A simple article on the current antagonism Between Socialism vs Capitalism
The Republicans, a rather conservative bunch, have put their feet down whenever the Democrats put forward anything that resembles Socialism in their eyes. In fact the word Socialism is often used as an insult to the very foundation our Nation has been built on...Capitalism. But these emphatic denunciations of Change and reform such as Universal Health care are a two edged sword. For as we all know you can't have your cake and eat it too, not when it comes to Capitalism vs Socialism.
Our forefathers created a system of government whose soul purpose was to allow freedom to flourish, separation of Church and State, and checks and balances that would prevent mischief from those who would attempt to collect more power than is called for under our Constitution.
It was obvious to all that the previous administration worked tirelessly to collect in the Executive Branch much more power than is suggested by our System of Checks and Balances..Our Constitution.
Now it is well known that we are a Democracy (we the people) that is based on a Capitalistic Economy. Everyone has the opportunity to reach for the Golden Ring. Government should not interfere in our Free Market Economy and everyone should work to whatever degree they can to get their slice of the pie. In theory, and in the early stages of our Democratic experiment, the economic class struggle was over shadowed by the freedom we all had to pursue our dreams.
Today this is not the case. The system has been tampered with and mischief has been afoot. Our 4 arms of our Democracy are not living up to their responsibilities and the Economic Class Struggle is now severely biased in favor of the powerful and Wealthy. I am not disparaging those who sacrificed everything to attain wealth or power. What I am going to discuss is the defect in the overall system and why the arguments over Capitalism vs Socialism are irresponsible and misleading. Our problem is deeply buried in the details which will demonstrate that we have altered the playing field so much that the initial premise of Capitalism has been tossed to the wolves. We are in between a Global need for Management, a National need to compete, and a class struggle that has yet to be recognized.
As an aside the ability to shutdown the government to force a decision causes some temporary grief on the Federal Employees and quite a few others. The following web site explains some of our concern with such a practice. https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/rebuild-credit-after-government-shutdown.php
Congressional Medical Health Benefits/Salaries. (Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)) (The following is from FactCheck.org)
Members of Congress have good health insurance by any standard, but it???s not free and not reserved only for them " and it?s not government insurance. House and Senate members are allowed to purchase private health insurance offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which covers more than 8 million other federal employees, retirees and their families.
It is not a "single-payer" system where the government acts as the one and only health insurance company. As President Bushs chief of personnel Kay Coles James said in 2003, while lecturing at the conservative Heritage Foundation, "the FEHB program is not centralized, government-run health care." It has drawn praise both from conservatives and liberals, including President Obama, who held it up as a model for his own health care proposals.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the FEHBP offers about 300 different private health care plans, including five government-wide, fee-for-service plans and many regional health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, plus high-deductible, tax-advantaged plans. All plans cover hospital, surgical and physician services, and mental health services, prescription drugs and "catastrophic" coverage against very large medical expenses. There are no waiting periods for coverage when new employees are hired, and there are no exclusions for preexisting conditions. The FEHBP negotiates contracts annually with all insurance companies who wish to participate. There is plenty of competition for the business; FEHBP is the largest employer-sponsored health plan in the U.S.
Those who don???t like their coverage may switch to another plan during a yearly "open season" period. To help with the choices, FEHBP conducts an annual "satisfaction survey" of each plan with more than 500 members and publishes the results.
Like other large employers, the government pays a large share of the cost of coverage. On average, the government pays 72 percent of the premiums for its workers, up to a maximum of 75 percent depending on the policy chosen. For example, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard fee-for-service family plan carries a total premium of $1,120.47 per month, of which the beneficiary pays $356.59. Washington, D.C.-based employees who prefer an HMO option might choose the Kaiser standard family plan. It carries a total premium of $629.46 per month, of which the employee pays only $157.36.
Salary - $174,000...Retirement - Members elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System
Members of Congress are not eligible for a pension until they reach the age of 50, but only if they've completed 20 years of service. Members are eligible at any age after completing 25 years of service or after they reach the age of 62. Please also note that Members of Congress have to serve at least 5 years to even receive a pension.
The amount of a congress person's pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of his or her salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member's retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary.
Summary of Retirement and health Benefits:
While we may want term limits for our elected representatives. While we often believe they are focused more on maintaining their employment than the needs of the people. The reality is most are trying to serve their country but hampered by the system, pressure groups and the election process which is astronomically expensive. They are not breaking the bank as some would assume. While reform is called for, i.e. term limits and election reform, the real issue is what influences a representative of the people, and what pressures come to bear on their decisions.
The powerful lobby groups who represent major entities throughout the US place enormous pressure on the decision process. How many representatives actually read the Bills they are called on to cast a vote Yea or Nay for. Because each elected official needs to get reelected, and because their are no boundaries on how much a candidate can spend on his or her election, each of them need sponsors with money to enter the fray and get reelected. Millions are spent to get a $174,000 job. That alone should raise an eyebrow or two and at least cause one to question the System.
The web site the Story of Stuff has done a great job describing the unending cycle of consumerism that we are imbedded in. Brian Swimme has spoken often about our Industrial Age and where we need to be in the future. Specifically our perspective that allows us to view everything and everyone as something or someone that we can use and discard. Large Corporations do not want us to break the cycle. In fact everyone is scared to death to break the cycle, our government, our economic leaders, and all producers of goods.
The issue though is not whether we buy or do not buy, the issue is how we change the process so that all products, all waste generated by the process, all trash from discarded objects and containers, and all uses of our natural resources are revisited. It is not sufficient to fix a segment of the system. The amount of toxins and chemicals that we are disbursing to the air and water, the impact to our health and the health of the Eco-System we live in is beyond calculation. The damage we are inflicting on ourselves and all future generations approaches catastrophic proportions.
All those who are parading the labels and judgements before us so that we can be persuaded to affirm Capitalism or Socialism are committing a grievous error. Neither our world nor we as a people can afford these arguments that completely fail to identify the reality of our problem and offer solutions for our continued survival.
First and foremost two things need to be addressed. Election reform first. Lobby groups second.
The machinery of the election process cost so much that you have to bargain away almost all of the great changes you had planned on implementing. Some people have been in office so long they have mastered the process of staying and collecting influence but lost the primary premise of Service to their Country and Service to the people they represent.
So to begin with the House of Representatives and the Senate must have term Limits or, no more than 12 years in office. The retirement package can be adjusted to account for this turnover. Term limits covers a multitude of sins
* Leaders of the various committees would be replaced at least every twelve or less years. This prevents the gathering and holding on to power.
* The current roles that Seniority plays would over time be replaced by "who is the most competent to exercise their management skills in such and such a position".
* To vote on a Bill you must sign off that you have read and understood the Bill.
* No major Bill that affects the Nation can have Attachments or addendums that are specifically State centered.
* As part of entering Office each representative will not only swear to uphold the Constitution but also to ensure a balanced budget.
* When you enter a Bill that provides for State only assistance (Bridges, Roads, Flood Control,...) the source of revenue to pay for it must be identified.
All contestants for a given elected position will be given a fixed amount of money and guaranteed air time for airing their message. All contenders must have at least one debate discussing the issues facing their constituents. Under no circumstances will any contender or currently elected official be allowed to accept money from any other entity. The lobby Groups will have to invent another legal way to influence the decision process.
* No contestant or contender for elected office will be allowed to spend their own money on their election beyond a certain amount, i.e. $25,000.
* All States must adhere to the same voting process. The party in power cannot redistrict to consolidate the voting public in their favor. The vote process must be similar but have the same checks and balances as every other state.
For the moment lets just list the areas where reform might have the greatest impact:
* Health Reform
*Farm Subsidies and Agriculture Reform
* Lobby Groups must be transparent to the General Public. No money, Services, or Favors must exchange hands. you are automatically suspended if you allow an exchange to take place (money, jobs, travel, housing, biased bills, entertainment).
* Social Security Reform - Dipping into the coffers and replacing the dip with an IOU is forbidden. Everyone must participate in the system or opt out (no SS benefits ever).
* Retirement Plans Reform - the retirement nest egg cannot be part of a bankruptcy, nor can any entity withdraw from the Nest Egg more than a proportional payout of their retirement plan.
* All Social Security and Retirement income will be assessed a SS tax of 7.5%. This is because an imbalance of older people to younger people (contributions to SS) cannot be maintained by only the young.
* Have grants and government sponsorship of research focused on the key areas of innovation that will correct or assist in the management of the whole eco system, new energy, trash disposal, hazardous waste disposal, soil rebuilding, water management/purification.. etc etc.
* Corporate Reform - Global management of resources and waste disposal. No Corporation can move their manufacturing outside of the US without maintaining the strict requirements of Global Resource Management and Waste Management. Strong penalties will follow such practices (including personal penalties against the Management team running the Corporation, severe penalties).
The issue is no longer between ideologies like Capitalism vs Socialism or any other ism. The issue is Global Management and the Checks and balances in place to protect us from the damages done by any group, person, corporation or government. Democracy works when we are all honorable men and women. Capitalism works when one group (a small minority) does not dominate and suppress another.
The excesses of Corporations and individuals cannot be legislated, but they can be investigated and prosecuted. Corporate executives can have their resources frozen and under extreme conditions removed. Any entity that requires and accepts support from the public coffers to resurrect their business will at a minimum suspend their income, options, and perks until the money is returned to the public coffers with interest.
No sane person wants the government to be any more involved in their life than is absolutely necessary. Our forefathers understood this. But we are now approaching a Global requirement for Global Management. When a Corporation within the US can abuse the resources and people of another Country then Capitalism has let us down. When Corporations have a higher GDP than most of the smaller countries of the world, their power and influence must have checks and balances.
Some Countries and Corporations consume resources without regard for the future health and safety of our total Eco-system. For example having one group manage their fishing practices to maintain the health of the species being fished while another groups disregards such practices and depletes the genetic pool (extinction) is no longer acceptable - not to us or to future generations.
It would be great, even wonderful, if our country took the lead in sponsoring a Global Management Team whose mission was to identify and propose solutions for those severe problems that will affect and do affect the integrity of the entire food chain and all human rights. This International Team would also suggest ways to form other management teams to handle the problems of finite resources, pollution, fresh water, climate change, deforestation, Soil management, water management, energy and corporate and government excesses of power.
It has been said over and over again that we are now in a Global economy. One part of the world now has a direct impact on many other parts of the world. We can no longer afford self preservation as the primary objective of any religion, nation state or peoples. We must revise our vision to include Global Management. Not only do all peoples of the world deserve quality of life and their own right to personal freedom to pursue their dreams, so does our Eco-System. I am absolutely certain that the integrity of the planet and all life on it is now in our hands. We can continue as we are or we can Globally join up to handle the issues facing us all, our very survival.
But first a little History
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. -- John Adams
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself. -- Mark Twain
4. I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. --Winston Churchill
5. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. -- George Bernard Shaw
6. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy
7. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. --James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)
8. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.-- Douglas Case, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University.
9. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. -- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian
10. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. -- Frederic Bastiat, French economist(1801-1850)
11. Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.--Ronald Reagan (1986)
12. I don't make jokes.I just watch the government and report the facts. -- Will Rogers
13. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free! -- P. J. O'Rourke
14. In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other. --Voltaire (1764)
15. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you! -- Pericles (430 B.C.)
16. No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.-- Mark Twain (1866)
17. Talk is cheap, except when Congress does it. -- Anonymous
18. The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.-- Ronald Reagan
19. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery. --Winston Churchill
20. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. --Mark Twain
21. The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
22. There is no distinctly Native American criminal class, save Congress. -- Mark Twain
23. What this country needs are more unemployed politicians --Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)
24. A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. -- Thomas Jefferson
25. We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. -- Aesop
FIVE BEST SENTENCES
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
5.. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work, because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation!
A Conversation with the Adults in the Room
What exactly is a check and balance system? It is not just that You do something and I verify whether what you have done is in all our best interests. It is that but it is also that I have the power to temper what you are doing or what you have done. My behavior can be delegated authority or authority I have assumed because of my interest. Politically this is obvious. The House of Representatives creates law, The Department of Justice processes violations of the Law, the Senate approves or disapproves of the Law, and the Executive Branch faithfully executes the law. Each of these entities can invoke their delegated authority (Our Constitution) to obstruct, change, or veto each law (legislation) created. Relationships in this ECO System are very important. There is a lot of give and take (compromise). And, there is a lot of arm twisting. spite, get even or just bullying to accomplish what one or more feels needs to be done. Sometimes this part of the check and balance system goes too far. This of course creates a whole new set of issues that may need correcting. For the most part this ECO System works in our best interest. Sometimes it take time to realize a particular law or laws is flawed. Momentum for agreement on the flawed nature of what was enacted takes time, dialogue and commitment to correct the flaw.
These ECO Systems exist in every part of our society. Families, Businesses, Churches and Religions, Agencies of Government, Friendships. Their foundation is in relationships and these relationships are balanced internally by everyone of us. Friendships continue to thrive through Approval, appreciation and acceptance. In other words, I like you, I like what you have to offer, and for all the areas that matter to me I appreciate and approve of you as a person. Interference is minimal, and our instinct is to create a climate where our friends can thrive. It is a little tougher in families because emotion and ego are higher up the ladder. So internally we need a better grip on who and what we are. The three A's (Approval, Appreciation, Acceptance) are very important as is our efforts at creating an environment that allows everyone to grow and thrive in their own skin as they were meant to.
Whether we realize it or not we gather people around us that help us grow. Not always smoothly, sometimes in a herky jerky way, sometimes painfully. But if we were honest with ourselves we would acknowledge their contribution to our growth.
Our biggest challenge however is to become aware, deeply aware, of our internal stuff and how we behave when that stuff appears in our conscious awareness. To know not just that we are angry and acting out but to be aware of the unconscious trigger or event that summoned all this anger we feel. Trying to control our anger (or any strong emotion) is admirable but not so nearly effective as understanding the source. This is where we bridge our unconscious and our conscious levels of awareness. This is where we choose our behavior. We can see what is right in front of us, what we are about to do, and imagine the outcome, or, we can blindly go ahead with our impulse and feel the consequences, probably both now and later when we have had time to calm down.
Is the Bridge a Real Part of us
Absolutely. But it is a skill, it is a learned skill, and it is a skill that requires attention and practice. At the same time I can say that it is easy to learn but not so easy to apply in the beginning. In the Texas Holdem world "You learn the rules and strategies in an hour but it takes a lifetime to master". As in any skill we try to master there are levels of mastery, although I dislike the use of the world mastery. So lets say that to understand, sense and feel the awareness of the bridge and then to instantaneously choose the path that is right for the moment is a skill that is developed at deeper and deeper levels over time.
Are there guides that help us understand other than what is here and throughout this web site? Yes. But there are so many that I cannot do justice to them all. "The Bible, Jesus Teachings", "The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer", "The Tao Te Ching", "The Power of Now, The New Earth, Eckhart Tolle", Richard Rohr, Thomas Merton, "The Journey of the Universe, Brian Swimme", and dozens of others. All of these both current and those passed into history have understood the puzzle of humanity (becoming fully human) at greater and greater depth with different world and cosmic views. Their insights into who we are, what we are here for and what we can be doing for ourselves and our planet are something worth listening to, digesting, and integrating into each of our lives.
The bridge is most available to us when we are quiet and at peace. For some this is already a tall order. But learning to be still is the first step and a necessary one. When we are beginning to practice this the three A's (Acceptance, Appreciation, Approval) come in quite handy. We all have a lot of noise in our heads. We have thoughts, beliefs, regrets, feelings, ideas, history, fear and lots of other stuff that vies for our conscious attention. Our job is not to control this noise but to learn to allow our mind to empty itself. The three A's help us by providing a sense of "okness". It is ok to feel, to think, to have thoughts, stories, fears occupying our mind. But when we are practicing being still we accept what is, let it be for a moment, and let it go. Sometimes it helps to focus on something and filling our emptying mind with whatever we are focusing on (a stone, a spot on the wall, a glass of water, or nothing at all) until there is this moment when nothing is there to confuse or distract from what we are, where we are, and what is happening NOW.
This is a precious moment when what you were is gone and what you are reveals itself.
What were you? A mother, a father, smart, skilled, creative, problem solver, scared or anxious, angry, insulted, humble, not so humble, religious, a believer, an atheist, strong, athletic, proud, mean, loving, friendly,.............
None of these descriptions of what we believe at any given moment are truly us, none of them, define who we are but they do describe what we feel and act like at any given moment, situation or experience. They describe us and our behavior but they do not identify us or define us, when we let go of them. The operative phrase is "when we let go of them". Why should we and what is the point of this "Letting go"? Freedom. It is our development process from birth on that traps us into this EGO and Identity thing. But there comes a time in all of our lives when our identity and Ego no longer serves our best interest. There comes a time when it is time to move on. For we have a greater gift. A greater gift than all those that we have depended on for so long. It is the gift of experiencing the moment as it is, and not as we wish it was or was not. It is the gift of being a part of rather than separate from. It is the gift of letting go of what and who we thought we were and following the transformative path of the fully human being.
We are given gifts. We develop some of them, and leave others to wither away. Throughout our life we define ourselves with these descriptions, we become identified with them. So much so that if someone pokes at one or the other we feel injured, our ego gets scratched, we hurt. Our immediate response is to defend and maybe lash out. At a minimum we feel bad. Because everything we identify with, is us. It is our image of who and what we are. We own it and its value and importance to our psyche cannot be measured. Our walk around primary ego, our daily self, is who we are to ourselves and to all others we interact with. But this self is separate and that separateness divides the world up into objects. This separate self views those objects as useable. What for? For anything my self justifies. And if I decide that any of those objects are bad for me I protect my self interest in any way that feels right to who and what I think I am. Look at the vast range of human behavior and you can imagine our capacity for self protection.
Feel like you are defending (and rightly so) something important, something really important to you? Are you right? Of course you are. I am not being condesending. Of course you are right. But so is everyone else. So is everyone else. So, are we communicating with each other, or, are we just announcing our position and not really communicating? Are we listening as separate egos or we we listening beyond the difference of opinion to the core of the person in front of us? Who cares anyway? Actually you do, and very intensely.
God, No God. Evolution, Creationism. Marriage(man and a woman), marriage (any gender). Small Government, Large Government. Debt, no debt (or as little as possible). Killing, no killing. Drugs (M), no drugs (m). Honor (commitment, keep your word, do what you say), No honor(lie, confuse, say what they want too hear, do something different).
We have so many differences (opinion, beliefs,behavior) that finding common ground is many times impossible, often just a bad joke. Until we let go of our cherished beliefs and knowledge (what we know for sure). Until we discover the human behind the face, behind the words, behind the belief. Who is right? we all are. Who is definitely wrong? We all are. We are all in the process of learning. We are learning how to be an authentic human being. And, when we recognize, maybe for the first time, that everyone wants the same things, then, we can begin to let go of what we are promoting, what we know, what we believe, and approach each other differently.
~~What to Do, What to Do? When the Administration of this Country becomes self determining it is time for serious change.
THE ISSUE IS COMPLEX AND THERE ARE NO EASY ANSWERS - The affordable Care Act
Not everyone agrees. How deep into our lives do we want the Federal Government to penetrate? Are we already past the point of no return? And even if we all agreed that significant changes must occur, what on Earth would we do, where would we start, and on what fundamental basis would we build the new structures of Government.
That was a trick question. We already have a Constitution, A Declaration of Independence, and a Bill of Rights. We already have a House of Representatives, A Senate, an Executive Branch and a Supreme Court. Each State has its own structure and has all of the power to govern itself that is not specifically assigned to the Federal Government.
So where does the infringement of our liberty come from? What form does it take? Is it serious?
Yes it is serious, it comes slowly with ernest rhetoric of help, guidance and "fair share", and soon you are embraced by the arms of an octopus that cannot be unwrapped. It is not lost on anyone that the IRS has demonstrated a complete failure to regulate itself. It is not lost on anyone that the Administration, during an election cycle, manipulated the situation or misinformed the public about the loss of lives in Lybia. It is not lost on anyone that the new facilities to store surveillance data is only the beginning foray into our private lives. There are several concerns of a very serious nature that are imbedded in these invasions and that are visible in other areas if we but open our eyes to see and understand.
Obama-Care is law. The fact the the IRS was named to control and manage the taxes and fines associated with this law , after the recently revealed behavior of the IRS, is at the very least, scary. That bureaucrats will be managing and overseeing our Health System is not only scary but really wrong in so many ways. Our Tax system can be manipulated at will, it is opaque to everyone as is spending, and it does not serve the interests of the people of this country. Everyone knows this. The administration of this country, the size and power of these administrative entities, overwhelms the best minds on how to dismantle and disarm these agencies.
We will try to tackle this nightmare in as coherent a way that we can, but the processes cannot be without some pain. The real question will be, do we have the stomach for serious change: to again follow the vision of the framers of this great country, to increase transparency in government, to whittle down the Bureaucracies, to tax and spend within our limits, and to honor Equal Opportunity not Equal Outcomes. To honor the pursuit of Happiness not happiness. To protect life and liberty.
When our President declares that part of the Affordable Care Act need not be implemented in 2014 but can be put off till 2015 (after the elections) that is an example of massive over reach of the Executive Branch. The Program has been signed into law and just because its implementation will cause embarassment or serious difficulties during an election cycle this does not give the Executive Branch Carte Blanc to change their mind and correct only that part of the mistake that will cause discomfort to the Democrats. The media needs to step up to the plate and not let this over reach go unchallenged. Can the House and Senate do the same?
Yup, you guessed it, this will be about Life in the Surveillance Lane. or, put another way "We are trading security for Constitutional Freedom". And it is a false sense of Security. But, it is not just eavesdropping. It is a total invasion of the Federal Government into every aspect of our lives. Now an invasion sounds like attacking, like a battle with some people on that side and some people on this side duking it out over something important to each side. A battle or invasion also implies both sides know what they are fighting for or against. Regretfully this does not seem to be the case. Regretfully the invasion comes without fanfare, without the noise of warfare, but slides in under the radar. Stuff is happening and only a few are paying attention. What makes it more complicated and very difficult to address is there are facets of the invasion that seem to be good as well as bad. Note I said seems to be.
A few Complicating Factors
The size and complexity of the Agencies and Administrative arms of this Government. The overwhelming numbers of people supported by Social Security and Medicare and soon to be The Affordable Care Act. The real costs of our future commitment to these programs (in the Trillions of Dollars). The real penetration of the Administrative Arms of the Government into every facet of our lives.
Yes we live in a diluted Democracy that our Founding Fathers envisioned and tried to protect us from. It is a loss of our independence and civil liberties through the deep and complex penetration of the Administrative State. Regulations, Entitlements, and complexity where fines and enforcement are imbedded in our daily lives. We do what we are told and we follow the rules, even those we have no knowledge of until we have broken them.
The economic climate that is close to dire for many people who now have no choice but to depend on the Federal Government for Aid.
The aging population that cannot afford the cost of medical care in the last years of their lives.
The warping of the free market as the government intervenes in the name of helping out: Student Loans at low interest impossible to pay back with few jobs and no incentive for the educational institutions to lower tuition and become more competitive; Subsidies of many different kinds (oil, technology, food, agriculture, transportation, International Trade, and probably a host of others), the forcing of fuel distributors to incorporate bio fuels and the thousands of regulations that direct traffic in Finance, Health Care. Education, Construction, Transportation, food, waste treatment, housing, plumbing, electrical, lumber,.........).
The real problem in addressing the size and extent of the Federal Government is how do you reduce or eliminate the agencies that run this country and how do you stop the two branches of government from creating new ones.
A Starting Point, A Real Beginning
General Protection. The protection of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to insure our Freedoms and our Democracy.
What do we want from the Federal Government? Let's consider for a minute some of the issues we face or could face that we as individuals do not have the resources or time to deal with on our own.
Crime and Punishment. Whether white collar, theft, armed or unarmed burglary. Whether drug selling at our schools or on the streets. Human trafficking for prostitution, illegal entry with forced labor. Protection payments. Gangs. Corporate manipulation of the Free Market. Personal threats, abuse, killings, arson. All threats of violence where one party wants what we have and has the will and means to take it by force against our will.
Foreign Threats. War, Terrorism, Stealing, Disruption of services, Pirates on the open seas, Treaty Violations, Sabotage, Assassinations.
Corporate Excesses and Violations. Fair Wages, Pollution, Monopolies, Product Safety, Environmental Disasters, illegal immigrants, sweat shops, Product Integrity, Eco System mismanagement.
Disaster Recovery. Storms, Floods, Tornadoes, Forest Fires, Earthquakes, Volcanos, Disease Control.
Food Chain. Infestations, Agriculture, Aquiculture, Harvesting, storage, distribution, labeling, Quality Control, Disease Control, Genetic Modifications, Species Integrity.
Special Programs (Health, Unemployment, Retirement, Subsidies). Many in old age or of any age cannot afford their health care costs, Retirement savings are not always there, unemployment can destroy a families finances, subsidies are meant to assist areas of the economy that need help (Farming, education, exploration, research, individuals in trouble (welfare and food stamps).
Some Generalized Changes (Must do as part of overall change and reduction of Centralized Government)
* Place Controls on all give away programs, bailouts, subsidies, foreign assistance. welfare/child support, food stamps, loans.
Note: Phase down the amount of money given to welfare recipients for each child. Place a limit on the number of children supported. Food stamps are for food and essential supplies. Stop the sourcing of bio fuels from food sources specifically corn and other grains. Phase out the student loan program as this seriously dampens the educational institutions need to become competitive and reduce costs. All loans and bailouts must have strict requirements (no bonuses, reduction of compensation, all compensations contracts are suspended until the loan is paid off). Revisit everyone on food stamps and upgrade the requirements for receiving them. Revisit all farm subsidies and phase them out.
The objective of these changes is to reduce or eliminate Federal responsibility for managing food, fuel, people in need, higher education, foreign subsidies and give aways, and to force well thought out management of spending.
* Revamp the Legislature: All local legislation must be financed. No National Bill can include State specific projects. All Representatives must sign off that they have read and understood the legislation they are voting on. No National Legislation can include any representative sponsored additions not directly related to the specifics of the primary bill.
* Term Limits: Two terms only or no more than twelve years in office.
* IRS and the Tax System. The Progressive tax system is broken. To get control of spending we need a fixed tax. Sales, consumption, flat. Everyone knows this. Set up a bipartisan committee to put the plan together to make this happen within 2 years.
* No Unions for Federal employees it is a conflict of interest.
* All legislation must apply equally to all citizens and all representatives of those citizens and all government employees and sub-contractors. In other words there are no exceptions. All special exemptions such as Obama Care, Social Security, laws and legislation are no longer permitted. All legislation applies to everyone, all rules apply to everyone, all regulations apply to everyone.
Note: Based on the recent comment by President Obama "Phoney Scandals" and the inability of The House of Representatives to complete their investigations in a timely manner it is time for change. When those that are being investigated can thumb their noses at Congress, stall and lie without consequence, it is time for change. By a 50% vote the legal arm of the system should be invoked with the power to apply criminal charges against those who would obstruct investigations into wrong doing. Question? Does the Constitution itself offer a peaceful way out, a way to stop the flood of centralized control and regulations. For it is these regulations, thousands of pages of them, that have a strangle hold on our society, our economy, and our liberties. Are regulations needed? Yes. But, when the Administrative arm of the Government completely over shadows, even smothers, the legislative arm of the government we become imprisoned in a complex web of regulations that are almost impossible to unweave, escape, or even in many cases to understand.
Article V provides the people and the states an avenue to propose, submit and pass amendments that shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of this Constitution. Whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary the Congress shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposed amendments. Ratification will be by the legislatures of three fourths of the states or by conventions in three fourths of the states.
In other words not only Congress but the states can assemble and propose and pass amendments to the Constitution. While getting that many to agree may be a daunting task we the people are not held hostage by any arm of the government. When Congress, the Judicial Branch or the Executive Branch fail the people this avenue is open and can be acted upon. It would be in all our interests to begin reminding our state Legislatures that they have the power to change what needs changing. All that is needed is the will.
Rhetoric over Substance
Selling ObamaCare. First of all I am not happy with the spending of millions of dollars to sell to the public something that is so large, so cumbersome, so filled with excess, so complex and so wrong for the American people. Nancy P. should be fired for her comment that "we have to pass this bill to find out what is in it". So now we are learning and it appears that it is both a nightmare and a disaster. THIS IS AN INSURANCE BILL NOT A HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL! We did not need thousands of pages to fix some of the issues that needed to be resolved.
The List: All policies are valid in all states and can be migrated. The insurance company not the employer is responsible for this migration. Preexisting conditions. If you have to change insurance companies the new company cannot pretend you have a preexisting condition. There is normal insurance and Catastrophic insurance. One helps pay for the other. All young people get a lower rate (pick an age or age range).
The New Insurance (my example)
My Company has moved from Group Policies to individual private policies. I am in Texas and have signed up through an exchange for my and my wife's health insurance. We chose to both go with blue Cross Blue Shield. We had to ;listen to a 4 min recording that effectively told us that our privacy for any data submitted was not to be expected. Before we could continue we had to acknowledge and agree to this lack of privacy. While my policy was equal to what I had last year through Aetna my cost (premiums) went up 400% (without a prescription Drug plan).
Despite the promises by Democrats and our President the following is a real issue for me:
* The ACA (Affordable Care Act) Does nothing to reform our medical system. It does de-incentivise doctors by determining what they can charge for their services. It is obvious from my example that the cost of my insurance has gone up by a considerable amount. Doctors are already refusing NEW Medicare patients. I am convinced this will only get worse.
* all records must be digital and available by another doctor or hospital. This stops duplicate testing and procedures and may save lives.
* Forcing an agreement on lack of privacy is a deep concern. Governments are not to be trusted. Our leaders promises are empty and should be treated that way.
* The scary arm of the Government (IRS) must not be allowed to enforce ObamaCare (taxes and fines).
* The current fines (year 1) will only increase in year 2 and 3 and further especially if the young cannot sign up (lack of jobs, lower pay, personal choice).
* It must be remembered by all that the (welfare, Nanny, Big Brother) Government model has never worked in the past and will not work in the future. The Federal Government is there to protect us not to enslave us with taxes, fines, regulations, and administrative overload. Do not confuse our Democratic System with its checks and balances, its freedoms and responsibilities, with our Capitalistic Economic System. Our current leadership believes that The Government can solve our problems. This is false. The more the Government gets involved (Fixing things) the worse everything gets. Take a minute to digest the hundreds of millions of dollars that the President has spent on the development and marketing of the ACA, the money spent to investigate its failure and the money yet to be spent to fix it, run it and enforce it. The Government WASTES Money, it never conserves it. It has an unending supply of money: Your hard work and the money you have earned (your pockets), or the money borrowed from our children and their children. Seventeen trillion and counting. Please think about this number. It is impossible to run this country if this number continues to grow at the current pace. Seventeen Trillion. That is +- $2,400 for every man, woman and child on this planet, all 7 billion of us. Approximately half of that number exist on far less than that $2,400. Seventeen Trillion (and growing) is a very dangerous debt load.
In 2014 and again in 2016 we all have the opportunity to reassess who we want working for us and who we want managing this country. It is a choice, a choice each of us must make. I can only suggest that each of us is choosing who we want running things...Is it not time to change who represents us, who spends our hard earned money and on what they spend it on?