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The real national emergency

bisleybisley Senior MemberPosts: 10,798 Senior Member

Forget about border control for a moment, and analyze what the function of government is supposed to be.

For the USA, the original function of the federal government was to unite the individual states into a coalition whose task was to ward off invasion from foreign entities and protect the citizens from each other. To fund a military and establish a system of justice, taxes were levied upon the citizens, with their consent, at least in theory. Truthfully, large numbers of citizens did not approve of any taxes, because of their experience with a government that took their hard earned money and sent it to another country, to fund that country’s colonial expansion. It was just that simple, really.

Naturally, when any money is collected by any entity that is supposed to use that money for a specific purpose, there is a danger that corruption or incompetence will divert money to other causes that the ‘contributors’ will not approve of. In order to keep such behavior to a minimum, a budget must be agreed upon, and oversight provided that can force the money to be managed according to agreed upon rules or laws.

The real emergency is that this country is electing scoundrels to Congress who cannot agree on a budget. Why? Because only a scoundrel will risk ruin to advance his ambitions. Congress is charged, by law, with creating a budget and executing a spending and collecting plan that fits that budget. There has to be a deadline or no decision point will be reached, but we no longer hold them to that deadline. The President’s function is to exert enough control over the process, by virtue of the veto, to force them to compromise on, and agree to a budget, every year

The last president to succeed in corralling the spending of Congress in a way that forced them to spend only the amount of money that they collected, was Andrew Jackson. The last president to preside over a watered down version of a 'balanced budget' was Bill Clinton. But wait.... the House of Representatives forced him to re-submit lower spending proposals, five times, lowering it enough that they would pass it. Naturally, he immediately hit the campaign trail claiming credit for balancing the budget. This was the last House of Representatives that actually did its job.

How does this relate to the impasse over border security? After all, the president wants more money for his plan, not less.

It relates to it because the president is now exercising the only power he has to force Congress to do what he has promised to do - exactly what every other president has tried to do (if he had ever had any intention of keeping campaign promises), by varying methods, to fund what the voters elected him to do. The difference between what Trump is doing and what other presidents have done is that he apparently is not bluffing. He is betting the ranch, to keep a campaign promise. Right or wrong, he is doing the job, and he is paying dearly, in the process. All of the acts of Congress that allowed the government to remain 'mostly' funded during a shut-down have actually undermined the president's power to restrain the Congress and maintain the balance of power.

Congress has not met the deadline requirements for agreeing on any budget, much less a balanced one, in years, during which time our deficit has reached over $21,000,000,000,000. Every budget fails to meet the fiscal year deadline, and extend it until one party or the other finds enough political leverage to force a compromise that they can live with. Continuing resolutions have displaced the original 'law of the land,' as the way budget disagreements have been dealt with. Congress can pass spending bills, but they can’t fund them, and they do not care, as long as they can hold on to power. There is no other logical answer.

A president is elected on the campaign promises he can make the electorate believe, and exerting leverage over a dysfunctional Congress is the biggest battle he will ever preside over. When a Democrat is elected, he has to have a Democrat congress to have any hope of keeping the campaign promises he made to voters. Likewise, a Republican president needs a Republican Congress.

The voters have no remedy for this situation, except using their votes to divide the Congress, which is a de facto vote for political gridlock. This gives the media immense power, if they choose to denounce journalism, in favor of propagandizing for their own agenda, so any party that aligns with them (or vice versa) has a huge advantage, during gridlock. Propaganda is used to neutralize all of the 'good intentions' that still remain in government, and allows corruption to flourish.

Now, that is an emergency, and we can’t buy our way out of it. A president is charged with protecting the country, and he has to get the money for it in any way that he can find to do it, without getting thrown out of office. Very few have the guts or the brains to do it, and they will be destroyed, in the process.

It is a rotten situation, and it looks like voters may always have to choose a rotten representative, and just hope that he will use his rottenness to advance the agenda they support.






Replies

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    The metastasizing cancer of corporate socialism. Put on the fast track by SCOTUS legislating anonymous money as free speech spoken by anonymous entities.

    The real emergency is that the government no longer serves the common welfare. It serves the collective oligarchs exclusively. Serving the oligarchs is fine and likely according to capitalist theory, in fact serves the common welfare. My personal contention resides with the exclusivity.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,398 Senior Member
    You've hit a lot of what is wrong with the government in that post. The continuing resolutions are the main reason that we are in the fiscal mess we are in now. And politicians that love party affiliation and power more than they love the country, and don't give a damn about the people that elected them, is something that will have to be addressed either at the ballot box, or settled with the bullet box, the former being the preferred method.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    I'm still against the 'bullet' box, but without some gutsy, intelligent, and charismatic people to lead the political charge, the ballot box will eventually just be a waste of time.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,398 Senior Member
    As long as people demand, and vote for, free stuff and whoever promises the most stuff by 'soaking the rich' in punitive taxes then we have not much hope for the ballot box to work. Just look at the number of college age students wanting to try socialism and communism and scrap the capitalist model.

    "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" is a deadly two edged sword used by communists and socialists all too often in the last century. If you have no abilities then you have the high probability of being worked to death at bone crushing labor and starved to death in the process. The history of the last century is fresh and isn't being taught. Venezuela is in the process of imploding under socialism, and it isn't even being covered by the U.S. main stream media. Too much stark truth there about how socialism works, I guess.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    Corporations are the biggest recipients of government tax payer funded subsidies. As long as they keep lobbying the government for more corporate socialism, the evil spectre of communism stands ready to attract the disenchanted ignorant.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    Carl Cannon wrote about money in politics today in his little AM update on the Real Clear Politics site. It seems relevant to this discussion...

    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    Im sure there are some members of congress that hate the predicament. There certainly are some that profess to.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    Communism/socialism, or to be more precise, anti-capitalism, will always be attractive to those that do not look far enough ahead to understand the logical conclusions of each economic 'system'. It targets the disenfranchised, whether they be poor people, minorities, criminals, and quite a few political activists (religious fanatics, basically, with their religion being left-wing politics), who can be trusted to misinterpret and misunderstand every aspect of capitalism.

    The only advantage to capitalism is that the poor are not as poor, and the poor do occasionally manage to climb partway up the economic ladder. It relies on the natural behavior of human beings to do the things that insure their survival (and maybe even their prosperity), obviously with the strongest and smartest ones having an advantage.

    The Utopian idea that certain intellectuals exist that can preside over a system capable of making everyone equal is the panacea that leftists try to sell to the demographic groups that they target. They can provide no long term evidence of this, so they just lie about it outright and change the subject.

    I can't stress this one 'fact' enough:

    Government sucks, and the only way to make it semi-palatable to the public is to keep it so small that the amount of corruption in it is also small. Our founding fathers knew this and gave us the best guide they were capable of creating, in the hope that succeeding generations would figure it all out, in large enough numbers to make their elected representatives improve it, by amendment.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    Carl Cannon wrote about money in politics today in his little AM update on the Real Clear Politics site. It seems relevant to this discussion...

    I read it, but it didn't move me one way or the other, so I assume that I didn't understand it. Maybe you could interpret it for me.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    I watched a tv show with my son recently. It focused on two Cuban refuges. One was sent to Florida as a child to escape the regime. The other came in the wave of boats when Castro tried to purge the dissidents. It was a pretty good window into how bad communism really is, and a good history lesson for my son.

    I'd not like to think of anyone here demanding a utopia. Maybe just a return swing of the pendulum.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    bisley said:
    I read it, but it didn't move me one way or the other, so I assume that I didn't understand it. Maybe you could interpret it for me.
    What I took away from it was that even in the 50's, there was a conflict politicians were having where they either serve the people or serve the donor class (the elite). I feel that conflict iseven more intense today. They may get into politics with the best intentions (serve the people) but in order to get anything done, it is impossible for them to not serve special interests (the elite).

    I believe it reinforces a theme that Alpha, Early, and myself have been promoting on several threads.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    edited January 2019 #13
    That theme is not that much in question, by itself. It is the idea that a leftist elite would be better  that doesn't make any sense. Maybe we are just in a battle for who will control the elite. I can easily buy into the idea that there have been powerful elites manipulating whatever they can, for decades (centuries, maybe).

    What I cannot yet accept is that populist movements can no longer mitigate some of the damage to the non-elites. Think of it like air conditioning - it does not cure a heat wave, but it lowers the temperature enough to make it bearable.

    The way I see it is that the populist left-wing movement is unwittingly working for the leftist elite, while the right-wing populists are unwittingly working for the capitalist elite. From my point of view, a capitalist elite is more benevolent towards the people than a socialist elite. You only need to compare the US to the USSR to reach that conclusion. Yeah, I know, more Cold War crap, but it is a part of history that explains much.


  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    edited January 2019 #14
    I think what you and alot conservative/right leaning people are seeing is leftist rhetoric. Not actual policy. 

    What political administration coined the phrase too big to fail? Stewart McKinney sound familiar? Is capitalism a government subsidized endeavor?

    Are leftist fiascos like Freddie Mack sp? not the opposing side of the same coin?

    Heck no, a leftist elite's are not better. I could easily be swayed that it's worse.

    Nobody in their right mind wants communism. We've been debating alot of this for months. As far as I know no one's mysteriously vanished. I love it here with all the faults and blemishes. I ain't going nowhere. At the same time I won't be frightened by the word socialism. Our government's had its hand on the wheel sence the wheel was reins.

    Im not afraid of utopian proposals either. This is America. We have total freedom of the exchange of ideas. If those ideas are doomed as proven by history Im all ears to that too.


  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    edited January 2019 #15
    This really is an ongoing conversation we have been having over multiple threads. This is where I am coming from...

    The idea that we live in a purely capitalist society does not resemble reality. What exists is a hybrid between capitalism and socialism. This has been reinforced through our history by conservative and liberal politicians alike. Most people would not like living in a purely capitalist society so allowing some socialism into the mix is a necessary evil. What I have been trying to do is challenge our members to recognize the socialism where it exists so we can all have a better understanding of the role it plays in our society. Denying the compatibility and existence of it in our constitutional republic is ignorant.

    Once we get past that and we can identify it, we can start to understand the role it plays and have to ask ourselves if some of these policies are what we want. I think a big problem we have is the inability to see the socialism where it is. We have been calling this hybrid capitalist/socialism mix capitalism the entire time. When our younger generation is disillusioned that capitalism isn't serving them very well and are looking at alternatives that may serve them better, I feel that it isn't the capitalist part that is not serving them, but the misguided socialism that many here can't seem to recognize.

    The solution I advocate is to reform the socialism in a way that allows capitalism to thrive for everyone-- not the fortunate few like we have today.

    Bisley-- I do agree with you that populist movements are ultimately a check on the power of elites. After the Occupy and Tea Party movements, and now Trumpism, you would think that it would turn things around by now. Why isn't it working? Or maybe it is, but we can't seem to recognize it? I am not going to deny that the elites of our society deserve a seat at the table in determining policy, but I see them having an oversized influence at this point in our history. 
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    In some of the books I have about FDR, it tells of him and his administration and policies being the recipients of some very nasty accusations regarding the whole socialism and even communism debate. Yet, at least from an academic view the available alternatives of that time seem incredibly bleak.

    It can also be argued, and honestly I believe, that leftist policy and populist leanings of the 1960s and 70s brought on predictable economic recession and social malady of consequence still relevant today. And further that the conservative tenants of the Reagan administration is what averted complete disaster. 

    I think maybe wrongly? Maybe not, that many of those tenants either went too far or were corrupted to move the balance too far over the intervening decades.

    These are only perceptions and can be debated and even possibly corrected.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member

    FDR simply modernized the old Roman "Bread and Circuses" model to keep the "great unwashed" from revolting.  Now, it's "Beer (or pot) and the NFL- - - -NBA- - - -NHL- - - -Fantasy Football"- - - -etc.!  The only difference is that they took the swords away from the gladiators.

    Jerry


     

  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Posts: 7,671 Senior Member
    .................

    Bisley-- I do agree with you that populist movements are ultimately a check on the power of elites. After the Occupy and Tea Party movements, and now Trumpism, you would think that it would turn things around by now. Why isn't it working? Or maybe it is, but we can't seem to recognize it? I am not going to deny that the elites of our society deserve a seat at the table in determining policy, but I see them having an oversized influence at this point in our history. 
    That's because the elites have more power and are subversive in their methods. It's not out in the open, and there are not enough populists to counteract the opposition.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    Honestly, I am just glad to see that a few people are still interested in having discussions about the ideology of the two relevant parties. In my own opinion, a party that conceals its goals, by deceiving people about its ideology, has evil intent. I also think that a party that does not put their ideology out there as the driving force behind a party 'platform' is intentionally deceiving the voters.

    At our level, as part of the populism, all that most of us can do is vote, and try to stimulate conversation that encourages people to see beyond the pettiness and propaganda, from wherever it comes. Our education system has been failing to teach us how to think, with less free exchange of ideas than a free people should find acceptable.

    Jerm, you have correctly pointed out that the capitalism that we have, now, is very far from the original definition of it, and that both parties have responsibility. I have even lamented that fact, myself, on many occasions. I'm not for strict adherence to any complex ideology, including capitalism. I am in favor of changes that humanize it to a certain extent, because in its purest form, it is basically just the law of the jungle. The problem is that we never know when to stop trying to humanize something that is really just a machine.

    We have to get back to the idea of serving the majority - not because it's fair, or moral, but because it is the only thing that works, long term. Everything else creates the chaos that government was invented to cure. We can be fair and moral in our individual lives, but we are fools to think government can, without favoring one person over another.
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