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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   19.09.08 4:35

Social security shouldn't be viewed as a black hole in the budget, but an opportunity to improve things. The numbers generated shouldn't be looked at in woe but as a starting point for priorities in local and national government. Too many unemployed? Look at the causes and tackle them. Too many incapacitated? Target rehabilitation improvements to get people back to work. Social security is a wealth of data waiting to be mined by a proactive goverment. All it needs is a proactive government.
Defense spending could be cut by increased cross national procurement programs, like the JSF but more so.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   19.09.08 5:42

That's the right sentiment. Social security was set up as a sefety net for everybody who lost everything in the depression. It started off well, but without proper checks and balances it got abused. In today's information age it wouldn't be too hard to get it under control again (as long as we can keep the conservatives and their "creative financing" out of the cookie jar.) Then it would make a great data base for, as you said, a proactive government. As for defense spending, I still like the idea of consolidating all the branches under one umbrella, considering the extent of crossover there already is today.
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Commodore

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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   19.09.08 9:06

davamanra wrote:
Even if we were to have maintained the budget surplus that we had in 2000 and took that 277 billion dollars to pay down the debt, it still would have taken at least 30 years to pay off the national debt. Instead of doing the fiscally responsible thing and maintain the revenue that we were bringing in, tax cuts were issued thus ensuring that the next year there would be no surplus.

The thing about those tax cuts is they actually increased government revenue significantly. It is a shame that non-defense related government expenditures could not be reduced in tandem with those tax cuts, but its hard to get reelected by telling people they can't get "free" stuff by picking others pockets in the ballot box.

Social Security, intended to be a source of income for those who can no longer work (be it those injured or retirees) by taking a portion of current workers salaries on the promise that those losing wages can do the same from future generations, is fatally flawed. It requires that there be significantly more people paying into the system than collecting from it. When instituted in the 1930's, that worked fine. Now, with the Post-war baby boomers looking to retire, we are threatened with the prospect of a 1 to 1 payer to payee situation. Clearly, under this kind of demographic, we need to take a much closer look at the expenses of retirees, and what the governments role is providing for them. Health care is probably the single biggest, property tax come in second, energy is a quickly rising 3rd. As a society we can do something about those. But if you want to spoil the grand kids, your on your own.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   19.09.08 10:38

This pension bomb is really a figment of political cowardice. When Bismark introduced a state pension at 65 it was based on actuarial tables which told him it would cost virtually nothing because the vast majority of people would die before they reached that age.
The retirement age is meant to be set based on actuarial data, as life expectancy grows, so should the retirement age. Now you can argue how many years of retirement people should expect, or what a basic living pension should be, but a functioning pension system should never be faced by rapidly growing costs. If it is, it's only because you've elected politicians who have deferred the recalculation of the pensionable age for purely political reasons.
It's alot like property tax in that way.
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Commodore

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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   19.09.08 10:46

It isn't so much cowardice as it is the cold hard truth that Baby Boomers will vote out anyone who tells them they can't retire until 70 now.

I think that's why its called the "Me Generation".
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Commodore

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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   19.09.08 11:06

Replacing Social Security as a retirement plan, along with Medicaid/Care with an effective health care infrastructure will eliminate a massive taxpayer burden and replace it with something everyone will use.

More importantly, as infrastructure is there and built it doesn't matter who actually fills the bed, its cost doesn't multiply based on how many people are in the system, so it not as vulnerable demographic shifts.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   19.09.08 12:38

Cut and dry this country is operating on a deficit because of lost revenue due to tax cuts. If someone can please show me hard figures that dispute this, I'll be glad to listen. This is about as ridiculous a concept as trickle-down economics; at least as presented by Ronald Reagan.
THe premise: If you inject money into the economy at the top of the economic food chain through the use of tax cuts, it will trickle down and stimulate the economy. There has been one important factor that was conveniently left out. The top of the economic food chain is not national, its international, and if you inject money into the economy at that point, without condition, as was done with tax cuts, the money will trickle OUT, not down. The idea was to stimulate a recessed US economy. The top of the chain got the money and you don't have to be an economist to figure out that you will get a better return on your investment if you invest your money into an economy that's experiencing economic growth rather than an economy that's in recession. this way the rich got richer and the recession lasted as long as it would have without the "help" it got and the government lost more revenue, thus more deficit.
If however the money had been injected into the economy CONDITIONALLY as it was by that "liberal" FDR, through the form of government contracts, then the money would have stayed within the country and stimulated the economy. In this respect Trickle down economics has SOME validity, but only in recessed times.
If you want to stimulate the economy ALL the time then what you do is inject money into the economy at the BOTTOM of the food chain, the consumer base. If you increase the income of the base, they will buy more, if they buy more, the economy with have to supply more and produce more. In order to supply and produce more they will have to employ more thus increasing the income of the consumer base even more and of course they buy even more and so on and so on. Trickle UP economics.
As for reducing government that was done. The reductions came in the form of reducing the size of numerous regulatory and safety agencies. Leading to bridge collapses, mine cave-ins and the current sub-prime mortgage "unpleasantness" that is going to cost this country a disgusting amount of money that could have been used to fix social security. Sure let's keep on cutting the budgets of government regulatory agencies, but award huge no- bid contracts the the former employer of our vice president. Yeah, he's a REAL patriot!
Between the tax cuts and reckless spending of Reagan and Bush Jr. this country is 9.5 trillion dollars in the hole. The surplus that we enjoyed in 2000 might just about cover the interest alone on the national debt, but let's just keep on cutting into our revenue generating system to the benefit of those who can afford to pay it the most.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   19.09.08 17:59

The war didn't help, and that cost about as much as the tax cuts. However given the deficit has probably just double overnight by taking on the toxic debt, the issue has become somewhat academic.
Though you didn't mention voodoo economics.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   19.09.08 21:08

The national debt was already huge before this subprime mortage stuff, but taking on that debt as well certainly is destructive. In fact the deregulation aspect of voodoo economics is responsible for a great amount of the debt as well as a large factor in this sub prime crisis, as well as the savings and loan crisis. The governemnt ended up having to bail out the savings and loans and now the mortage industry to the tune of hundreds of times more that the deregulation saved.
Regulation of the economy prevents the economy from becoming too volatile. In a recession the government can stimulate the economy in a controled manner through contracts, (granted, SDI did stimulate the economy, but the government accumulated a huge debt by losing revenue) This is something the Laffer Curve doesn't take into consideration. The conservative deifying of free enterprise and villifying of government is unjustified.
I don't discount all of voodoo economics. The reduction in inflation was a good thing, but the long term effects of operating a government with a deficit are clearly evident.
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Commodore

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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   20.09.08 9:32

The danger of trickle up economics is that becomes a bribe for votes. And its a poor investment, cause its cheaper to just not take the money in the first play.

Infrastructure projects are quite useful though.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   20.09.08 22:03

And trickle down economics is a bribe for campaign financing. If you TRULY consider human nature in macroeconomics, trickle up economics is at least consistent.

At least we agree on infrastructure!
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Commodore

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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   23.09.08 14:48

Without the investment in jobs that trickle-down provides, there will be no money to sustain the consumer spending that may be the temporary result of trickle up.

You can give consumers an allowance, but once they spend it, they'll come back for more.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   23.09.08 15:53

Trickle down doesn't sustain the jobs either. Without a market with disposable income, the results are temoporary as well. The difference is with trickle down everybody up the chain gets their cut BEFORE the consumer base gets it. Even with conditional trickle down the raw material provider gets his cut, then the manufacturer, then the wholesaler, then the retailer. Even if all of these levels were to maintain a fair profit margin it would still take a period of time before the trickle down effect would take place, but in trickle up the effect is almost immediate. So the question is which is more desireable, recovering from a recession in a year with trickle up or recovering in two years with trickle down.
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Commodore

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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   23.09.08 16:25

You assume that investors who are the first to directly benefit from trickle down are going to just going to take that ball and go home, but consumers are going to spend, spend, spend.

What they just pay off some bills?
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   23.09.08 16:36

With investors the option is available to them to either take the ball and go home, go to another country and play ball there or to allow some of it to trickle down. In the case of the consumer base, if they don't spend, then the money they pay on bills gets put back into the system to be used by the company to be used for new projects, or if it is put into savings then the banks have more money to loan out, all of which stimulate the economy. With trickle down the "taking the ball home" doen't do anything for the economy and taking the ball to another country stimulates THEIR economy but leaves ours holding the bag.
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Commodore

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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   23.09.08 16:54

Let me specify the difference between bills in terms of service and debt. If your paying for your cable, your paying for services, which companies profit for providing, but are not out anything if you don't get the service.

If your paying off debt, like your mortgage, your paying someone back for money they already spent on you, and profit if measured over the course of decades.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   23.09.08 17:05

If the cable company has zero customers they make zero profit. They are most definitely out if the don't have their consumer base.
In paying off a debt the money is turned right around and lent to somebody else. Again with nobody to lend money to the lending company there is no profit off of the interest. Over the course of decades a cycle is established where as payments from a hundred people come in and that money is then turned around and lent to another customer perpetuating the cycle.
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Samson
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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   04.10.08 21:30

To begin as a city state would be rather effective, as it's modest size would permit direct democracy, a rather more liberal and egalitarian alternative to the representative democracies common to the West today.

Of course there are certain values which have to be understood before the state is created (out of nothing or from a previous state). These values will inherently limit liberality, being that they will create the justification for the society, the infrastructure of it, the population of it, much less the laws and type of education present. And just as values will affect all of these, so will all of these return upon the values to alter them. Too much control will prove to be a failure, as it tries to prevent the inevitable exchange between these two parties, and can do so only by despotic police brutality against change or radicalism.

The alternative, I suppose, to a police state, is to create a state in which people do not have values. This is the way that a nation can become brutal and large. One might compare the Soviet Union to the United States for an example of each camp.

At any rate, I think that personal satisfaction is a complicated thing, and I do not think that liberality is of as great importance as an imposed system which promotes critical thought and recurrent radical sociopolitical upheaval. A society with constant rallies and discussion will be one which does not stagnate in its stale values, but also does not inflate itself toward inevitable collapse.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   05.10.08 13:23

Samson wrote:
To begin as a city state would be rather effective, as it's modest size would permit direct democracy, a rather more liberal and egalitarian alternative to the representative democracies common to the West today.

Of course there are certain values which have to be understood before the state is created (out of nothing or from a previous state). These values will inherently limit liberality, being that they will create the justification for the society, the infrastructure of it, the population of it, much less the laws and type of education present. And just as values will affect all of these, so will all of these return upon the values to alter them. Too much control will prove to be a failure, as it tries to prevent the inevitable exchange between these two parties, and can do so only by despotic police brutality against change or radicalism.

The alternative, I suppose, to a police state, is to create a state in which people do not have values. This is the way that a nation can become brutal and large. One might compare the Soviet Union to the United States for an example of each camp.

At any rate, I think that personal satisfaction is a complicated thing, and I do not think that liberality is of as great importance as an imposed system which promotes critical thought and recurrent radical sociopolitical upheaval. A society with constant rallies and discussion will be one which does not stagnate in its stale values, but also does not inflate itself toward inevitable collapse.

There of course will be the establishment of certain arbitrary values and legal boundaries, but these don't have to be carved in stone and should be amended as necessary.
Given today's transportation, communication and information technologies we can go with a popular vote system as electoral votes would be unnecessary. I think a representative system is still a good idea as it is unrealistic to have the entire population vote on every issue. A more strict list of requirements should be put in place to be able to run for public office and most definitely stiff punishment for violation of rules and ethics.
As for personal values, having talked to people from other countries that are more permissive than ours in key areas, the answer it seems to me is permissiveness with regulation.
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Redsand11j



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   05.10.08 16:25

Don't forget strict term limits: Maybe no more than 10 years in any one office.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   05.10.08 23:20

Redsand11j wrote:
Don't forget strict term limits: Maybe no more than 10 years in any one office.

Good point. Considering the amount of damage Dubya has done in just eight years, I would even go with less. Perhaps two year terms and no more than six years total.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   06.10.08 5:13

Term limits do as much harm as good, they're only really of benefit in immature democracies. Term limits politically neuter any government faced with trying to govern in the home stretch.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   06.10.08 14:13

There have been a lot of incumbent congressmen and senators that have simply stayed in office because nobody wanted to deal with the unknown and these individuals have accumulated a lot of power and influence that can stifle the legislative process. They have lost all sense of representing their constituents and instead pander to lobbyists. Introducing fresh perspectives and new ideas will keep the politicians as well as the voters on their toes.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   06.10.08 14:22

There are a vast number of congressmen and senators that are long term incumbents because American is, for the most part, devisively either red or blue and there is at most only about a third of each house which is ever competitive ina any given election, exacerbated by the power to redistrict lying in political hands resulting in rapant jerimandering to absurd lengths. You may find these people are the same ones you were talking about. This is a product of American politics, not term length.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   06.10.08 14:52

I hope you're not comparing the US Congress to the the House of Lords/House of Commons system! Talk about needing a major restructuring!
Granted there is a lot of devisively red or blue districts and states, but the incumbents that are in these districts or states are in many cases so locked in, that they are running for reelection unchallenged. With term limits, fresh people with fresh ideas, even if they're from the same party, get into office. Yes it is probable that some jerks can get elected, but as I stated in an earlier post, a strict list of requirements for running for office can be put in place for a clean slate government. Also even if a jerk does get into office, he will only be there for a limited amount of time, so the damage he can do in minimized. Just imagine what would happen if DUBYA got in for a third term!
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   06.10.08 15:59

The thing about Lords/commons system that people forget, is that it actually works very well.
Just to clarify, your motivation to introduce term limits is that American democracy has broken down so much that the only way to oppose an incumbent is to force him to leave by law? I would have thought that if the CSCS ever got to the point were that was a valid reason for a term limit then kicking out incumbents will be the very least of its problems.
DUBYA's polling is almost in negative numbers, if he were running it would look like Nixon '72 in reverse, and surely that would be a more desirable outcome. The only reason America has a Presidential term limit is FDR, and he served three terms for the very simple reason that he was trully the greatest. He is the only president ever to do so, regardless of whether it was legal.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   06.10.08 18:05

It has to do with human nature, the one factor that can't be predicted. The original ideas for the constitution were quite well structured, but the negative aspects of human nature came out. Here are just some of the aspects that caused problems.
The 3/5 rule giving slave owners extra voting power even though slaves were essentially considered property.
The twelfth amendment allowing presidential candidates to choose their vice presidential running mate, creating partisan politics in the executive branch, which, I believe, became a stepping stone leading to the civil war.

If politicians could be trusted to do the job they were elected to do, then I think that term limits would not be necessary, but it has been proven that allowing a person to stay in office too long causes them to lose sight of what's important. There were other presidents who could have run for longer than two terms but simply chose not to. Ulysses Grant could have easily won a third term but he didn't want to. In fact a number of the earliest presidents could have won third terms if they had wanted to run.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   07.10.08 3:50

Grant did try to run a third term but lost the party nomination. He was prevent through the efficient action of democracy.
To be fair, the 3/5 rule was a shitty piece of political reach around when it was written and it was successful at papering over the gapping chasm of American politics for seventy years.
I'm not sure how the twelfth amendment lead to the civil war more than not dealing with slavery from the start did. As far as I understand it, it states that the vp is a distinctly elected position such that it should be possible for say, a McCain-Biden or Obama-Palin outcome.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   07.10.08 15:22

Prior to the twelfth amendment the first runner-up in the Presidential race would be the vice president, so the political views of the presidential candidates could not be too polarized. They would have to pander to the mainstream instead of their party affiliation. With respect to slavery, there wouldn't have been this gaping chasm and most likely slavery would have been peacefully phased out the way it was in Europe.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   07.10.08 15:38

The gaping chasm was the northern abhorance to the slave trade and the southern dependance on it. I don't see how a runner up system would have persuaded the south to initiate a paradym shift in their economic model.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: Clean-Slate Government   07.10.08 16:33

The south was no more dependent on the slave trade than European countries. They just didn't want to give up the large profit margin they were enjoying. It was nothing more than pure greed. In order to cater to the mainstream the candidates would have to look for a middle ground, which in turn would force the south to look for a softer solution for their issues. Would there be slavery biased candidates? Of course, but in order to have a chance in the election they would have to be willing to make more concessions.
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