Beyond the Cusp

November 29, 2017

Votes for Change Mostly Useless

 

The odds are that numerous Representatives and Senators are the meat of the problem when it comes to the graft, malaise, inaction and unresponsiveness which have become the largest problem facing President Trump and the American People. This is driving voter dissatisfaction with numerous Representatives and Senators who will face rough battles in trying to keep their seats at their next run for office. The problem is that these two groups are largely separate and have only the smallest of overlaps (see diagram below). This means that the greater number of members of Congress vulnerable to change from voter actions is not part of the problem and the problem stems largely from those members of Congress who hold seats which from gerrymandering or simple numbers are safe from the voters, as they will be reelected short of anything except intervention from the Almighty. This has been the truth for the longest time as the two parties have operated in such a manner as to all but cement the members of Congress in their respective seats almost permanently. This was because once these parties had control over a state during an election year or census year, they fixed the boundaries for Representatives such that their party would win the most seats and the opposition party would win the fewest seats possible. Even with this working against change, change does occur once the populace is united for change. Right now, the populace is not at all united and is as far apart as possible. The desire for change is largely with one party which makes things worse, that means those elected by the party desiring change are most vulnerable. The depth of the problem gets even deeper as the members of Congress are masters at deceiving the public on their record. When the Congress faces a piece of vital legislation that the people back home desire and the big moneyed interests want quashed, there is a means by which every member of Congress can claim they voted for the legislation while actually voting to kill the measure. Each bill will come up for a vote many times before it might pass or be voted down. As each preliminary vote arrives, the opening comes for many members to vote in favor at one of these junctures and still vote against the legislation on the final vote, thus killing the legislation. Once before the voters they can claim to have supported the legislation and voted for it at one of the most crucial votes that it faced and these statements are valid though misleading. Now this Congresscritter will garner the support they need both from the big money interests and from the involved public voters as they gave both sides their desired result. For the voters they honestly told of voting for the legislation even having the rollcall vote result with your vote in favor while you voted against the legislation in the only vote that counted, the final vote for pass or fail on the legislation. Isn’t elective office fun? You can vote for and against every piece of legislation and when the time comes for reelection, you can put your finger into the wind, determine the direction, and tailor your record to match the will of the majority.

 

Diagram of Problematic Congresscritters and Vulnerable Congresscritters

 

The above demonstration explains how people like Senator John McCain get elected claiming their full support for every measure for replacing Obamacare and then at the most critical juncture, be the point man leading the Republican “Never Trump”ers in their six Senator vote against replacing Obamacare leaving it entirely intact. You need understand that Senator McCain told his voters about how he had supported every single one of the fifty, sixty, some places claim hundreds of times that the Congress over the last six years that President Obama was President and Congress was with a Republican majority in both houses. There was a secret which Senator McCain was not telling his constituents. Senator McCain was beholden to some very wealthy people and their corporations, specifically pharmaceuticals and health insurers, as well as he is really a “Big Government” stalwart. Thus, he supports government healthcare whether it is Obamacare or the only thing better, single payer government healthcare system like in Canada and Europe. When these bills to repeal Obamacare came which he supported, he did so confident that President Obama would veto them and they were not able to overrule his veto with the required two-thirds vote of each House of Congress. This made his support nonthreatening to his wealthy and interested parties who he assured that the President would protect his healthcare system and he would not allow it to be replaced by anything other than full government run healthcare. His reelection campaign was centered on his voting consistently when it did not matter to repeal Obamacare and how he was guaranteed to continue his opposition to Obamacare as it stands (see McCain Reelection Poster below). This, too, is truthful. Senator McCain would vote immediately to repeal and replace Obamacare with a single payer government run healthcare bill such that Senator Sanders Medicare for All legislation would be the perfect fit. Such was the perfidy applied to the campaign for his reelection to the United States Senate where he now leads the “Never Trump” contingent of the Republican Party which is assuring that President Trump fails to fulfill a single campaign promise thus all but assuring he will lose any bid for serving a second term in the White House. These Republican “Never Trump” stalwarts are guaranteeing the election of a Democrat in the next Presidential elections in 2020 and most likely with a willing Congress led by these same Republicans.

 

Senator John McCain Reelection Poster Depicting McCain Leading the Fight to Stop Obamacare

Senator John McCain Reelection Poster Depicting
McCain Leading the Fight to Stop Obamacare

 

The above are a perfect example about which we are speaking. Senator McCain is all but impossible to defeat in Arizona. In his most recent election, he won with 53.7% of the votes. Something becomes evident if we are to track Senator McCain and his vote record on previous election results as in his first election to the Senate in 1986 he won with 60.48% of the vote, in 1992 in a five person race he took 55.82% of the vote, in 1998 and a four person race he won with 68.75% of the vote, in 2004 in a three person race he took 76.74% of the vote, in 2010 with another four person race he won with 59.29% of the vote, and in the recent 2016 in a three person race he garnered 53.70% of the vote. Looking at the last three elections it appears as the percentages drop from 76.74% through 59.29% down to a slim 53.70% that John McCain has been fooling less and less of the populace as this drop is far greater than the changing demographics. By our reasoning, and knowing Senator McCain’s general health with a debilitating cancer of the brain, this will very probably be his last term if he should survive and finish even the coming six years. We wish Senator McCain to find a miracle which cures his disease and renders him full health but at the same time, considering his recent rantings about not supporting any legislation unless it is supported by a bipartisan group knowing that the Democrat Party has already made it clear they will vote as one against every proposal by President Trump and the Republicans. Quoting from the New Yorker Magazine, “When McCain returned to Washington for the first time after his diagnosis of brain cancer, he gave a speech on the Senate floor that called for bipartisan health-reform legislation that was the product of so-called regular order, where legislation goes through a transparent committee process and both parties are able to shape it.” From the same article quoting Senator Schumer who applauded Senator McCain for his stance claiming that he influenced Senator McCain stating, “I have assured Senator McCain that as soon as repeal is off the table, we Democrats are intent on resuming the bipartisan process.” That helps, if you promise not to repeal, which also removes replace, then we will work on how to throw more funds at Obamacare until it works, yea, that will help, NOT!

 

This will be the problem going forward as the Democrats in the Congress, at least in the Senate, have given their word to their leaders that they will vote as a group against every proposal from President Trump unless they are told they may do otherwise on a case-by-case basis. With Senator John McCain leading six recalcitrant Republicans who have promised to vote with the Democrats, President Trump is facing a deadlocked Senate which will reject everything he attempts to do unless he bows before the Senate Democrats and grants them veto control over his proposals. Lack of Republican vote discipline in the face of total vote discipline by the Democrats places everything which President Trump proposes on a fast track into the trash. Yes, the Republicans voted 100% against Obamacare and it passed on total Democrat support. That was the sole time the Republicans voted in such a manner. The Democrats have voted as a block against every Republican President since Reagan if not Nixon. The Democrat Party has a simple rule, if they are not making every decision, then nothing gets done if they can prevent such. Meanwhile you have McCain and friends siding with this Democrat Party undemocratic approach that they get final say on all legislation. Yet the Senators and Representatives who will mostly pay for this recalcitrant behavior are probably the Republicans who are working to try and pass repeal and replace Obamacare, tax cuts, border security and the other Republican and Trump proposed legislation. That is because a few of them fall into the red zone and deserve such but the vast majority is in the green area and are supportive of the President and Republican proposals. The odds favor the Republicans losing the Senate simply because their base is angry with John McCain and his five followers and this can cost the Republicans Senatorial seats and they only have a two-seat advantage now. It is the slight majority which allows the likes of Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joining with John McCain which ends any hopes of passing the President’s proposals to the Congress. Unfortunately, the majority of the opposition falls in the light blue region of the diagram given earlier in the article with some decent safe seat Senators who vote for their constituents first and foremost, and they are unfortunately not the majority. That is why in the coming election the votes for change in Congress will have little if any effect on the final outcome of votes in Congress. Those supporting more government will continue to control the vote and the people will not be decently represented, as most Americans would like the government to govern responsibly and not just throw money at problems with no oversight or guidance, which dooms the programs to failure.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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March 27, 2012

Can the United States Debt be Conquered?

Most commentary pertaining to the exploding national debt of the United States at all levels of government; Cities, Counties, Townships, States, and the Federal Government, talk about managing the debt, slowing the increases in the debt or bringing the debt under control. The usual bromide proposed is that it is necessary to slow spending or, in the most radical solutions, actually cutting spending, actual cuts and not simply reducing the increases. Almost every study and proposal simply addresses the debt side of the problem and ignores what is actually an even bigger side of the problem, increasing the GDP of the United States. Much of the problem with government spending also lies with the flight of production overseas which has transformed our economy into a service oriented economy with little production of hard goods. No matter how much one provides in services and how much paper and data is managed, when push comes to shove it will be what we produce that will be the measure of the United States worth and will serve as real backing for the dollar. On the plus side is a small fact that has been ignored, namely that manufacturing in the United States has been slowly growing throughout American history including right into the present. The problem is that the increase has slowed when we could easily turn that around and bring much of the world’s newest manufacturing into the United States instead of overseas. The question we need to address is exactly how we can manage to make manufacturing more attractive to companies seeking to build new factories.

Currently the United States has one of the highest tax rates on manufacturing if not the absolute highest taxes. When taking this along with the plans to raise the taxes on capital gains, the suggesting that we need to incorporate a Value Added Tax (VAT) on top of the myriad of taxes we currently have, even suggestions of reducing or eliminating what are often referred to as tax loopholes including claiming depreciation of equipment which is a vital deduction for manufacturers to upgrade their factories, and generally high tax rates compared to other countries with whom we compete with in attracting businesses of all sorts to open their offices and manufacturing here, we are crippling our ability to compete in the world market of the modern global economy. What should be enacted is a straight across the board tax which treats all forms of businesses; manufacturing, service, retail, or any for profit operation with complete equality. We should grant equal deductions for both depreciation of equipment over a set period for newly purchased equipment and an equivalent deduction for research and development, both of which encourage upgrading facilities and exploring new products and methods of production which encourage companies to remain in the United States and upgrade facilities, keeping all future development and innovation within our borders. This is how a country builds their manufacturing base and makes a business friendly environment promoting growth and full employment. This is also the best and most assured avenue to increasing revenues through taxation as opposed to raising taxes which actually tends to chase businesses from our shores thus actually destroying revenue not enhancing it.

On another level, it would also be advantageous to improve our crumbling infrastructure. This should be accomplished in as efficient a manner as conceivable. What might be a good formula would be to allow the local governments at the city, county and state levels to set the priorities and simply have the Federal Government provide assistance where the majority of the improvements are to be performed on Federal infrastructure, thus allowing for the initial upgrades to serve larger areas and hopefully prompt inter-state cooperation. Some may claim that making infrastructure repairs is a luxury which is currently unaffordable. The argument against that view is most of the infrastructure in this country is in dire need of attention and the repairs will only cost more and the inconvenience will be greater the longer we delay. Also, should any of these infrastructures fail, the costs to repair and replace those items on an emergency situation will always come at a premium price. Planned upgrades would actually save money over time and would also cause the minimal inconvenience for the people living near the construction or using the infrastructure under repair. Let’s face it, repairing a bridge half of the lanes at a time are less of an interruption to traffic than having the same bridge collapse and need to be completely out of service while being replaced before allowing any traffic utilizing that crossing. Highway construction is never a joyous interruption if it is on your way to and from work, but it is still better than the route to and from work being completely impassable.

Our best solution to the debt comes from doing whatever we find is doable to slow or, better yet, reduce government spending in conjunction with growing business, commerce, industry, manufacturing, and maximizing employment by creating a tax and regulatory friendly environment. We cannot solve the economic problems which are partially a result of policies, regulations, taxations, and an unfriendly counter-business attitudes simply by reducing spending because without economic growth there will be little future revenues for spending at any level. Like it or not, the economy controls how much spending is even possible and thus economic growth is vital to the future every bit as much as reducing spending. It will take a combination of spending less and growing the economy through responsible budgets, taxes, regulations, and investment in infrastructure. It will take something that is seldom found in government and some would doubt that the politicians even know the word exists to bring the United States back from the cusp, back from the brink, it will take a balanced approach, a balance between regulation and independence, a balance between the different businesses such that we include manufacturing, service, retail, processing, large corporations, and small Mom and Pop shops, every stripe of enterprise. What we need is responsible leadership facilitating smart growth through business and people friendly attitudes and actions in government.

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