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  • Re: med costs

    We are a republic, not a pure democracy.

    Read "Democracy In America"

    https://www.amazon.com/Democracy-Ame...ghydr-20&psc=1

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    • Re: med costs

      I very much like that book, vt. Gustave de Beaumont and Alexis de Tocquville were keen observers of America. In fact, they observed pure democracy in town meetings in New England. They also observed slavery on plantations in Georgia. And if I recall correctly, they just about predicted civil war because of the wide gap in values back in 1830, a generation and a half before civil war finally broke out.

      I think in a way, the story of America has always been spit in two like this.

      There was John Winthrop's Massachusetts vision of a City on a Hill based on the Sermon on the Mount when he founded Mass Bay colony on Arbella. It was very concerned with things like direct democracy, education, and being an example for the world. Oh, it was a cruel, religious intolerant place of witch trials and more. But it was as democratic as anything since ancient Athens.

      Then there was the Virginia colony idea of Sir Walter Raleigh. He himself was a nobleman. He was much more interested in order. Burgesses could not vote directly in town meetings. They could only elect representatives to assemble. There never was direct democracy there.

      The tradition of local pure democratic government continues to this day, if only in the six New England states, where every citizen is a town legislator, counties mean basically nothing, and towns have the power of cities and counties combined in other states.

      Here, where I live, we are a pure democracy. This is part of how we don't see eye to eye. My first experience with government was as a little boy dragged along to a town meeting where I saw my father, who was no elected official, argue his part for how something in the town ought to go. It was pure democracy, in the literal sense. And I suspect that colors how I view government in America, and how I think it should be even when it isn't yet, to this day.

      It's funny because you can see it in elements of pop culture like the Simpsons monorail episode and such. I always wondered what people in other parts of the country think they're doing in those town meetings where town citizens are deciding how to spend budget surpluses. It's totally normal here. But to the rest of the country it must seem like the mad invention of a wild cartoon writer.

      Anyways, if ever you see crazy northeastern blue state people going on about Democracy in America, realize that we very much use direct democracy in our day-to-day governments up here and have for about 400 years. Southerners can keep telling us we're a republic not a democracy until they're blue in the face, but when town meeting day comes around, it's not gonna jibe with reality.
      Last edited by dcarrigg; 03-21-19, 09:31 AM.

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      • Re: med costs

        It's only gonna get worse given demographic trends. In the past, these problems were dealt with by making new states. Split Dakota into north and south for political reasons & senate count. Split Maine off of Massachusetts for the same reasons. Don't see why they couldn't have north and south Rhode Island. About as many people as the Dakotas combined there now...
        Last edited by dcarrigg; 03-21-19, 09:13 AM.

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        • Re: med costs

          Originally posted by vt View Post

          ...We are a republic, not a pure democracy...
          That's a pretty import point vt.

          It's clear to me we get better government through representative democracy than we do through direct democracy. At the state level I've seen the explosion of direct referendums over the past 30 years, and I'm not very impressed with the results of most of these referendums in my state and others.

          It's not that we citizens are stupid; it's that we individual citizens just don't have the time to deeply research the consequences, nor the skills to understand the legal subtleties of referendum language. It's too easy for a smooth operator with a hidden agenda to whip the mob into a frenzy and get a goofy referendum passed into law. We get better laws when our representatives and their staffs work through the issue and write the laws.

          I'm awfully glad we don't have any mechanism for direct citizen referendums at the federal level.

          Comment


          • Re: med costs

            Originally posted by dcarrigg View Post
            It's only gonna get worse given demographic trends. In the past, these problems were dealt with by making new states. Split Dakota into north and south for political reasons & senate count. Split Maine off of Massachusetts for the same reasons. Don't see why they couldn't have north and south Rhode Island. About as many people as the Dakotas combined there now...
            It was easier to make new states when the economy was not saturated by debt. It would be much harder to divide assets & pension liabilities today. Sharp changes in either could perhaps end up rescoring debt ratings & force redemptions of debt & issuance of new debt at a higher rate.

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            • Re: med costs

              Originally posted by seobook View Post
              It was easier to make new states when the economy was not saturated by debt. It would be much harder to divide assets & pension liabilities today. Sharp changes in either could perhaps end up rescoring debt ratings & force redemptions of debt & issuance of new debt at a higher rate.
              I don't see why it would be any harder now than then. It's not like Massachusetts didn't have any debt obligations in 1820 when Maine was cut out of her. Ditto with West Virginia. Don't see why it should be any more difficult to work through which entity gets which assets and which liabilities than it was to break up Ma Bell or spin Fox out like just happened the other day. Let the markets panic if they want. They get over it soon enough.

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              • Re: med costs

                Originally posted by dcarrigg View Post
                I don't see why it would be any harder now than then. It's not like Massachusetts didn't have any debt obligations in 1820 when Maine was cut out of her. Ditto with West Virginia. Don't see why it should be any more difficult to work through which entity gets which assets and which liabilities than it was to break up Ma Bell or spin Fox out like just happened the other day. Let the markets panic if they want. They get over it soon enough.
                When the financial economy controls the political economy debt is holier than any version of god.

                Also, given the lack of willpower to scrub the fraud out of the healthcare system, the economy is structurally dependent on asset bubbles for the government to fund itself.

                In the current age of social media - where rage leads all - it would probably take an extreme degree of physical violence to alter the financial system for the better of the bottom 80% of the economy.

                Capital is much more entrenched in its control over government. And it is much more mobile.

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                • Re: med costs

                  Originally posted by seobook View Post
                  When the financial economy controls the political economy debt is holier than any version of god.

                  Also, given the lack of willpower to scrub the fraud out of the healthcare system, the economy is structurally dependent on asset bubbles for the government to fund itself.

                  In the current age of social media - where rage leads all - it would probably take an extreme degree of physical violence to alter the financial system for the better of the bottom 80% of the economy.

                  Capital is much more entrenched in its control over government. And it is much more mobile.
                  Nothing I disagree with there. I don't see new states happening any time soon without a drastic shift. I think I misinterpreted your last post to be about the impossible when it seems to me now you meant it more about the improbable. Actually doing it is not so hard. Getting up the gumption to go for it is much tougher. But then again, sometimes big shifts happen. I would not have predicted this Brexit mess 10 years ago, even after UKIP's showing in the EU elections, for example.

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                  • Re: med costs

                    But DC, Alexis de Tocquville warned about the Tyranny of the Majority, which recognized why the founders created a republic vs. a pure democracy.

                    And as far as making life better for the 80% on the bottom we don't need violence. Simply do what I proposed a few years ago.

                    "Take ALL the money out of politics"

                    No money from any source: corporations, unions, special interest groups, wealthy individuals. Nothing. Nada.

                    Right now we have the best government money can buy. And we got robbed!
                    Last edited by vt; 03-22-19, 01:20 AM.

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                    • Re: med costs

                      You don't have to worry so much about tyranny of the majority if you set the process up right. Madison et all fretted a lot about that in the federalist papers 10 and 51 etc. And I agree with I believe thrifty who said that the voter initiative stuff becomes a nightmare if it's poorly designed. California has more or less proven that.

                      But believe it or not, vt, we have been using direct democracy up here for hundreds of years, and our states are run pretty well, and our towns aren't controlled by tyrants. Direct democracy is as American as apple pie, clam chowder, maple syrup, and lobster tails.

                      But it's not a system where somebody can lawyer up a few legal lines and we just get a majority vote up or down. It's also not a system where we don't (sorry for the double neg) select people from among ourselves to take on certain specialized roles and responsibilities for limited times. It's not asking the masses a yes or no question once per year. It's looking each other in the face and talking and arguing out what to do and deciding whom you trust to do what.

                      Last edited by dcarrigg; 03-22-19, 08:59 AM.

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                      • Re: med costs

                        Originally posted by dcarrigg View Post
                        You don't have to worry so much about tyranny of the majority if you set the process up right. Madison et all fretted a lot about that in the federalist papers 10 and 51 etc. And I agree with I believe thrifty who said that the voter initiative stuff becomes a nightmare if it's poorly designed. California has more or less proven that.

                        But believe it or not, vt, we have been using direct democracy up here for hundreds of years, and our states are run pretty well, and our towns aren't controlled by tyrants. Direct democracy is as American as apple pie, clam chowder, maple syrup, and lobster tails.

                        But it's not a system where somebody can lawyer up a few legal lines and we just get a majority vote up or down. It's also not a system where we don't (sorry for the double neg) select people from among ourselves to take on certain specialized roles and responsibilities for limited times. It's not asking the masses a yes or no question once per year. It's looking each other in the face and talking and arguing out what to do and deciding whom you trust to do what.

                        Thank you. Here in the UK I live in a small village which has a Parish council that meets regularly. But not many local people ever attend from the local community. In large part because the bureaucracy has created additional hurdles in the form of District and County councils, where the bureaucrats hold all the power. I will pass this on to my Parish Councillor.

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                        • Re: med costs

                          Originally posted by davidstvz View Post
                          Warren wants to dissolve the electoral college. Any Warren supporters having second thoughts yet?
                          Not only that but she wants a "commission" on reparations.

                          Like that won't sow more hatred when African Americans are suddenly granted X amount of money and go out to buy cars and houses that the other 60% of poor to middle class can't afford.

                          I can see that going over really well......

                          She has lost touch and all the Democrats are just trying to out do the others on policy.

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                          • Re: Our Next President?

                            Originally posted by jk View Post
                            i doubt eliz warren is a viable candidate, but if so she won't buy substituting identity politics for an attack on the finance industry.
                            Looks like she is going right for identity politics, as she is making a huge campaign push for reparations.

                            Comment


                            • Re: med costs

                              I'd say a much bigger problem is her stance on immigration. I don't see how she can get so much economics right
                              and ignore the effect of immigrants on wages, house prices, traffic, schools, etc.

                              Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand have called for abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
                              show me the towns doubling the zoning for multifamily housing, adding a lane to every expressway, two lanes to every interstate, etc.

                              Comment


                              • Re: med costs

                                Originally posted by Polish_Silver View Post
                                I'd say a much bigger problem is her stance on immigration. I don't see how she can get so much economics right
                                and ignore the effect of immigrants on wages, house prices, traffic, schools, etc.



                                show me the towns doubling the zoning for multifamily housing, adding a lane to every expressway, two lanes to every interstate, etc.
                                The ICE thing is just symbolic. The agency was created in the aftermath of 9/11, about 15 years ago.

                                Before that, we had INS do most of what people imagine ICE doing now, with Customs Officers being a separate service, and the FPS police who monitor federal facilities and lands being another separate service, etc.

                                Believe it or not, Customs Officers, Border Patrol, & Air and Marine Operations were transferred out of ICE into Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in 2003. Air Marshalls were transferred out of ICE in 2005. FPS was transferred out of ICE in 2009.

                                ICE was created to combine all these things. It failed. The agency is basically just a husk of what it was designed to do. Changing it back to the old INS and moving it from Homeland Security to Justice would not be the end of the world. In fact, it would probably be smart.

                                The whole thrust of Homeland Security was supposed to be a response to Terrorism anyways. Always felt to me like they tried to jam too many things in there. So they took Coast Guard away from Defense and INS away from Justice and the Secret Service away from Treasury and combined them with FEMA.

                                And when you think about it, it's not entirely clear how these missions intersect. FEMA drops trailers in places that flooded. Secret Service finds counterfeiters and protects the President. Coast Guard rescues boaters at sea. INS catches illegal immigrants, not at the border, but at work or whatever.

                                But there will always be customs and border officers of one kind or another, whether they're called Customs Officers or CPB. Always has been since George Washington. The INS mission is a bit different. Its purpose is to catch folks who overstay visas and stuff.

                                It's a Gilded Age Era invention. Lots of parallels now with the Gilded Age. People became very concerned with immigration then. They had wanted it in the 1870s for railroad workers, but not so much by the 1890s. And by the time the Chinese Exclusion Act passed and INS was born and all this was happening, we were only about 10 years off from Teddy Roosevelt and Trust Busting.

                                Anyways, we have these complicated visa restrictions now, and somebody's gonna have to enforce them. So they can abolish ICE and win a few points with some of the base, bring back INS or give it a new 3 letter name, probably close down or soften the detention facilities because there've been some controversial developments there, and call it a day. Or just let CPB take over ICE's function.

                                I don't think it's fling open the borders time for anyone.

                                That said, it's not obvious what her strategy is with immigration. It's pretty clear that the overarching sentiment is so slow it down. And to be honest, lots of folks on the left realize immigration's a tool to drive down the price of domestic labor, and will agree with that. In fact, folks on the left have been talking about open borders as a right wing idea for some time now.

                                I think maybe it's only ivory tower establishment centrists who want open borders. I don't know if you caught this clip from 2015. But Ezra Klein thinks he can get Sanders to agree to open borders, and it doesn't go the way he thought it would.

                                Last edited by dcarrigg; 03-26-19, 08:24 AM.

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