Senate How to best fix U.S. government?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Mar 29, 2014.

?

How can U.S. government best be fixed? (besides constitutional amendments)

disclosure and transparency for political campaign financing 9 vote(s) 40.9%
nonpartisan congressional redistricting for the House 7 vote(s) 31.8%
further erode the filibuster and similar measures in the Senate 3 vote(s) 13.6%
automatic voter registration/updating 2 vote(s) 9.1%
mandate that the options of early voting and vote-by-mail be available in every state 4 vote(s) 18.2%
eliminate the debt ceiling 3 vote(s) 13.6%
make it so government is always continuously funded (shutdowns no longer possible) 2 vote(s) 9.1%
Other? (please explain) 13 vote(s) 59.1%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    But I'll be old by then!
  2. DarthWilliams Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2008
    star 4

    Yes there's a solution to running deficits and it's to spend less (which has been happening consistently over the past couple of years), but we're not all of a sudden going to pass a budget that has us breaking even next year, because the spending cuts that would require would be really crippling.

    What I was saying isn't possible is an amendment saying that we can't ever run a deficit. That could never work.
  3. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    The other thing I was going to suggest was eliminate or censor McCarthy-style the radical segment of the GOP.
  4. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6

    You'll get no argument from me on that one, but how do you do that without violating the First Amendment?
  5. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    Good question. Radical me would suggest suspending it entirely in this instance since I also am of the opinion that the second amendment is a big ****ing joke for the most part (but that's for a different thread entirely). Liberal me has no idea.

    What would you suggest?
  6. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6

    The vast majority of real proposals for a balanced budget amendment have provisions for emergencies built into them. I personally would love to see one that says you can't initiate new spending without increasing revenue to pay for it for the foreseable life of the program. That would prevent us from starting trillion-dollar wars or trillion dollar health care programs without a funding stream that covers it.

    One of the neat budgetary tricks is to push the cost of various programs into the "out years" (outside of 10 yrs, which is the horizon that OMB generally reports on) to make the program look cheaper than it actually is. That's how the ACA can start off costing "only" $900 billion over 10 yrs but rapidly balloon to $2.3 trillion over 10 yrs a mere 4 yrs later.
  7. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    Have the FCC rule that all media outlets must carry Liberal and Conservative political content in equal measure? That might at least be a starting point. Beyond that, I don't know. I don't know enough about American constitutional law be able to comment any more than that.
  8. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    Me neither. I wonder what @Rogue_Ten would think about my crazy idea?
  9. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Not only that, but Congress can actual limit the jurisdiction of the Court. It's in Article III, Sections I and II.

    Definitely an interesting read.

    On another note, yes, the GOP is going to take the Senate, which should be no surprise to anyone based at the very least on historical trends. What I find amusing, though, is this idea that they are somehow going to hold the Chamber for decades to come. Personally, I think they'll lose it again in 2016. Why? A couple of reasons:

    1) Nothing will motivate core Democratic voters in 2016 more than the prospect of a unified GOP back in Washington, especially women, minorities, and those who support gay rights (more than half the US at this point). That alone almost guarantees a Hillary Clinton victory if she runs, given the current GOP field.

    2) The GOP has the chance to actually try and govern, but they will most likely spend the rest of Obama's term doing their best to hamstring and embarrass him, rather than work with the President. That will rapidly become obvious to everyone and the "It's all Obama's fault!" argument will quickly grow stale. On the offhand chance that they DO work with the President, then he will end up with some victories, which will probably help his poll numbers and the Democrats overall.

    I'm not counting on it, though.

    3) Despite the hope of the GOP establishment to keep it on the back burner, social issues will definitely come into play. The House has already passed an abortion ban, and the Senate will almost certainly take it up should it fall into Republican hands. Obviously, Obama will veto it, but the very fact that it's going to come up will make it so, so easy for the Democrats to make the point that should the GOP be given all three branches come 2016, women's rights, gay rights, immigration reform, and perhaps even access to birth control will all be severely curtailed. It may not be entirely true, but the perception that it COULD be true (or even a little true), will be more than enough to get Democrats and democrat-leaning independents off their duffs (and opening their wallets).

    It will also dominate the conversation and come up in every debate. The GOP playbook--G-d, guns, gays, abortion--always rears its head. Always. The GOP just can't help itself.

    I also wouldn't be surprised to see a Majority Leader McConnell eliminate the filibuster entirely, yet another motivating factor for Democrats in 2016. I hope I'm wrong, but I think the temptation to put the screws to Harry Reid (rightfully so in this instance) will be too great to ignore.


    The biggest risk to Democrats in 2016, IMHO, is if they hold the Senate in 2014. Why? Because it will breed complacency. To listen to the pundits, 2014 is already lost. That message, hammered home time and again, eventually begins to sink in, and affects things like campaign donations. In general, nothing motivates people like a good crisis, and the specter of a unified, no-more-filibuster GOP imposing a hard-right agenda on the nation come January 2017 is currently the Democrat's best chance for retaining the White House.

    Cynical and sad (for both parties), but true.

    Peace,

    V-03
    Jedi Merkurian likes this.
  10. MrZAP Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 5
    EDIT: No.

    Okay, kids. Her'es a lesson.

    Do not post when

    A. Sleep deprived.
    and
    B. In a state of depression.

    Especially when nothing you have to contribute is helpful even when those two things aren't true. Restraint is good.

    Sorry, Jello.
    Last edited by MrZAP, Mar 30, 2014
  11. Kuag Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2009
    star 2

    @Rogue_Follower You obviously have no idea what I do for a living which is not your fault, so feel free to operate under the assumption that my focus is on elections. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I'm a policy lobbyist/strategist. Election outcomes are only tangentially related at best to what I do on a day-to-day basis.
    Last edited by Kuag, Mar 30, 2014
  12. Kuag Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2009
    star 2

    Junior, if this town had 535 Members in the House and Senate who operated or thought like I do, we'd be sitting a helluva lot prettier as a country.

    And I don't work for Congress. I said I work with Congress. A monumental difference.
  13. Kuag Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2009
    star 2

    His commentary makes it an accurate one. He doesn't even know what the filibuster is/was designed to do.
  14. heels1785 Jedi Draft Commissioner

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2003
    star 6
    i lobby you to utilize the edit function, junior
    Ghost likes this.
  15. Rogue_Follower Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2003
    star 6
    Thanks for clarifying.

    Yeah, I think there's some confusion as to whose goals and strategy we were talking about. My comment was following dp4m's "if the strategic goal for Congress is to get more of your party elected rather than getting work done" comment, a reference to the "Sen. Cruz and the Defund Obamacare effort" you mentioned in a prior post. I assumed we were talking about that (the putative GOP keep-Obama-focused-on-Obamacare-to-win-the-midterms strategy), not necessarily your (personal/employer's?) goals.
  16. Kuag Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2009
    star 2

    Gotcha. I'll elaborate a little more to flesh things out. When we (we being me and the organization/group of organizations I work for) fight on policy battles, we very often find ourselves fighting with people who, from a purely partisan understanding of our system, should be on our team. Reality is actually much different.

    Take the recently passed farm bill. The legislation was a $1 trillion corporate welfare giveaway that was also a food stamp bill. In fact, eighty percent of the "farm" bill was actually food stamps, but the way these bills have always worked is that farm subsidies are tied to food stamps so that rural lawmakers and urban lawmakers will push through logrolled legislation. Republicans (or Team Red) wanted to only whack food stamps. Democrats (or Team Blue) wanted to only whack farm subsidies. Conservatives (like myself) wanted to split the two and whack both. That meant going to war with Republicans who, in my opinion, were and are hypocrites on the farm subsidy side. These guys want to talk about shrinking government in one moment and in the next they're giving their big corporate ag buddies (who vote Republican) taxpayer-funded subsidies.

    From a pure policy perspective, it's bogus and we made Republicans feel the pain for it. Our groups spent the better part of two years blowing up the farm bill--pushing for Republicans to eliminate farm subsidies to their buddies while simultaneously pushing for them to implement work requirements in the food stamp program in order to get the people who shouldn't be on the program off the dole, help the able-bodied people on the program who should have to at least look for work as a contingent for receiving taxpayer benefits, and also cut costs.

    So in this case, if I'm trying to eliminate corporate welfare (i.e. farm subsidies), do I really care who wins in the Iowa Senate race? No. Because whether it's Braley (a Democrat) or Ernst (a Republican), they're both going to be terrible on the policy.

    Does that help illustrate things better on why elections are only tangentially related to my job?
    Last edited by Kuag, Mar 30, 2014
  17. Asterix_of_Gaul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 5
  18. Rogue_Follower Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2003
    star 6
    Yep, that provides more insight into your perspective. Thanks.
  19. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    You mean certain individuals, like yourself, would be "sitting a helluva lot prettier".

    Other individuals, however, would be pretty much screwed.

    That's an unusual definition of the word "help", isn't it?
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Apr 1, 2014
    anakinfansince1983 likes this.
  20. Mikaboshi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2005
    star 6
    There is no silver bullet, but I have thoughts about a few good places to start.

    Take big money out of the system.
    Stop allowing politicians to have lifetime pensions and healthcare until they have worked 20 years (like any other job).
    Find a way to entice more economists, scientists, teachers to engage in the political system rather than people who just have enough money to buy elections.
  21. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
  22. Sauntaero Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 2003
    star 4
    Yes, we must have pointier buildings.

    I knew those rotundae would bring nothing but trouble.
  23. Kuag Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2009
    star 2

    Only if you believe that work and acquiring the skills to provide for your family isn't helpful. And if you do believe that, you'd fit in quite well up here as part of the problem.
  24. Hank Hill Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2013
    star 1
  25. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    We must have a giant clock next to the White House.