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Free Minds & Free Markets

No, ‘the System’ Is Not Broken

Not getting what you want from the government isn’t a sign of failure.

Credit: mandamonium / photo on flickrCredit: mandamonium / photo on flickrIf there is anything presidential candidates agree on this year, it's that our government and politics are not functioning to fulfill the desires of the American people. Donald Trump proclaims that "our system is broken." 

The phrase could be used by almost anyone in the race. "Government in Washington is dysfunctional," says Mike Huckabee. Bernie Sanders believes "the American political system has been totally corrupted." Joe Biden sounded like a candidate the other day when he lamented the "dysfunction in Washington." 

The premise is that most Americans want one thing and our leaders in Washington keep giving them something entirely different. Ted Cruz insists his ideas are what most Americans favor. "It's only in Washington, D.C., that those are considered radical or extreme," he says. Sanders says the people "have serious doubts about how much their vote actually matters." 

If only the politicians would listen to the people and respond to their wishes. If only democracy operated so public preferences become public policy. If only our interests weren't continually shortchanged by operational misfires. 

Actually, the American government does a good job responding to the desires of the electorate. Sanders, Cruz and many citizens assume they don't get their way because the system fails. 

But sometimes they don't get their way because most people don't agree with them. Sometimes they don't get their way because it collides with constitutional principles. Sometimes they get their way, but what they want is contradictory and—what's the word I'm looking for?—dysfunctional. 

Cruz insists the great majority of Americans share the values he upholds: "live within your means, don't bankrupt our kids and grandkids, follow the Constitution." To which I can only say: Ha. Ha. Ha. 

American politicians don't refuse to live within our means because they are congenital spendthrifts. They do it because the citizens want more things from their government than they are willing to pay for. 

A 2013 poll by the Pew Research Center asked about various federal outlays and found that nearly every one of them is very popular. "For 18 of 19 programs tested, majorities want either to increase spending or maintain it at current levels," reported Pew. The sole exception was foreign aid—which accounts for about 1 percent of the federal budget. 

Living within our means suggests we should pay taxes in an amount sufficient to cover all these outlays—something we have not done in a long time. This year, the federal government will spend about $425 billion more than it takes in. 

We could close the deficit by cutting spending, which most people don't want to do. Or we could close it by raising taxes, which they also oppose. In a Gallup poll this year, only 4 percent of Americans favored an increase in federal income taxes. The public would rather run large deficits than do what is required to prevent them. 

Sanders favors higher tax rates on the rich. When asked whether 90 percent would be too high, his answer was "no." The problem is that this is a minority view. The top rate today is 39.6 percent. A 2012 poll commissioned by the political website The Hill asked people what they thought the top rate should be. It reported that "75 percent said the right level for top earners was 30 percent or below." The rich get off easy? Blame the non-rich. 

The people, granted, don't always get the last word. Cruz thinks something is wrong when the Supreme Court can make same-sex marriage legal everywhere. Sanders thinks something is wrong when the Supreme Court can empower the Koch brothers to squander millions on elections. 

But deciding how to interpret the Constitution has been the responsibility of the Supreme Court for more than 200 years. If the justices rule against your side, that doesn't mean the system is broken or that democracy has been violated. The Constitution was meant to put some issues beyond the reach of majorities. 

The justices, keep in mind, are appointed by elected presidents and confirmed by elected senators. Even at the Supreme Court, the will of the people plays a major role over time. 

The candidates would like voters to think that anytime things don't go as they want, it's because someone or something failed the voters. That's usually not the case. 

In a constitutional democracy, everyone sometimes is fated to lose. Being a sore loser? That's optional. 

© Copyright 2015 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

Photo Credit: mandamonium / photo on flickr

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  • Vulgar Madman||

    Jesus God, Chapman. They pay you for this dreck? In American money?

    Yo reason! Hire agile cyborg, at least he's interesting!

  • FuriousFatMan||

    chicago tribune writer getting hosted on Reason.....

    yea... libertarian website.

    *cough*

    -FFM

  • Marshall Gill||

    Chapman has pictures of Nick having sex with a dead child, in the ear, or something similar. It really is the only possible explanation.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    And yeah, the systems broken. (Just not the way you think.)

  • Michael Hihn||

    Not just deficits. The rich now subsidize over half of the entire share of income taxes for the core middle class ($40k-100k). So the middle class is subsidized on both spending and taxes. Chapman nailed it, and voter ignorance.

    Medicare Prescriptions were "paid for" by looting the income tax (paid mostly by the rich), and now takes roughly 1/4 of the entire income tax. Thanks to Dubya and his cronies

    85% of the Bush tax cuts went to taxpayers UNDER $250,000 AGI, who were paying only 45% of the tax. Wealth redistribution, GOP style.

    Medicare -- a middle class entitlement – has $80 trillion in unfunded promises. Medicaid -- a low-income entitlement -- pays doctors so little that Medicaid eligibles have a HIGHER uninsured rate than the private market (pre-ACA expansion) Why the massive disparity in funding? The middle class votes. Poor folks do not.

    We lost the late 70s tax revolt. Politicians saw they can grow government as big as the want -- warfare or welfare -- as long as the middle class doesn't pay for it. Else we revolt again. It's working quite well for them.

    It works because the right is now dominated by bellowing blowhards who SNEER at caring what voters think (as conspiring with statists). They beat their chests, snarl anti-gummint slogans and ridicule voters as stupid.

    Persuasion? That too would be conspiring with statists. Time to learn Chinese?

  • FuriousFatMan||

    "Not getting what you want from the government isn’t a sign of failure."

    never getting what you want IS a sign of failure.

    nice poisoning of the well in the fucking title, god damn dirty jew editor.

    TL:DR indirect attacks on libertarians and anarchist courtesy of the regulation & cock loving Koch Brothers: we aint the tea party, assholes.

    -FFM

  • Michael Hihn||

    Careful. Drool is dripping onto your keyboard.

    Show of hands: am I the only one with a strong suspicion that FuriousFatMan and Vulgar Madman are the same person? Same structure for usernames. Four "comments" in only five minutes, all in the same tone, at 1:00 AM?.

  • FuriousFatMan||

    no clue who that is, but i am not him.

    hit me up on youtube for further proof.

    and if you havent noticed, this "tone" is becoming popular.

    -FFM

  • Michael Hihn||

    and if you haven't noticed, this "tone" is becoming popular.

    Have you noticed by whom?

  • ||

    "hit me up on youtube for further proof."

    So a sockpuppet account posting "dirty Jew"....

    Wonderful.

  • Spinach Chin||

    Feds Institute massively expensive program that nobody asked for.

    Over time, the program replaces privatized solutions.

    People come to "depend" on the public solution (even though a privatized solution is probably cheaper and more efficient) because it's effectively ALL THERE IS. The same is happening with the ACA, even though it began life as an unpopular program that nobody asked for.

    It's no mystery why people want these programs funded, but it's SPECIFICALLY an example of the system being "broken".

  • Vampire||

    I agree. Private production of various products and services are subjected to market forces. Something that fails, does just that and doesn't carry with it legacy costs.

    When the govt provides something, any failure is rewarded with more of other people's money, and even a new branch with more workers to oversee the overseers.

  • Michael Hihn||

    It's no mystery why people want these programs funded, but it's SPECIFICALLY an example of the system being "broken".

    Or failing to provide better alternatives ... for anything. Obamacare won by default. STILL no credible alternative.

  • coma44||

    Credible alternative would be free market and only a free market. Get the leaches out ( lawyers ama insurance companies and politicians) of the way and out of the money stream.

    They only made it worse and more corruption at more levels. All while delivering higher prices and less service.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Credible alternative would be free market and only a free market.

    Credible to voters, unless the Constitution has been repealed.

    They only made it worse and more corruption at more levels. All while delivering higher prices and less service.

    That's my point. But they got away with it because there was no credible alternative. Some Republicans even wanted to shut down the government to defund Obamacare ... with no credible alternative. And for the biggest expense of all, Medicare Vouchers are totally stupid, and address the wrong market. Insurance ain't healthcare.

    Can we control or reduce auto prices with more competition between Allstate and Geico? Seniors shop and select many of their providers, but have no skin in the game.

    So ... the "champions of free markets" are dealing with the wrong market ... and never heard of "skin in the game." Medicare vouchers would add a costly middle-man. WTF?

    It's not the system that's broken. It's the champions of liberty ... failing to defend liberty, or even know how to..

  • Rebel Scum||

    In a constitutional democracy

    Republic. Republic. Republic.

  • rudehost||

    Really who freaking cares about the semantics. I'll take a benevolent dictatorship as long as I am left the hell alone.

  • ThomasD||

    " I'll take a benevolent dictatorship as long as I am left the hell alone."

    Unpossible. The 'benevolent' dictator will never leave you alone.

  • Robert||

    It means the same thing. This pretention that they mean different things is just silly. What do you think would be the difference between a constitutional republic & a constitutional democracy? Does it still represent the people of the area? Is it still a closed system w no external rulers? Res publica (the people's thing) vs. demo-cracy (gov't by the district, i.e. the people of the district); the "constitutional" part is the same, so...?

  • GregMax||

    One describes the nature of the state - a republic; while the other describes a process - democracy. I agree it's funny when people scream the US is a "REPUBLIC". It's all a social construct anyway. But please edify me as to the significant difference? I'd really like to know.
    Basically there's degrees or tyranny and degrees of liberty - call it whatever you want.

  • BulletGibson||

    Really?

    Well son, a democracy is rule of the majority through a vote by the people. The founders gave us a representative government that represented the STATES and the people. These "checks and balances" were meant to serve the individual over the majority. Among these checks and balances was the election of the Senate by state senators and the governor of the state. It was balanced against the Congress which was elected by the people. Another balance was the Electoral College which acted to temper the "majority" vote by the people for president.

    These are VERY important distinctions. When you blur the lines between the philosophies of how we govern ourselves, politics, you get exactly what we have in this country today. People with no philosophical or moral principles. People who would trample on the rights of others in the name of some perceived "social justice." People who believe that the "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few", all the while never realizing that if we concerned ourselves with observing the rights of the individual, we ARE serving the many. You know.....morons.

    The only philosophy to ever advocate "democracy" was Socialism. I would direct you to writings by Robert Owens and Henri de Saint Simon (early 1800's.) Many people try to equate "democracy" with freedom or liberty. They couldn't be farther apart. Democracy is the rule of the majority. A Republic's intent is to defend the individual FROM the majority.

    DID YOU PEOPLE GO TO SCHOOL?

  • GregMax||

    Please asshat, don't patronize me.
    You just spouted a bunch of subjective definitions, immersed in a history lesson and condescending bullshit.
    Spare me - you fail to consider that words have many subjective and variable meanings.
    Democracy is literally "rule of the people". Any other interpretation of those Greek parts is subjective. Republic is from the Latin - res publica ( the affairs of the people).
    So go educate yourself shit-stain and lose the condescending commentary.
    You still have FAILED to address the significant difference between a republic and what is commonly called a democracy. Not a history lesson, not the philosophy lesson, not your own interpretation.
    Take your meds, grandpa and have a nice Labor Day.

  • ThomasD||

    Condescension is about the nicest thing you deserve.

    The US Constitution expressly guarantees the citizens of each state a republican form of government.

    Care to tell me how many times the word democracy (or any variant thereof) appears in that document?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Wasn't there a political party that advocated the common good before the individual good?

  • Michael Hihn||

    What do you think would be the difference between a constitutional republic & a constitutional democracy?

    Only when the distinction must be made ... In the former, the popular vote is NOT superior to the Constitution.

    Technically, "we're not a Democracy" does not need. "we are a Republic,"

    When must the distinction be made? When authoritarian statists lie about our constitution being inferior to the popular vote, generally originating with southern racists, now joined by theocrats, progressives and the Paulista Cult -- or anyone else who rejects equal, unalienable and/or God-given rights.,

    the "constitutional" part is the same, so...?

    Natural rights vs mob rule can both have a constitution. The existence of a constitution is not alone superior to its content.

  • Win Bear||

    Only when the distinction must be made ... In the former, the popular vote is NOT superior to the Constitution.

    There is no universally agreed upon distinction. Most countries considering themselves "democracies" have a parliamentary system, which also frequently makes decisions different from popular vote. Rule by majority vote is "majoritarianism" or "ochlocracy".

    When must the distinction be made?

    It doesn't need to be made because there are no countries run by majoritarianism. All democracies/republics have some form of "constitution", and that "constitution" comprises those laws that cannot be changed simply through the regular process for law-making, and usually require supermajorities and several independent checks in order to get changed.

  • Michael Hihn||

    There is no universally agreed upon distinction

    Majority or delegated powers is the very core distinction. And it's Ron Paul's bullshit which makes it a distinction for libertarians.

    It doesn't need to be made because there are no countries run by majoritarianism

    Who tells Ron Paul?

  • Win Bear||

    Majority or delegated powers is the very core distinction.

    And where are those mythical countries with "majority rule"? Come on, either put up or shut up.

  • ||

    Buchanan invokes "democracy" when he demands the supreme court be elected by the people; William Jennings Bryan invoked "democracy" when demanding the direct election of senators, thereby dismantling the federal/national balance of power in the US Congress.

    Anyone who claims this is "just a semantic" issue misunderstands the utility of semantics. -- The elite may agree that "we all know what we mean by 'western-style' democracy," but the fact is the invocation of that principle has always been to extend majority rule at the expense of Constitutional structure.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Good point. Good point. But who is disputing that James Buchanan was a Democrat? But who is disputing that James Buchanan was a Democrat?

  • ||

    Buchanan invokes "democracy" when he demands the supreme court be elected by the people; William Jennings Bryan invoked "democracy" when demanding the direct election of senators, thereby dismantling the federal/national balance of power in the US Congress.

    Anyone who claims this is "just a semantic" issue misunderstands the utility of semantics. -- The elite may agree that "we all know what we mean by 'western-style' democracy," but the fact is the invocation of that principle has always been to extend majority rule at the expense of Constitutional structure.

  • CatoTheYounger||

    *Constitutional democratic republic

    The two are not opposites, despite what some may believe

  • Michael Hihn||

    So why is Ron Paul so screwed up?

  • CatoTheYounger||

    Arrogance.

    Too many libertarians believe that if ONLY the right people were elected, that all the current problems would disappear. It's like a libertarian elite would somehow ignore history and rule benevolently.

  • Michael Hihn||

    That was a rhetorical question. :-)
    In truth, the libertarian elite (your term) ignores voters. Totally.
    Bluster alone can create a free society. Or -- my favorite -- create a floating libertarian nation and move there which, considering their total lack of political sense, is probably all they can do.

    If you interrupt one of their tirades and ask, "But how would you govern?" they have no clue what you're talking about, or why you even asked.
    ,

  • Simpkill||

    I thought this too. I care RUDEHOST! I CARE!

  • Simpkill||

    I thought this too. I care RUDEHOST! I CARE!

  • buybuydandavis||

    Constitutional?

    The constitutional order ended in the US decades ago.

    The regime that replaced it isn't a horrible government, historically speaking. Even compared with contemporary alternatives. But it has little to do with the US constitution.

  • Win Bear||

    "Democracy" and "republic" are both ill-defined terms; the only firm meaning either word has is that political power somehow originates with the people themselves, rather than God, a dictator, or a hereditary monarch.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Liberty. Liberty. Liberty. I vote libertarian.

  • Sevo||

    "If only the politicians would listen to the people and respond to their wishes. If only democracy operated so public preferences become public policy. If only our interests weren't continually shortchanged by operational misfires."

    And just last week, someone was bragging that if they were elected, they wouldn't be beholden to any group of voters!

  • onebornfree||

    No, the system is not broken, I agree.

    It's a total scam, and is still pretty much working perfectly :-).

    However, for most here and elsewhere:

    "In your dreams Obama is not a scam,
    "In your dreams George Bush was not a scam,
    "In your dreams Clinton was not a scam,
    "In your dreams Reagan was not a scam,
    In your dreams, all the rest were not a scam"
    "In your dreams the constitution is not a scam,
    "In your dreams the Supreme Court is not a scam,
    "In your dreams, welfare is not a scam"
    "In your dreams, social security is not a scam "
    ......
    And so on and so forth, ad infinitum :-) .

    Original music and lyrics: "Dreams[ Hormegeddon Blues]":
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0o-C1_LZzk

    So, dream on, or not? As always, your choice dear reader. :-)

    Regards, onebornfree.

  • Eric Bana||

    Cruz insists the great majority of Americans share the values he upholds: "live within your means, don't bankrupt our kids and grandkids, follow the Constitution." To which I can only say: Ha. Ha. Ha.

    American politicians don't refuse to live within our means because they are congenital spendthrifts. They do it because the citizens want more things from their government than they are willing to pay for.

    /points finger and screams "CYNIC!!! CYNIC!!! CYNIC!!!"

  • Christophe||

    The american people deserve the government they want and they deserve it good and hard.

  • Episteme||

    It always strikes that the argument on government is phrased wrongly in BIG GOVERNMENT VS. SMALL GOVERNMENT. In terms of history and structure, it's CENTRAL GOVERNMENT VS. LOCAL GOVERNMENT –subsidiarity and proper federalism are how we reduce the size of government because the debates become de-abstracted and costs/debts have to be properly budgeted. The 'Imperial Presidency' of the past century and the mechanistic philosophies of the Progressive Era and Beyond have done a bureaucratic whammy on how we conceive of organizing principles.

    One of the things that I've liked that the Republican Party has done in recent years (amidst a lot of other stupidity, but some credit where it's due) is their strategy of actually focusing on having candidates in state assemblies (folks like Jeff Greenfield and Michael Barone have pointed to the DNC's ignoring those areas over the past decade or so as part of the lack of a Democratic 'bench' at higher levels of the party). That's where the work of American politics should be done. In the process, especially if you shift national programs to the states and state programs locally, we'll see government shrink overall.

  • Michael Hihn||

    it's CENTRAL GOVERNMENT VS. LOCAL GOVERNMENT –subsidiarity and proper federalism

    Yeah, but PROPER federalism is the opposite of what we mostly hear now. Reagan's New Federalism blew all that out of the water ... with common sense … three decades ago.

    NOTHING happens until somebody is held accountable. (gasp)

    With programs funded by 2-4 levels of government, nobody is accountable. That's intentional. WHERE any given program resides is less important than consolidating it in EITHER level, with accountability.

    Under New Federalism, supporters of big government cannot shift pieces of power to the level of least resistance. The old federalism is a massive failure. It’s long past time to move on.

    The first phase of New Federalism would have placed all of Medicaid at the federal level, with states fully responsible for food stamps and Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Per reports at the time, it was ready to go but collapsed SOLELY for lack of agreement on transferring funding with programs. States thought they'd get stuck with programs but no funding. (Like Obamacare)

    What failed was block grants to states, but don't tell Cato. We want feds to control the budget for state-managed programs? Stupid, but unavoidable from being anti-gummint instead of pro-liberty.

    Anyone who believes states cannot be every bit as abusive as federal, has failed US History, and is NOT focused on liberty.

  • Win Bear||

    Anyone who believes states cannot be every bit as abusive as federal, has failed US History, and is NOT focused on liberty.

    Of course, states can be abusive. So can your city government, your HOA, your barber, or your spouse. The idea that by adopting the right form of government and putting the right people in charge, you can prevent abuse of power by government is the ludicrous core belief of progressivism; you are a progressive, not a libertarian.

    The libertarian answer to bad government of any form is to stop doing business with the badly governed entity. At the state level, that's a bit harder and slower than at other levels, but it's still quite feasible; it's why places like California are experiencing an exodus. At the federal level, it's impossible. That's why federal laws are fundamentally different from state laws.

  • Michael Hihn||

    your HOA, your barber, or your spouse.

    They aren't governments. Study the thread/

    The idea that by adopting the right form of government and putting the right people in charge, you can prevent abuse of power by government is the ludicrous core belief of progressivism; you are a progressive, not a libertarian.

    Your full of shot on what I said. Again.

    The libertarian answer to bad government of any form is to stop doing business with the badly governed entity.

    Leaving the country is a libertarian answer??? Or failure??

    At the state level, that's a bit harder and slower than at other levels, but it's still quite feasible

    You again defend failure. If you don't like your state, pick up and move to another one. Cowardly.

  • Win Bear||

    Leaving the country is a libertarian answer??? Or failure??

    The libertarian answer is to minimize the power of government at all levels and replace government with private entities and freedom of association.

    They aren't governments.

    I'm glad you noticed. But you seem to live under the delusion that libertarians advocate making government better. In fact, libertarians advocate privatizing most functions of government. Privatizing government functions doesn't automatically make them better, it simply means that you have a choice whether to associate with the people providing those functions.

    And you even have that choice today for local and state governments; you don't have it for the federal government. That's why federal laws are of much deeper concern to libertarians than local and state laws.

  • Marshall Gill||

    you are a progressive, not a libertarian.

    Win Bear, meet Hihn.

  • Michael Hihn||

    THE PURITY POSSE.! (lol)

    One primary reason that the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians
    Among society overall, that's 5.3% acceptance, which is lower than even Congress.

    Way to go, Marshall and Win Bear. A purity posse with no clue what libertarian even means .

  • Win Bear||

    One primary reason that the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians

    ... is that people like you pretend to be libertarians.

  • Simpkill||

    Don't worry Bear. The barbers will pay.

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com.....mans-hair/

  • gordo53||

    Reading these comments one can't help but think that things are pretty hopeless. If you believe, as I do, that our government is a criminal enterprise or just hopelessly corrupt, there is something you can do. Short of armed revolution, our options are limited, but we do have choices. If you don't trust government, stop supporting it. Quit voting for incumbents and in primary elections party endorsed candidates. If you are consistently voting for election winners then you are part of the problem. What makes political corruption so easy is that as an elected member of Congress, one has a better than 90% chance of getting reelected. If you never, ever vote for an incumbent you will be doing your part to end this travesty. Just in case you're not sure, it's all but a certainty that your Representative and both Senators have participated in conspiracies to embezzle tax money. Inside the beltway it's simply called fundraising. Quid pro quo, pay to play, bid rigging, money laundering and associated tax fraud are all tools of the trade in politics. There are no innocents. And just to be clear, your elected officials are not participating directly in the fraud. No, that is handled by political operatives but with the knowledge and approval of said officials. This is how as much as half of all political money spent is illicit. I urge you to at least give it some consideration the next time you go to the polls.

  • Michael Hihn||

    So, 10% of the voters following all that would achieve ... what? And how?

    Ivory Towerism will never achieve a damn thing without FIRST changing the culture. Until the movement establishnment focuses on that, we will continue being a total failure .. where the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians! (Cato/Zogby)

    Do the math. Libertarianism is rejected by more of its own followers than those who reject the US Congress.

  • gordo53||

    If we ignore the corruption we have no business complaining about the exploitation. I haven't voted for the winner of an election in over a decade and I'm proud of it. If enough of us do it, it will eventually force some changes. Election results are always publicized. If a trend emerges, somebody in the press will start talking about it. And if it doesn't work, so what? All you've done is withheld your support for a bunch of crooks. An admirable action in and of itself. Try it. You might find it to be just a little satisfying.

  • Michael Hihn||

    If we ignore the corruption we have no business complaining about the exploitation

    Replace the corruption with what?

    And if it doesn't work, so what?

    You're okay with total failure.

    All you've done is withheld your support for a bunch of crooks.

    Which is totally useless, compared with replacing them.

    An admirable action in and of itself.

    Total failure is okay, if one has good intentions.

    Try it. You might find it to be just a little satisfying.

    I have over 40 years as a political activist, doing a lot more, for myself and for dozens of winning candidates and their voters.

    I see NOTHING to develop what we need to get moving toward a freer society. The age-old conflict within the movement -- anti-gummint vs pro-liberty. A revolution by the unarmed.

    Let’s try something CRAZY! Instead of screeching and railing, develop better candidates and policies! Here's a very classical principle of elementary salesmanship:

    You're not there to prove your prospect wrong. You're there to agree with your prospect, and to show how your product or service will best achieve what he or she already wants.

    Salespersons as young as 20 are winning with that every day. And what we SHOULD be selling is a lot more valuable. Bash the competition or develop a better product?

  • gordo53||

    If you're a political activist, then you must understand the depth and breath of the corruption. Politics today is much like organized crime. If you don't play by their rules, you're out. Most decent honorable candidates get weeded out by the system long before they're ready to run for state office. Fundraising, as it is euphemistically called by the political class, is the one activity that ensures elected officials participate in criminal acts. Specifically, quid pro quo, pay to play, bid rigging, money laundering, and associated tax fraud. No, they don't do it directly. The calls are made by operatives, but with the knowledge and approval of the office holder. That's conspiracy and it has been going on for decades (or longer). If there are any exceptions at the federal level (doubt it) they are very few. If you can find a congressman to speak off the record on the subject he/she will tell you that fundraising requirements are so severe that legitimate techniques don't come close. A congressman once told me that he could spend 8 hours a day every day making calls and begging for money and it wouldn't begin to fill his quota. Bottom line is attack the corruption by term limits at the ballot box. It won't fix the problem but is a necessary first step.

  • Michael Hihn||

    More useless anti-gummint soundbites

    Bottom line is attack the corruption by term limits at the ballot box. It won't fix the problem but is a necessary first step.

    It's actually useless if we have no candidates and no policies. We'd just be trading one set of crooks for another set. by your own depiction.

    That's been an internal conflict in this movement since the beginning. Anti-gummint vs pro-liberty. Anti-gummint is an ongoing series of pissing matches that can't achieve any thing ,,, by definition.

    If you cannot show the vast majority of people how more liberty will improve their lives and better achieve their dreams -- then you have NOTHING to sell, and no idea how anything works. Mostly, just a bunch of memorized slogans and sound bites. That's why we're losing so badly.

    Hell, 91% of libertarians even reject the libertarian label. (Cato)

  • gordo53||

    Just took a look at your website. Now I understand. Mike, you're entire political philosophy is focused on making reasonable, logical changes to our "system" through traditional channels. Unfortunately, that has no chance. The federal government is an inwardly focused enterprise that has no interest in making any meaningful changes that reduces the dollars that flow through it. It's all about the money, Mike. Once you realize that, all the other issues (and I don't disagree with some of what you say) fall by the wayside. Until we break the machine, none of what you advocate will happen. You've been at this a long time. Why haven't you figured it out yet?

  • Michael Hihn||

    . It's all about the money, Mike. Once you realize that…,

    No, it’s about power. Power over that money.
    Did you read both parts? The Tax Plan and New Federalism ? If so, where's the confusion?

    Each state has its own Federalism with the feds. Each welfare program consolidated at one level of government. States have total control of both management and funding, for each program.

    That’s just setup. Restructure for power, accountability and control. NOW the fun begins.

    Every 10 years or so, state and feds bid against each other, in each state, for each program

    Voters select the winning bids. State and federal compete for power.

    When programs move to a different level, it’s entirely. u the transfer is seamless. Workers go to the same offices, like a corporate acquisition.

    Did you miss my integrated tax plan?

    Designed to shift program funding in either direction. invisible to voters. Their state and federal taxes are the same.

    Which segment do you say is inadequate? Each state managing its own federalism? Direct control by voters. With competition providing voters with the power t they need? (competing governments)

    You said :"Until we break the machine, none of what you advocate will happen"
    I invented a new machine. Is that OK?

    Which step (s) are inadequate Please be specific.. Thanks

  • Father of Two||

    The system is broken - because VOTING MAJORITIES GET TOO MUCH of what they want. As Mr. Chapman points out, the Constitution was designed to put some issues beyond the reach of voting majorities. The Supreme Court has gradually eroded this function with respect to federal legislation beginning in the late 1930s and largely continuing through this day. This trend with a few exceptions will not change anytime soon if ever.

  • Michael Hihn||

    The Supreme Court has gradually eroded this function with respect to federal legislation beginning in the late 1930s and largely continuing through this day.

    A lot of the exact opposite --- for federal AND state legislation. On equal rights alone, they have hardly been caving to legislators (as demanded by conservatives).

  • Win Bear||

    You're making the false assumption that what legislators want reflects the will of the majority of their constituents. In fact, on many issues, legislators represent not the will of the majority of their constituents, but the will of a small minority to whom that issues happens to be a key issue.

    SCOTUS appears to look at poll data and other sources and seems to think about the preferences and views of "the country" as a whole when making decisions. That doesn't translate into something as simple as "we give the country what the majority wants", but it does seem to affect their decisions.

  • Michael Hihn||

    You're making the false assumption that what legislators want reflects the will of the majority of their constituents.

    I said the exact opposite. Read it again.
    "On equal rights alone, they have hardly been caving to legislators (as demanded by conservatives)."

  • Win Bear||

    No, you didn't say the opposite. You made a statement about "legislators" in response to a point of what "voting majorities want". What you just don't seem to understand is that what legislators push for has little to do with "voting majorities".

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Government is always, to some degree, a fraud and an imposition. Which isn't to say that living without one is practical.

  • ThomasD||

    If you think proving that a problem exists means that government must be employed to solve it you maybe should rethink your notions of what it means to be libertarian.

  • Michael Hihn||

    That depends on the problem. And anarchists are a tiny percentage of libertarians.

  • Win Bear||

    No, it does not "depend on the problem". While some libertarians might agree that the existence of a problem means that government "might" be employed to solve it under some circumstances, if you believe that it "must" be employed, you clearly are no libertarian. But, then, you are not a libertarian, Michael Hihn.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Win Bear again confuses anarchists with libertarians,
    as keeper of the gate (lol).

  • ThomasD||

    He's not confused.

    Nor is he being willfully obtuse either.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Which word do you not know the definition of? Libertarian or anarchist?

  • ThomasD||

    I'm well aware of the meaning of, and distinction between the two.

    I also know that neither consistence nor persistence make you correct.

    Care to explain the difference between must and might?

  • Michael Hihn||

    I'm well aware of the meaning of, and distinction between the two

    Obviously not.

    Care to explain the difference between must and might?

    Probability vs certainty. Which then requires context, If you don't know why it needs context we can add one more screwup to your 9:03PM comment//

    Pay attention. And THINK on his words:

    No, it does not "depend on the problem". While some libertarians might agree that the existence of a problem means that government "might" be employed to solve it under some circumstances,

    Do you see it yet? Two probabilities. What does teach one mean?.

    "It does not depend on the problem". == never (or close to never)
    "under come circumstances" = depends on WHICH circumstances

    Now describe how those are not polar opposites. Think hard.
    It does not depend on the problem; it depends on the circumstances.

    See it YET?

    "Must" government do something for any or all problems which has no alternative solution.? Only an anarchist would reply in the negative,

    Strike Three. You're out.

    Since you both play the same mind games, it's reasonable to wonder if you're a sock puppet. ,

  • Win Bear||

    We are discussing this statement:

    you think proving that a problem exists means that government must be employed to solve it

    You claim that anybody who doesn't agree with that statement is an "anarchist", but that's bullshit..

    Let's rephrase that statement so that even you understand it:

    Every problem that provably exists must be solved by government.

    That view, the view you are defending, is totalitarian.

    The anarchist view is:

    Problems must never be solved by government.

    Most people, including most libertarians, take some view in between:

    Some problems must be solve by government, other problems must not be solved by government.
  • Win Bear||

    Which word do you not know the definition of? "Might" or "must"?

  • Real American||

    any system that allows a man with no accomplishments and a socialist to communist ideology to get elected twice is fucking broken.

  • Win Bear||

    The presidency was never intended to wield the kind of power over domestic affairs that it has acquired. Hence, the system wasn't set up to elect brilliant presidents. In fact, our system has traditionally selected for mediocrity, something that has served us well. Europe routinely had brilliant and skilled leaders, and frequently, they used their talents for evil.

  • KK||

    Wow how one sided and biased can you get in one post...... geeeeezzzzz! Must be on the Kool-aid side of the fence!

  • buybuydandavis||

    Ah, a resident Progressive blames the peasants. What a surprise.

    Nothing wrong with the Progressive Theocracy. Nothing wrong with a Supreme Court that has turned the constitution on it's head, and routinely just makes shit up. Nothing wrong with an unelected and unaccountable federal bureaucracy run amok. Because all those things are exactly as the Progressive Theocracy wants it.

    It's all the fault of the sinful peasants. They're all stupid and wicked. They should stop whining and thank their lucky stars that they have such wise and benevolent rulers to make their decisions for them.

  • Win Bear||

    It's all the fault of the sinful peasants. They're all stupid and wicked.

    No, not at all: demanding that other people pay for your crap is neither stupid nor wicked; it's what our system of government encourages.

  • Win Bear||

    A Chapman article that isn't utterly idiotic? Has Chapman been replaced by an alien double?

  • Trump-o-Matic 5000||

    The system was designed to promote gridlock and maintain the status quo. If nothing is getting done in Washington, that's a feature, not a bug.

  • FarAlSamShaidar||

    The system - and it is a system, no scare quotes necessary - IS broken. Not because *I* don't get what I want. Because people want different things, and with a large central government, it's impossible for ANY significant portion of people to be happy.

    Is a Democratic Republic better than any other large, force-backed system of government? Sure, maybe. Anything extant anyway. If for some reason we wanted to keep our big government we could take the good in our system and improve it with some lessons from the good parts of how the parliamentary systems are set up, implement some sort of ranked voting system like IRV (get more than two damned parties going), shorten term limits and time between elections, etc. But, although it could be better, **as big governments go** it's not too bad.

  • FarAlSamShaidar||

    CONTINUED.

    But that's the false premise here. That we're picking between big government systems, or judging our system against its best possible big-government self. The system is broken because there are 320 million people in 50 states being governed by one big, central government. 320 million people don't agree on shit. For a lot of things, you're lucky if you get more than 50% of people to agree. Yet it's 51% (yes, bit of a simplification) that put the government in. Leaving 156 million people screwed. And to make matters worse, as the author pointed out, the people voting don't really know what they want. They want contradictory things. At different levels they elect different people who represent different parts of their impossible ideals. And they vote for people they don't research, for positions they don't understand. And the end result is that even *fewer* people get anything they want (and often, basically nothing at all happens).

  • FarAlSamShaidar||

    CONTINUED 2.

    So, since people don't research and think before they vote, since people want contradictory things, since people don't truly *know* what they want at a federal level, the answer is to make the choice for them right? Yay dictatorship! Or maybe as the author would have us believe the answer is that the people are broken but the system is great, so stop your belly-aching, or maybe get to work educating people that they need to pick which government programs they want 'cause they can't have them all.

    NO. It's just that 320 million people is a fucking lot of people, and the idea of governing them all with one big system is asinine, whether it's a Democratic Republic, a Constitutional Monarchy, or Dear Leader.

    TL;DR: It IS broken. Democracy doesn't work because big government doesn't work. Libertarianism and federalism are the answer. Duh.

  • Tony||

    I have never once been harassed or persecuted by the national government of this country. I have, however, experienced both at the hands of my state and local governments, which are populated by relative idiots, elected to office by the sort of people who vote in local elections in large numbers (paranoid idiots).

    I don't see how the complaint goes away if you're talking about a mere 5 million people in a state. There will still be all the same constituencies competing for their own interests. What number of people is the cutoff line between a workable government and an untenable one?

    The US system offers a decent latitude for states. The federal government compels what it considers positive action mostly by offering money in exchange for them. Otherwise they compel by requiring states not to overly abuse their citizens, and have done so in successful ways.

  • JPyrate||

    Being the science guy that you are Tony I am shocked that you have never heard of Dunbars Number.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number

  • JPyrate||

  • JPyrate||

    Links busted. Anyway you can google it. =)

  • Michael Hihn||

    I call that the Ron Paul effect, Lie about the Constitution to support the worst bigots in America, instead of targeting the liberty seeking Americans.
    Directly to your own point, claim that state governments have powers which have NEVER been delegated.

    The anti-gummint mentality is convinced ... CONVINCED ,,, that shifting more power to states is better in all cases, because it shrinks the federal gummint they hate. . That somehow 1-2 states will discover what how to do things better ... because they (anti-gumimnt) have no clue how to actually do a damn thing.

    By contrast, the pro-liberty mentality doesn't give a flying fuck about shifting government power. It's about eliminating government power ... which means (at best) privatizing ... which then motivates the creation of step-by-step policies to privatize all we can (for now). And restructure government for continuing privatization.

  • Marshall Gill||

    which means (at best) privatizing ... which then motivates the creation of step-by-step policies to privatize all we can (for now). And restructure government for continuing privatization.

    Hihn, you glorious get government out goober!!!

  • Michael Hihn||

    I'm sorry. :-(

  • JPyrate||

    That's a first. Hinh you just sold a "Pro Liberty" argument.

  • JPyrate||

    By contrast, the pro-liberty mentality doesn't give a flying fuck about shifting government power. It's about eliminating government power

    Even an Agorist like myself can agree with that.

  • JPyrate||

  • Michael Hihn||

    For over thirty years, overall.
    And at 3- times per week here.

  • Michael Hihn||

    FarAlSamShaidar,

    Entirely useless when we have no candidate and no policies for them to run.
    So busy bashing government, but almost nothing on reforming government, evolving a free society or even HOW to govern.

    So we sound like Chicken Little to even the vast majority of libertarians. How can we change anything when we have less cred than even Congress?

  • Hank Phillips||

    By writing a credible platform to take what we can get, running candidates, and getting out the vote. The income tax and prohibition laws were the work of small parties. The Prohibition Party was funded by Rockefeller and enacted the Prohibition Amendment. Numerous looter parties, beginning with the Republicans in 1860, sought to transplant the income tax from the communist manifesto to US Constitution. Together these two force amendments caused the great Depression and most subsequent financial problems. By voting for those parties, looter fanatics of mystical and secular religions made the initiation of force the law of the land, usually with less than 5% of the vote. Once folks understand that a libertarian vote packs ten times the law-changing and tax-cutting power of any other option, people will vote libertarian in self-defense, and force repeal of those bad laws--not for the public good--but so looter politicians can keep that invisible hand in the till.

  • Michael Hihn||

    By writing a credible platform to take what we can get, running candidates, and getting out the vote.

    For libertarians that would be crazier than the current no-credible-platform- at all.

    Once folks understand that a libertarian vote packs ten times the law-changing and tax-cutting power of any other option

    Based on what evidence? Even if we never get elected? Too bad we give those voters no reason to vote libertarian ... let alone a majority in Congress ... but we don't have candidates either.

  • FarAlSamShaidar||

    I don't disagree. My philosophical view as basically ancap, and my political view incrementalist libertarian (in other words, voting for candidates who can move the needle on average slightly in the libertarian direction) - talk about the ideal, vote realistically. We have to have both.

    My whole point wasn't to argue about how we get to an anarcho-capitalist society, but simply to point out that the article was wrong, stupid and non-libertarian.

  • JPyrate||

    Anyway according to Dunbar's number a person can only have a stable social relationship with about 150 people. This is why historically all forms of government, and religion always break down into warring factions which leads to an their inevitable collapse. IMO the system is broken, because we were never designed for it.

  • Michael Hihn||

    I believe he meant 150 social relationships WITHIN the government, religion ,whatever.
    That's the only possible reading.

  • JPyrate||

    Government, and Religion are a mechanism for coping with larger social relationships. Historically these mechanisms always fail in the end. If you want to sell Anarchy then Dunbar's Number is the way to do it.

  • Michael Hihn||

    If you want to sell Anarchy then Dunbar's Number is the way to do it.

    But you totally fucked up what it means.

  • JPyrate||

    The only thing that is "Fucked Up" is your cognitive dissonance. You are so wrapped up in your belief in government that you cannot accept any information to the contrary. Government only works for those who have social relationships in that said government.

  • Michael Hihn||

    (laughing) Your fuckup -- this one -- was documented here:

    Link

    For those who may not know, the majority of cyber-bullies are bellowing blowhards
    Much of what they post is nonsense, but they SOUND authoritative.
    And when called our as lies, and documented, they get VERY nasty., sometimes even stalking
    Coincidentally, a very large percentage are extreme social conservative, who are of course bullies, by definition.

  • JPyrate||

    And yes. There will always be an "Elite" group of people 150 to 350 in number trying to control a larger population who are divided into warring factions with political, and religious ambitions.

  • JPyrate||

    What you are trying to sell Hinh is a mass "Identity". Something the Republicans, and the Democrats are very good at doing.

  • JPyrate||

    Libertarians, and especially Anarchist's tend to reject it.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Read it again. Thar's not even on topic.

  • JPyrate||

    Read above. On topic.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Read above. On topic.


    (yawn) Yet more aggression, to supporting your bullshit about "mass 'identity'"

    I'll call you out again. Instead of bullshit assertions, where did I try to sell a "mass 'identity'" If you don't know how to document claims, just read my comments

    (My tome here in response to yet more aggression)

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    This is wha- I do...... ✹✹✹✹✹✹ www.online-jobs9.com

  • MokFarin||

    The problem, dear Chapman, is that the "dysfunction" in Washington DC is because they constantly create lines in the sand that they refuse to cross at the behest of the most extreme aspects of their party constituents.

    Let's take an example: Welfare. Most Americans support some welfare. In general you'll find a majority that would support people getting a hand when they are down n out. Some money, some food stamps, and potentially even some education to get them back on their feet. That support ends in a metaphorical cliff, however, when you look at two aspects of the welfare system: The perpetual users and the governmental duplication of function.

    If you are going to use welfare for the rest of your life without a good reason (disability, mental illness, etc) then the general sentiment is "GFY." Then, you have multiple entities involved in each of housing, food stamps (/food-stamp-like programs), direct payments, and so forth, all of which have differing requirements. So you spend weeks signing up for things because you have to get a law degree to figure out what you might be eligible for -- and that's without a firm "Okay, you're in."

    But those two things are exactly what people in government stop and fight about constantly. THAT is your dysfunction. The people want two things: Solutions that work and failed solutions are removed. Instead, they get four decades of screaming from one side and doubling down from the other on every single issue.

  • Hank Phillips||

    At whose expense, these handouts? Are men with guns involved?

  • MokFarin||

    Welfare is a government enterprise, just like all of the "good things" you think government does. If you want a government that doesn't tax, I'd suggest you move to an unpopulated island. Then you can pretend, to yourself, that the work you do governing your own survival isn't a tax on your work output, isn't the same thing, and is better somehow.

    Or you can realize that in a capitalist system, the government is given license to tax to pay for anything the government puts in place. If you want it to not be spent on something, say you disagree with spending it in that manner. Don't pretend that somehow the government taxing to fund itself is inherently bad.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Bernie is right abt the Senile Court letting corporations buy elections--at least until each corporation qualifies to register and cast a ballot. Now would be a good time to draft a gradualist plank calling for abolition of Karl Marx' personal income tax. Corporations are not individuals. Individuals are what tax collectors' guns are designed to kill. Corporations have staffs of lawyers bargain with the IRS while their detectives snap footage of judges and prosecutors entering and leaving motels. A personal income tax is a collectivist enactment and the impossibly complex forms are involuntary servitude. Repealing it would effectively nullify the recently purchased ruling as far as you and I are concerned, give those deep-pocket bribe donors an incentive to work for tax cuts and small government. Who better than the Libertarian Party to bell the cat for individual rights?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Would your repeal be as crazy as Ron Paul's?

    And if corporations buy elections, how do they get fucked over so badly by the politicians they buy.

    1) Everyone know our corporations pay the world's highest tax rate.
    2) They also pay for the world's most expensive healthcare. (social welfare states get little or no money from corporations for their healthcare.)
    3) In 1986, Democrats INCREASED TAXES on job-creating new investments in factory machinery and LENGTHENED the tax writeoff from 8 years to 16 years -- when all our major trade competitors have 5 year writeoffs.
    4) That same year, Republicans began expanding the maximum allowable shareholders for SUB S corporatiions. S corporations are exempt from the corporate income tax, with profits paid on owners; personal income tax. Originally targeted at small businesses with no more than 10 shareholders ... GOP increased it to 100 shareholders. The newer LLC's you've seen are also tax exempt but with unlimited shareholders. ... leaving ONLY large corporations to pay the corporate income tax.

    Looks to me ... when buying politicians ... corporations are pretty stucking fupid.
    Our larger corporations have far more punitive taxes than even socialist countries like Canada and Sweden. Plus Canadian and Swedish employers ALSO don't pay for their national healthcare. REALLY stucking fupid!

  • JPyrate||

    1) Everyone know our corporations pay the world's highest tax rate.
    2) They also pay for the world's most expensive healthcare. (social welfare states get little or no money from corporations for their healthcare.)
    3) In 1986, Democrats INCREASED TAXES on job-creating new investments in factory machinery and LENGTHENED the tax writeoff from 8 years to 16 years -- when all our major trade competitors have 5 year writeoffs.
    4) That same year, Republicans began expanding the maximum allowable shareholders for SUB S corporatiions. S corporations are exempt from the corporate income tax, with profits paid on owners; personal income tax. Originally targeted at small businesses with no more than 10 shareholders ... GOP increased it to 100 shareholders. The newer LLC's you've seen are also tax exempt but with unlimited shareholders. ... leaving ONLY large corporations to pay the corporate income tax.

  • JPyrate||

    Now you are making sense to me. Unlike your former flaming of anyone who disagree's with you.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Coming from an aggressor, that's hysterical
    And a lie. I only flame aggression

    (Is that flaming or a supported argument?)

  • JPyrate||

    (Is that flaming or a supported argument?)

    Maybe you should have asked that question before posting this.

    Coming from an aggressor, that's hysterical
    And a lie. I only flame aggression

  • Michael Hihn||

    I should feel guilty, ridiculing JPyrate, but he's such bully, almost always as he's running into walls and tripping over his own feet (that's a supported argument)

    Here's this thread. (laughing to hard to type)

    Psycho launches aggression
    unlike your former flaming of anyone who disagree's with you.

    (watch him flame my reply also -- lol)

    I reply
    Coming from an aggressor, that's hysterical
    And a lie. I only flame aggression

    Then he accuses ME of aggression (giggle)

    Maybe you should have asked that question before posting this.
    Coming from an aggressor, that's hysterical
    And a lie. I only flame aggression

    We can never be sure, but he seems to be accusing me of flaming him with no aggression, by him. These asshat bullies don't even care if their lies are both easily visible and obvious. Umm, this too is a supported argument. (lol)

    (My tone here is in reponse to aggression, twice in this thread. And likely to continue if he continues the stalking lasting ovee a month)

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