Reprehensively Rearranging our Representative Republic

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Eric W. Orts, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, in “The Atlantic”   of January 2, 2019, has an ingenious solution to the problem of the U.S. Senate.  Ingenious is how he would describe his solution, not necessarily how I would describe it. In the following paragraphs, I will examine his “solution” to the one branch of the government whose responsibility is oversight.

 

The Beginning

Orts gets one thing right, for which I will give him credit.  Orts describes the Senate, as : “the current, more deliberative upper chamber.” Yes indeed, it is more deliberative.  Perhaps Ort was sleeping in his government class, as he seems to miss other responsibilities of the Senate: The Senate approves treaties, confirms Supreme Court nominees, federal judges, the appointment of ambassadors, and only the Senate can remove an impeached president.  Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached, but neither were removed by the Senate. The House of Representatives does not remove anyone in the federal government. In his brilliant solution, Orts makes no provisions for what to do with those powers; he just wants the majority of the population to be more “equally” as he describes it, represented, which he considers unequal in the present configuration.

 

The U.S. Senate, from the beginning, was the more deliberative body that represented the states. (Notice I said states, not people.) If you are looking for proof, bear in mind that until 1912, (the 17th Amendment) the state legislatures voted for who would represent their state as a senator, because senators represented states, or, they used to, anyway. Senators are elected every six years, so that they might have more time to deliberate than the members of the House of Representatives, who are elected every two years by popular vote, and immediately begin their campaigns for re-election once they are sworn in to the House. In his brilliant rearrangement of our government, Mr. Orts’ shallow analysis ignored the responsibilities of the Senate, or, in an even more brilliant move, would just make all of the appointment confirmations a popularity contest. We don’t need a deliberative body, we need a popularity contest in Mr. Ort’s view. We already have a popularity contest called the House of Representatives.

 

In another brilliant observation, Orts states: “We should keep in mind that the original one-state, two-senators rule was written and ratified by property-owning white men, almost half of whom owned slaves, and that the voting-rights amendments were adopted after a war to end slavery.”  That statement  could not be more accurate, although those property-owning white men risked everything they had, in fact, their very lives, when they declared their independence from a monarch. Many  men enslaved by monarchs could have done the same all over the world, but it took decades longer, with the exception of France, for populations to shake off monarchies. 

 

For Mr. Orts' information, many property-owning white men died to free the slaves, who had little or nothing to gain by freeing them, as only a small percentage of the population owned slaves, (and most of those who owned slaves could afford paying $300 rather than get drafted) but they gave their lives anyway. Many of the “property-owning white men” didn’t live to see the results of their efforts to promote a new birth of freedom, nor did many of those who perished in the Civil War, but I thank Mr. Orts for his brilliant belaboring of the obvious. If all of what those the “property-owning white men” did was so simple and easy, why didn’t any other nations join in with overthrowing monarchs? Those the “property-owning white men” had to fight off England again in the War of 1812 because they were enslaving American sailors on the high seas. Slavery was never unique to America, Mr. Ort.

 

Voting Power

According to Mr. Orts:  “Today the voting power of a citizen in Wyoming, the smallest state in terms of population, is about 67 times that of a citizen in the largest state of California, and the disparities among the states are only increasing. The situation is untenable.” Actually, Mr. Orts, the disparity among the states is evidence that the system is working, and an untenable situation such as you describe would be if those underrepresented Wyoming citizens were bullied by more populated states such as California and New York.  The other “untenable” situation is the inability of our legislators to reach any sort of a compromise.  Compromises. You know, Mr. Orts,  like the compromises that were made in the founding documents of this great nation, a characteristic that our present legislators flagrantly lack, insisting that their people have a greater voice in this republic and everyone else’s rights and interests should be ignored.  No thanks, Mr. Orts. Our republic already gives majorities to the more populated states in the House of Representatives,  with the more deliberative Senate as the balancing factor, the legislative body that represents the states equally. I might have to say that again; the term is equally, Mr. Orts.

 

Side-Stepping Our Constitution

According to Mr. Orts: “This seems like a showstopper, and some scholars say it’s ‘unthinkable’ that the one-state, two-senators rule can ever be changed. But, look, when conservative lawyers first argued that the Affordable Care Act violated the Commerce Clause, that seemed unthinkable, too. Our Constitution is more malleable than many imagine.” Our Constitution is malleable when it suits certain people such as Mr. Orts. One of the arguments  regarding ObamaCare was that people would be taxed for breathing, and until ObamaCare, breathing was not considered an act of commerce.  Simply staying alive became an act of commerce, such as purchasing something or engaging in some kind of commerce. ObamaCare made being alive an act of commerce, which to many of the conservative lawyers objected, setting a precedent that opened a can of worms never before considered. Now that breathing is an act of commerce, what will be next? Decorum prevents me from mentioning other bodily functions, but now that breathing is an act of commerce, I can think of several bodily functions that I would like to perform on the ruling that breathing is an act of commerce.

 

The Power of States, Not of Populations

The Senate was never meant to be a popularly-elected branch of the government, just as the Electoral College was designed to disallow the ability for the more popular regions to gain control and thus enslave the less populated states. Read your history, Mr. Orts. The less-populated states refused to sign the Constitution of this republic until they were granted some branch of the government that would represent them and that their voices not be lost in the crowd. If I may say so, this equal representation of the Senate has been one of the key elements of why this republic has lasted some two-hundred and thirty-one years.  I suggest Mr. Orts read “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill before he sits down at his computer and suggests more tyranny or Democrat-leaning diatribes on what is fair in this, or any other republic. Did I mention that strangely enough, the politicians named by Mr. Ort who have suggested that we reform the Senate were Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and John Dingell, both Democrats from more-populated states. Does anyone see a pattern here?

 

What’s Untenable?

The “untenable” situation is that the more populated states are unwilling to enter into any kind of compromise while the smaller, less populated states hold their ground, more than likely representing the very people that Mr. Orts wants to disembowel. Like most spoiled Democrats, Mr. Orts is of the mistaken impression that the majority should be granted the absolute rule of this republic, and to question the wisdom of the majority is some justification to exenterate to silence, once and for all, the minority that, up to the present, has been represented. If there would ever be a reason to leave the union, Mr. Orts' “solution” would be as good of a reason that has come along since the Civil War. The United States is not, nor have we ever been, a pure democracy, and certainly not the ochlocracy Mr. Orts suggests, nor is circumventing our Constitution in order to deny states’ rights anything but a ticket to another armed conflict.  The people are represented by population in the House of Representatives, and the states equally in the Senate.

 

If the majority’s representatives are not doing enough for their constituents, I would suggest they find more effective legislators or legislators who have a greater ability to compromise, and forget this unconstitutional rearranging of our republic. Mr. Orts would be better sticking to his area of expertise, (if he has one)  which seems to be business, or to learn the origins of this republic and the tenets of which it was founded, and stop coming up with brilliant ideas (as well as unconstitutional pernicious plans on gutting the under-populated states)  on how to desecrate the minority.         

Sources:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/heres-how-fix-senate/579172/

 

Comments

edinmountainview Added Jan 5, 2019 - 6:46pm
Agreed.  There needs to be equal representation for each state and the Senate is where it is most equal.  I do not have a lot of faith in our current group of Senators, that's for sure.  There are a lot of Senators I would like to see voted out, but in my neck of the woods that would be pretty much impossible at the moment.
Semper Fi
Ward Tipton Added Jan 5, 2019 - 7:18pm
Far from being eliminated, the electoral college should be implemented at the State level as well. Far too many cities like Chicago, Vegas, Seattle, Portland NYC and others effectively disenfranchise all of the rural voters. 
 
Mob rule is madness, not governance. 
Dino Manalis Added Jan 5, 2019 - 7:20pm
 Legislators in both the Senate and House should triangulate the opposition with centrist initiatives to force them to compromise on critical issues.
Ward Tipton Added Jan 5, 2019 - 7:49pm
The reason the senate and the house were divided the way they were was in part to keep them so busy and preoccupied fighting each other that they did not have the capacity to compromise. Just imagine how much damage they could do if they did work as hard as the common man. 
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 5, 2019 - 8:38pm
Thanks much edinmountainview. As, with you, I'm not terribly impressed with the current batch of Senators. Thanks and semper fi as well.
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 5, 2019 - 8:41pm
Excellent point Ward. The cities and states are too far apart from the federal government to ever do that. California has now issued over 1 million driver's licenses to illegal aliens- per the LA Times:
https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-dmv-illegal-immigration-licenses-20180404-story.html
Thanks Ward, great points as always.
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 5, 2019 - 8:43pm
Thanks Dino. The "untenable" situation is the inability of the legislators to compromise and get on with things, they just keep pounding away instead of moving forward. Thanks Dino, very insightful comment.
Gerrilea Added Jan 5, 2019 - 9:48pm
Jeff J--- Thank you for the article and the link to the Atlantic piece.  Great points and counter arguments. 
 
Today, I'd have to say the untenable situation we have is that both sides pretend to fight one another, divide We The People, to keep themselves in power, continuously.
 
My biggest pet peeve with Obamacare and the SC decision was that it granted our government the authority to force us to buy whatever they deem necessary.  We can be forced to buy stocks of Goldman Sach's if they said so.
 
We are forevermore forced into the position of being slaves, as commercial product, to be controlled and extorted to suit the needs and desires of whomever is in office.
 
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 5, 2019 - 9:58pm
Thanks Gerrilea, and a great insight into what precedent ObamaCare really set. You are exactly correct, that the ObamaCare decision now empowers the government to require the citizens to purchase anything they decide we need. As I said, it opened a can of worms of incomprehensible magnitude. Yes, the legislators just keep fighting instead of working things out, insisting they be reelected to continue the fight that should have been resolved before their terms ended. Thanks Gerillea, great points.
Cullen Writes Added Jan 6, 2019 - 12:22am
I have no problem with the Senate doing its official duties. But they are not the representatives of the people (or weren't meant to be).
 
And they shouldn't block bills constantly that were passed BY the representatives of the people in the House. In doing so, they make themselves a redundant law-making, law-passing body. 
 
Many countries have an upper house of the legislature, and in the Westminster (British) system almost never contest the will of the people expressed in the lower house. I have no problem with a body like a Senate being a stop-gap for insane bills. But if they are just a gridlock-inducing body in business as usual situations of legislating, then something is wrong with the system. 
Cullen Writes Added Jan 6, 2019 - 12:30am
The idea expressed in the Atlantic is stupid on many levels.
 
The European Union has two bodies of legislation, broadly speaking. The European Parliament which is made up of delegates chosen by electorates in member states--in much the same way members of the House of Representatives are in the U.S.A. 
 
The EU also has a body called the European Commission that controls the budget each year. That body has a single delegate from each member state, chosen by the legislatures of each member--similar makeup to the original U.S. Senate, except each member state got 2 Senators, the EU Commission gets one from each member state.
 
Why the need to have equal representation of each member state to the super-structure of the EU government? Because the concerns of each sovereign state need representation and they need to have the same weight as each other. Otherwise, the biggest population centers will control everything and all other persons and areas will be slaves to them. There has to be counter-weight to that. The EU Commission or the U.S. Senate were meant to be that counter-weight.
Cullen Writes Added Jan 6, 2019 - 12:37am
The Atlantic article is more crybaby nonsense from apparently enlightened liberals in dense population centers on both coasts that have been imposing their will onto the rest of the country since at least FDR's tenure.
 
The rest of the country is uniting to offset their strength. And their solution is not to appeal more to the rest of country but to cry about their losses and campaign to change the rules to be more in their favor. (Granted the Right of politics sometimes does this when states like Texas talk about seceding from the union. But the liberals are going overboard where California wants to secede--or split in 3. They want to change the electoral college to take the popular vote in presidential elections. They want to change the Senate makeup. They want to hamstring the president with claims of "Russia collusion". The Democrat House wants to impeach. It's over the top at the very least and screams poor loser to me of the 2016 election.)
Cullen Writes Added Jan 6, 2019 - 12:43am
Sorry, last comment. I do have strong feelings about the Senate. But I think their PRIMARY purpose of representing the will of the state governments to the federal government has been lost. And that was the original purpose (of the Senate). Now they often end up being a redundant and gridlock-inducing legislation body. They aren't the people's representatives, or weren't meant to be. I think, if they want to keep the approximate job they have, there should be a penalty they pay for blocking legislation from the lower House. So if it's a bill or two a year, no big deal. But they are blocking nearly every bill coming from the lower house, that penalty should be painful, like immediate elections of every member at year's end if they pass a threshold. 
edinmountainview Added Jan 6, 2019 - 1:10am
Cullen - I like that idea -- the painful penalty for any member.
Semper Fi
Ward Tipton Added Jan 6, 2019 - 2:01am
That was the entire intent of the Seventeenth Amendment, to make the Senate into a separate (but equal?) body of the federal government while removing any ability for the State to retain even a hint of its sovereignty. 
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 6, 2019 - 6:39am
Cullen:
California has been debating splitting into Northern and Southern California for quite some time, it is not new by any means, because the northern and southern Californians are quite different and those differences have led to some strong disagreements. I have no objection to their splitting up if they wish to do so.
Federal elections every year is too often for my tastes, I like things as they are.
One of the premises of Texas entering the union was the right to succeed from the union if they wished. When Texas talks of succeeding, they have that right, as it was a condition of it joining the union. In a similar situation, Utah joined the union with the provision that the Mormons (who at the time comprised most of the Utah population) give up polygamy. Texas has the right to succeed, and Utah, in the more rural and isolated areas, ignores their commitment to refrain from polygamy.
Leroy Added Jan 6, 2019 - 9:02am
The repulsive, irrational radical rift-raft rascals are reprehensible in their resolution to rearrange our republic to reflect their respective, irresponsible beliefs.
Ward Tipton Added Jan 6, 2019 - 9:20am
There are far too many electoral votes to be had in California for the democrats to allow the state to be divided. 
 
Personally, I would love to see them take Vegas ... and as much as I hate to say it, even Reno these day, make them part of Cali and give Nevada the 395 corridor North of Reno into part of Nevada ... but that will never happen either. 
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 6, 2019 - 10:09am
Absolutely Leroy, and The Atlantic intentionally indulges their ignominious inclinations with unwarranted accolades. BTW, I emailed that essay to The Atlantic. I doubt they will publish it.Thanks Leroy.
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 6, 2019 - 10:10am
Great point Ward, California will never give up all of those liberal electoral votes, at least no without a fight. Thanks Ward, good point.
Ward Tipton Added Jan 6, 2019 - 10:11am
Think we can convince them to at least take Vegas? PLEASE?
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 6, 2019 - 1:03pm
Well, it is Sin City, and the Dems really encourage sin, such as illegal immigration, out-of-wedlock births, gluttony, sloth, and a general propensity to reward bad behavior! 
Dave Volek Added Jan 6, 2019 - 5:00pm
Jeff
 
I was on a liberal progressive internet forum for a few months, and there was a fair amount of discussion of electing the president by popular vote, not the electoral college. I tried to explain to them that the EC will never vault an uncredible candidate in the position of president, and Mr. Trump earned 62m votes mostly on his own merit. The election ended up as a coin flip (65m vs. 62m is a close race); the EC sided with Mr. Trump. But there was "no compromise" with this group. Their "guy" would have won with popular vote in the last election------end of story.
 
I should note that both Mr. Ort and you did not make any mention that the founding fathers saw the perils of political parties. Unfortunately, that experiment in the new American democracy was not carried very far. 
 
We need a system where the likes of either Mr. Trump or Ms. Clinton would not be preferred as the only choices for most voters. 
 
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 6, 2019 - 5:52pm
Thanks for your comments Dave. I'm with you 100% on the detrimental influence of political parties. In order to ever get on a ticket, you need money, and the parties have an overwhelming influence on who gets on any ticket. Since Ort didn't mention parties, I didn't either, though I did explain that both the Senate and the Electoral College were put into the system to keep the populous states from simply taking over the republic. Mr. Ort, a business professor, should stay out of the Department of Political Science, since he's really off the mark on his suggestion. (Incidentally, I have a poli-sci degree and am a licensed teacher of the same.) Since the Dems thought Hillary was unbeatable, the terrible shock of her loss is still driving them to make insane suggestions, and again, they refuse to recognize the historical context. The new Congress has already started the impeachment proceedings, (they started the paperwork) even though, as president, President Trump has not committed any crime! Talk about insane. Thanks Dave, good perspective.
P.S. If the Mueller investigation comes up empty, I'm going to let loose on some serious criticism.
Dave Volek Added Jan 7, 2019 - 12:09am
Jeff
My hypothesis on the Mueller Inquiry is twofold. First, the collusion trail is so complicated that Mueller will never be simplify it such that most citizens can follow (Watergate was easy). Second, it is unlikely whatever collusion is there was unlikely to have affected the election. 
 
But I could be wrong. It may indeed be primary a partisan witchhunt, which will further discredit the political process. Maybe a few Americans might my TDG a little more seriously.
 
ChetDude Added Jan 7, 2019 - 11:26pm
Another good solution would be to chop up the country into logical regions that are somewhat more homogeneous in political and sociological bias.
 
Here at the end-stage of fossil-fueled capitalism, the commercial fiction that is USAmerica no longer has any real good reason to continue and is too big and polarized to "govern"...
 
I volunteer my state of Hawai'i to join with California, Oregon and Washington and become Ecotopia - a blue oasis that would also be the 4th or 5th largest economy in the world and is well on its way to a higher degree of rational sanity.  Another advantage for Ecotopia will be that we no longer would have the millstone of stingy, needy welfare Red states around our necks stealing tax dollars from our pockets and passing their regressive/repressive federal laws that impose their perverse sky-god myths on us as well as weigh us down and hold us back...
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 8, 2019 - 10:11am
Thanks for your input Chet. I think the polarization is somewhat played up by the parties. The U.S. has always been diverse in lifestyles, attitudes and values, it is just that the media has sharpened our awareness and, again, played up and exaggerated the differences. The U.S. has been a “diverse” society since its founding, as there have been different people arrive in different time periods, it is just that certain influential people are playing the differences and making separating critical to our survival when it really isn’t. As I have said in the article, one of the most valuable attributes that has made the U.S. a world power has been the abilities of the various peoples to reach compromises, and when we can no longer be a nation of diversity, we will no longer be a world power, militarily, economically, or politically.
 
Consider the Europeans, a map that has been redrawn century after century, to use the words of Crocodile Dundee, “like fleas fighting over a dog.” The inability of diverse nations to compromise has led to a continent that is broken up into little pieces, with each one fighting over their little slice. Russia and China are both very diverse countries, yet they somehow get things done without fighting each other, and both are superpowers. Does anyone see a pattern here? Interesting point though, Chet, thanks for your comments. 
Thomas Napers Added Jan 9, 2019 - 5:07am
I’m not sure why you took so long to refute Ort’s view.  Unless you’re a liberal, there is nothing wrong with the Senate…full stop. That is all you needed to write. 
 
Ort is simply another disgruntled liberal that isn’t getting there way because of the Senate. So from my vantage point, the Senate is doing what the Constitution had in mind when one branch becomes radicalized, as is what we see happening at the House.  Coincidence that Ort never offered his views on the Senate when it was in liberal hands?  I think not. 
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 9, 2019 - 7:54am
I agree with you Thomas. The thing is, Ort is a professor at a university, so he needed an academic explanation of why his plan was a pile of dung. Professors like Ort are corrupting the young minds of our youth and filling their heads with stupid policies backed up by treacherously ignorant "plans" such as those proposed by Ort. To simply say he's just a disgruntled liberal, aside from being obvious, is not a convincing argument for an academic trying to influence young minds. Ort needed some facts to refute his position, otherwise he would accuse me of just name-calling. I'm hoping Ort's position changes because of reason, not just name-calling. Thanks for your comment Thomas. 
sheldon fox Added Jan 9, 2019 - 10:50am
I happen to agree with you Jeff, although a major problem I believe that is happening is no term limits for either part of congress. I tend to think that if there was less time spent by them wondering how to get re-elected that there could be more done. Although yes this is not a major problem in the senate with it's six year terms, many still run and focus on re-election. I do believe though that they way we are represented is fair.
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 9, 2019 - 11:23am
Sheldon, I am not opposed to term limits, but that is a Constitutional issue, unless some conniving rat can find some Supreme Court ruling that they think applies in some way. Many states have reformed with term limits, and the "career politicians" simply seek another office. For example, the governor can't run again so they run for secretary of state or back to the state legislature, then runs for governor again. We have too many career politicians.
The other problem, Sheldon, is that in the U.S. Congress, you have to be on a committee or you are nowhere, and making it to committees means seniority. None of the states want to impose term limits because that would eliminate positions on powerful committees and they would lose influence. Lots of folks want term limits, but no one wants to give up the power of being re-elected. Many of the senior Congress members consider presidents as ephemeral, and a seat in Congress as lasting far longer, and in many of the seats, they are correct. Nancy Pelosi was first elected in 1987- that's 31 years, or 7 presidents. Thanks for your comments Sheldon, I agree, but we have a very complex situation where no one wants to give up anything. 
 
The Owl Added Jan 9, 2019 - 3:40pm
I'm all for the repeal of the 17th Amendment.
 
When senators needed the approval of their legislatures, they were, essentially, ambassadors of the state.  Senators, previously, were inclined to vote the interests of their state for the simple reason that they were held accountable BY the state.  The original system turned out "statesmen".
 
With the popular election of senators, a smaller, more exclusive "house of representatives" was created, a group of individuals who voted for THEIR VOTERS first and their states a distant second.  The result was the election of people like Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell and Jeff Flake and Elizabeth Warren...petty partisans to the core.
 
Nothing has changed in the relationships of the states since the days of the writing of our Constitution except that there are more of them and there are more differences because of geography and climates.  The states still play an outsized role in the governance of The People and the interests of the several states remains diverse.
 
I'm not holding that returning responsibility for senatorial election to the legislatures is going to mean that there will never be gridlock again.  Politics is politics, played at the local and state levels, and thoroughly expected at the national level.
 
But I do suggest that the social issues that currently handcuff our politics will find solutions at the local and state levels where those social issues have much greater impact.  That, in itself, will reduce the tensions in the Senate, and that body can get back to expressing the regional interests that are important to good governance at the national level.
 
Governance is best accomplished at the lowest level of organization consistent with resolving the competing interests and consensus.  Getting the Senate back to expressing the interests of the state will have the tendency to drive political action back into the state legislatures where the people directly affected by political action can have greater say.
 
The problems that prompted the 17th Amendment's passage are real and need to be addressed.  But it may be more proper to address them with measures directed at restricting the means of corruption than it is in gutting the intent of the Constitution for the Senate to be expressions of the states in their capacities as functioning political units.
Katharine Otto Added Jan 9, 2019 - 10:45pm
Good article, Jeff,
Most people probably know the bi-cameral system was a subject of much debate in the Constitutional Convention.  Ben Franklin was for a uni-cameral system, but, as with other things, it boiled down to a North (urban) vs. South (rural) struggle, so they compromised.
 
Orts' idea of abolishing the Senate is not new.  In fact, I have in my files a 2004 article from Harpers, entitled "What Democracy?"  by Richard N. Rosenfeld, which makes a similar argument.  It infuriated me so much that I researched population vs. land mass in each of the states.  I drafted a response but never finished it.  I discovered that except for Texas and California, land mass is inversely proportional to population.  The top five states in population (California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania) comprise 36% of the US population but only 16% of total land.  The top five in land mass (Alaska, Texas, California, Montana, and New Mexico) comprise 35% of the total land but only 19% of the population, as of the 1990 census.  I also noted that the states with the most land mass are also the richest in natural resources, but as you know, the land has no vote.
 
Your article has inspired me to take a second look at the 2004 essay and see what I can see.
A. Jones Added Jan 10, 2019 - 3:50am
the ObamaCare decision now empowers the government to require the citizens to purchase anything they decide we need.
 
Not exactly.
 
The Obamacare decision empowered government to tax individuals (which tax Barry Soetero called a "Mandate") who did not purchase what government decided we all need. An individual didn't have to purchase insurance; but if he didn't, he was fined for his decision. Matt Drudge used to call that a "Liberty Tax." Justice Scalia apparently said during SCOTUS's deliberation on the issue, "Broccoli is good for a person's health. Are we now going to allow government to mandate that everyone buy broccoli, but then impose a tax on those individuals who choose not to buy it." I believe he was right.
 
Keep in mind, also, that Obamacare mandated to insurance providers the kind of product they were allowed to offer to individuals who were interested in buying insurance.
 
All in all, a pernicious piece of legislation, brimming with perverted incentives for everyone involved.
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 10, 2019 - 7:20am
Thanks for your comments Owl. I would love for some of the social issues to be solved at a local level. Taking the illegal immigration issue for example, the cities in California are taking measures of giving aid and shelter to illegal immigrants, in violation of federal regulation. Immigration is one of the most divisive issues, and the Reps and Dems aren't willing to reach any compromise. I'm all for social issues being resolved at the local level, where things can be managed more easily, because when the federal government gets involved it seems to get  out of hand. 
Of course, one of the principles of this republic was that the states address and resolve issues for themselves, the federalist position. I am afraid that isn't happening as much as the federal government gains more and more power and tries to control more and more of the government's responsibilities. Thanks Owl. 
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 10, 2019 - 7:34am
Thanks Katherine. As for those who question this democracy (almost always Democrats) it is not a perfect, or pure democracy, mostly because if would never have become a republic had some of the compromises been made. Now that the Dems have the majority in certain places, they want more democracy. I'm sure of the shoe was on the other foot, the Dems would be wailing that they are not being represented and are being discriminated against. What is quite sad, other than college professors making lame and unsupportable suggestions, is that the system that began with the recognition of smaller players and has worked for over 200 years is being challenged by a majority whose desires will result in the Balkanization of this republic. Thanks Katherine. 
P.S. the article was sent to "The Atlantic" but I am certain it will be ignored.
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 10, 2019 - 7:40am
Thanks AJ. I think ObamaCare, as mentioned, is opening the door for the government to force the citizens to buy certain mandated things and impose fines if they refuse. It began with insurance, and as government imposes more and more into our lives, I am certain they will conjure up more things we "have" to purchase. Thanks AJ.
ChetDude Added Jan 10, 2019 - 3:23pm
Mr. The Owl: Thank you for agreeing with me that the best form of 'government' will be when (and if) humans evolve far enough to be able to fully embrace the better angels of their nature and implement Communism...
 
Socialism first though...
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 11, 2019 - 6:34pm
Well, Chet, find us a state that embraced communism successfully and we might believe you.
ChetDude Added Jan 11, 2019 - 9:13pm
I'll make a deal with you, Jeff.
 
You find us a state that has tried capitalism, survived capitalism's internal contradictions and processes that mimic a cancer cell, survived the major negative consequences of its actions and capitalism's major "features" and has learned how to provide for the basic human needs of its entire population while preserving the environment as a friendly, hospitable, nurturing place for future generations...
 
And I'll show you a Socialist (or if we're lucky and evolve enough as a species) a Communist state.
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 11, 2019 - 10:00pm
You're looking for utopia, Chet. Neither economic ideal can generate what you are asking for, both involve compromises. It is just that historically, capitalist states do better  for all. I won't go into the failings of communism or socialism, the history is there. The point is that capitalism just does better. The records are there, the history is there. I've read lots of books about the failings. As many have said before me, capitalism is not perfect, it is just the best anyone has come up with.
ChetDude Added Jan 11, 2019 - 10:11pm
I'm not "looking for utopia", Jeff.  I'm too old and won't be around long enough to see it.
 
However, I CAN imagine a reasonable vision of what it can look and feel like.
 
I am a little disappointed that you entirely missed my essential point, that is that unlike the failing capitalist states we can examine and visit and experience there has NEVER been a Socialist or Communist State (by strict definition a nation or "state" can't ever be completely Communist).
 
"I won't go into the failings of communism or socialism"  No, all you can do is describe the negative results of states that CALLED THEMSELVES Socialist or Communists but were not.
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C'mon, there's NEVER been a state allowed to exist for any length of time that satisfies this definition of Socialism:
 
Worker and Community (THE PEOPLE'S) OWNERSHIP of the means of production coupled with democratic processes for decision making that allows the people to achieve consensus about where, when and what to produce, how much and how to do it along with how to fairly and equally distribute what's produced.
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Coda: In order to work for society in a future that will increasingly be hampered by fossil-fueled, capitalist AGW/Climate Change, a primary goal of a Socialist society must be Sustainability according to the following definition:

1. The integration of human social and economic lives into the environment in ways that tend to enhance or maintain rather than degrade or destroy the environment;

2. A moral imperative to pass on our natural inheritance, not necessarily unchanged, but undiminished in its ability to meet the needs of future generations;

3. Entails determining and staying within the balance point among population, consumption and waste assimilation so that bioregions, watersheds and ecosystems can maintain their ability to recharge, replenish and regenerate.
 
ChetDude Added Jan 11, 2019 - 10:14pm
Capitalism does "What" better?
 
Eliminate poverty and hunger? 
 
Convert raw materials and energy into grist and garbage for a landfill in an average of 6 months?  (I'll grant you this one)..
 
Pollute the environment for short-term profits?  Then make some more profits inadequately cleaning up behind itself?
 
By the way - "standard of living" does NOT = Quality of Life...
ChetDude Added Jan 11, 2019 - 10:15pm
 Hey, wait!  WTF is wrong with "looking for Utopia"???
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 13, 2019 - 3:52pm
Chet, read "Wealth and Poverty" by George Gilder. Nothing more needs to be said.
ChetDude Added Jan 14, 2019 - 2:09pm
Jeff: Read "The New Human Rights Movement" by Peter Joseph. 
 
Since he details the history and parameters of the underlying systemic disease as well as anything in print, nothing more needs to be said. 
 
And you may understand where Mr. Gilder's delusional and fallacious assumptions come from...who they serve...and may learn to shed them yourself...
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 15, 2019 - 5:11am
Why thank you, Mogg Tsur, a bit harsh but needed to be said. Chet and his ilk keep thinking "this time we'll get it right" when what they are proposing is fundamentally flawed. His ideology only brings more people down into misery, with no hope of ever getting out of the pit of poverty. Thanks Mogg.
ChetDude Added Jan 15, 2019 - 4:07pm
Mogg spews: "ChetDude, you are one bitter, insecure and lonely son of a bitch"
 
When you've lost the argument and don't have anything useful to say, you guys sure love to go ad-hominem, don't you?
 
Actually, I'm an extremely satisfied, happy, fulfilled and joyous human being surrounded on my beautiful farm in paradise by family and friends.  And even in the twilight of my life, I'm supremely active at my chosen professional vocation of spreading great music and joy to enhance and uplift other people's lives. 
 
I hope that Truth doesn't ruin your day...
ChetDude Added Jan 15, 2019 - 4:08pm
You boys should read "The New Human Rights Movement"...
 
Lose some of your bitterness and bile and replace it with understanding...
Ryan Messano Added Jan 15, 2019 - 4:22pm
Your socialism has spread nothing but misery to humans, Chetdude.  Must be some pretty strong drugs you used in your youth, I'm guessing.  Yesterday we just learned that pot use in youth, even a tiny bit, affects the brain.  How much did you use?
 
This isn't ad hominem, when someone's cracker slides off their cheese, it's hard to persuade them of anything.
Ward Tipton Added Jan 15, 2019 - 6:12pm
A communist state where the state does not exist, but still agrees that the State should keep the entirety of earnings and wealth and distribute it more equitably? 
 
That was when I gave up on ChetDude. 
Jeff Jackson Added Jan 15, 2019 - 7:00pm
I'm just wondering why ChetDude hasn't found any communist or socialist government that is so, so fine that he needs to leave his present government and immigrate to the "worker's paradise." Or why he hasn't run for office and initiated measures to implement this perfect government that he so desires.

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