Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Systemic flaw.

The biggest problem with voting is that people generally go to the polls for one of two reasons: Either to tell other people what to do, or to take their stuff.

The kind of people you'd actually want as neighbors, the kind that aren't a pack of thieving busybodies, either trudge to the ballot box because some half-remembered high school civics teacher told them they were supposed to, or vote by defensive reflex in the hopes that, say, Darth Vader will be a more benign overlord than Cthulhu, or just give the whole thing up as a bad idea and do something productive on election day, like cleaning the gutters.

You can rail against pork until the... er, pigs come home, but the flaw is built into the system. The people most likely to vote in the first place are the ones most easily bribed. You can complain all you want about the ever-burgeoning number of laws but, frankly, if you keep electing lawmakers, guess what's gonna keep getting made?

This is the part of the post where I am, by internet tradition, supposed to offer my brilliant and incredibly simplistic solution to the problem, but you know what? I'm stumped.

60 comments:

Peter said...

Great point, Tam. I suspect the only way to end it is one that will never fly with the welfare class: to make your right to vote contingent upon your being a net contributor to society, in economic terms, rather than a drain upon it.

In other words, if, over the past X number of months/years/whatever, you've paid more into society (in taxes, verifiable charitable contributions, and anything else deemed appropriate) than you've taken out of it (in welfare, Social Security, Medicaid, etc.), you have the right to vote. If you've taken more out than you've contributed, you lose that right.

That's the only way I can think of to stop the people voting themselves bread and circuses - but, like I said, it'll never fly with the welfare class, or with the politicians who depend on that class (and do their damnedest to keep it in being) for their own survival.

*Sigh* . . .

WV: flongl - as in, "Who flongled that crap all over our political system?"

Joseph said...

tell other people what to do

I hate to break this to you, but that's the definition of govern.

So, those that are going to the polls to elect someone who is going to most jive with the way they want the government to tell folks what to do are indeed doing it correctly.

Our problem lies in that government office has been usurped by influence peddlers who sell their influence over what the government does to those with the deepest pockets.

Alan said...

Voting is simply tyranny of the majority. I'd rather see office holders selected by lottery and limited to one term.

Couldn't possibly be worse than what we have now. The jury system uses a lottery and manages to muddle along ok.

Imagine how screwed up things would be if jurors were elected?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

vader2012... yay...

Tam said...

Joseph,

"I hate to break this to you, but that's the definition of govern."

Yeah, but for those of us who run out of governing ideas much past "Don't kill people and... uh... don't take stuff that doesn't belong to you," it gets pretty amazing what other people seem to consider legitimate areas of governance.

Tam said...

Did you know that some people think it a right and meet function of government to pass ordinances telling you that you cannot sleep in your basement?

Boat Guy said...

Naive waif that I am; I go to the polls 'cause here in God's country we actually have people who ARE better than Darth Vader; folks of the "Don't MURDER people and don't take stuff that doesn't belong to you" Party. If nothing else I don't concede the whole process to folks taking the bribe.
It'll also make me feel slightly better if'n we have to take the "ultimate recourse" that I tried to make it work their way ...

Anonymous said...

Basement sleepers are the bane of mankind! Adolf Hitler=The Bunker=Der Keller! See!

How to fix it?

Lots of ideas, some from Libertarian Wookies in Space novelists: House of Repeal, for every law that is passed 5 must be repealed, weigh income tax of individuals and corporations to the spending of your representative, personal accountability for failed laws, inter alia.

Shootin' Buddy

og said...

I got these wooden shoes.

SpeakerTweaker said...

I have, quite many times in political discussion/argument as of late, told the other end that while I do not know the right answer, I can most definitely tell you that what we are doing now is wrong.

Your qualification to identify the problem is not contingent on your ability to provide a solution.

In other words, I know how you feel.



tweaker

Anonymous said...

I was advocating the right to vote be attached to property ownership and military service (all honorably disscharged vets reguardless of property ownership). To avoid disinfranchising people one could buy into a co-op ownership of a neiborhood park or building. Property owners could add there children to there deeds. That might avoid inheritance tax as a bonus. Owning a piece of your neighborhood I think would encourage envolvment in keeping it sane. Maybe.

Revolver Rob said...

My solution is to go to the polls in November, vote, against incumbents that I think are lousy politicians (which is 99% of them). Then I go home and console myself with a gin and tonic.

-Rob

WV: polut, these politicians are polut'ing our country.

aczarnowski said...

After voting against the incumbent (easy since I usually go independent) we go gun shopping on election days. I kinda look forward to them now.

TBeck said...

I agree with Alan; representatives are selected by lottery in a process similar to jury duty. They serve for one year, with room, board, and transportation provided for them along with a reasonable stipend.

Mike said...

Peter almost had it, but it doesn't need to be that complicated.

Resolved: No person shall have a franchise who receives salary or other compensation derived in whole or part from money taken in taxes.

No votes for police officers, teachers, presidents, senators, garbage collectors, social security recipients or users of food stamps (I collected some unemployment this year, so no vote for me... so it goes).

Those who take payment from the public treasury are public servants, and servants don't get a say in how things are run – that is the choice they made.

You may want to make exceptions for police, fire, EMT’s, and military, (things you absolutely do not want privatized) but remember, making exceptions for special pleading is how we got into this mess in the first place, so be careful.

Kevin said...

The problem with "representatives selected by lottery" is that it leaves the career bureaucrats in (essentially) complete control. They're hired, not elected. They know how everything works. They're the ones who actually write the legislation (when it isn't being written by lobbying groups). All the representative has to do is vote.

Nope. In addition to "representative by selection" there needs to be severe punishment to prevent those representatives from voting for bills based on future rewards or outright bribery.

There are other problems as well.

And I have no solutions either.

Stretch said...

Re-establish the following for votes:
1. Property ownership.
2. Literacy tests.

Revise voting to include:
1. Positive ID.
2. Dipping finger in ink to prevent multiple voting. Yes, I'm looking at you Chicago!!

Cries of "Racist!!" in 3,2,1 ...

Don Meaker said...

Deny the vote to Moucher class is one response. Poll tax and property ownership requiremets were past attempts at that. Limited government is another approach. Limiting government to enumerated powers was a past attempt at that. Another approach is required minimums: If the candidate doesn't get 50% of the registered voters, the position remains vacant. If the ballot proposal doesn't get 2/3rds of the registered voters, the measure fails. That way inflation of voter registration rolls has a downside, and staying home to clean the gutters has a upside.

Nathan said...

If you receive any kind of direct welfare payment from the government, that alone should disqualify you from voting. AFDC, food stamps, whatever.

While I think the Starship Troopers approach has merit, simply take the franchise away from people who are inclined to vote themselves bread and circuses, and suddenly things look a lot different.

I'm also dead set against early voting and "vote anywhere" rules. IMHO all the latter does is open the doors to voter fraud. As far as the former goes, if you can't arse yourself to show up on election day, cast an absentee ballot (in person only, at the County Clerk's office, positive ID required). Why should we make it easy for people to vote?

perlhaqr said...

Mike: I'm about to embark upon a career as an EMT, and I'd rather have your system with no exceptions than with them.

I'd get far more out of a system run by people with a financial incentive to limit the scope of government than I ever have out of getting to go down to the elementary school and cast my (basically, lone) vote against all the bond issues and tax increases and Dark Lords of the Sith on the ballot.

Kip Condor said...

Mike almost had it, but it doesn't need to be that complicated.

Resolved: No person shall have a franchise.

No votes for anyone.

No exceptions for police, fire, EMTs, and military, (things I absolutely do want privatized); remember, the idea that some people are fit to govern others is how we got into this mess in the first place, so be careful.

Tam said...

Kip,

That's beautiful in theory, but people sure do like to have governments. It seems to make them happy. How can we let them vent their little governing urge in a safe fashion, and in such a way that it impinges as little as possible on the lives of responsible grownups? Since I can't have utopia, I'll settle for a world where I have to break as few laws as possible.

Boat Guy said...

Bein military I have SERIOUS issues with the Starship Troopers model. Since the military for better or worse still is representative of the electorate writ large (leftist prattle to the contrary) there are plenty of folks whose vote is "bought" and plenty of folks who bought into HopeNChange (dumbasses in other words).

I'd go with having ALL potential electors required to pass the Citizenship test required for naturalization.

Anonymous said...

I sat out the vote in 2008 because I didn't want to lend my endorsement to either one of the statist thugs that were only differentiated by party labels.

I'm going to vote this year because I want to monkey wrench a few incumbents and I want to vote on a few issues that have local government screaming that they can't make do with less.(BS...IMHO)

Then I'm going to come home and have myself a large adult beverage.

Tom

Anonymous said...

I came up with a brilliant model last night after 2,3.. some glasses of wine.

See all those carbon credits and crap, well set a price and then add up ALL the carbon use .gov has Power, fuel, megatonnes of paper, junkets hither and yon...

Now here's the wicked clever part: Price that figure, divide the sum by the numer of politicians and subtract that amount from their salary.

Studies in my head have shown that that by itself would reduce the size of government about 99% ( say 1910 levels) before the damn politicians stopped paying money and broken even.

Kip Condor said...

Tam,

That's beautiful in theory, but people sure do like to have governments.

Sure; it's an irremovable singularity. The idea that there's a "fix" for the voting problem is as misguided as thinking there's a fix for the second law of thermodynamics.

Blackwing1 said...

I wish it were as simple as denying the franchise to those whose trotters are in the public trough, but I fear it wouldn't work. My experience living in the Soviet Socialist State of Minnesnowta indicates that a fair number of idiots, even those being taxed heavily on their honestly-made incomes, will STILL vote to fund their charitible impulses with someone ELSE's money.

They never see things like the destruction of families that they create, and the concept of "lost opportunity cost" goes right past them.

I'm in the process of re-reading "Shrugged" for the nth time, and I hadn't realized..."it's a COOKBOOK!!!" It seems like the statist/collectivists are using it as an instruction manual, rather than the prophetic doomsaying that it is.

Tam said...

Blackwing1,

"I'm in the process of re-reading "Shrugged" for the nth time, and I hadn't realized..."it's a COOKBOOK!!!""

Ell-Oh-Ell! :D

Blackwing1 said...

And I have to throw in one of my favorite Heinlein quotes:

"Political tags—such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal conservative, and so forth—are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort."

Bram said...

My simplistic solution: Pretend that the Constitution means what is says. Particularly the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

Anonymous said...

Throw out the republic.

Establish a benevolent monarchy.

All Hail Queen Tamara I!!

Has as much chance of working as anything else and would be far more entertaining.

Gerry

Buffboy said...

We don't need a house of repeal, simply repealing the 17th amendment would make sure the majority of the states approved any legislation, like our constitution intended. I've noticed that much of our nation's runaway started about the time of its enactment.

Themadlemming said...

For what it's worth, I like Vader's standing on defense, though I think the Death Star is way over budget, but I feel Cthulhu has a better grasp of domestic issues.


WV Sanist- Only until the Old Ones show.

Anonymous said...

Gerry:

All Hail Empress Tamara!!
All Hail Prime Minister Roberta X!!

There--I fixed it for you.

Agreed---it would be highly entertaining...

cap'n chumbucket

wv: bersa. How did they know that is my house 9mm??

tanksoldier said...

Solution: We need a 3rd House in Congress: the House of Repeal.

Members would serve 2 year terms and the body's only power would be to repeal any law passed by the other 2 houses on a majority vote.

tanksoldier said...

simply repealing the 17th amendment would make sure the majority of the states approved any legislation, like our constitution intended

You think career politicians at the state level selecting career politicians at the federal level would be a BETTER system than electing them directly?

Just what we need: legislators even FURTHER insulated from their constituency.

Jenny said...

1. I think the single most important thing practicably achievable is constraining political dynasties in Washington. That is, hard Congressional term limits and - while I'm dubious it could Constitutionally fly - I would like to see some measure saying "if person X serves in the Federal Gov't, none of their children or heirs for three generations may do so."

The reasoning is that we've developed a political class that thinks of itself as a new aristocracy rather than temporary servants of the people, and cutting off the ability for that admittedly very human tendency to continue is I think something not only critical, but one both sides can agree on. The left doesn't want to see three generations of Bushes in the big chair any more than the right wants to see Nancy Pelosi holding the gavel for upteen terms.

As to the unelected bureaucracy? Easy. Go back to the spoils system. As a side benefit, that takes care of the whole "federal employee pension" budget line item.


Secondly, of the Wookie ideas I like the house of repeal the best. Maybe only let it at laws 10+ years old so the fight doesn't immediately transfer from one house to the other.

Thirdly, I like the idea of limiting the franchise to those who can demonstrate basic knowledge of the national history and the structure of US Gov't (in English, please). I'm leery of the test turning into a political football, but I think using the US Citizenship test as a model is a legitimate starting point. Likewise I'm cautious about the tax status and/or property ownership qualifications, largely because of their ability to be abused by future generations. But the problem's bad enough I'd be willing to sign my name to both depending on the details, especially if they were a temporary (50 year or so) measure.


Finally... I do think we're nearing crunch/collapse time with the budget, and we're past the point of gentle painless changes.

Best case is being forced by circumstances into a Constitutional Convention, which is a terribly dangerous idea but puts all the above on the table. Along with a sideshow of horrors of darling causes of the last hundred years. Worst (and at this point, I think most likely) case is being handed an unacceptable treaty by creditor nations or a bailout by angel international bodies (also full of those darling causes), and with our representatives being put in the position of selling out what's left of our sovereignty because "they have to" - regardless of what their constituency says.

If that happens, it doesn't exactly leave a lot of options.

(See Darien scheme, the 1707 Act of Union, and the 1715 and 1745 Rebellions. Both of which failed.)


Ultimately, I think the most necessary fix now is a hell of a lot more Larry Correias, Marko Kloos-es, and others sowing the cultural seeds prior to the time of crisis.

As would anything else to bolster up that sense of cultural self-confidence that half a century of "the evil/ugly American" propaganda has engendered. You can't win if you don't think you're right.

Tam said...

tanksoldier,

"Just what we need: legislators even FURTHER insulated from their constituency."

Except the "constituency" of the senators was supposed to be the states themselves, not necessarily the citizenry thereof.

The people of Virginia would send representatives; the state itself sent two de facto "ambassadors" to the Senate. This is why, for instance, ratification of treaties is handled by the Senate...

Kristopher said...

Legalize dueling in the House and Senate chambers.

All newly elected legislators get a free cane.

CSPAN would be much more entertaining at least.

Mike said...

Um, Kip. I think we need to have a little talk about… well frankly, your epistemology. Now don’t go getting all defensive – this isn’t an intervention, but I think you need some of Doctor Mike’s philosophical elixir – clears up those fuzzy concepts in seven days or your money back.

Now as I’m sure you are aware, the second law of thermodynamics is a universal constant, a reality to be lived with, not a problem to be solved. It existed before people became aware of it, and will be there long after we are gone – that’s kind of what universal means.

You understand that… sure you do.

What we are discussing here, is politics, the quintessential human activity. Politics started when the first two semi-intelligent primates tried to solve their differences over how to divide some old carcass, and more importantly, decide who got to do the dividing. It has continued to this day, trying to solve basically the same argument. It is the polar opposite of a universal constant – our politics began when we did, and will end when we do.

This un-universal non-constant however, is far more important to me, right here right now, than any idea of Newton’s or Kelvin’s. From my worm’s eye view -- my car, liver and the universe are all slipping away to entropy, and there is nothing I can do about it. So too, are my wallet and my freedom to not be coerced into doing someone else’s bidding for someone else’s benefit, but I like to think that there is, at least in some small way, something I can do about that.

I flatter myself thus, because I am an optimist. I can read back through history and see how politics has improved people, and they in turn, have improved politics. Gok and Ok up there in paragraph four gave way to clan leaders, who in turn, gave way to tribal chieftains, who in millennia of fits and starts turned into kings, emperors, constitutional monarchs, and the rest. It’s been two steps forward and one and three quarters back for most of the time, but the progress was measurable – if barely.

Until the United States constitution was written. It is a singular document, and to my poor mind, as nearly perfect as the operating instructions for a nation can be. It is so, because it recognizes what screw ups even the most brilliant of us are. It recognizes this fact by in effect saying, “Here is a list of the legitimate functions of government. If it’s not on the list, the government can’t do it. If you want it on the list, it requires not just a majority, but an overwhelming majority of your fellow citizens to agree to add it.”

The problem is, somehow, slowly at first, and then with blinding speed, an overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens decided to override the rule requiring an overwhelming majority to agree to give away their countrymen’s freedoms. Now the list of what the government can’t do is shorter than what it can.

Which brings us full circle, for we are suffering from a kind of political entropy – the constitution is being drained of life, and we are slowly freezing into a zombie republic – a thing which resembles what it once was, and moves after a fashion, but not of its own will, and not in a direction those of us who care would like to see.

I do not believe talking about de-zombifying the country is an empty exercise. I do not think politicians can be improved, but I believe the incentive for politicians to give away my freedom can be decreased by taking away the votes of recipients of public largesse.

From your comments, I cannot tell what you believe. Perhaps you feel the entropy death of country is in your interest. That is nothing to be ashamed of, all scavengers benefit from the deaths of others.

Anonymous said...

20% of the USA population who do exercise their right to vote control the rest of the country. The powers that be like it this way and make no amends. A well thought of and executed campaign could change this but the corruption of your elected government is the result of said policy. Unless u are willing to give up everything you know and love and hit the trenches, roll over and say thank you.

Stuart the Viking said...

In the preceeding comments, I see an awful lot of calls for restricting this or that group from voting. I would like to remind those who espouge such that it is the people in power who would decide which groups are restricted from voting should the idea ever be put into place. Please contemplate the possibility that you might be part of one of the groups that are not allowed.

It is better that everyone be allowed to vote.

The only fix that has any chance of working is to educate the people. Yea, that'll work.

Me? I'm a pessimist. I think it is already too late. The economy is heading for a cliff, and there is no turning it around. My advice is to stock up on ammo, it will be the next currency.

s

Jenny said...

Forgive me Stuart, but it looks to me as if you're saying that restricting the franchise is not a reasonable act, but arming for violent conflict is?

I think that any form of representative government, if it is to survive at all, has the obligation to ensure the franchise is exercised by people capable of making an informed decision and - to some degree - of looking past their personal interest. Otherwise the inevitable result is - as we see - large portions of our population trying to live by voting themselves the fruit of their neighbors' labor (and for that matter, that of their grandchildren)

How the franchise is awarded in the fairest manner possible is a very important question, full of serious pitfalls as you point out. But I don't think we can ignore the need to do it in some fashion.

I'm good with it, provided it remains a goal reasonably achievable by almost anyone, but awarded by mere birth to no one.

blindshooter said...

We are doomed. History tells us that is true. How long we have left is the question. The house of cards will fall and something else will be built out of the collapsed pile of cards. As soon as the part of the electorate that don't produce grows greater than the producers and can, by vote, take more from the producers the end is in sight. We are on the downside of that slope now. It will take a miraculous change to save us.

Damn, I bring me down......

TimP said...

I think all citizens should have the vote. I just don't think you should automatically become a citizen due at birth. You can become a citizen any time after you reach the age of 18 by taking a citizenship test proving that you have a basic knowledge of the nation's [this is what I'd like to see here in Australia, but it applies to America as well] history, constitution, and official language. You can live in the country your entire life as a permanent resident, and choose to take the citizenship test at any time you choose.

Note also that you can't receive any form of welfare (except maybe food stamps) unless you are a citizen or the minor child of a citizen.

Ancient Woodsman said...

Could be Cthulhu.

Might just be the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

They offer a slight resemblance, just like the donkeys do to the heffalumps now.

(although that video you had the other day with the donkeys chanting might just have been worded "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn", instead of "obama, obama")

Buzz said...

Even valid ideas like using the citizenship test to determine voting rights would become polluted by those that seek to "empower" (enslave, more accurately) wholesale groups of people and pretend to do their bidding, all the while ensuring continued and growing enslavement for generations to come.

Think it wouldn't happen? I remember when SAT scores continued to drop for years, plus complaints of bias. The solution wasn't to better educate, but to change the questions and testing method until the results were suitably palatable. Anyone care to comment on how American students have fared against their international competition since?

The solution isn't the voters, it WAS the constitution. Our forefathers explicitly limited powers of the government knowing full damned well what happens when citizens have the ability to select their own sugar daddies.

Mike already nailed the answer, except in our modern age, the question is moot.

Anonymous said...

Lots of brilliant internet solutions here; most as incredibly simplistic as Tam so slyly inferred.

Here's one: Disenfranchise all recipients of "public" dollars?

Might work for some who skim or scam just to consume, but what about all those "stimulated" bankers and boardrooms? Those trillions of ours would be used to be damn sure the "largesse" continues, emphasis on the large. Always, always...follow..the...(big) money. Another of those uh, "irremovable singularities", I guess.

But that aside, those who for whatever reason would sell their vote proxy back to corporate would be a self-limiting group, and the idea itself is therefore self-destructing.

Give us two election cycles wherein only net contributors call the shots, and the first shots called would be between the eyes of every net recipient's suckling sow. Once their teat is turned off they get their ballot back I guess, but this time I'm sure they'll vote all responsible and stuff, and not to get back all that free milk. Right?

Least simplistic thing said here is from Buzz in his comment just above mine...forget limiting votes and focus on limiting the ability of those bought by them to blatantly ignore and eviscerate the brilliant business plan of our founding visionaries.

Will that happen? I doubt it; not in my lifetime anyway. Just another incredibly simplistic internet solution, really.

AT

Justthisguy said...

I tried to comment earlier, but blogger said "service interrupted" and post disappeared.

I'll try and re-construct it from memory.

I know we're all SF fans. Have any of y'all ever read "Ticket to Tranai" by Robert Sheckley?

He postulated a polity in which anyone who wanted to, could become a Government official, just by accepting the Medallion of Office and hanging it about his neck. Government officials there had the power of summary execution, with a rifle, against anyone they thought deserved it.

There was also the Citizens' Booth, into which any citizen could go at any time and press a button next to the name of any government official. This set off a high-explosive charge in the Medallion of Office, which blew off the Government Official's head.
Sorta like H. Beam Piper and the Texan Planet.

Justthisguy said...

P.s. Oh, I have been known to turn in a mostly-blank ballot.

Stuart the Viking said...

Jenny,

If you will allow, I will split your question into two halves.

"Forgive me Stuart, but it looks to me as if you're saying that restricting the franchise is not a reasonable act"

Close, but not exactly what I was saying. What I was saying is that as soon as you open the door to dis-enfranchisement, no matter how pure your intentions, you open the door for those in power to decide who it is that gets the axe. Do you trust the same government that gave us Obamacare to decide who gets to vote and who doesn't?

Unreasonable? No. Impossible? Yes.

"but arming for violent conflict is?"

You are correct, it is unreasonable to arm yourself with the idea that "WERE GONNA STORM WASHINGTON AND FIX THIS SHIT! WOO HOO!!!"[1]. That is not what I was saying. What I was saying is that unless there are some dramatic changes made, this house of cards IS coming down under it's own weight and there will be a period of unrest until we manage to pull things back togeather. The problem is, those in government seem to think it will all just work out somehow. The ONLY reasonable thing to do is to prepare. Stock up on Ammo. Stock up on non-parisable foods. Start making plans now. If I am wrong and everything comes up roses, nothing is really lost. If things go the way I think they will, you will be happy to have it.

I will say it plainly: If there is the possibility that violent conflict will find you, it IS unreasonable to NOT arm yourself.

The future is dark my friends.

s

[1] Sorry Wookie wariors, you know we love you, but it just isn't going to happen.

Brad K. said...

Tam said, "Did you know that some people think it a right and meet function of government to pass ordinances telling you that you cannot sleep in your basement? "

Wow, Tam, that is so very snarky. I mean, isn't it obvious that people sleeping in basements would look, oh, you know - overcrowded? Or maybe even be bad for the health. At the least it makes the neighborhood look bad, and we have to maintain that appearance of affluence to keep up property values for the neighbors!

Next thing you know, some wacko would be putting in a garden in the back yard - or *gasp* the front yard! You could have some redneck plunk a car up on blocks and plant a garden there! Or put chickens or a goat in the yard, as if real, non-commie Americans might drink goat milk! The appearance would wreck house prices for blocks around!

And besides. Gardens are dirty, and basements dark and dank. Just pick up some Egyptian Cotton sheets at the flea market, dear, and forget that "poor people" stuff. Why, you don't have even one hybrid car yet - how can you go on, making the neighborhood look like we don't care to save the world!?

- - -

Sorry. We still seem to be making laws to suit the housing bubble, and assumptions of continued affluence. As money talks, and Congress and the President continue to gut the middle class (See one of the articles on Third World America, http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/09/14/third-world-america/print/), most laws will continue to make sense only in the context of affluent neighborhoods and lifestyles.

Expect laws on vagrancy, not protecting rights (Did you see the Coates testimony to Congress - the Dept of Just-us has been instructed by this President to *never* investigate voter abuse, if the abused voters are white, or Republican).

I note the "Take away those danged guns" folks are still active, even when the number of towns cutting back on police start to add up.

It may be that paying taxes - or not - will be heard louder than any ACORN or SEIU managed ballot box. And I am betting that any number of "votes" from 2008 will be recast - along Democratic party lines - again in 2010, even if the voter is no longer living in that voting precinct.

Christopher James Conner said...

Vote for whomever will support small business - small business growth is the key for us to build this economy and to get us out of this recession.

oldsmobile98 said...

Volunteer for the Ron Paul 2012 campaign when it goes official. You know you want to. I'm going to.

P.S. I dunno if you follow TN politics anymore, but it's Haslam vs. McWherter. I'm writing in somebody. Haven't decided who yet.

KA9VSZ said...

My gawd, presumeably-armed people having an entirely reasonable and well-reasoned argument. Y'all made my day.

Tam said...

Brad K.,

"Sorry. We still seem to be making laws to suit the housing bubble, and assumptions of continued affluence."

You know, I hadn't considered that angle before, but it makes a certain kind of awful sense... :o

Anonymous said...

What we do in Oz is make everyone turn up at a polling booth and get their name checked off. They don't have to vote, just get their name checked off or pay a substantial fine. We seem to elect less left and right loons than you guys.

Mike in Oz

Tam said...

Mike,

The idea of compulsory anything doesn't sit well with a large chunk of the populace here.

Especially me. The surest way to get me to not do something is to tell me I have to do it. Oppositional Defiant Disorder is our national condition.

Brad K. said...

Mike in Oz,

I don't think it is the fine or showing up that makes a difference. Melissa Whitney just released a paper on 15 significant states - and rating them on financial and economic stability and prospect.

Surprise, California has horrible over-spending habits, high taxes thus little room to adapt, 20% of the housing market and that is still going south, etc. Texas, on the other hand, is in good shape. Jobs are in excellent condition, they have little government, relatively, and it is paid for, taxes are low and revenue steady.

The difference between Australia and the US is that more of Australia is like Texas, and too much of America is like (over-taxed) New York and California.

On the other hand, I was amused by that YouTube.com video, "The front fell off." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcU4t6zRAKg, with Senator Collins) I enjoyed the comments on ship materials, waves in the ocean, and defending the environment. For your country this individual stands out quite spectacularly, whereas our spectacles are merely part of the crowd.

Engineer-Poet said...

Quoth Tam:

"Did you know that some people think it a right and meet function of government to pass ordinances telling you that you cannot sleep in your basement?"

They did this because too many people didn't bother to consider that sleeping in a basement with no exit other than the stairs meant certain death if a fire broke out above.  It took the deaths of quite a few people to make this concept obvious even to government.  (Do you have a problem with government ordinances against firetraps in general?)

I'm not arguing for the nanny-state here, but Santayana was all too right.  Like the experience which led to the passage of the Glass-Stiegel Act, there are errors you'd have to be crazy to want to repeat just so you understand why our institutions are set up to prevent them happening again.