral hazard of laziness and failing to contribute. I think it is human nature to take or receive but not to give. As an aside, corporations are accountable to people: their customers, their shareholders and their employees. Profit is not a “dirty” word. It encourages more investors to contribute to the corporation, it allows for hiring more employees, it allows for expansion, research and development of the corporation, and most importantly, it provides tax revenue to the government which often wastes money on silly things, like studying the mating habits of butterflies. When private companies compete, the service is better and less expensive because each company wants more customers and they will not get more customers if it is higher priced and the service is bad. If there is only one company providing the service, the government, then the service is diminished and the prices are artifically fixed as expensive. They have no competition to worry about! This is why we do not like monopolies……….I do not think it is wise to have the government or any company to have a monopoly on anything. Competion is the best way to provide excellent education and health care.

    • Corporations, at least the ones I’ve worked at, are not really accountable to the employees… they told me what to do and I did it as best as I could. Profit is not a dirty word, but it’s not a pure word either. If it was pure, you could go and worship it–which we call greed, or rapacious capitalism. And there are probably millions of Americans who indeed do just that…. And that’s exactly what will lead to inefficient education and healthcare for the least well-off citizens (i.e. let’s go with poorest 11 million Americans).

      For education, I like schools of choice and vouchers. However, when we talk about low quality schools districts, like Detroit, which private sector company is going to “get in there and invest billions?”

      See, for healthcare and education, you can’t let a generation of kids go through hell because no capitalist wanted to “invest” in them, because they saw no profit in it. Only “we the people” would do that; and not for profit, but because it is the right thing to do. In the American democracy, everyone should have an “equal opportunity” to achieve their dreams.

      • Corporations are accountable to employees. Try being an employer and then telling your employee who worked for you a week that he or she will not get a paycheck……….The corporation may lose money that week, but that is not the employee’s fault……the employer pays the employee first before the employer makes a dime. Real world stuff here.

        Economics dictate that if a company is making too much profit that other competitors will jump in and drive their profit down, not up. You like schools of choice and vouchers, because it provides for competition among schools, and to be competitive, the school has to offer a good education at a reasonable price. Charter schools in Detroit are growing, because public schools are failing to educate children. (Public schools are often more about the teachers and their unions than on educating children). What we need is competition in the marketplace. It works everytime.

        Everyone should have equal opportunity, however, individual results are never equal and never will be. Again, I do not want a monopoly running education and healthcare, even if that means a government monopoly. There is no competition, no need to improve, no need to lower prices, no need to even service your customers, because the consumer has no where else to go……………….

        I just don’t have that much faith in government. President Reagan said it best, “The most frightening words you can hear is ‘We are from the government and we are here to help.'”

  3. As for Gay Marriage, many American political scientists (Americanists) believe that the government should be value neutral. As America may be a liberal society, we understand this as “liberal neutrality.” This means that the government does not endorse religion–not any of the religions Derik mentioned, etc. So how is a state, which is neutral towards religion (i.e. 1st Amendment), going to be neutral to Gay Marriage–since the people are free? In short, the state should not ban Gay Marriage (which is what the Supreme Court recently said). The state cannot restrict or outlaw Gays from marrying.

    Personally, having Gay friends, I understand that it is discriminatory when a majority faction outlaws behavior against a minority by declaring their Gayness a choice that s/he can avoid. S/he can’t avoid being Gay, and the state has no role in outlawing it, unless authoritarian…

    Professionally, the rapid change in public attitudes towards Gay Marriage in America (READ: ) is real and in a democracy Gays should have Gay Marriage–because America is a democracy.

    • I agree that the government should be neutral towards religion in that it should not favor one religion over another, although there is historical evidence that the founding fathers embraced Christianity. Traditionally, marriage has been defined as between one man and one woman. I disagree with the concept that we are simply free to marry. Polygamy is illegal. Marrying a minor is illegal. A minor marrying a minor is illegal. No one is trying discriminate against gays or trying to outlaw their sexual preferences, as long as it is between consenting adults. My opinion is that marriage is between one man and one woman, period.

      • There is also historical evidence that the Founders were Deists–and that they did not “accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.”

        I understand and respect your opinion on Gay Marriage, but even though no one is trying to discriminate–they are discriminating. That’s what makes politics contentious. They are discriminating because, interestingly enough, of state rules and regulations–like being able to adopt, inherit, see your loved one at the hospital bed, “family” medical coverage, and on and on.

  4. Derik, seriously consider the poorest 11 million American KID’S healthcare and education. Do you honestly think that the private sector will ever fix that? Because when I’m thinking about it, I find that it’s not economically rational for the private sector to fix that….but it should be fixed, if those innocent KIDS are going to have an honest chance at social mobility. To be sure, America now provides less mobility (move from poor to rich or rich to poor, etc) than Canada and many other developed nations. That’s an empirical fact.

    Euro Socialist, I didn’t say that the Euro way is bad for Europeans, but it just won’t work in America. Euro-experimentation is not a universal theory or solution. It won’t work in lots of countries. You have to examine the culture of the people, and then build pragmatic solutions which the people will be able to endorse. You have the Euro-way because of the European culture. It works for you, no doubt. But not for US.

    Back to Derik, the moral hazard of laziness can be alleviated through social policy…like, if you accept unemployment or welfare, then you must complete job training or community service activity (indeed that should mean more non-profits instead of bigger government, even though the government would need to get a little bigger). And putting social security into a 401k would likely be very, very volatile for seniors at some point during their retirement. Like, at some point, grandma or grandpa would tell their kids and grand-kids that they are totally broke because the Dow just dropped 4000 points…and without social security they indeed have no income whatsoever. That’s a man-made disaster for many millions of seniors that I wouldn’t endorse.

    • The private sector donates millions of dollars to kid’s healthcare and education in charitable (and tax deductible) contributions. The private sector, including employees, contributes billions of dollars in taxes paid to fund public schools and healthcare for children, especially for single parents who get government assistance and pay no health care costs at all. I submit the private sector funds ALL government-run programs. The government, in and of itself, funds nothing. It collects money and spends it how it chooses. Finally, President Bush suggested putting at most 10% of social security deposits into the stock market. The idea was grossly distorted by candidate Gore who announced that Bush suggested putting all social security money into the stock market. Nevertheless, it is a moot point, because it didn’t happen. To me a bigger fear, is that the government is spending social security money on other things than on social security.

    • I’ll be happy to re-read all your and Deriks messages to write a serious reply. Unfortunately (or luckily) I’m at a 3 days party at the moment. More constructive stuff will follow. For now I’ll stick to crazy old school metal, extreme hardcore/terror and some wicked party music!

  5. It is the same in Europe and everywhere. Look at Greece. The government does not create wealth. It’s sole source of income is taxes, borrowing and printing money. And, in the US, we have borrowed now $17 trillion dollars. That does not sound like a lot, but it is. Someone calculated that if you stacked $1 bills on top of each other it would reach the moon, not once, but five times! Politics and philosophy is one thing, (well, two things) but economics is the driving force.We are headed for an economic tsuami unless we get spending under control. I just paid my property taxes, and now I need a drink…….. 🙂

  6. It’s certainly not the same everywhere. They are all different systems with different cultures. I would never compare Greece to the USA. So you disagree with Dick Cheney,”deficits don’t matter”? And what about Romney (2012), who more recently than W. Bush said that people under 45 should be able to opt out of social security and opt into 401ks?

    Philosiful, I think you are a little clearer on where I stand on healthcare and education. As I’ll be on vacation the next 10 days, let me just say that I would think that you would respond to, “the private sector funds ALL government-run programs” by adding “so that workers receive maximum benefits until we observe diminishing returns.”


  7. Deficits and Debt do matter. They are a drag on our economic recovery, which under our current President, has been terrible. One simply cannot continue to borrow and spend your way into real prosperity. The math simply does not work. Eventually, there is a time of reckoning, the debt becomes overwhelming, and like the city of Detroit, it must go bankrupt, leaving all those who invested in the city (banks, employees, bond holders, etc) with virtually nothing. A bubble grows of false prosperity and then bust…….with everyone blaming everyone else and no one accepting responsibility for their own actions. It’s a tough world and government should help, but sometimes I think we are creating a nanny state, “Why work when the government will pay my bills? I am entitled to everything for free, simply because I exist. Healthcare and education should be free to all and if medical people and teachers don’t get paid much then too bad, it is for the good of society.” Did you now that even major unions are disgusted with Obamacare and want out?

  8. I noticed that Derik didn’t really go into the points I made (including data) about education and health care in one of my previous posts. Also my post about gay marriage got only a silly response (putting the word “interesting” in front of the funny website doesn’t make it interesting) and a factual statement about how the USA is apparently still behind on Western Europe on this issue. So I’ll take those three points for me. 3 – 0, not a bad score if it would be European football (aka soccer) :D.

    I haven’t said anything yet about corruption. I’m sure we can all agree that corruption is bad, no discussion necessary. The questions are: (1) Is corruption today in a give country (eg USA or Belgium) so widespread that it influences our decision making about everything? (2) Can corruption be fought in the future in this given country? And (3), is widespread corruption an unavoidable problem in every state, not just the ‘given state’?
    Answers to these questions will be vital. I would go for: no, yes and no. And yet again, Belgium seems like a good example where there was some corruption in the past (but still not enough to influence every decision) and now it’s heavily reduced.

    I have far bigger problems with things that should be illegal, but aren’t. For example, the remission of huge fines from diamond and harbor companies in Antwerp. Or the fact that the 50 biggest companies in Belgium paid an average of 0,57% corporate taxes. These things aren’t corruption by law, but they hurt our society more than any plumber who does here and there something off the books or an unemployed mother that refuses a job because putting her children in day-care will cost here more than she can earn in that job (in fact, in my hometown, the rulling conservative party just started an active campaign against those leaches).

    The moral hazard of laziness. As a tax-payer, screwing your government equals screwing yourself. As an average employee, screwing your employer is a win-win situation, in the sense that you win some money AND you win the good feeling of screwing him over. But seriously, I do agree that humans tend to take much more than they give. The point of screwing your government equals screwing yourself is hard to hold in the living world. That’s why taxes can’t be up to the good-will of the individuals and benefits can’t go without any proof of a real fundamental need.

    I’m not convinced that private companies are ALWAYS cheaper and better, even when there isn’t a monopoly.
    – trains
    – marketing & trickery
    – push employees

    “The government, in and of itself, funds nothing. It collects money and spends it how it chooses.” My bakery just just collects my money and gives me bread. Ain’t no magic happening either! But seriously, of course the goverment is a redistributing entity. Just stating the fact doesn’t really do anything. All I can say is: Hooray! Although I wish they would do a better job… And btw, if it wasn’t for the privatization of the past 25 years, our goverment would still produce all our energy (which they did at a cheaper price). Until today the watersupply is in goverment hands.

    “I do not want a monopoly running education and healthcare, even if that means a government monopoly. There is no competition, no need to improve, no need to lower prices, no need to even service your customers, because the consumer has no where else to go……” We didn’t just start a huge education reform for fun in Belgium. Yes, the schools can’t attracked any more “costumers”. Yes, there isn’t any real competition. But the goverment isn’t looking for costumers. The goal is different. Not profit, but a society in which EVERY member is highly educated is considered to be important for democracy, the economy and ultimately it’s a good in it self.

    As a non-American, I never got the “The Constitution says…”-argument. Sure, it’s a nice and important document. But that doesn’t give the content much power as an argument.

    My disagreements with Derik are probably not solvable by pointing-out some facts. It’s a matter of core values and beliefs. Ultimately, I agree that a strong goverment needs a strong civil society and transparency. Our fundamental difference is the clash between “the goverment is a stealing entity above us” and “the government is a democratic entity working by and for us”. The clash between “social leachers” and “financial predators”. And maybe even, “private property for the sake of property” and “private property for the sake of growth, happiness and prosperity”.

  9. “Our fundamental difference is the clash between “the government is a stealing entity above us” and “the government is a democratic entity working by and for us”…. you hit the nail on the head!

    That’s the divide, exactly. I find it useful to talk about these topic by topic. Like, I turned on FOXnews and saw that Obama plans to help cities demolish condemned and burnt downed houses… coming from Detroit, THIS IS A REAL ISSUE. Now, the FOX commentators kept the line: government interference in the housing market is BAD policy–no matter what. Dissidents were basically ridiculed. They kept Derik’s side. Philosiful would take the latter: “Democracy working for us.”

    So to bring the essence of this discussion full circle–me as a Republican candidate for office–I must say that Obama’s policy is not the best policy, but still welcome policy. In my 35 years in/near the D, the “market” has NOT solved our condemned and burnt down houses. Houses in Detroit may cost $2,000, while your BASIC car insurance on an ’85 Buick costs $3,000 a year! Market failures abound! So, yes, I would prefer that private investors bought the properties and redeveloped them–but they have not done that, aren’t doing that, and will not do that–in thousands of acres of blight–because private investors will not make a profit! Making decisions based on rigid “market only” ideology in this case is specious.

    Further, it is either disingenuous or ignorant. Now, perhaps Obama could help foster a non-profit solution, which would limit federal involvement. But for God’s sake, the people living in those communities are living in hell compared to what a “compassionate conservative” would not simply advocate–but activate–because we have the resources to fix it. Even if Obama just cleared the blight out and made the properties available for investment, Detroit would be less likely to go bankrupt again–and “we the people” would all be better off.

  10. Our fundamental difference is the clash between the government is 1) over-reaching its authority 2) because it is not adhering to the Constitution, 3) spending money it does not have, 4) there is not enough money and there will never be enough money to fund all the projects the Democrats want, and the the US government is actually a republic, and therefore Constitutionally limited in what it can do and not do. Personally, I would love it if the minimum wage was $100 and hour, everyone had free health care, free education, free housing, free food and only worked when they wanted. But that just ain’t gonna happen………and it will never happen. A free market (with some protective laws, of course) and competition and not a government monopoly has shown to be the best way to go……….and the most freedom for everyone. Finally, I distrust government, and most people should. It is corrupt (and becomes more corrupt over time) and serves it own interests (which is maintaining power) not the interests of all the people. As for Detroit, the solution is bankruptcy, to start over, and for the people of Detroit to take pride in their city and clean it up…………..especially the neighborhoods. Detroit was not hit with a natural disaster like an earthquake or flood……it was destroyed by years and years of simple neglect by the residents and corrupt city council members and mayors.Some might find that statement offensive, but hey, Detroit needs not just to talk about pride and expect more taxpayer handouts, but get their nails dirty and work together to create desired neighborhoods. Those not contributing to the solution should be asked to leave.

  11. Finally, the market system or free enterprise is not a closed-loop. The market system overflows to the suburbs and other cities, where the capital (people and money) are going. Government cannot change that, although it can influence things through tax abatements and incentives. Detroit has steadily lost population. Detroit has extremely high taxes and even taxes people that work in Detroit and do not live there. Detroit employees have pensions that Detroit cannot pay. Detroit has been run by Democrats and unions since 1967. They have left the city broke and in shambles. Personally, I have no trust in Obama investing taxpayer money in projects that yield no return. Most projects Obama has invested in, like green energy, have failed. Giving a bailout to Detroit is a bandade when the patient is hemmoraging. It makes you feel temporarily better but it is not the solution. Printing more money, borrowing more money, and raising taxes just does not work, but actually worsens the plight for everyone.

  12. I hope you won’t mind if I reply once a day. And I hope Derik won’t think that I have a socialist work ethic (that was a joke).

    I believe that a developed democracy would ensure that children citizens are not subject to public safety concerns. As a clear example, there should be a policy that “No children will live in areas that could be damaging to their health” (and education). In a republic (yes I’m thinking about a culture of republicanism amidst republican institutions), no local government would allow for local children to live in danger. For instance, no child will live in a condemned house, or indeed next to a condemned house or worse (of course this includes burnt down houses). There are children in Detroit, for many decades now, who have lived “walking to school” distance next to condemned and burnt down houses.

    Here is my policy stance: Any house condemned or burnt down today should be turned into a vacant lot within 1 year and auctioned off by the City–or, if requested, become a community park, which is cared for by a specific community. “Great Cities” would have no condemned or burnt down houses, with the exception of those having been condemned or worse within the past 9 months. This would boost local government sales and keep development within the private sector.

    Detroit probably needs billions of dollars to complete the former public policy. Of particular salience, Detroit just filed for bankruptcy–so they won’t be implementing my public policy! Now, since I’m running for President, I say that–as a compassionate conservative–I believe that the American people need to solve this issue. We have a civic duty–not just to our own entrepreneurial spirit; or even to our children’s spirit, but a duty to make sure that American kids have basic public safety in and near their homes. We are the American people.

    The national public policy–to ensure public safety for American children–is necessary. Just like a national healthcare policy is necessary. For the blight in Detroit, American children deserve better. It’s a shame, and a place where we can agree for their common good–for the kids in any American hometown. As your potential elected leader, let’s solve this problem. I suggest a contest for a national non-profit to accomplish this task. After Detroit, they can move onto a new city. I would ask Congress for a yearly congressional fund of $1 Billion–and evaluation. However, most of the non-profit’s money-to-spend should come from charitable organizations and the America people. This is like a new division of the Red Cross. Yeah, this is a public works project that we needed 30 years ago–and we better not need in 30 years.

    Vote your conscience–and pocketbook.

    • A true socialist replies only once a week! (unless it’s sunny and a cold Belgian beer is waiting.)

      I will keep it brief for now. The future president of the USA and writer of this blog sees problems and tries to solve those problems without any a priori limits. I’m pleased to read about this way of doing politics. It seems like the Colbert Report, The Young Turks and others gave me a wrong view of the republicans by only talking about the crazy people in the Repulbican party and almost completely ignoring the others.

      Derik makes me tired. Unjustified assumptions, bold statments and the over-all air of “I know how the world works and what the future looks like” makes a discussion impossible.

  13. What Detroit needs is jobs. Not government bailouts, not more government jobs but private enterprise jobs, where workers and corporations pay into the government through taxes. Jobs keep people out of trouble and spur the economy. How do we get more businesses to locate in Detroit? You make Detroit and the U.S. more business-friendly. You cut taxes, you provide incentives for businesses to move to Detroit, you enforce right to work laws (meaning less unions) you encourage entrepreneurs, you enforce blight laws, you organize neighborhood watch programs, but the most important to turn around any city is the creation of real jobs, jobs, jobs.

    • So, I’m a tech company. Now, I might move into “Tech-Town” which is in mid-town Detroit–and my employees can live in the suburbs. Nothing changed for the blight outside of downtown and midtown. Ok, I’m a bakery. Isn’t the saying… location, location, location? Would I move into a neighborhood (i.e. Detroit, outside of mid-town and downtown) with burnt down and condemned houses? Or perhaps Ferndale, Royal Oak, or Birmingham? I think we both know the answer to that… ideology is not a pragmatic solution.

      The truth is, if all those burnt down and condemned houses were turned into locally maintained parks / vacant lots for sale to go into a neighborhood revitalization fund… then property value in Detroit would begin to have some value! Maybe a bakery would set up shop for the neighborhood people.

      Or, maybe Hollywood can come to Detroit to film some Zombie / post-apocalypse movies?

  14. I agree that ideology is not a pragmatic solution, especially when that ideology comes from the far left or far right. We also need less dependence on government and not more. What the government gives, the government can take away. Better to be as self-sufficent as possible.

    • all that is still a talking point! What governmental policy would solve the problem?

      My solution is to the “right” of the average voter because I keep the solution to a non-profit–not government. The fed. gov. does fund a portion of the problem, and this is mainly for legitimacy of the program and its sustainability. The Fed. government could fund like .1% of the budget, and the nonprofit’s performance is made available to the public. That leaves 99.9% of the budget for other things.

      Republicans, since W. have not had “solutions,” but talking points, much like what you have been saying all along. You show me the structure of your backbone, but you don’t use it. Since I would run for office as a Republican, I expect many more discussions like this to be a recurring theme–How can I offer National solutions to issues that affect American kids and be a Republican!?

      Republicans in 2008 and 2012 just wanted the Fed. government “out.” But “out” isn’t a pragmatic solution–it’s giving up. It’s not leadership. It’s retreat. And retreating to the 1920s American regime is very dangerous public policy–it’s explosive; and it’s immature. I was raised as a Republican, and I’ve remained a Republican; even though Republicans have lacked moral and fiscal leadership my entire adult voting life.

      I’m a solution to my own problem. Now that sounds like a Republican, doesn’t it…

  15. Interesting, I would argue that the democrats have lacked fiscal leadership and responsibility. In fact they are bankrupting this country under the guise of “helping people.” Instead, they are enslaving generations of people to a lifetime of government handouts in exchange for their votes. And, where does the government get all this money for handouts? As for morals, I would argue that the democrats have no morals. What party supports abortion on demand and funded by the taxpayer? What party encourages gay marriage? What party thinks the 2nd amendment should be eliminated? What party encourages race baiting? What party passes a law on health reform that the majority of Americans do not want, never reads its own law, is not held to its own law, and then chooses to implement the law to some people and not to others? I hardly think the democrats can say they have taken the “high road” on morals. I also find it amusing that people still blame Bush, even though he has not been in power for almost 6 years, and many of the policies that democrats hated about Bush, like drone strikes and evesdropping on phone calls, etc., have been expanded under the current administration. Yet no one complains now.

  16. Here is a suggestion. Google “republican platform” and google “democrat platform”. Find the items you agree and disagree with.

  17. Well, I teach those platforms on day 2 of my American government class…. go to my “Teaching” Tab, and it’s “DNC Platform” and “RNC Platform.” Sir, I’m well aware of the platforms, as well as their platforms 20, 40, 60, and 80 years ago… I’m quite certain that I know “who I am” and “where I stand.”

    Just because I criticize Republicans, doesn’t make me a Democrat. Blind partisanship allegiance isn’t for people in a free world; rather, for the dogs of dictators.

    I’ll respond to your other questions soon.

  18. I would argue… (i.e. your former entry) that you, Derik, are a conservative ideologue. What is really interesting to me, of course, is to what degree I (a compassionate conservative) and you (an ideologue conservative) can work together. I suggest that if we can come up with public policy together, then maybe there is hope for the Republican legislature in DC.

    So I would say to your points: “the democrats have lacked fiscal leadership and responsibility.” Well, we both know it’s both parties.

    “[Dems] are bankrupting this country under the guise of “helping people.”” But you know, appropriations legislation begins in the House–which has been Republican. The President only signs the stuff.

    “[Dems] are enslaving generations of people to a lifetime of government handouts in exchange for their votes.” Do you think people believe that!? I think that comment is demagoguery–in its purest form.

    “where does the government get all this money for handouts?” Which handouts are you talking about? hopefully not social security–because that’s not a handout. Again, “handout” is a great talking point, but let’s just focus on actual public policy so that we can talk about real reform. Conversely, the answer to this question is “the people.” The people pay their government in taxes for services that no one else could responsibly provide–like the military.

    “As for morals, I would argue that the democrats have no morals.” But Weiner is full of ’em? Err, Republicans once had the high moral ground here–but both parties haven’t got ’em these days.

    “What party supports abortion on demand and funded by the taxpayer?” Republicans have–and especially moderate Republicans… Research Bob Dole in 1994–running for President. It’s only been since W. Bush courted radical evangelicals that the moderate Republicans found out that all abortion was immoral. Indeed, this was not a political issue prior to the 1970s. As a practical matter of public policy, I support the status quo. I, personally, don’t find a woman’s choice to be immoral.

    “What party encourages gay marriage?” Some Republicans are, indeed. But it is mostly Dems–who put it on their 2012 platform. Now, here’s where “democracy” makes a difference–since a majority of Americans now support Gay Marriage. Personally, I would like to preserve Marriage as an institution between a man and a woman, only so far as “civil unions” provide Gays with the same rights as married people.

    “What party thinks the 2nd amendment should be eliminated?” No party. And if you don’t know that, then you are a much bigger ideologue than most ideologues.

    “What party encourages race baiting?” Both parties have race baiters and both parties have anti-race baiters.

    “What party passes a law on health reform that the majority of Americans do not want, never reads its own law, is not held to its own law, and then chooses to implement the law to some people and not to others?” Again, most of this is demagoguery. As policy, funny thing is…Obamacare is middle-to-the-right policy–something a compassionate conservative would implement. Middle-to-the-left would have had a public option. Left policy would have been single-payer. Derik, you are aware that Obamacare is the same bill Romney put into place in MASS, right? You are aware that it fortifies capitalism, right?

    “I also find it amusing that people still blame Bush, even though he has not been in power for almost 6 years” I never blamed Bush, and I don’t hear people blaming Bush, but W. Bush….well, I certainly learned from his mistakes.

    “and many of the policies that democrats hated about Bush, like drone strikes and evesdropping on phone calls, etc., have been expanded under the current administration. Yet no one complains now.” Obama has increased that–and people are complaining, for the first time in a decade. You can thank Snowden for that. I know that I do. When President, I’ll restore the rights given to us in our Constitution; specifically Amendments 4-6.

    Hope that helps!

  19. Both parties have sex scandals…

    But let’s talk about the tension between me and Derik, which, again, is very important. How can I (a compassionate conservative, who actually listens to the other side) promote public policy and not get blasted by Derik (a conservative ideologue), who is a non-pragmatist in my own party?

    You do see that Derik, right: any public policy I suggest besides “withdrawal” will be blasted by you–an ideologue with no pragmatic ideas or suggestions. You have zero public policy recommendations, other than “repeal.”

    So let me be clear, now: No laws is not liberty, but anarchy. It’s flabbergasting that a “conservative,” who used to organize political thought via “order” is really seeking anarchy–even though you can’t see that through the fog of your ideology.

    Repeal Obamacare! you say…. I ask….. And replace it with what!?!?!?
    Repeal, you say, repeal, repeal, repeal!

  20. Repeal and start over. I did not say that healthcare does not need improvement, it does. But the Obama plan is already a disaster, with companies cutting down working hours of employees to 29 hours to not be subject to the law. Political favors have been granted and some people and organizations are given waivers from the law. The law is not uniformly enforced. The only reason it passed was because Congress and the President had total control. There was no input from republicans and no input from the electorate. It was upheld by the Supreme Court only because it is a tax, and the Constitution allows the feds to tax. To have a fair law, you need both sides contributing ideas, and everyone should be held accountable to that law. This was, and is, not done. To start over, start with small steps, and build up. Start with providing catastrophic coverage for everyone, and build from there once that works. I listen to both sides also, and laws are necessary.. I am not into anarchy. I do believe the same laws should be applied to everyone, and that is not happening under Obamacare. A president cannot simply pick what laws to enforce and what laws not to enforce. A president should not give waivers to some organizations and not to others. The IRS is the collection arm for Obamacare and the workers are working only 29 hours a week to avoid the cost of health care. The IRS has also targeted conservative groups, and many believe directive comes from the White House, and that is not a “phony” scandal. I guess it is the nature of politics that not everyone agrees or gets along. Great ideas cost money, and sometimes there is just not enough money. That is ok, though. Time marches on and changes do happen.

  21. again, a lot of talking points. You sound sincere, but you have few details (i.e., repeal and then only catastrophic coverage). That’s not healthcare coverage.

    You have given me no comprehensive public policy to implement. Your idea of healthcare reform–with only catastrophic coverage, isn’t very good in my eyes, because healthcare costs go down when people get help when the symptoms arise–with preventative healthcare–not only in accidents.

  22. Let’s start with making healthcare a non-profit industry (that doesn’t mean that doctors and staff won’t still be paid very well–just that there is much less incentive for insurance companies to deny payers the care they so desperately need). see: pre-existing conditions.

  23. I have no comprehensive public policy, nor am I capable of making one. I know my limits. However, I am not convinced health care (a huge economic sector) should be governed solely by government and enforced by the IRS. I have given reasons above why the current health care government plan is bad for the economy and unfair.

  24. Obamacare has no public option, for starters, which means that you and I cannot even purchase “government healthcare.” Like I said, Obamacare fortifies capitalism, exactly because it doesn’t let us purchase government healthcare–we have to buy it on the market. Indeed, states are supposed to set up exchanges, so consumers can shop around…but Republicans in a lot of states are blocking this increase of market capitalism…

    To be sure, this brings us back to Philosful’s comment: “Our fundamental difference is the clash between “the government is a stealing entity above us” and “the government is a democratic entity working by and for us”…. As a compassionate conservative, I understand the latter to be the case–the government is for the people, by the people, and of the people. The Government doesn’t “run healthcare,” as you seem to believe, but it ensures that insurance companies, and doctors, etc., are not ripping off the people. Again, see: pre-existing conditions.

    So I think that we can solve healthcare so that all people have comprehensive healthcare, but you think that maybe everyone can have catastrophic coverage. That’s not a talking point, but a difference in where we start our discussion on public policy–and why we disagree. I’d just like to add, in my opinion, that Obama made all young people get healthcare insurance (or pay a penalty) in order to balance the out-payments insurance companies will have to pay for pre-existing conditions. Obama caved on the public option because of Republicans and special interest groups. “The people” would have greatly benefited from a public option.

    Talking points–speaking your ideology with biased, one-sided facts. Like, saying this or that party is immoral… no, let’s avoid that! For every Weiner, there’s a Foley. As you can tell by my 215 posts–I don’t give you “opinion.” In fact, some bloggers don’t even think I’m blogging, because it’s non-opinionated. I don’t disdain opinions or hold antipathy towards opinions, I just feel that opinions are better formed while arguing about “actual public policy.” I want to talk about actual public policy or empirical political science.

    Saying you are not capable of making a comprehensive healthcare option because you know your limits would lead me to believe that you, humbly, are open to different public policy options–and that you would let moderate conservatives (and even liberals) have their chance to shine–and fail. Or was that a talking point? Would you be a representative bringing up “Repeal Obamacare” some 25 plus times within a congressional session?

    • “To be sure, this brings us back to Philosful’s comment: “Our fundamental difference is the clash between “the government is a stealing entity above us” and “the government is a democratic entity working by and for us”…. As a compassionate conservative, I understand the latter to be the case–the government is for the people, by the people, and of the people.”

      I quickly want to add to my own comment that it isn’t necessarily descriptive. Whenever somebody says government X does A, B and C wrong, I can fully accept these criticisms. But when there is a lack of democracy, the goal (in my opinion) should be to restore democracy, not to limit government in its working. “We, the people” should be equal to “we, the government”. Like every goal worth fighting for (eg moral goals), it’s a goal that you can never reach 100%. But just like we won’t give up the Good as a goal in our daily life, we shouldn’t give up the idea of a real and working democracy just because we can’t reach it for a 100%.

      I won’t jump into the discussion about Obamacare. I must even admit that I’ve never really thought of a health care sector as an NGO. There might be something in it… But on the other hand, whenever I hear how many non-profit organizations are at work in the USA in this or that sector, it sounds a bit weird to me. I can’t imagine that 100 000 different organizations are more efficient and effective than one government-run project. Sure, it might look as if the government has a big administration and you might complain about the bureaucracy. But if you would count all those 100 000 separate administrations, it must be bigger than one government who is doing the same. Plus, it would be much clearer for the people what the options are. The Matthew-Effect would play much less.

  25. I tend to look at non-profits as “republican” (small r) institutions and for-profits as “liberal” institutions. republicans are very much for the people by the people, so they don’t want to ask a national government to solve something that the people, in various groups, can solve. And liberals want to keep everything save the military and police in the private, for-profit sector. Thus, you have two traditions that don’t like “big government.” I guess this brings us full circle–big government for the people (what some may consider socialism) would never work in America.

    Whereas Derik is more inclined keep the national government “out” (from a IR political science perspective–he’s a classic liberal); I am more inclined to have the national government provide “leadership”–outsourcing to non-profits with sunset provisions on “the people’s” investment (I am a republican).

    Indeed, the comments herein are indicative of a fight between republicanism and liberalism.

    • This definition of “liberal” is how we use it Europe. If I were living in the USA, I would probably be called a leftist liberal. Here I’m a socialst, because liberals are ethical progressive but they indeed want to get the government out of everything.

      I’m not fully convinced of how you look at socialism. All the European socialist parties were founded in the 80s and 90s of the 19th century. The influence of Marx wasn’t everywhere equal (sometimes some anarchists had a significant influence, elswhere almost none). But it were all marxists socialist parties. They created a political program in the long run (the end of capitalism) and one in the short run (equal voting rights, minimum wages, …). Today they stick to the latter. What I want to say is, there is a true marxist background! And “big government for the people” is a very unmarxist thing. Because “the people” are way to passive in this. It sounds like they are on the receiving end. Just waiting in line to get something. While in fact, they are the onces organizing everything. Empowering people, taking live in their own hands and organizing their community themselves in order to be efficient and effective seem much more present to me in Marx than any kind of “big government for the people.”

      For Derik, the “constitutional republic” is present in pretty much the whole Western World (as far as I know). Sure, we in Belgium have a constitutional monarchy, but thats just a minor difference that we hopefully will change some day. The point is that I agree there is constitution in order to limit the posibilities of the democraticly elected officals. But we have such things to make sure that in the early 19th century some aristocrat couldn’t jump up and grab power through his financial power and rhetoric skills and change the type of government back to whatever he wants. It’s was a stop against contra-revolutionaries and later against dictators. You guys on the other hand seem to bring up the constitution for every fart somebody makes.

      • didn’t Marx want “agricultural armies”? but really, I’d like to avoid this discussion… I’m pretty sure Marx would have pounded Lenin / Stalin to the grave. He always thought Russia was backwards. He knew that socialism would not arrive until capitalism was fully cooked–too bad he also wanted to take hold of the state machinery, which caused aberrations to his political thought.

        most political scientists here associate a study on “class” with Marx. The basic idea is that once the companies create massive profit-sharing with the employees, then there will not be great inequalities between the rich and the poor; or classes of people (bourgeoisie and proletariat). Marx wrote books on capitalism, trying to understand how capitalism will evolve over time, so that the workers in the capitalistic system (the machinery)– will oil themselves. Socialism is actually just very, very mature capitalism–for the average voter; whence the workers have a good amount of stock in the company, and their working conditions are ethical and humane (I argue Marx says). We have Marxist scholars because we have great inequality around the world, and in America.

        For me, real Socialists are a born a couple hundred years early (good luck with trying to implement public policy of 2,500 in 2015)… and they have “A Long Detour” in today’s global capitalism to fight through. I’m pretty sure that Derik is against ethical and humane rules to be imposed on small businesses, as much of can of worms that may open….

        By the way, I’m not a socialist, just sayin’. I’m a republican who would label himself in the early 21st century as a compassionate conservative (according to the American political system).

  26. Yes, I would be asking to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act because it is not affordable and it is not good health care. When our government officials and their staff opt out of it, that should set off some alarms that something with the Act is wrong. It is now projected to cost over $1 trillion dollars in new costs. It is not good health care and it is not affordable. Finally, the US is not a democracy. It was founded as a constitutional republic and it is still is one. The Constitution clearly states what the federal government can and cannot do. This was to protect the voting majority from imposing its laws on the voting minority. The Constitution acts as a restraint on government, especially bad government. The Court agreed that the federal government cannot enforce everyone to purchase health care insurance……..that is unconstitutional……….the Act passed because it is labeled a tax! Ok, I am really weary of this discussion……It probably is an exercise in futility.

  27. of course, the real problem with public opinion is that most people are “awash in ignorance” of politics (Kinder 1998). They literally have no clue about the law–they just takes “cues” from political elites–like an ideological conservative might take from Hannity or Rush. They’re against it–you’re against it. Doesn’t say anything about the actual public policy–like if it’s better than the previous status quo–which it is. See: pre-existing conditions.

  28. and who are the ideological left that people take their cues from? Some would argue the mainstream press, MSNBC (although it has terrible ratings), unions (which are declining in the US) and some academic teachers and professors who are more interested in proselyting a Marxist “utopia” to their students than real-life economics, liberty and personal responsibility 🙂

  29. political science has shown that the writers lean left… But did you know that political science has also shown that the editors lean right… and that the owners lean far to the right? Who’s in control at the end of the day? The writer, editor, or owner? I think it’s important to know what the “far left” would implement–95% tax rate on incomes after $400,000, for starters. Rework social security so that the rich get a low amount and the poor get a high amount (since it’s currently the opposite). Too often these days, I hear people on the ideological right think that a moderate liberal or even a moderate republican screams of socialism. Take Obamacare, for instance, it’s actually center-right legislation!

    It’s my opinion that since Reagan, the right has moved steadily further to the right. Now, thirty some years later, if a congressional candidate is in a “safe” Republican district–moderates are being removed by the far right for “ideologically pure” candidates. Indeed, if I was in office in one of these districts, I would be removed–maybe because I think that the earth is not, as Rush said, “See, in my humble opinion, folks, if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming … You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something that he can’t create.”

    I do think that pollution is a problem worth solving–and that humans can create problems via free will. We can also, through free will, solve them! Have you heard of the “Love Canal”?

  30. A 95% tax rate on those earning over $400,000 would certainly anger professional sports players, successful TV and movie actors, boat builders, luxury house builders, jewelers, stock brokers, successful entrepreneurs, successful politicians, etc. It would encourage them to relocate to a more tax-friendly country and then there would be no tax revenue from these people. (I have no doubt, that just like in Obamacare, the politicians would exempt themselves from that tax because they want (or deserve) something better than what the citizen gets.)

    The tax would put our economy into a tailspin: downward. It would take the American dream out of the equation. If you want to tax, tax inheritance. Why should a son or daughter receive money when they did nothing to earn it? Let the government take all inheritance and spend it how they wish, but you will hear an outcry from the people.

    Reagan inherited a terrible economy from Carter, and his solution was to cut (not increase) taxes and it worked! Many more people were employed because it freed up capital (profit) for business investment and job creation.

    Obama inherited a bad economy from Bush, and his solution is to increase taxes and it has not worked. We have had a tepid recovery and worst, added trillions of dollars to this country’s debt which must eventually be paid back with interest. Under Obama, the American currency rating was downgraded for the first time in history. It will most likely be downgraded again if the government keeps printing and borrowing money and then spending it out of control.

    A family does not get prosperous by spending and spending and charging everything on a credit card. The family eventually goes broke and files for bankruptcy and things get repossessed. The same with a country.

  31. it would anger them–but they wouldn’t move out of the country. that’s a talking point.
    I agree that progressive taxation is a horrible deal for all the groups you mentioned in paragraph 1.
    If I was untaxed until $70,000 (which is what those progressives say), then I would still have the American dream–and I would pay no taxes until $70k. In fact, if I make less than $45k; then I will receive extra money from the national government so that I (i.e. all Americans) make at least $50k. THAT’S THE PROGRESSIVE’S argument–we have the know how and ability to eradicate poverty and ensure that almost all Americans live the American dream.

    The Many benefit from the Few.

    Now that that’s established–what a progressive (and still a weak socialist) in America would look like–I think our conversations will make more sense. Again, just sayin’, I’m not a progressive, but a compassionate conservative. And, I do know what a progressive fights for, and why they fight for it.

    You are wrong about Reagan. Political science documents, over and over, show that Reagan RAISED taxes, and then the economy got better–and then he dramatically lowered them. This is a verifiable fact.

    I highly recommend that everyone who wants to comment on Obamacare READ the following website (fact checker) first:

  32. I think we can agree that we disagree on some things. It might be interesting to submit your taxation proposal to both democrats and republicans and see who disagrees and agrees with it.
    Ok, I am done with this entire conversation. It’s all “talking points.” 🙂

  33. Pingback: a socialist, ideological conservative, and compassionate conservative… « Political Pipeline

  34. Hey all! Sorry to be late to the conversation. I must admit that I enjoyed reading though this thread. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I prepared a long response!

    Let’s first recall a few statements…
    Derik: “It is possible that one day there will be more people getting government assistance than workers contributing to it in the form of taxes.”

    Political Pipeline: “The people pay their government in taxes for services that no one else could responsibly provide–like the military.”

    Well, one thing is for sure…. Derik is concerned with taxes – and I am too! Derik’s arguments may very well be a effect of Fox News network, but he does represent many valid concerns about taxes (look at every single reply from Derik, it mentions paying taxes to some extent).

    My main gripe to ALL of the posts is this statement:
    “For the people, by the people, and of the people.”

    I argue that this historic-constitutional-statement does not hold true anymore. Let’s think about who “we the people” are; the ones that pay taxes, right? We have every right to be concerned about how tax dollars get spent.

    Let’s go to the Daily show for a quick recap:—tax-reform

    Our US government is not by the people! In reality, it is by investors (lucrative corporations, lobbyist, special interest groups, etc..) The people don’t vote anymore! It’s not worth their precious time. In my point of view, the PEOPLE will never win the battle against the “investors.” They are doomed to an eternity of soft despotism.

    The media is good 3 things
    1) Letting us know that our political leaders suck
    2) Letting us know that, we the people, suck as well
    2) Keep us distracted during times of secretive political agenda

    Instead of “…For the people, by the people, and of the people,” I recommend that it is “For the writer, by the editor, and of the owner”

    In Conclusion:
    The value of US dollar continues to decline, and tax payers continue to lose their wealth. We all know that spending power is disproportionate to inflation. Guess what, printing money causes inflation! Do the taxpayers (aka PEOPLE) have any say in what the Federal Reserve does? No! Do taxpayers have a say in what the government does? No! Only the elected officials do.

    Bribery is successful in the US because is classified as “contributions.” The federal budget is not decided by the people. There is no way to prove that politicians are indeed voted in by the people.

    “We the people…” don’t exist! Political Pipeline, please prove to me that I am wrong.

  35. And don’t give me a wishy-washy definition(s) for how each political party would react! You have already proven that both parties are guilty of these certain “civil infractions.” I want to know
    solutions 🙂

  36. Dave, sounds like you like Ron Paul–Let’s get him on SNL! 🙂 However, the annual inflation rate is 2%, which is about the same as growth. Dave, you’re talking about “your expectation” of inflation based on spending, but there hasn’t been inflation: I’m not saying that the national government hasn’t been spending more than it should–it has–but there hasn’t been any inflation yet.

    I’d suggest reading Przeworski’s “Democracy and the Limits of Self-Government.” He argues, to Dave’s general point, “We are told that when special interests bribe legislators or governments, democracy is corrupted–and then nothing needs to be said when special interests make legal political contributions. The British learned late in the eighteenth century that “influence” is nothing but a euphemism for “corruption,” but contemporary political science chose to ignore this lesson” (97). Really, we need a couple dozen political scientists focusing on exactly this lesson.

    You blast me for “we the people” because you see that it’s all special interests–all the more reason for you to voice your political opinion “for the people”–like me. We the people do exist–but we come from many different political places. Derik and me, for example, are both Republicans–but we truly see capitalism and democracy so differently that we cringe at the thought of each other wielding the power within our own “Republican” public policy… let alone let Democrats have their way!

    Look at it this way Dave: In the long run, election after election, the political parties do manifest messages for their “base”–based on the voters. The parties and special interests do create the policy–but over the long term it is based on the will of the people.

    Republicans, today, take me for granted and they call you a little crazy for liking Ron Paul (I assume so much from your earlier remark on inflation and Federal Reserve) –but they coddle and cuddle up to Derik. If my chosen party ostracized me–like the Republicans have try to castrate Ron Paul; I find it reasonable for you to have such a (as Derik said) cynical reaction.

    As the three of us are disparate Republicans, the public policy we must all agree on is: (1) how should we spend the tax dollars we have, (2) can we reduce taxes and which programs should we cut, (3) what programs are absent that should be created?

  37. I think we should reduce military funding, especially the number of troops we have (because the troops should have comprehensive family healthcare, pension, benefits), mostly because technology can do a lot of the work troops used to do–because it’s so very expensive and unnecessary in light of our current hegemonic status. I prefer many groups of special forces over a large stationary army.

    I think the NSA needs strict rules to guard against messing with “we the people.” I think Snowden should be pardoned as a legitimate whistleblower.

    I think higher education, general education, and technical education training should be our priority until 2025. I think this should be incentivized from the national level so that states and cities will work with non-profits to “fix” education. If you fix education, I believe that you are much more likely to fix unemployment. If you fix unemployment, then you will reduce crime and other negative externalities. Much of this could be achieved through an expansion of “economic gardening,” which I have a paper on (co-authored) in my “Research” tab.

  38. Cynical is good because mankind is flawed………That is why the founding fathers created so many checks and balances on government power……….And, I might add, that is why we all need a Savior in Jesus………..ain’t no one perfect. Amen.

    • Political Pipeline, you are very correct about my liking in Ron Paul! He’s definitely a hero in my book. I must admit that my rant about the Federal Reserve was a bit out of context.. But it still holds to the general idea.

      It’s all about the fight against BIG Government – which I am very against. I am very against it because it clearly contradicts “we the people.” The government uses our tax dollars (plus plenty more!) to create any organization they see necessary without taxpayer permission(votes). When you say… “(3) what programs are absent that should be created?” I simply say… NO. You mentioned the NSA and we agree. Does the NSA not fall into your #3 category?

      The NSA has gotten so out of control that now we have to fear blue collar government employees, along with the already long list of politicians. Our information is not safe in their hands! Even if it was, why do they deserve these special privileges? Think of all the spying, insider trading, bribery, corruption, etc… That will now go on because every form of communication has a back door to the government databases. The govt has proven to us, time and time again, that they are not very good at keeping things private. Hackers will easily break into these databases and sell everything for profit. The govt could lose 80 million in weapons tomorrow and nobody would blink an eye. They need to stop! There’s no point of reading Facebook, Google, or whosoever privacy statement anymore because the govt will just supersede all-of-it. The feds use their “security” card to take away liberty from citizens and State governments alike.

      I will always choose privacy over security. I will always choose liberty over big government. That makes me a libertarian right? 🙂

      We all know that societies act differently (opposite of “patriotic”) when they know they are being spied on. Let’s all go put on our sad faces when we go outside, because we don’t want to get deemed under suspicious activity. Snowden, Assange, and Manning should all get pardoned. 2 days ago, BIG government sentenced Manning to 35 years in prison. Of course I don’t agree with this, but then again, I’m not surprised – because our fed govt is hopeless! All in all, they hold double standards. It’s okay when they lie, cheat, and steal… but it’s not okay when their citizens do it against them. The govt doesn’t fear “we the people,” the people fear their govt. Oops, there I go acting cynical again 😉 haha sry

  39. “the annual inflation rate is 2%, which is about the same as growth. Dave, you’re talking about “your expectation” of inflation based on spending, but there hasn’t been inflation”

    Finance 101 teaches us that $1 today is worth more tomorrow (with the exception of inflation of course). A Google search teaches that you can’t open a savings account more than 1%. That means you just lost spending power by putting your money in a savings account. Something doesn’t sound right. Maybe a 401K would be a good investment? Nope, during a “recession,” your 401K is likely to actually lose money – especially if you invest in cash. How about investing in the stock market? Nope, you are likely to lose in recession as well, plus you get taxed for any profits you make! You pay the govt more taxes in profits than they will ever pay you in losses. 2% inflation is nothing to brag about. Our mission should be deflation. “We the people”, want the value of the US dollar to go up! Not down (aka inflation).

    Here’s one from the “Let’s get him on SNL” page.

    • I have never heard that a dollar today is worth more tomorrow…….If I saved $20,000 cash in 1970, I could buy much less today with that same $20,000. In 1970, I could buy two cars with that money, today I could buy one. I could fill my gas tank for $6, today it is $30.00. I could buy a lot of groceries for $50, today the equivalent amount would be $150.00. I could send a kid to college in 1970, today it is probably three times the cost. Whoever taught Finance 101 is teaching voodoo economics. It is totally wrong.It goes against common sense. If you want the US dollar to go up in value, stop printing so much of it. Stop borrowing on it and having to pay interest on it. In summary, a $1 today will be worth much less 10 years from now. It’s purchasing power will be greatly diminished.

    • 2% inflation is inflation. 0% inflation is no inflation. Therefore, your $1 made today is worth (purchasing power) 98 cents the following hear. Then your 98 cents is worth 96 cents the next year, etc, if inflation stays constant at only 2%. The stock market generally rides with economic conditions and people make money and lose money in the market. Historically, the market has been good for investors and it helps finance corporations which in turn employs people (real job creation). There are alternatives for investing such as purchasing bonds or annuities which guarantee a return on investment. The point is that people need “profit” to be able to invest and help the economy grow.

  40. Historically, the stock market outperforms inflation.
    However, it does go through ups and downs, and an investor has to be able to ride the bubble bursts and have a diversified portfolio. You also want politicians in office who are pro-business and who do not think that “profit” is a shameful word. Profit pays you dividends and increases the value of the common stock. Finally, although the interest rates on CD’s and savings account are paltry, the upside is that mortgage rates are also historically low.

  41. Derik, thanks for the good conversation. You mentioned that – “..the stock market goes through ups and downs, and investors have to be able ride the bubble bursts and have a diversified portfolio..”

    This feels (to me) like a lot hurtles to jump through. Say… do you know of anywhere I can get a 3% interest rate for savings? Like Political Pipeline said, education may just be the only key to success. We would, at the very least, get some more people that understand the stock market better, right?

    Also, since I’ve been drinking and posting, I’d like to apologize for acting cynical on the blog. Political Pipeline seems like a great guy, and I don’t have any intention to “troll” his site. I’d vote for him if there wasn’t a libertarian on the ballet 😉

    • I am not that familiar with Obamacare to make a comment, other than that it is too expensive and relies on young people to finance it.

  42. It seems Philosifil dropped out of the conversation. He did not like the Constitution…..which limits government authority. Typical liberal………they always think they know what is best for everyone.

    • I’m against the argument that goes “This is good/wrong because the constitution says …”. I don’t claim to know what is best for everyone. The point of a democracy is the fact that I don’t know what is best for everyone. If I would, you could just make me the Furher and everything would be supertoll! But the same goes for you, your mom, neighbour, professor,… and also any writer(s) of great documents.

      I haven’t read the other new posts. Yet, I do want to propose a nationalisation of beer and fries producers. Free beer and fries for everyone! The world will be a better place.

  43. a really, really well-known political scientist says this: “Reading backwards, our contemporary understanding of democracy into the intentions of the founders of representative institutions in anachronistic. Their ideals — self-government, equality, liberty — were seminal. During more than 200 years they animated the evolution of representative institutions into what we now see as democracy. This is why we venerate the founders. Unfortunately, some of their ideas were logically incoherent and practically unfeasible, and some manifestly rationalized interests.”

    I think it’s quite accurate. To be sure, the 1st question I would ask Derik is: Didn’t the constitution affirm slavery? (indeed it did!). The second question I would ask is: why do you think a liberal believes that s/he knows what is best for everyone? (I don’t understand the logic).

  44. the political quote is somewhat convoluted, in my opinion, and inaccurate. “Their ideals – self-government, equality, liberty — were seminal.” These ideals did not originate in America but in Europe and other places before that. I find absolutely no affirmation of slavery in the present Constitution. That old Republican by the name of Lincoln took care of that. Also, there is no longer prohibition so that we can all sit around and enjoy a beer or two, even though someone has to pay for the beer (preferably the government, i.e. the tax-payer).

  45. Many attempts to draft constitutional forms of government, including the United States Constitution, trace their lineage back to Magna Carta.

  46. “Republican” government goes back to Greece and the Ancients. If the founder’s crafted beer (they generally drank madeira–see link below), they should have named it Cato! Now, what’s really important is that political scientists today say that America is a liberal state; meaning, Americans practice capitalism economically and procedural democracy politically. The constitution was the best “compromise of competing ideals” republicans could come up with… liberalism burst onto the scene–and Americans became infatuated with the Alger Myth (i.e., if I work hard in America, then by my own will and strength, I will make management–the middle class).

    To get at the bottom of this, we may need a few more Catos.

    First, Derik admits that the constitution is a changing document (13th-21st Amendments) (not that he admitted that the 3/5ths Clause legalized slavery, in the “original” constitution).

    Culturally and politically, the people are/were either injured by the constitution, or at least disagree with the constitution; so much that it should be changed in order “to protect people in society from people in society, and from their government.”

    Now, if the former is “republicanism,” which I do favor, then we should focus on the people’s rights to life, liberty, and happiness more so than any given written document.

    As an American, do I like having the 4th Amendment to protect me from illegal search and seizure at the hands of my government or fellow citizens? you bet.

  47. Pingback: 90 comments on: Ideal Candidate for Public Office | Political Pipeline

  48. I am not convinced that the constitution was framed to “compromise” capitalism and democracy because capitalism and democracy are not mutually exclusive. They work together and quite well.

    Rather, the constitution was framed to avoid a “kingship”, because the founders resented England’s king and most likely all authoritarian titles, including nobility.

    It was realized that mankind is not perfect, and that any rights the government can bestow on a person, can also be removed by the government. Thus, the Bill of Rights, prevents government from legislating on some individual rights. Further, the clear separation of powers in the constitution is to avoid power accumulating in one branch of government. Even a “pure democracy” (which I am not in favor of) with no constitution could vote for something terrible, as in the Islam nations voting in Sharia law which demeans women and all non-Muslims. The majority is not always right and the minority needs to be protected.

    In summary, a constitution tells the government what it can do, and most important, what it cannot do. It puts the brakes on government, which guarantees more individual freedom.

  49. Finally, the original constitution was “compromised” to get a union of the states: The United States of America. Slavery was eventually abolished and a war was fought over it. I do not apologize for America and you should not either. Pure democracy without a constitution in an Islamic county would be the death sentence for Christians, homosexuals and any individual who speaks out against Islamic law. The majority is not always right.

    • Let’s ignore the ridiculous slam you (Derik) made about liberals. Since you don’t consider it valuable of a response, I can only assume that you agree with its foolishness.. Your idea of what the Constitution is and how it can function in arguments is still a mystery to me. On the one hand you admit that it has been changed and that it is founded in its own historic situation. But on the other hand you seem to enjoy keeping the Constitution as an entity with an ultimate authoricy, eternal and always available to use as a destructive argument. Either it’s a creation and it’s up to debate or it’s a law of nature and the debate stops once scientists have figured it out.
      There is no need to switch to Sharia law. Let us stick to this one small thing. All this (very selective) jumping around of yours isn’t bringing us anywhere.

  50. To Derik’s “I do not apologize for America and you should not either.” Nice…. On the one hand, government is imperfect. On the other hand, don’t apologize about it. Fair enough–nothing to see hear folks. Nevermind those examples of rapacious capitalism, prodigious inequality (compared to Beliguim), highest incarceration rate of all developed countries…. Derik, hasn’t this been your recurring epistemology so far?

    Now, since America is imperfect, what are those imperfections? Once we notice them and talk about them (which I am in favor of, and is not apologizing), we can debate public policy to fix them–America’s imperfections. Take the basic inequality between any given lawyer’s son or daughter and any given convict’s son or daughter.

    In a fair place, both children have the same resources to succeed. But in America today, they don’t, and everyone knows it. So that’s a dent in the American automobile we call our country that we can try to fix. I’m sure conservatives are capable! But when is the day when they are willing?

  51. to Philosiful’s “Either it’s a creation and it’s up to debate or it’s a law of nature and the debate stops once scientists have figured it out.” Why does creation make it up for debate? Because atheists haven’t proved themselves wrong? As for the law of nature, and scientists figuring it out… let’s beware of alternative explanations and ecological fallacies.

    But I think I see where you’re coming from: normative direction or pragmatic direction, respectively. If so, hat tip to you, Euro Socialist.

    • First of all, you are right that I’m not totally correct here. But I don’t think for the reason that you say. I might have missused the word “creator.”. I actually meant that either the Constitution is a social product, created by humans or it’s a part of nature. Since the former has humans as its creators, it seems far easier to claim the possibility of change by other humans. In the latter there is the assumption that Nature is eternal and universal. When you accept this, only a very pessimistic view upon the connection between science and Nature will cause problem for my claim that a fact of Nature isn’t changeable like a fact of Society. Anyway, the division between the stable Nature and the changing Society is a widely held believe by both religious people and atheists. You can disagree nevertheless. In fact, I only just finished my MA thesis about a guy who disagreed! But even Bruno Latour will still see how objects of nature (with a small “n” because it’s not an idealistic concept that bifurcates the world anymore) are far more stable once scientists have made up their mind about them.

      It’s still not nuanced enough, but I hope that it’s clear that my statement wasn’t (anti-)religious and wasn’t meant to make Science the ultimate Truth. Yet, to say it in a Latourian way, scientists have produced a lot of hard and tuff science-products that deserve our respect and which we should be metaphysically realists about even though we are constructivists at the same time!

      Lastly, as a social scientists the arrogance (aka ecological fallacies) of some scientists (usually biologists) can be frustrating for me as well! I won’t defend them.

  52. I have explained the need for a constitution sufficiently. It is the blueprint for what a government can and cannot do. Its purpose is to protect minorities and the individual against the majority (or elites) who think they can manage everything better than the individual. Elites find no use for a constitution because it is an obstacle to prevent them from imposing their “superior” views and laws on others. Sharia law is a perfect example of an Islamic majority imposing their will and laws (despite the inequality of laws) on others with “no constitutional brakes” to prevent it.

    The US constitution has changed, for the good, and it has an avenue for further modification: voting. The premise behind a constitution is again that mankind is flawed and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is always best when power is diffused and shared and although a constitution cannot guarantee that, it makes a genuine effort to have three separate and unique branches of government and that laws passed are subject to the scrutiny (and possibly rejection) by the constitution.

    Raising the validity of a constitution is not a “destructive argument” but rather a liberating one. A constitution is not a “law of nature” although many argue that the constitution gives God-given rights that the government cannot take or vote away. A constitution is man-made, and therefore subject to error and some modifications are necessary over time.

  53. Pingback: The Constitution Says… | I'm Belgian.

  54. I agree with Derik the most! Nice work. I also agree with Political Pipeline…
    “In summary, a constitution tells the government what it can do, and most important, what it cannot do. It puts the brakes on government, which guarantees more individual freedom.”

    Here’s my thoughts…
    Let’s think of the federal govt as the largest business in the US. The govt provides good and services for it’s customers/taxpayers. 30% of my income goes to the federal government. We need some terms to agree upon. I like to think that the constitution is somewhat of a “binding contracts” between taxpayers and government. I commend our founders for keeping things simple, and to the point. The constitution/amendments are very clear. We should treat it a set of good morals to live by, similar to the 10 commandments in the bible. The constitutions is an agreement between the two parties(government and taxpayers). This all sounds fine and fair to me.

    However, we deal will instances where things like the Patriot Act get passed which are clear violations the contract. ObamaCare, weighing in at 2.8 million words, is legitimation that goes through even though nobody read it.. They are attempting to sell another war. They are building more prisons for me and you to live in. They are recording all of our private data, analyzing it, and sending it to Israel, Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

    So, in my mind, I really don’t want to pay income taxes anymore. I feel like my contributions are fueling an even bigger schizophrenic ponzi scheme. I don’t like it when I am forced to invest in something that I don’t believe in. Maybe I should move to a different country where there is a lower tax rate. Norway is definitely not on my list! They sure do claim to host the happiest people in the world, but maybe their govt simply has more disposable income to spend on marketing.

    In conclusion, I fully support the constitution and it’s amendments. We should keep them updated. It’s a system that has worked for “we the people” for many years… well at least since I started paying to the media. Young people don’t want to a support a govt their government, for obvious reasons: violation of contract without a shadow of a doubt.

    • “Norway is definitely not on my list! They sure do claim to host the happiest people in the world, but maybe their govt simply has more disposable income to spend on marketing.” Norway is a country with the typical Western European social democracy. I think the main reason why it’s doing even better than other countries in this area is because they have a huge amount of oil and gass and only 5 million citizens. The amount of money that comes of these resources can garanty a decent life for everybody.

      Only some over the top American exceptionalism can push people towards your kind of reasoning. They are happier than Americans? There must be some kind of North Korean-style scam! No no. Poverty is lower, crime is lower, education is great for everybody, health care is great for everybody, … Maybe you can find the reason for their happiness somewhere in this list.

      Yet I do agree with at least one paragraph. Everything in the following seems indeed highly problematic to me as well: “However, we deal will instances where things like the Patriot Act get passed which are clear violations the contract. ObamaCare, weighing in at 2.8 million words, is legitimation that goes through even though nobody read it.. They are attempting to sell another war. They are building more prisons for me and you to live in. They are recording all of our private data, analyzing it, and sending it to Israel, Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.”

      One last remark, the Constitution and basically every kind of law is by definition a “binding contract” between the citizens and the country. I just got a ticket for speeding. I can’t say: I’m sorry, but I didn’t sign THIS contract for the law on speeding.

    • It is an agreement between citizens and the government. Not all citizens are taxpayers, which is unfortunate.
      It is amazing to me that among learned people there is even a debate whether a constitution is necessary in government.

      • I’ve never heard a discussion about whether a constitution is necessary in government. So I don’t know if there are huge debates about it. I do know that the status and function is debated (like we are doing right now).

        Well, it’s an agreement between citizens and the government and not all citizens are taxpayers. Sure, but the taxpayers are citizens and even when they’re not, you still are subjected under the law of the country you’re in. So again, asking whether we are in favor of the constitution as a binding contract between taxpayers and government seems obvious and redundant. Maybe it’s was a rhetoric question…

  55. Please excuse me for my writing errors (Hit the send button too quick). I need an editor! “legitimation” should have been “legislation.”

    Anyways, do you guys agree that the constitution should be a “binding contract” between the taxpayers and government? I think yes!

  56. Derik’s really good at getting people to bite on inventive insinuations… I’ve never heard anybody say the constitution isn’t necessary. To be sure, when governments contact political scientists in order to develop government–the first thing they develop is a constitution. You know, Larry Bartels (2008) shows that ideological progressives and ideological conservatives often misrepresent and misunderstand “the other side.”

    The idea of social contract means different things to ideological progressives and conservatives, which is why they really misunderstand (and sometimes hate) each other.

    For the ideological progressive, the government built the US Highway system (under IKE, a Republican) which connects all businesses. As the people’s tax money creates the roads for the businesses and their success, the businesses also have embedded commitments to the people to reduce inequality and increase social justice. Progressives see American inequality (we’re #1 in developed countries), and call for change in order to help form a middle class.

    For the ideological conservative, inequality will always exist, and government cannot tell an entrepreneur what s/he can or cannot do in order to succeed. Thanks for building the highway, but I could have done it myself. And don’t worry about corruption, because conservatives are the most morally responsible people. Conservatives see the American government taking money from their taxes, and call for a reduction of taxes so they have more $ in their pocket.

    THEN, progressives interpret the constitution their way, and conservatives interpret it their way…all too often, they both make stuff up about their opponent to get their way–because if you don’t see it “their way” then you’re not one of them (especially true for RINOs–republicans in name only).

    Independents generally see how the economy is doing at election time, and then vote based on their pocketbook–according to reality, and not ideology.

    So, yeah, Dave, I like having a constitution that tells us the basics…but keep in mind that, in the USA, there has been more than 200 years of legislative, presidential, and judicial development. Each of these areas are specializations which would take me 20 years to really conquer. In the mean time, let’s remain with an open mind.

  57. I like Dave’s “binding contract” and John’s “social contract”, although Dave’s “binding” has more teeth. 🙂 Most contracts, like the Constitution, are pretty clear in their intent and meaning.

  58. Yeah, when I call it “binding,” I am trying to say that there should be a penalty for violations. If they can’t hold up their end of the deal, then I shouldn’t have to support them. Let me keep my money while you sort things out.

    Philosoful, that’s some interesting information about Norway. My argument about not wanting to live there was based entirely on their their income tax rate. I hear it’s around 65% of income.

    Speaking of Constitutions, Brazil (population 198.7 million) did not have one until about 25 years ago. Perhaps this is because their country never went though a “revolutionary war” like the US did. On the other hand, one could argue that Brazil has more “Big Government” and inequity problems then what we have in the United States. Riots in Brazil recently occurred when their govt raised the bus fares. Of course these riots were not just about the bus fares, it was about their people being very angry at their “Big Government.” Needless to say, Brazil is not on the top of my list of places to live either … but I did really enjoy my time spent in Rio de Janeiro 🙂

    Anyone up for a Caipirinha?

  59. Interestingly, Norway just voted in a conservative government.

    Progressive-liberals talk the talk, but they eventually go broke because they run out of spending other people’s money and those with money, flee to avoid higher tax rates. Just look at Detroit. Look at GM and Chrysler. They all went through or are going through bankruptcy. The US in the first time in history was downgraded in its credit ratings.

  60. Good! Okay, now that I am all done venting… Let’s chat about some potential solutions. What if we could give citizens the right to “consume with a conscience,” similar to what the Recovery Pledge business model is trying to do.

    I’d like for taxpayers to be able to choose which department their money goes to. I’d also like to know just how many federal government programs are out there. Here’s an example of where I’m coming from…

    Let’s assume that I make $100,000 per year, and $30,000 goes to the federal government. What if, when I file my federal taxes, their are some options for me to choose which government programs my tax dollars go to! They could put it next to the checkbox that asks me if I want to donate $3 to the presidential campaign.

    For instance, I could insist that 100% of my contributions go to the department of Education. What if everyone who filed their taxes got to choose where their money went? Do you think we would notice a different result in allocations? I’d love to see the real numbers.

    However, I see one small flaw in my plan. If it actually works, the IRS will be likely to lose all funding… and then we’ll need a new place to fill out the form where we can “consume with a conscience.”

  61. Recovery Pledge: “Just a quick note that the Recovery Pledge crowd-funding campaign has only 7 days left!
    You can support us for as little as $10!”

    I supported with $25. Dave, I do think Recovery Pledge is an example of our future economy, and I hope Chris isn’t a couple decades ahead of the curve–and it can get going very soon! It is a viable platform for economic stability without government bailouts; rather, cooperation by people to support each other.

  62. NIce. Rand Paul had some choice words yesterday concerning the war on drugs and de facto racial inequality. It was right on. I literally applauded.

    But I also have some contentious disagreements with Rand Paul. For me, higher education and healthcare are fundamental rights in a well developed rich nation–we should have that in the USA.

    Obamacare was a step in the right direction. Around 2025, America will need to double whammy Obamacare so that all adults have “good coverage” at a reasonable price. And Dave, good coverage means not feeling pinched because you went to see the doctor.

    Higher education should have a very low financial burden on the individual. As a pragmatist, I’d be willing to implement suggestions from all sides of the political spectrum until this injustice is made right. Our society should support the benefit of people to get smarter in the field of his or her choice. Like, you need an education for that, and when you use that education on the ground, then the economy is a smarter place.

    Actually, that’s pretty much my campaign. On most other issues, I probably have a good understanding of where Rand Pail is coming from, and, as Huckleberry Finn says, “I’m agreed.”

  63. Right on. Glad to hear you support some of Rand Paul’s arguments.

    I agree that some of ObamaCare has a few steps in the right direction… but It is also plagued with some steps in the wrong direction….
    It’s another avenue for the govt to fight their “war on information.” It’s just another way they can get us to give up more liberty for “security.” They get scared when they don’t every little detail about our lives.

    This guy is pretty cool:—robert-reich-extended-interview-pt–1

    He gives me good reason to be not be so “cynical.”

  64. By the way, i completely disagree with your views on Higher Education. “Affordable PHD’s for everyone” is the way I see it. There comes a point where the taxpayer can’t pay for everyone. There comes a point where too much equality is unsustainable. We need to be strategic with our investments.

    • The taxpayer should pay for everyone not paying taxes……… health care, dental care, higher education, transportation, housing, internet, cell phones, food and drink. 🙂 It’s only fair!

    • Finally, I would change the “if you make over $400,000 a year then you get taxed 100% over that amount”, to “if you make over $50,000 a year then everything over that is taxed at 100%.” No one needs to make over $50,000. That would be rapacious capitalism………………….

    • True. But if the main argument against good education funded by government is money, you might ask yourself how the richest country in the world can’t pay something that so many other Western countries can.

      • since the national debt in the US is horrible, we seem to be forced to either not have the government change the rusty status quo without either massively cutting the military, or dramatically raising taxes on something… both of which are not viable solutions.

        Perhaps a carbon tax to pay for higher education is a good idea when the median voter makes $55,000 a year (I.e., Reich), but that progressive overhaul would appear as a revolution to most conservatives–one in which they lost.

        The solution could come from (small r) republicans. They would pay their employees more according to profits, which would increase household income in strong industry sectors. It’s also a good idea to create more 2 year technical programs for the average Joe, which could be sponsored by the industries in need of specialized employees. The employees, say, might sign a 2 year work contract for the 2 years education with a stipend. This is an acceptable solution, but would need a campaign behind it in order for democracy to work its magic.

      • “They would pay their employees more according to profits” Ever since the crisis started, I’ve seen the complete opposite move. Companies shut down their factories even though they are making billions. The same companies give a higher dividend than ever before.
        I look at the stats of income out of capital and labor, a stat indicating the growing gab between rich and poor, I see big factories closing in Belgium even though they make tons of money, politicians screeming for more flexibility even though at this moment it’s already virtually impossible to get a (semi)steady job which effects families and stress, ….

        For as long Belgian politics is competing with France, Germany, Poland, Thailand, USA, … there is no way to really handle this growing old school captial/labor gab. And it’s exactly this divide, this tension that is central in our current day problems.

        When it comes to education, the USA is still the richest country. Of course, even the richest country must make decisions. If you prefer to invade the half of the Middle East that you haven’t payed a visit yet or go for another round in Latin America, instead of investing in education, than that’s a political decision.

      • A lot of your last statement tells me that America’s classic liberals… they ideologically won’t pay for other people to go to school. So by your comments, seems like America won’t be solving that soon.

  65. let’s recall that I’m running for President as a Republican… no, Bill Gates still gets to become a billionaire Derik. Rapacious capitalism means, roughly, that the few owners in charge of profits take them all for themselves, in a culture where people are expendable and should be paid the lowest amount possible so that the few owners can become richer than their richest neighbors–just for the pride of being the richest in richnessville.

    Like I said earlier, I never gave you my tax reform policy… I don’t think the government should regulate by maximum redistribution efforts. Geez, most Democrats don’t even believe in that… but your definition is like a sledge-hammer which plays whack a mole for any reform efforts.

    About education, I want our Albert Einstein type kids to be able to get an education without accruing a few hundred thousand dollars in debt–so that they aren’t seriously disinterested in education because of the “de facto debt policy” in place. There are plenty of free market mechanism to help achieve this…. ways other than the national government paying for it…. like Robert Reich’s carbon tax, or Robert Reich’s student loan reform program (like read Aftershock). By the way, Robert Reich is a progressive.

    Seems like Dave’s probably an independent, pragmatist, will some strong libertarian tendencies.

  66. Well said PP. I agree with your description of me! (although I had to look up pragmatist in the dictionary) Thank you. This will give me something nice to say when people ask me about politics.

    Here’s my thoughts on what you said about education:
    1)Who are you to judge who the “Albert Einstein type kids” are? Do only these types of kids get affordable education?
    2)What are these free market mechanisms that you speak of? If they’re free, then why does the national government need to be there?

    I mostly think about this though…
    Would a republican vote for this? why or why not?

    • 1) the “Albert Einstein type kids” are decided by the “Albert Einstein type kids.” I’m saying that it’s a reality that some really smart lower-middle class, middle-class kids are not going to reach their potential because they would rather start earning money, rather than get educated with a lot of debt. This is inefficient for all Americans! I’m saying that reality shouldn’t be that way. I think that everyone has a choice to get educated–an individual choice–that shouldn’t depend on how much you are willing to go into debt. I feel like I’m living in the economic times of 1776.

      2) not saying the national government needs to be there. Like, under economic gardening: a local government might help foster economic development for their residents. So, they might strategically seek out new job growth areas by linking business educational/training needs, small community colleges, and local people who need a better job. See, you don’t need the national government to get into any of that… of course, that education may not be for Albert Einstein type kids who want to create entirely new business platforms. And I don’t want that kid to miss higher education!

      By the way, what’s the percentage of people who are nominated for the Nobel without a phd compared to a phd? You see what I mean? Nobel winners make a big difference for everyone, but without the most developed education and guidance, s/he would likely never have created the good which won him or her the Nobel.

  67. As being born part Norwegian, I am somewhat ashamed that President Obama received a Nobel Peace prize when he had done nothing……….. To fund education, we need lower loan rates and tax credits. We need colleges and universitys to charge less. I say more online colleges and less professor pay 🙂

    • Derik, yea, I disagree…haha. I think that 6% interest on student education loans is downright shameful. But even if the rate was at zero, the costs are still harming the American society. The costs are so high that bright kids don’t follow their dreams, rather find three part time jobs to pay the bills. To me, this is stupid.

      Tax credits for students? They don’t make enough income to pay taxes.
      Tax credits for parents? What about the kids with parents making less than $60 with four kids…none of them can afford the state’s best university, like Michigan State. So your solutions are not the cure.

      Americans have always been good at innovation with responsible risk. Higher education needs to be fixed.

  68. I don’t like his assassination list either…
    “The definition of an extreme authoritarian is one who is willing blindly to assume that government accusations are true without any evidence presented or opportunity to contest those accusations. This memo – and the entire theory justifying Obama’s kill list – centrally relies on this authoritarian conflation of government accusations and valid proof of guilt.”

  69. PP, In a previous post, you admitted that govt doesn’t know what best for the entrepreneur. However, your solutions for higher education is the opposite. Why does the govt know whats best for the student?

    “The costs are so high that bright kids don’t follow their dreams.”

    When thinking about public services in general… I tend to view education and health care services to be very similar (both require funds from the taxpayer, and portray the image that the govt know what’s best for everyone……. basically –> a pipe dream). Why does the US still give agricultural subsides to farmers if they are economically inefficient? I wonder if taxpayers actually had a chance to give input in regards to bailing out the banks, or the auto industry.

    Philosoful, it sounds like you have taken some courses in Macro Economics when you say “stats of income out of capital and labor.” Why are the Belgian companies closing down if they are making profits? That doesn’t make sense to me. Were these shut downs purely political?

    Which brings me back to our point… The government doesn’t know what’s best for us!

    It seems that the root problem to our higher education / health care (relative to income) system is HIGH COSTS. It would be nice if our grand idea of capitalism (see invisible hand) could take it’s course in on our health & education industry. Would I be wrong to blame the govt for making things worse?

    Tech companies can find ways to bring doctors and patients closer together, at a cheaper cost – without all the govt mandates! The same goes for education.

    We, the taxpayers, should never be forced into paying for inefficiency. Taxpayers should never be forced into commerce. Some students go out and a get a degree… only to find that they didn’t want that. Who’s going to pay the bill for all these new professors?

    The internet is a good and affordable place for education. It will not be a good place for education if censorship of an authorization power takes it over!

    I’m a big fan of liberty and democracy. Realistically, I don’t believe that the US has either of these traits anymore. I think the US is headed on a downward spiral. I’d like to defund the hell out of it… but then I’d face prison charges.

    • I agree with Dave on this. My question is: why is a college education so expensive? The solution is not pouring more tax-payer money at it. Google that question and see some of the answers.

  70. I’m definitely for the idea of affordable health care and/or higher education. My main concern is govt intervention. Some programs are good, but some are bad. We need to have some “due process” on the bad ones.

    I agree with Ron Paul’s ideology of “non interventionism.” Keep the govt out 🙂

  71. At one point Philosiful was right: you’re talking right past me.

    Dave (1) as a political candidate, I personally think all bright kids should live in a society where the can reach their potential. This means that I am in favor of changing the status quo from huge inequality of education and healthcare (usually because of money)–to many new avenues. I never said those avenues should be the national government. I, since the earliest comments, said that I’m not for that. I think the real huge changes should come from non-profits, not big government.

    (2) you’re right, our government doesn’t know what’s best–but now there are at least 3 options for us to choose from! There is your option (and Deriks): keep government out of it–defund it and scrap it (which isn’t a new phenomenon at all). Then there is my option: keep taxpayer dollars out of it but have democratic officials incentivize non-profits in education and healthcare to take huge leaps. And there is the Democrats multiple responses from which you are predisposed to utterly oppose, which often includes redistribution of wealth via taxes from the rich to the poor–into the education and healthcare systems for the poor and middle-class… to live better than the conservative status quo.

    The internet is a good and affordable place for education–if employers recognize it. Like at an interview for a computer programmer, the person being interviewed is often asked to solve a few problems as part of the process. Maybe internet education is the way to go for people who can’t afford it, but–coming from a higher education teacher of 6 years–face-to-face instruction should not be underrated. I mean, there’s a difference in me listening to an online lecture from Yale (google that), and being a PhD student at Yale.

  72. Well said guys! PP, I agree with you on (1) because there’s nothing there to disagree with. If your running for president, you’ll need to actually say something of substance!

    Luckily, I see some info in (2) to get the conversation rolling… “incentivize non-profits in education and healthcare to take huge leaps..” How does that work? Where do the incentives come from? How big of a leap is a “huge leap.” Do you cancel the incentives if the program doesn’t work as intended? Is it easy for the bright Einsteins out there to file for a non-profit these days?

    You are right – I usually do utterly oppose every democratic idea. I think this is because I feel that the “Robin Hood” ways (steal from the rich, give to the poor) of doing things doesn’t apply anymore. The US has proven that it is terrible at stealing from the middle east (see last 12 years of stealing from the middle east). The US can’t steal from the big corporations either, because corporations are not the tyrants anymore. The IRS, NSA, TSA, etc… and all the other constitution-offending agencies ARE the tyrants.

    It’s okay for corporations to fail because people have the right to NOT support them. If I’m worried about Facebook or Google abusing my private data… I can use a different service. On the contrary, US citizens must support their federal government, even if they work for a corporation overseas. They have to actually renounce their citizenship (before they start working overseas) in order to avoid supporting federal programs.
    (see where they say any US citizen working abroad must pay taxes to IRS)

    From what I hear… The govt passed some heavy regulations on corporations since the Enron Scandal. In light of that… The SEC does actually make some sound decisions. However, the problem I see is that the govt took things much further. They didn’t know where to stop. They exploited every crisis they could in order to get more advantage. They took it upon themselves to record everything. The govt works very hard to eliminate black markets ( ) They do this through ongoing, intrusive surveillance. Everyone making “illegal” money go to prison. Taxpayers fund those prisons. Again, the problem is that the “powers at be” responsible for convicting prisoners… are the same powers that keep of the evidence in secrecy. Zero checks and balances.

    Now that we all the internet, all of educated in the world are connected. Authoritarian powers are weakened from this. The NSA is making an illegal effort to own all the knowledge in the world. We all know that knowledge is power. Ongoing surveillance is equivalent to a God-like power. NOBODY want’s an authoritarian govt out there spying on everyone.

    They hurt you when they can (
    ), and/or you have to play by their rules in ultimate secrecy. On top of that, where are they when you need some help?? I would expect to see “Blank stares from broken men, so withered from the poisons, they can’t remember when, there were once honest reasons.”

    Happy day… I heard there was a govt shutdown! ( ) too bad it was only 15% of the government. We can do better than that. The only thing I think people actually care about on that 15% is National Parks… and those can be privatized. In light of National Parks… environmental law is good. Nobody want’s to teach their kids not to swim in the river because it’s polluted with “who knows what!?”.

    Back to education, looks like Clinton is trying to do something there! This is my idea of what a govt run education system looks like…

    Well, I think that’s enough outta me for now 🙂

  73. Oops I forgot to make a conclusion!

    In conclusion, the govt is guilty of taking crooked paths to get extra cash. A shutdown is self explanatory:
    It’s important to note that debt isn’t always “bad.” Most economists look at the Debt/GDP ratio. However, it seems to me that this is why they keep fighting for more GDP… but for the wrong reasons. Just because the middle class doesn’t know what’s going on…… doesn’t mean it’s okay to steal from them. Let’s scrap the govt up, and throw it out! We, the people, deserve better! Enough is enough 🙂

  74. I’d be much happier if the shutdown was responsible! Workers should not be furloughed by republicans who want to shut-down Obamacare (which I would argue is not wise)–so they; the House Republicans, are shutting down the government… that is irresponsible, considering the list from the NY Times above.

    Cut government jobs by putting them into for-profit or non-profit sectors….self-sustaining non-profits… here’s a paragraph from my dissertation, talking about non-profits:

    In the first decade of the 21st century, Fair Trade goods grew exponentially (Nicholls 2010). Fair Trade is “an agent of institutional entrepreneurship…. A new set of transformational meanings to extant exchange models… to roll back commodity fetishism and reconnect consumers and producers… a form of social entrepreneurship… as consequence of the interplay of cultural changes and social structures at the field frame level” (Ibid, 241-242). Consumer awareness of the Fair Trade mark in England (i.e. FLO), for instance, grew from 20% of the population in 2002 to 70% of the population in 2008 (Ibid, 245). Indeed, by 2008, 70% of consumers had purchased a certified Fair Trade product at least once. Finally, Fair trade is part of the larger system of trade called ethical consumption.

  75. PP, nice article on the shutdown. I can believe it. When you think about it… It’s NOT really even close to be termed a “shut-down.” It sounds more like “smoke and mirrors!” I agree… it is irresponsible. But let me ask you… what did you expect from these guys?? They are running on inefficiency. This “shutdown” sounds like normal propaganda to me. Anyways, can you please send me your tax proposal? I would like to read it. I have not seen that Colbert yet. I will watch it soon. In the mean time, I plan to vote to that elected representatives lose their pay!!! Good stuff.

    Here’s some more of my general thoughts..

    To stay innovative: WE NEED TO DEFY THE LAWS OF TRADITION. If the private sector can do things better…. (FedeX vs. US Postal Service, Disney vs. National Parks, Non-profit vs. Big Government ;), then the private sector should DO IT! It’s better that way…. small governments are good.

    How do you think about the following statement?
    If law reinforcement technology goes to the point where there is no need for a detective anymore (computers see and fine all criminals), then the penalty for committing those crimes should be decreased. Where do the checks and balances come into place?

    Hopefully this minor “shutdown” (not really a shutdown at all) of the govt will help them to recalibrate the machine. On the other hand, It seems that that they are always trying to “ice skate uphill.” We live in the optimality of the soft despotism! Things get worse. Laws get stricter and more cumbersome through time. In the end… you are left with NOTHING. To be clear, Nobody want’s to live in a country that chops your hand off for stealing! Does that really exist??? I think so 🙂

    It is true… I talk a lot of trash about the US fed govt but I must admit that I’ve seen worse places in the world. Sometimes I struggle with the assumption that our “young generation” is @ full-capacity of disappointment towards the fight for basic freedom. By freedom, i mean civil rights and civil liberties. We are angered that we still have to fight for this s@#$

    Oh well…. Who gives damn…. this world will be “industrialized” and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. I don’t like the argument of “Well if we don’t do it… then somebody else will…” (in regards to wiretapping the public without a warrant). It reminds me of the argument “If you got nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about.”(also in regards to more wiretapping) Both are bullshit arguments!!! 🙂 I could go on for hours why they are flawed… but i don’t want cause any gnarly waves on this-here pipeline 🙂

    In conclusion, I copy/pasted some Jimi Hendrix lyrics…
    “If you wanna be free
    Come on along with me
    Don’t mess with the man
    He’ll never understand
    I said find yourself first
    And then your talent
    Work hard in your mind
    So you can come alive
    You beter prove to the man
    You’re as strong as him
    Cause in the eyes of god
    You’re both children to him”

    Additional readings:





  76. Jimmy had it right!

    YOU: “If law reinforcement technology goes to the point where there is no need for a detective anymore (computers see and fine all criminals), then the penalty for committing those crimes should be decreased. Where do the checks and balances come into place?”

    Well, if we live in a republic–which we do, you and I, then the local associations and groups of people will make sure that very few rules apply to that type of law, which are specifically defined, and universally enforced. In a society filled with people who think about politics and vote in fair elections, then different groups will be able to go to different government agencies to stop abuse. This is called “venue shopping.” Like, an environmentalist has used the courts recently, exactly because they were not represented in congress.

    My tax plan is a couple books away from my dissertation, which I need to get back to… nice post!

    You should read Thoreau’s On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. just sayin

  77. Thanks for the compliments PP! I look forward to reading your tax plan. I check out Thoreau right now.

    I’d like to make two more comments about why I think the US govt needs to stay off the internet.



    Conclusion: they will continue to waste billions of dollars on failed IT projects. They simply won’t be able to find the right resources because nobody wants to work for them anymore. Economics 101… supply and demand.

    Okay, I’m taking a break from the blog for a while!! Ttyl 🙂

  78. Pingback: “Guardians of res publica Annual Prize”–2013 | Political Pipeline

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