Cookie-Cutter Politics: The Uniform (Failure) of America’s Two-Party System

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Republican Elephant & Democratic Donkey - Icons

Cookie-Cutter Politics

I must confess; this November will be the first time I will vote in the Presidential Elections.

In previous elections I viciously debated which candidate I should support.  The rugged individualism of the Republicans spurred my dreams while the sound theories and progressive stance of the Democrats captured my earthly pragmatism.  As each Election Day came I dithered back and forth.  I could never decide, I never voted.  I may not have voted because I was distressed by the increasingly polarized extremes of the two-party system.  I may also not have voted because I was underage.  We may never know.

This year the debate is between Obama and Romney.  I can already hear the next year of commentary, with regular exclamations of “I wish there was a third-party to vote for!”  This is a legitimate issue.  America’s polarized politics have grouped large coalitions of values into strange alliances.  This is the only way each side can garner enough support to pass any laws.  It makes all politicians seem a little too uniform.  Why do Democrats always advocate for gun control?  Why do Republicans always oppose weakening any immigration laws?

The simple answer is politicians have no alternative.

The Two-Party system strong arms politicians on both sides of the aisle into a cookie-cutter mold.  Only moderates, those who make everyone happy by fitting the textbook description of the Democrat/Republican are legitimate candidates because only they fit all the values of each of their respective parties and win the crucial nominations.  Radicals, who could make world-changing reforms, are hedged out by the system which eliminates anyone with even one misaligned value.  I imagine there are plenty of Democrats who support gun rights and Republicans who would be willing to welcome immigrants.  These men will never see office because they do not fit the mold and there is no alternative.

The American Two-Party dilemma is only those who cannot reform are elected into office.  Those with flexible ideology, who could make real reform, are shunned because they will always have at least one taboo.  It is support of the entire party or no support at all in our polarized system.  We are left with similar men with the same ideas, the same convictions, and the same restraints.

Perhaps I was right to dither; both answers were always partially wrong for me.  I feel this is the issue every American has.

Democrats and Republicans Playing Chicken With the American Economy: How Polarized Bipartisanship In Congress Will Decimate Critical Concerns (Like Issuing Social Security Checks and Staving Off A Double Dip Recession)

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FDR on Social Security

Social Security: The Primary Financial Safety Net For Retirees

American seniors will be the first casualties of the debt limit; followed sequentially by Wall Street, the domestic economy, and finally the international economy.  President Obama and Senator Henry Reid’s ultimatum to the stubborn Republicans is that unless the public debt ceiling is raised the country will be forced to halt transfer of social security checks.  Both sides have agreed to reduce the increasing debt, however the specific amount is debated, fluctuating in the trillions.  The time for procrastination is running out.  If the August 2, 2011 deadline is not met the American dollar will become worthless as credit rating agencies, like Moody’s, will no longer support the Federal Reserve.  Not to fear monger, but this a potentially catastrophic financial disaster that stems from several men being unable to agree on a set of numbers.

What is the Democrats Positions?

The Democrats have united around Obama and the Democrats Congress Leaders.  Their unified polices have forwarded relatively generous offers to the Republicans.  Talks have been breaking down at this point, as they are repeatedly snubbed.  Their offers have been denied, there fair deals do not meet the requisites of the Republicans.  They are collectively determined to stay strong and stay the course; their economics work and will sustain the country and they know that their generous deals that they have submitted are feasible.  They just have to get the Republicans to agree.

What is the Republicans Position?

Despite the necessity for tax hikes Republicans uniformly oppose any new taxes.  This is where coordination break down, various factions of the GOP are each concocting their increasing implausible schemes to propose on the Senate floor.  They cannot create a coalition policy that might be taken seriously.

The crisis has become a ammo for the campaigns of the Republican candidates.  Romney pleads for cutting and capping of federal spending. Bachmann has accused Obama of holding the government hostage to continue the government’s spending spree.  Just like the senators, there specifics disagree while their cause does not.

This will result in their demands being painfully denied.

What is the Probable Resolution?

The Republicans  will cave at the last second, giving away a deal that is much less favorable towards them than what they originally rejected.  Their “non new revenue” rhetoric has shown negatively in the public’s eye.  Polls heavily favor the Democrats, because they have appear reasonable and open to debate while the republicans have been demanding ridiculous cuts that will do more harm than good.  Without public backing or good economics their situation is unsustainable and they will have to cave.

In the, unthinkable, event that Republican leaders carry out this game of chicken till it finality,  the result will be their own self-destruction.  There will be a the initiation of the second dip in a double dip recession on August 2, 2011.  The investors on Wall Street will panic as their traditional stable government mishandled the largest debt in the world and endangers national security.  Social Security checks will stop coming, granny will start starving.  Millions of Section 8 tenants will be tossed out in the streets until the government checks come.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with their millions of mortgages, shut down.   Protests will be held, riots will form.  We will all remember the event with a few days of anarchy until the Republican leadership can recover what little sense they have left.  Unless, of course, their million dollar mansions are burned down with them in it.

What is Public Debt and How Has it Accumulated?

Whenever a spending deficit in the government occurs, such as when finances for federal programs exceeds tax revenue, Congress covers the excess with bonds; these bonds are the source of public debt.  It is not in the best interests of governments to issue bonds unless pressed because every bond, even with inflation, pays off more money than it takes to buy one.  The government loses money on every bond.

Why Would the Government Have Any Public Debt?

Historically, only when clear and present threats to national security emerge are bonds issued.  These finance the war effort and allow the nation to persist.  This is fine and encouraged.  Issues arise first when public debt is unnecessarily accumulated and the danger of the national debt ceiling.  The debt ceiling is the amount set by Congress that can be withdrawn; defaulting or going over the national debt is unthinkable.  The consequences would freeze international investing, because nobody will be able to rely on the Federal Reserve.

Why is the Debt Hitting the Debt Ceiling?

Unnecessarily accumulation by fiscally inept leaders.  Our last president, George Bush exuberantly quarterbacked  two of the most long and expensive wars of our time while engaging in risky self promoting publicity stunts, such as the Bush Tax Cuts.  These terrible money hoarding policies dealt stole trillions of dollars from the majority of the American tax payers, funneling it to the richest Americans.  Collectively, these policies led us down the wrong path, creation short-term economic gains at great expense for those who suffer in the 2008 recession.  Financially, this is major defeat, comparable to Battle of Waterloo or the baseball curse that halts the Cubs from ever winning a World Series.  Politically, it bought him his second term.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Signed: Excellent Reform (That Some Hate)

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Michelle Obama was right when she denounced this childhood obesity as “national security threat.”  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced one of every three American children are overweight, one out of four are “obese.”  Those that are obese at age 10 will be suffering from hypertension while being a significant risk of having a stroke, diabetes, and heart attack by age 40.

Her unbreakable resolution, campaigning relentlessly for nutrition, has culminated in her husband, President Obama signing The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which will designate $4.5 billion dollars to improve the standard of nutrition in schools throughout America.

What is The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and What Effects Will it Have on My Kids?

In the developed world America has the lowest standard of living; while an American will live roughly till age 75 the average Japanese man will live to 85.  I did a survey and every American I talked to said that they wanted to live a longer life rather than a shorter one.  This act is pursues this simple, ancient wish.

There are a number of specific policies that this legislation will enact:

– Reimburses schools significantly more for each free lunch they give out.  These free lunches are exclusively given to kids below the poverty line and cannot afford to buy lunch.  This will allow lower class students to

– Requires all public schools to have “science-based nutrition standards.”  School lunches will move away from deep-fried carbohydrates  towards nutritious and varied meals

– Communal eligibility for free lunches; if 40% of the student population cannot afford food then all breakfasts and lunches for the entire student population is free.  If 2/5 students cannot afford lunch in nearly all situations the other 3 kids desperately need their lunch money as well.

– Foster Children are Automatically Eligible for free lunches.  Many foster kids fall through the cracks of the public lunch system, starving because of their unstable home life.  This gives them the opportunity to get one or two good meals five days of the week, regardless of how much they are moved around

– Children on Medicare get Free Lunches; if these children are on Medicare they have more important  issues than worrying about their lunch.  Now they no longer have to worry.

– New reforms on educating low-income children about the effects of obesity and how they can stay healthy.  It will educate them specifically about  the advantages, both socially and medically, of sports, why they should eat healthier food over less healthy food.

Some legislators  are praising this bill as an example to follow; others are denouncing this bill as an infringement on American constitutional rights.

Who is Rejecting this Act?

There are two separate camps that are resisting and actively trying to weaken these reforms, despite the bill already being signed by President Obama.

The Democrats who are critical of this act are outraged by the $2.2 billion dollars that are transferred from the federal food stamp program to The Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act.  Kids who have dropped out of school will have a significantly harder time getting food stamps to get meals.  Many dropouts have unstable home life and by cutting off these food source will drive some to crime, to support themselves, and the shelters, putting an even heavy burden on the overworked shelter system in America.

The Obama Administration justifies this transfer of capital to help counter the dropout problem.  They reason that if these wayward youth do not have a stable meal plan outside of school it will give them another reason to come in and get lunch.  In this manner they have a much better chance of rejoining the education process.

Republcians critical of this act, notably Sarah Palin, claim it is an infringement on these children’s constitutional rights.  These conservatives claim that if these kids want to eat unhealthy food it is their god given right.

I disagree; I do not support any form killing my fellow citizens, even if is tasty.  Is there anyone who would say differently?

(Full Text of  The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act)

Unemployment Benefits Cut: Why They Will be Reinstated (and Why That is Misguided)

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I am generally excited whenever one of my Massachusetts senators makes headlines, but I was feeling disconcerted after it was announced that Republican Senator Scott Brown, who replaced the Senator Kennedy, blocked Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010 that would maintain unemployment benefits.  Those benefits have now expired and two million Americans have lost their benefits, being left to fend for themselves.  While researching this topic it was discovered that his patience may save the American Tax payers 56 billion dollars that they did not need to spend.

Why Have Unemployment Benefits Been Cut?

Every year the Senate votes to reinstate increased levels of unemployment benefits; whether this action passes of not has traditionally based primarily on unemployment levels.  America is suffering from the infamous 2008 recession, so there are roughly 15 million Americans who currently receive unemployment benefits.

In this current round of unemployment benefits 2.5 million Americans are in danger of losing their benefits.  Should reinstatement of unemployment benefits not happen there will not be enough money in the budget to support these Americans.  Those that would be cut are those who would best be able to deal with this additional cut in benefits, although in this economy these people will fall on hard times.

Why do we have Unemployment Benefits?

Nobody who applies for unemployment is well off, it supports those without a job and usually without a long-term plan.  The unemployment benefits of this program give them the opportunity to make plans, get a sufficient job, and reestablish themselves. People are more likely to continue to look for work as long as they are support by the government.  Without any unemployment benefits most people who lose their jobs are forced to quickly take unsavory, lower wage jobs just to pay the bills.  Others turn to crime to support their families.  Both paths deny these unlucky Americans the opportunity for employment that would give them a lifestyle equal to or even better than the one they had working at their last job.  Unemployment benefits are an excellent

Is Scott Brown Permanently Blocking Unemployment Benefits?

No.

He is simply asking for more time to consider the 56 billion dollar legislation the Democrats hastily proposed.  Scott Brown’s chief concern was that he simply did not know what the bill was proposing; he did not vote against the bill, he put off the vote.  Republicans were not negotiated with or even notified that this legislation was being prepared; they do not want to add any unnecessary expenses to the immense 13.3 trillion dollar national debt.  Scott Brown is unwilling to vote on an issue that he “just found out” about.  Once he fully comprehends all major aspects of the Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010 he will most likely vote for the benefits and the legislation will most likely pass.

Why will Unemployment Benefits Shortly and Certainly be Reinstated?

Both parties support unemployment benefits; the core ideology behind them is sound and has been backed up by over forty years of positive statistical results.  Republicans and Democrats instead disagree on how many Americans should be given support.  Historically the Republicans favored supporting smaller percentages of Americans, as too conserve federal money.  The Democrats have always pushed for strengthened unemployment benefits, hoping to one day be able to support all Americans who are out of a job.

For the last seven years both parties have routinely support increases and reinstatements of unemployment benefits.  This is despite excessive military spending, major budget cuts, and the second largest recession in human history.  In addition, for the last forty years unemployment benefits have never been cut as long as American unemployment is under 7.2%.  Today, American unemployment rests at 9.6%.  This is a pressing issue, the Republicans will soon approve Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010 and despite a minor glitch 2.5 million Americans will once again be receiving unemployment benefits.

Personal Perspective: Most Unemployment Benefits Should be Reprioritized to support Entrepreneurs

I believe that the government should support Americans who are out of work.  I also believe that the unemployment benefits system should be reconstructed.

Currently the Federal government throws money at those who are unemployed, hoping they will find a job quickly.  This encourages the unemployed to be slothful; they have little incentive to find work when the government is paying for their bills and groceries.  This system creates increased government spending while not helping the unemployed all that much.

The United States should instead focus primarily funding in programs that help create new companies and new jobs.  Entrepreneurs constantly come up with new ideas all the time, everything from turning the turning the Ipod Nano into a watch to using ATM’s to recycle old phones.  There are tens of thousands of new profitable ideas, the problem is that there is not enough money from the private sector to fund all of them.  Government funding would allow thousands of new ideas, and the economy, to flourish.

There is dual benefit from this program for the government.  The first result of this new initiative is that there will be more jobs in the economy, since there are more businesses.  These jobs will be varied across all fields, new businesses will only be held back by creativity.

The second result is the United States will have more financial assets, useful when combating the national debt.  Since the Federal government funded these companies they would own all or partial stock in these businesses.  While some business will fail others will inevitably succeed, with bountiful dividends.  The United States will be able to sell off their shares in the company to meet budgetary constraints and to help stabilize the stock market.

Both would be excellent defenses against possible future recessions and would help mitigate the current one.

Sources: ThinkProgress, USGovInfoBoston.Com, and ThePoliticalCarnival,

Net Neutrality: FCC Challenges Free Speech on the Internet

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The FCC, Federal Communications Commission, was founded in June, 1934 to protect US citizens from prejudice and illegal intrusions on their education; today they begin to do quite the opposite.  On December 21, 2010 there will be a meeting to decide whether to strictly regulate the Internet or to let it remain an unmonitored resource to United States and the world.

Why are They Passing Legislation About Net neutrality?

In February 2008, an FCC investigation into Comcast, a large TV, phone and internet provider across America, revealed that they Comcast was cutting bandwidths without notifying customers.  People who had paid for sizable bandwidths had their Internet flow strangled; Comcast claimed that this was for the betterment of all Comcast subscribers.  They announced that if one person was over utilizing their network, downloading movies or large groups of audio files, that everyone else’s bandwidth suffered.  For the greater good of their customers they shrunk overloaded bandwidths, however policy was deemed illegal by the FCC

Comcast and the FCC went before a judge, who ruled in favor of Comcast.  The FCC did not have the right to reprimand Comcast for redistributing its internet access as long as Comcast did not do so maliciously or unconstitutionally, both of which they were not.  Since this time the FCC has been trying to regroup, currently they are near powerless Internet issues.  This has emboldened Comcast and Verizon, who are now cautiously testing their new-found independence.

How Does This Threaten our Free Speech?

The largest media source in this world today is the Internet.  previously the FCC let the internet operate under “network neutrality,” which essentially means that everyone is allowed to post everything and anything online, except outlawed materials.  Thanks to this policy internet has arisen as a crucible of creativity and truths that would otherwise never be known.  Virtually unmonitored Internet providers can eliminate this freedom on the internet.

This is a hypothetical situation, but it is the one that would play out should net neutrality be mitigated or eliminated.  First the service providers would protect themselves from bad public relations, by cutting off bandwidth of all damaging media sources online.  They would act with impunity, most of the population would never know any illegal acts or accidents they committed without access to the whistleblowers of the Internet.

Opening the floodgates, more and more topics become censored on the Internet should net neutrality weakened.  Every major corporation would pay off the internet providers to silence damaging articles.  Politicians would do the same.  Truth would rapidly degrade on the Internet and none of the naive internet users like you and me would realize it. Why?  The whistleblower’s articles about this hypothetical net neutrality infringements would never be released.

Truth on the internet would go to the top dollar at the expense of crippling free speech.  Previously the FCC and the Internet providers, like Comcast, had an informal agreement to respect net neutrality, letting people post whatever they liked without purging anything.  Should net neutrality be impeded there will be no free speech on the Internet; those with the most money will dictate the media.  To dismiss net neutrality is to dismiss free speech.

Why May the FCC be weakening Free Speech?

The five man board of the FCC are divided on net neutrality.  Democratic Chairman Julius Genachowski has proposed legislation that maintains net neutrality.  His policies will reclassify all wired and wireless communications, allowing the FCC to continue to police them and defend our free speech.   Under this new policy the free speech will be protected and Comcast will not be allowed to fluctuate bandwidths.

The two republicans commissioners, Robert M. McDowell and Mignon L. Clyborn have attacked this liberal policy as “reckless.”  This radical stance comes from their close party ties.  The Republican party is closely aligned with major corporation across America.  These corporations fund Republican political campaigns and in return the politicians pass policy that benefits these corporations and the men who run them.   The massive military spending and Bush tax cuts, which have lower tax percentages for the richest Americans than those who are less well off, came from this relationship.

There are two other Democratic commissioners, Attwell Baker and Michael Copps.  The allegiances of the Democratic party of with those of the people; their goals are to help as many people as possible even at the expense of increased taxes.  They rely on the common man to help get them elected to office.

Naturally, it would be assumed that these two Democratic commissioners would support this legislation that would support the people.  However, they have remained silent.  This has led to speculation that one or both of them have broken ranks and switched sides to the Republicans.  Should this have happened Chairman Julius Genachowski would not have the three votes needed to pass his legislation.

If this is the case free speech will rapidly degrade.

How you can protect you Free Speech?

Exercise you right to Free Speech, let your outrage be heard.  Post on the blogs, and write in the comments down below. Write letters to the newspapers and email the media.  Above all, contact your democratic  Senators.  They have influence to guarantee that free speech is protected or even override the FCC if you react strongly enough.  Act before December 21, that is when they will vote on this momentous issue.

The future of free speech comes down to you.

Sources: BBC.com, InformationWeek, InternetNews, and Brietbart

Elimination of Political Race Spending in Favor of Popular Opinion Based on Public Debates

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I was awakened by fear, a fear of money.

This fear is highly questionable, who would be afraid of something that our society revolves around? Well, that very focus of wealth is what frightens me.  There was a statistic in Capitalism: A Love Story, a revealed Citigroup  memo calmly stated”Less than 1% of all Americans control 95% of the wealth … America should move to a plutocracy.”

Plutocracy: A system of government whereby wealth and the benefits that wealth accrues lead to a concentration of power in the hands of those with disproportionate access to financial resources.

This system of government would greatly benefit the very wealthy and further hurt, more so than they already are, the middle class, lower class, and those in poverty.  Even if this system of government never officially comes into effect it can still become, and already may be, the official doctrine of the United States.  After all elections in this country are not won, they are bought.

Opensecrets.com says that, “In 93 percent of House of Representatives races and 94 percent of Senate races that had been decided by mid-day Nov. 5, the candidate who spent the most money ended up winning.”

People should win based on their values, not about how much money they can gather.  So waht is the answer to my midnight fear?  Well, I’ll tell you.

We ,must outlaw political race spending.

*crickets*

Ah yes, you are looking for an explanation.  Instead of having each party running its own campaign we eliminate all separate campaigns.  All aspiring politicians have to is sign up for the office they are running for and the government takes care of the rest. Politicians only have to gather signatures, the more signatures they get the more advertisement they will receive.  Nothing flashy, not fancy slogans or bold lies.  More airtime in public government debates.  The federal government will host public debates, that everyone can come to or view over television, and it is there that the politicians will rise and fall and candidates for each party will be decided.

Debates have always been the best way for Americans to get to know their candidates, so why shouldn’t it also be the primary way?  Politicians tend to dance around controversial issues today;under the pressure of a public debate they are forced to take stances on the issues that matter most to Americans.  It will allow the voters to genuinely see who they are voting for.

How will the debates be arranged?  There are dozens if not hundreds of “candidates” who petition each year for the Office of President or a seat Congress or numerous minor offices.  Initially, those with the most signatures in each state will debate, and those with fewer signatures will also converse in separate debates.  There will be several layers of debates, based on how many thousands of signatures that can are gathered.  If those in the lower debate receive more signatures, for greater approval ratings, they will be vaulted up to the higher debates.  If those in higher debates are surpassed they get kicked down to the lower debates.  The politicians with the strongest voice and the best ideas, that match up best with the people voting for him (who represent the majority), emerge on top.

From there, the parties will have their own private votes on who they are going to support; they are by no means forced to go by these debates, but I do believe it will be high recommended.  The best politicians will be given the opportunity for success, not the politicians with the most money (as it is today).

More debates will ensue, to monitor America’s opinion on the politicians.  Statements will be made, lines will be drawn, and expectations will be set.  In the end, the voters will have an honest opinion of their each of their candidates and will be able to vote without being blinded by false advertisements.  In this manner the politician with the strongest voice and whose values best sync up with the majority of the American people will be elected into the offices that matter the most.

With the best possible politicians in every seat in government America will reach a Golden Age, full of splendor.  In addition to having the best men and women to run its government the American people and hundreds of corporations will no longer be throwing their money  at potential candidates.  Everyone will be a little richer.

That doesn’t sound too bad, despite the fact I thought it up at 3AM. Night, now that idea is written out I can finally get some sleep.

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