Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Points to Ponder:
(On The Two Party System}

[Prefatory Note: Please read this brief clarifying post before reflecting upon the quote below. - ISM]

The old parties are husks, with no real soul within either, divided on artificial lines, boss-ridden and privilege-controlled, each a jumble of incongruous elements, and neither daring to speak out wisely and fearlessly on what should be said on the vital issues of the day. [Theodore Roosevelt]

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On the Two Political Party System:
(A Pre-emptory Clarification Posting)

With the third party idea permeating the blogosphere and the alternative media with an increasing frequency in the past year, it is possible that my next installment of this long-running series{1} will cause some confusion. To avoid that, I want to make it clear from the outset that I do not intend with the quotation to follow this posting to in any sense repudiate what I have written either very recently or in the past few years about third parties at sundry times and in diverse ways over the years.

The issue boils down to recognizing a need but also realizing pragmatically that it cannot be met at this time. However, as I noted in two of the threads above{1}, there is a way to make a viable third party a reality. However, the general process involved in third parties goes against the very laws of nature{2} and therefore needs to be rethought as I have done in recent years{3} basing it on my years of study of human physiology.{4} And as I do not see how the principle can be implemented effectively at the present time, I am thus in the odd position of wanting a third party, willing to support a third party in principle, but not willing to vote for many third party candidates. And as my reasons having been adequately noted in the two postings from November of 2004 and the two from earlier in this month, that is all I will note on the matter at the present time.

For the quote which this posting was intended to pre-emptively clarify, please go HERE.

Notes:

{1} Which will be the 227th installment since this weblog was founded.

{2} Which I will repost here:

"My Kingdom for a Viable Third Party" Dept. (circa November 6, 2004)

"My Kingdom For a Viable Third Party" Dept. Redux (circa November 11, 2004)

{3} I remind you of the theories of motion as discovered by Sir Isaac Newton. If an object in motion will remain in motion, then attempts to stop that object will not succeed without a greater or equal force being involved. In light of the manner whereby intensity and duration are inversely proportioned, an intense reaction cannot sustain itself for very long in opposing an object in motion -particularly if that object appeals to the lower levels of our nature from which there is continual struggle against anyway.

What must be attempted is to reverse the direction of the moving object but the approach taken has to be one focused on success over the long term. For that reason, the intensity behind such an approach has to be by logical necessity of lessor import if there is to be a conceivable reversal of trends that will be more than illusory. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum circa August 11, 2004]

{4} See footnote one.

{5} This is too long a subject to go into at this time but suffice to say, my understanding of the mathematics of human physiology is (modesty aside for a moment) quite advanced and is something that to a certain extent probably permeates my thinking on virtually all foundational thought issues.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

On Congressional Spending:
(Recapitulating some past musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

The trigger of sorts for this posting was the following weblog entry:

Out of Control!!!

I particularly enjoyed reading this line from the piece:

I would say that the Senate is spending money like drunken sailors, but that would unfairly disparage sailors, sober or drunk.

Of course what the Texas Cowgirl notes is such a small trickle in the bucket of the budget problem that it is not even funny. I noted over three years ago{1} that the problem is baseline budgeting and explained this in greater detail a few times since then -both privately as well as publicly.{2} There is also the problem of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 which needs to be rescinded to restore some balance to the budgetary issues -something else I have discussed some time ago. Or to quote myself at length circa October of 2003:

[W]ho cares what the President proposes. The role of setting a budget is that of the Congress. The problem is that the role of impounding funds -shared by every president from Nixon back to Washington- was abolished by President Nixon when he signed the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Since then, deficits have skyrocketed and an important check on Congressional excesses was cast aside...

The ignorance politicians have of the Constitution -while problematical of course- is nonetheless not as bad as the people who will vote for whomever enriches their interests irrespective of what the Constitution actually says.

To such people as this, I challenge them: find for me the Social Security recipient who would support outlawing Social Security.[...] Find for me the Medicare recipient who would support shutting down Medicare.[...] More could be mentioned but these are the two biggest sacred cows in politics that need to be skewered.

But do not think more could not be pointed out - indeed at least 75% of the budget is unconstitutional expenditures. The question I have for the readers is this: would you vote against your sacred cow to benefit the common good of society??? For some reason, I am not too optimistic that the "yes" votes on that question would be very high. [Excerpts from Rerum Novarum (circa October 31, 2003)]

One proposal I have made in recent years is the idea of rider reform. Here is how the proposal jelled in my mind within a half hour{3} of finishing some musings on President Bush's State of the Union Address in January of 2004{4}:

I will avoid discussing the constitutionality of federal disaster relief acts but this serves to show how the rider is used to pass stuff without accountability. Having noted that, here are my proposals for making this process accountable to the voting public.

1) Any proposed rider to a bill must have some reasonably demonstrable congruency with the subject of the main funding bill being voted on. The current practice of attaching unrelated or non-sequitur funding proposals to major funding bills would thereby be eliminated.

2) Any proposed rider should requires a separate congressional "rider attachment vote" so that those who want it and those who do not are on the record.

3) Any proposed rider should require at least two thirds concurrence by each house of Congress insuch that anything less means that the rider initiative fails to attach to the bill.

4) Any proposed rider that succeeds in getting two thirds concurrence by each house of Congress officially attaches with the provision that the president has the right to line-item veto that rider proposal.

5) If the president vetoes such rider proposal but signs the main funding bill to which it was attached, Congress can override and perminently attach said rider to the main funding bill with the concurrence of seventy-five percent of both houses of Congress. If said seventy-five percent concurrence of both houses of Congress cannot be mustered for an override, the override fails and the rider is officially declared dead.

6) And of course the rider proposals -pass or fail- must all be entered into the record for perusal of the people under the 1978 Freedom of Information Act along with (i) the names of the proposers and subsequent sponsors of said rider (ii) their party affiliation and (iii) the state which they represent. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa January 20, 2004)]

I have also noted on numerous occasions the idea of sunsetting the federal budget in toto.{5} I explained that principle in greater detail in a late 2005 weblog posting in these words:

The one area that the Republicans have long run on is being more fiscally sound than the Democrats but those of Us who have been paying close attention to their performance since President Bush won the 2000 election are not impressed. It is not that difficult to balance the budget -indeed in a 2.6 trillion budget, We could find at least 1.6 trillion in unconstitutional pork spending.

For the sake of being nice, let Us propose a 1 trillion cut in the budget from all unconstitutional spending programs and a bill that would sunset every spending provision in the next five years. Obviously it would not help to sunset them all at once but it should be staggered so that every item is sunsetted within a six year election cycle. That way, even senators (who do not control the purse strings but who do play a role in the budgeting) are not exempt from being held accountable on these matters. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa September 29, 2005)]

In summary, yes the Congress is continuing to be irresponsible in their spending. However, just because the Senate is putting a few things in that the House is not does not mean the House's omission of those items is laudatory by any stretch. No my friends, the Congress of the United States is a disgrace and has been for a long time. Putting the Democrats back into power will not improve matters in the slightest -if anything they would probably be worse. And since there is no viable third party at the moment to go to, all we can try and do is educate these "public servants" on what the Constitution allows for and what it does not allow for. And with the latter, it is 3/4ths of the annual budget (possibly more) which is patently unconstitutional and this crap needed to stop yesterday.

Notes:

{1} With such manifest illogic is it any wonder we have a nearly six trillion dollar debt??? (The enemy is "base-line budgeting" my friends.) [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa October 9, 2002)]

{2} Here are the only public weblog bits on this subject that I can find on short notice:

[T]hose who know their history are aware that President Reagan proposed a combination of across the board tax cuts. However, that was intended merely to spur on the economy in the short term and not as a long-term proposition in and of itself. The long term proposition for handling the deficit was raising taxes and cutting spending simultaneously -indeed President Reagan got Congress to agree to $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in taxes raised in 1982. Of course the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives never followed through with the promised spending cuts. This caused no shortage of problems because when taxes are cut and spending is not reduced at the same time. For even when the dynamic (as opposed to static) effects that tax cuts have on an economy are considered, with evils such as "base line budgeting" in place long-term deficits are an inevitability.) [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa March 8, 2005)]

A Congress which cannot put together a budget that balances[...] does not deserve a pay increase. PERIOD. This is not rocket science folks. If the federal government got its nose out of the areas which it does not have Constitutionally delegated authority to intervene in, the budget could easily be balanced. Heck, at the current rate of taxation, the debt itself could be paid off in about seven years or less.[...] But there are too many selfish people out there who prefer their own isolated self-interests to the common good. There is also the issue of baseline budgeting which no one wants to honestly face[...] but that is to open another tangent I do not have the time to delve into at the moment. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa December 10, 2005)]

{3} And that is not an exaggeration my friends.

{4} Miscellaneous Musings on the State of the Union Address (circa January 20, 2004)

{5} What problems do we have when government views our money as theirs and them returning to us what is ours as some "benevolent gesture"??? We need to educate these people on the truth of the fact that federal government delegated powers are limited and we need to start respecting the Constitution in reality and not just the abstract. I have a few quick proposals for going a significant way towards doing this...

---Enact a law that inserts into every budget proposal and program a sunset provision. The points of sunset can be staggered to some extent so the entire wheel is not reinvented at once. However, in every presidential cycle all budget items or federal programs should have to come up for renewal at least once. My proposed point for this is of course the midterm elections. (That way, turnout will be higher and of course it will keep our officials honest.)

And if the representatives do not do the latter, then we the people need to start the Constitutional Amendment process. In fact, maybe we need to start it from the ground up here. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa January 20, 2004)]

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