What is it really going to take?

Discussion in 'Bill of Rights' started by 10brokenpromises, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. 10brokenpromises

    10brokenpromises Monkey++

    There are a lot of threads about lines in the sand, whether they be personal or what we think society will or won't tolerate anymore. While it's good to know what your limits and boundaries are, I would guess that the vast majority of the members of this site at least would prefer for things to be fixed and simply move on with what is still frankly a pretty good deal. This country is, in a word, amazing and I don't use the word lightly. Yes, it's funny in a Bill Cosby sort of Ha Ha (old routine, paraphrasing Bill Cosby here "God created the heavens and the earth, and it was good. God created all the animals on the land and the fish in the sea, and it was good. God created man, and it was good. Man created the toaster and it was AMAZING."). But yes, it's an amazing country, warts and all.

    There are threads about, um, watering the tree and prying from cold dead hands and giving up the projectiles one at a time at velocity and coming and taking it but the barrel's going to be hot; but they are almost all couched with something along the lines of but I'd rather it not get that far. If it has to happen, let be on my watch and spare my children and grandchildren but above all, let's FIX THIS!

    So, the question I have is: What would it really take to fix it. Pie in the sky is okay. Does it include pulling down the international banking cartel? Will it take the aliens who've been faking being dead at Area 51 "waking up" and threatening the entire planet? Is it going to take a third WW (please oh please let it be conventional)? Do we really need to reboot, water the tree and test limbs at the 10-12' height? Can it be fixed?

    Do you have a list of things that need to happen to put this country back to rights? Is there a single thing that you think could be the lynch pin?

    Personally I do think it can be saved. I do think it can be fixed. I don't think the country is so far gone that there's no coming back. It's not going to be easy though, and people, everyone, will need to be a part of the solution. We can't continue to be a country of primarily takers. On the other hand we can't continue to be a country that is so ridiculously split between the haves and the have nots. No, I am absolutely NOT saying that we need to redistribute the wealth, no how, no way. But the disparity is unsustainable.

    So to answer my own question, I have some things I think need to change, in no particular order (nor is this list exhaustive for me personally):
    • Welfare needs to be reformed. I think that there are a couple of religions out there that have this down pat. It's been posted before and after doing some research on it I agree that the Mormons have got this down. A hand up, not a hand out with limits on time for anyone who isn't truly disabled and unable to contribute back. Work for your daily bread.
    • Immigration needs to be fixed and I don't mean comprehensive immigration reform. It shouldn't take 5-15 years to immigrate here. The legal process is flat broken. I know someone personally who took over 12 years to immigrate here and naturalize from the UK (well, Wales but I digress). 12 years and he was an incredible asset to this country through the companies he worked for, paid taxes with and contributed to the economy. That is unacceptable in my book. I have another friend who met a student from Germany (student Visa) and they fell in love and wanted to get married. Took 5 years to get the OK from the State Department. That is just wrong, no matter how you cut it.
    • Taxes. Hoo boy. The tax code is simply too complex and burdensome. I can't make an argument for any progressive tax, period. Flat or VAT (one of the two, you don't get both). I can't make a case for tax breaks either because it will always be abused, always. I can potentially see a different rate (singular) for corporations but even that could be seen as progressive and as such fails my test. What's the %? No idea but no more than 25% (currently I'm at 28 and could maybe see that as the across the board rate. Would I like a tax break for kids? Sure. Will I give it up if it means a flat tax, period? Yes. Do I like my mortgage deduction? Absolutely. Do I need it? Nope. Could I live with a flat tax of 25%? Without question. What does that mean though? It means I can opt out of SS if I want and FICA goes away. It also means that:
    • The Federal and all State governments MUST have a balanced budget. You may NOT spend more than you bring in and that includes interest on existing loans. Figure it out. No, I haven't run the numbers and yes, it's possible we can't get there from here and especially at 28% but the out of control debt creating entity in DC needs to come to an end. Things that could assist to that end:
      • Congress and the President can pay into a retirement fund (401k, IRA, etc.) with a payroll deduction just like everyone else. No more freebies for life (potential exception for security but not necessarily Secret Service for life).
      • The annual wage for congress, House or Senate, will be equal to the previous years median income. They do not get to vote themselves a raise directly but the things they do to affect the GOOD of the nation will be rewarded next year in a raise, just like the rest of the country. Screw up and you take a pay cut.
      • Congress flies Business Class at the going rate that the airline is willing to give them (but it is ILLEGAL for the airline to give them better than a "bulk" or "corporate" rate).
      • Dorm style housing (okay, one occupant per room) for Congress.
      • Congressional cafeteria that they PAY FOR. You can get a discount if you pre-pay for a monthly, yearly or full term food plan card. It's good enough for students, it's good enough for our public servants.
      • Term limits. Don't know what they should be but no more career politicians. Okay, fine, 2 terms tops. Same limits as the President. This is not a club, it's the business of the country!
      • Congress gets three weeks off, paid, as well as the 6 or 8 national holidays the rest of us enjoy, assuming you have a full-time job and your company doesn't suck. 15 days which is about fair for someone with less than 8 years in the job! You will be at your desk or in chambers every other business day of the year. You will not campaign except for during your 15 days off or during national holidays. Your job is not to get re-elected, your job is to run the country, in a constitutional manner as your constituency sees fit.
    • Repeal every single Executive Order written that is currently still on the books and close the loop-hole that was used to create them in the first place. Repeal the war powers act. Repeal the GCA and all associated laws.
    • Since taxes are a one-liner, gut the IRS by 97.35% (no reason, I figure they'll need a few people to open mail) and remove ALL of their authority other than the ability to receive payment to the US Government.
    • Disband every federal agency that has been started since <fill in the blank here>. I don't have a specific date because I'm conflicted. I think the FBI could be a good thing, potentially. I think the CIA could, again potentially, be a useful agency. Likewise FEMA, but it's not done well now. The NEA, EPA, BATFE and a whole host of others are useless teat sucking monstrosities that should be completely, totally and utterly dissolved. They serve no purpose other than self-aggrandizement and continued growth.
    • I don't know everything that needs to be done to fix this but our Armed Forces need to be brought back up to snuff. We need to trust them again (at an administration level). They need to be given the tools they need to get their jobs done and we as a country need to show some damned appreciation. I mentioned above no tax breaks, but I can see some for honorable military service whether it be the GI Bill or no taxes taken out while on either active duty or in harms way for example and yes, our Vets need to be taken care of when they need help!
    Okay, I've gone on long enough for a first post in a thread. What do you think we need to do to fix this and possibly more importantly how do we accomplish those things?
  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Since only 1% of Americans serve in the Armed Forces, I don't think it would hurt the bottom line if Service Members and those Honorably Discharged and Retired didn't have to pay taxes; ever.
  3. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    An excellent post, and I agree 100 percent; but one item you mentioned is a a necessary first step to the rest of the agenda - Term Limits. Until term limits are established on our "representatives" they will never be our representatives. They will continue, for the most part, to belong to the lobbyists and the political party machinery. As long as we continue to be "represented" by the pack of professional politicians that we have been cursed with, there will be no substantial change.

    We have allowed the foxes to gain the keys to the hen house, and they get to vote on whether they wish to give them back or not. We are stuck with what many of our founding fathers feared our nation would become - a so-called democratic republic that is ruled by a pack of robber barons.
  4. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    Healthcare - Our system is broken. No, the ACA isn't the fix but neither is going back to what we had. Health related expenses are simply too high and for no other reason than people either are willing to pay them (capitalizm) which I generally don't actually have a problem with or...and this pisses me off, people need something to LIVE and the health providers/companies KNOW that they can gouge for the treatment.

    No, I am not proposing that we force companies out of business by not allowing them to make a profit but profiting at someone's health, or worse, life is unacceptable. They should be fairly compensated for their R&D, etc., but the current and previous iterations of the health care system/insurance system in the US is broken and overly expensive.

    I guess the point of the above post was that intense meddling by the government (ACA) doesn't fix anything and ultimately causes more problems. I won't pretend to know what the ultimate fix for that situation is.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
    tulianr likes this.
  5. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    When your business IS HEALTH how would you judge that?
  6. 10brokenpromises

    10brokenpromises Monkey++

    Thank you for clarifying. I don't know what it would take to fix that either and I'm afraid that any fix would be choc full of exceptions, exemptions and preferential treatment that would be as bad or worse than the ACA.

    Your last point about government overstepping its bounds and meddling in affairs they have no business in is, in my opinion, the root of the problem. Ultimately it's all about power and in the case of this country, manipulating the process, cajoling the people and when all else fails acting in an wholly illegal fashion and claiming you have the legal standing to behave in such a manner (Executive Orders).

    Too many people, however, are happy to be "taken care of" as long as it means they don't have to lift a finger for anything. In the case of welfare distribution, it is essentially (if not exactly) a pre-paid debit card that is pre/re-loaded every month remotely. The recipients don't even have to leave the house to get mo' money! There was a time when my family was on welfare for a very short while growing up and the state we lived in made it a, not convenient exercise to get the benefits. And the stigma attached to it was horrible. You actually had the stamp booklet that you had to tear out at the cashier stand (could NOT be done ahead of time) because they had to validate that it was yours and not someone else's. You couldn't buy the vast majority of what was in the store and everyone looked at you sideways if you were on it for more than a short while (everyone knew everyone where I grew up).

    And the current situation is a combined result of the government stepping in to "take care" of people who don't actually need to be taken care of and people sitting down and accepting the bribe, because it's not help.

    Both parties are at fault at this point. Neither one has the guts to stand up and say enough is enough. Outside of the permanently disabled, nobody should be living on the dole, and the permanently disabled aren't actually on the dole.

    The government needs to get out of our business. Laws should be equitable and only the minimum necessary to ensure safety and civility and even then, only to a point.

    I could go on and on and ON but I won't.
  7. 10brokenpromises

    10brokenpromises Monkey++

    I'll counter that many, although certainly not all or even a majority, of medical and pharmaceutical companies aren't necessarily in it for the health of the customer. Not even secondarily. I would wager that there is at least one medical/pharmaceutical company out there that is run by a board that doesn't give a damn about keeping people healthy outside of the perception that people using their product are healthy which generates revenue.

    No, I'm not anti big business but overall, yes I do believe that more companies than not are solely about the money, the bottom line. Again, that isn't a bad thing but it cannot, simply cannot be the only thing.

    Take Amazon for example. They sell darned near everything under the sun and they turn a tidy profit doing it. Okay, they make an obscene amount of money doing it. However, and this is very important, they also recognize that they are providing a service and that without that service, revenue goes bye-bye. I've bought so much stuff through Amazon (through the link here whenever I remember) that it's nuts and I don't feel bad at ALL about getting free shipping with my Prime membership. Why? Because they treat me well. That affects the bottom line in a positive way for them but they DO provide me with, frankly, excellent service and resolve the very rare issue immediately and to my full satisfaction. Like Bezos or not, he recognizes that it can't be all about the money because money doesn't, in and of itself, beget more money. Two tens don't get busy in the safe and have baby quarters that grow up to be tens like mom and dad. You have to provide a SERVICE for people to PAY for and you have to do it well to continually be successful.

    Big Pharma, on the other hand, doesn't have to provide a service because they are the only one's who can provide that "service" for x number of years. It reminds me of the old operator sketch on Laugh-In with Lily Tomlin. "We don't care. We don't have to, we're the phone company." Or the old Foot Locker ad slogan "Where else you gonna go?" because they had a lock on the market and at the time, I think, they were the only ones who could sell Air Jordan's (but I might be mistaken about that, it's been a while). Recouping investment and making a tidy profit is one thing, pricing things out of reach and bankrupting OTHER industries (health insurance) or causing them to skyrocket their rates to stay afloat is something else entirely. And the Insurance companies overcharging for what they offer is yet another thing altogether.
    Mountainman likes this.
  8. 10brokenpromises

    10brokenpromises Monkey++

    Going back to this and after further consideration, I don't think Healthcare is a root problem. Your second post calling out government run amok is the issue here. Sticking their nose in where it didn't belong and legislating the way they did was the problem. Yes, healthcare is busted but having the elitist, disconnected, not very savory negative comments you can't make in polite company go here, blowhards in DC make the decision in the manner they did was, counterproductive.

    The protected class needs to go away and the cradle to grave thing needs to die a horrible, painful, fiery death.

    Politicians should not be a protected class. Police Officers should not be a protected class. Teachers should not be a protected class. Sexual orientation should not grant you protected class status. It doesn't say "equal under the law except for fill in the blank", it says equal under the law. We don't need to be taken care of and guided and handled like, well like anything. Sure, different laws for minors (more strict) I could see. Your body is still growing, don't eff it up by drinking or smoking. Turn 18, die for your country and do it with a cigarette in your lips and a mouthful of booze if you want. Car seats are generally a good idea, I think they save lives, especially the lives of those that can't think for or take care of themselves. Seatbelts and helmets though, nope. Lay up to Darwin that which is his!
    tulianr likes this.
  9. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    I won't pretend to have the faintest idea.
    kellory likes this.
  10. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    For those KIA (and MIA & believed dead), spouse and heirs never pay taxes again.

    They've already paid.
  11. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Retro active? That could destroy the entire tax base.
  12. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    I think a lot of the problems we have are the results of the Federal government (Supreme Court in particular) getting just several fundamental things wrong.

    1. Commerce clause. The original purpose was for the federal gov to "make regular" interstate commerce, to keep the states from inacting their own tariffs, import/export taxes, trade restrictions etc. Sadly the courts and power grabbers have distorted this clause to give them the power to do 90+% of the things they do that compromise our daily lives. Fix this and you fix the most problems with DEA, BATFE, DOE, etc. as the vast vast majority of those laws they are chartered to enforce (including welfare and food stamps) would be unconstitutional.

    2. Clarify that taxation is only and solely for the expressed purpose of raising funds to operate the federal government and are expressly forbidden to be used as means to effect policy or alter behaviors of people or corporations to behave as the government might want them. This would fix Obamacare and greatly simplify the tax code as most of the tax code crap is not associated with just raising money.

    3. Regulatory law created by bureaucrats in various agencies is expressly prohibited. If a agency thinks something needs to be regulated, then let them convince the law makers who are directly accountable to the electorate to pass the regulations as statutory law and let the elected representatives suffer the consequences of bad decisions. This might fix much of the incumbent problem without term limits (I hesitate to mandate the removal of one's that are actually good to likely get a zero in replacement).

    4. Eliminate the amendment providing for direct election of senators. Go back to the original vision of elder statesman being selected by the states' governments represent a state and it's interests, not elected in accordance with the political whims of the electorate that happen to be blowing in the October/November breeze that year.

    5. Re-decide SC decision on 2nd A that the word "infringe" means exactly what it means, not some twisted highly conditioned bastardization of it. "Keep" means retain arms in your possession and "bear" means have them on your person in any way you desire (open or concealed).

    6. Probably a couple other things I'm not recalling at the moment.

    The original vision from our founders was probably about as perfect of a governmental model as one could get. They just didn't close the interpretation loop holes as tightly as we see in hindsight was actually needed.

  13. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Take a page from the ancient Greeks. If you propose a new law for any reason, you must do so with a noose around your neck. If it failed to pass, the noose was tightened. And the body was sent home. If the trip was too long for the ripening body, the noose (tightened) was sent home alone, to show the verdict. That would solve a lot of stupid regulations.
  14. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    No, I believe that is what's called "Ex-post Facto" or after the fact. It's illegal to make a law that affects something in the past that is or could still be happening. Parking laws, for instance. You cannot put a sign up next to a parked car and then write a ticket to that vehicle. It existed prior to the enacting or legal posting of the law.

    Reparations are, if provided for through the legislative process, illegal for the same reason. Unfortunately, no taxes for the spouse and/or heirs (immediate heirs) could only go into effect, legally, from the time the legislation was signed into law and not a second before. Good for the goose, good for the gander. Gotta take the bad with the good.

    Do I think it would be a good idea to go back say, 3 years or some other random number (not being a jerk, honestly saying that because who makes that call?)? Yes, I don't think our servicemen and women and their families get anywhere near enough. The problem lies in what @kellory said. If it became legal to make something retroactive from a LAW standpoint, who makes that call? How far back do you go? You will absolutely piss someone off who would, ultimately, have every right in the world to feel upset about the decision and the cutoff point. Things like this get messy, and I mean really, really messy. It goes back to pleasing all/some of the people all/some of the time. All/All doesn't work, ever.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
  15. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    I think that's a little overboard personally. Someone might not see the loopholes in their proposed legislation and then be convinced, honestly, of the error in their ways. Maybe a 3-strike rule? ;)

    I do think that laws should be for one thing and one thing only with no more than three inches ON THE PAGE (not in paper thickness) of boilerplate and an overall length not to exceed two pages, single-spaced, single-sided. It should have to be read by the one proposing the legislation. Legislators should have a limit on how many laws they can submit and again, maybe the three strikes rule applies and they get a limit on how many STUPID laws they can propose. The same law (functonally so) cannot be submitted again until the next congress or 180 days, whichever is longer. Debate may NEVER be refused but can be limited by mutual, majority consent but is never guaranteed less than...oh, I don't know, pick a reasonable amount of time to guarantee debate unless everyone unanimously votes no debate, just vote.

    Most deliberative body on the planet my left foot! Pissing and moaning and back-biting and is NOT deliberation, it's pissing and moaning and back-biting. Hell, they don't even spend that much time contemplating their navels anymore they just maneuver and muscle and make back room deals that have, ultimately, no affect on themselves.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
  16. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I do think that laws should be for one thing and one thing only with no more than three inches ON THE PAGE (not in paper thickness) of boilerplate and an overall length not to exceed two pages, single-spaced, single-sided. It should have to be read by the one proposing the legislation"
    Try writing THAT law, clearly, without the possibility of loopholes or misinterpretion, within the structure of your new law.
  17. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    Agree 100% and if anyone knows when we started down this slippery slope it would be good to share. I'll be looking into it on my own as well.

    Agreed again. This shouldn't be limited to the federal government. Too many times a gas tax or hospitality tax or some other such is levied to, ostensibly, pay for something specific. Ultimately it all goes into the general fund and is spent on the whims of those in charge. Here in my town we voted down a stadium THREE TIMES and they went ahead and built it anyway. We voted NO on the mass transit train TWICE and yet here it is, including the crap "art" along the line. (@-06 , you know what I'm talking about). Then they cry poverty and threaten the police or teachers or firemen with their jobs and budgets when the need yet another tax hike. Eventually the "project" that the tax was for is done but it is rarely, if ever removed.

    I'm not quite that jaded. If people know going in that they can only do it for 2 terms, no guaranteed retirement, no perks, no bennies (like they have now) like the OP outlined, same health-care as the rest of us working schmucks, fly business class, I don't think zeros would opt in. I think people who truly wanted to make a difference would step up and then go away when they were done.
    Yes, there would be those of both political stripes but that's only right and as it should be. One party rule for too long becomes a de-facto dictatorship.

    Bingo, HUGE mistake they made there. The electorate in the west of my state doesn't care a hill of beans about the east side of my state and those of us in the middle couldn't care less about either of them. The State government, however, does (mostly, or at least they should). The best interests of the people of the entire state need to be taken into consideration and defended in DC.

    No argument here. It's amazing though, that you can't have a civil, intelligent conversation about that with an anti-gunner. It doesn't matter, you shouldn't own a gun much less CARRY it AROUND! Are you CRAZY? OMG You're Gonna Kill ME! HALP, HALP! You cannot, simply cannot have this conversation with someone opposed to firearms or civilian ownership of same. The law, however, is already written. It's right there and needs to be upheld AS WRITTEN ORIGINALLY!

    Amen Brother! I cannot tell a lie, my allergies flare up every time I read either the Declaration or the Constitution with the original amendments. My blood starts to boil fairly quickly after 15 (except for 19...which should have been covered by 15 but I digress). Oh hell, allergies be damned, I tear up like I did the first time I read Where The Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller! :)

    It's a beautiful document and knowing the behinds it's being used to wipe...okay, can't say any more without getting a vacation.
    10brokenpromises likes this.
  18. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus


    First draft, I'm not a lawyer but I figured I'd give it a go. Including three inches of fluff text, this clocks in at 603 words and 1 1/3 pages (including a one inch header, footer and margins in each side. Just decided to add margin restrictions.

    This law is intended to keep all laws manageable by:
    1) Limiting their length,
    2) Limiting their scope, and
    3) Using plain language rather than complex legal terms.
    This law is written using the clearest language possible at the time. Language will change over time and should the meaning of the words, terms and phrases within this legislation change in such a way to allow for the intent of the law to be circumvented, it will be rewritten to maintain the original intent. This portion of the law shall not be rewritten, changed, modified, edited, adapted, altered, annotated, censored, rearranged, deleted, revised, condensed, discarded, omitted, exised, "massaged", redacted, rephrased or struck out. There is no other intent to this law outside of that outlined above. There is no "penumbra" of this law and the only intent shall be the original intent which is outlined above. This law is not a living document and is not subject to interpretation.
    Section I. All laws will contain the following boilerplate <insert 3" of text or LESS here including the date the law goes into effect after signing>.
    Section II. No law shall ever, for any reason, exceed a length of two pages when produced using single-spaced, single-sided, 12 pt Times New Roman or equivalent sized 12 pt font on 8.5" x 11" paper. No margin may be no less than .5". Larger fonts and suitable paper sizes may be used as an accommodation to those with visual impairment so long as the previous restrictions would not be violated should the font and paper size be changed back.
    Section III. Each law shall address or have as its scope, one single issue, point of fact, action, concern, matter, point, problem, question, subject, topic or affair. Under no circumstance shall any law include wording, phrases, descriptions, accounts, requests, promises, dictates, amendments or any other mechanism by any means, including but in no way limited to "porkbarrel" that would extend the proposed law into a separate issue, related or unrelated.
    Section IV. No law will be written using circuitous logic or language that extends the scope of the proposed law.
    Section V. All laws will be written using plain language, in the English language and will omit slang, patois, vernacular or colloquialisms. This includes a limit on specifically legal terms where a plain language word or phrase would serve the same purpose linguistically, even at the expense of a longer document, which shall not exceed the limits outlined in Section II.
    Section VI. In no case, for any reason or under any circumstance shall violation of the proscriptions outlined in sections I, II, III or IV be permitted.
    Section VII. Anyone submitting a law violating the proscriptions in sections I, II, III, IV or V shall be censured for a period of 90 days for the purpose of the submission of new legislation, including acting as a sponsor for any legislation during that time.
    Section VIII. Censured legislators (member of the House of Representatives or Senators, two different copies of the bill) will lose their right to debate legislation for the duration of their censure.
    Section IX. Legislators who receive three censures total over the course of their tenure shall be censured permanently, with no appeal, for the purpose of submission or sponsorship of future legislation. There is no defensible reason to be censured once much less three times. Do not propose a law over two pages in length that tries to circumvent the limits outlined in this law.
    Section X. There are no further sections, amendments, additions, extensions, inclusions, annexes, attachments or augmentations permitted to this law.
  19. 10brokenpromises

    10brokenpromises Monkey++

    Okay, maybe a little off topic but fair enough.

    This would be an example of something that needs to change and a way to change it. What else you got?
  20. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I'm not a lawyer either, but I did stay at a holiday inn express one light.
    That ain't bad for a first draft. ;)
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