Both Democrats and Republicans Are Bad For America’s Finances

To me it’s a truism, but one that few people grasp: Both major US political parties are the same. To watch excitement over the midterm elections as a chance to “throw the bums out” in favor of the other party, when the bums are Democrats and the saviors are Republicans, is to watch irrationality in full bloom.

Don’t get me wrong. I share the frustration of those who desperately want real leadership in Washington. I knew early on that President Obama’s hope and change shtick was a load of bull, and hardly original. That “change” continues working as a campaign theme shows mostly the unchanging landscape of politics. It always stinks, which is why we always want change. It would be great if things went well so the campaign slogans could become “keep it like this forever,” but instead we’re constantly desperate for change. Now that Obama’s performance in the White House has confirmed him to be like his predecessors — even down to continuing the same useless wars he once vociferously opposed — it would be nice to see people reassess their view of politics. A simple acknowledgment of the following would be encouraging:

No matter how interesting the new package, no matter how silver the talking tongue, no matter how different from the status quo the candidate appears to be, if he or she is backed by the same money bags that backed the previous politicians who made our current mess, we’ll be no better off.

Instead of placing that view front and center, we transformed in just 18 months from a nation of voters excited to end the awful Bush era with the fresh new hope of Obama, to a nation of voters excited to end the awful trends of the Obama era with the fresh new hope of the Tea Party Republicans.

Maybe stepping away from the emotion-packed labels of Democrat and Republican will help make the irrationality of this behavior more clear.

Pretend we’re remodeling our kitchen and have two carpenters at our disposal: Deemsel and Ruprit. We go with Deemsel for the first phase, and boy does he screw it up. The cabinets are crooked, the floor is sloped, and none of the outlets work.

We promptly fire Deemsel and put Ruprit on the job. A week later, the cabinets look worse, the floor now contains holes in addition to being sloped, and the outlets are visibly smoking. Ack! What to do?

If you’re the American electorate, you get excited about the chance to replace Ruprit with Deemsel — again. Deemsel gets back in there, rips the cabinets from the wall and starts filling the floor holes with toxic chemicals. You can scarcely believe your eyes, so you throw Deemsel out the front door and quickly whistle to Ruprit. He rushes back in and starts sledge hammering the outlets. Ack! Repeat.

Get it? Deemsel and Ruprit are our only choices. They both “trained” at the same school of crooked carpentry. In the case of politicians, both Democrats and Republicans get their funding from the same special interest groups that have leeched the US Treasury dry. Just as the solution to Deemsel screwing up the kitchen was not to hire Ruprit, nor is the solution to Democrats screwing up America’s finances to elect Republicans.

They’re both the same, and they both stink.

Blogger Jeff at All Financial Matters tackled this issue last weekend. He assembled an economic history of the United States for himself because he’s “tired of the rhetoric.” He identified himself as a Republican, but believes that if “Republicans are responsible for our current mess, then I think the American people have a right to know.”

In a two-page PDF, Jeff presented the economic results and S&P 500 performance for each administration from Roosevelt to the second Bush. Some highlights:

  • Both parties spend like mad.
  • Of the nine administrations (Roosevelt and Truman are counted as one), only four grew receipts at a faster pace than outlays. Those four were: Roosevelt/Truman, Eisenhower, Carter, and Clinton.
  • The most recent 31 years of data show that the worst combination is a Democratic House and a Republican president. Jeff continues: “None, however, have been good because all of them increased the federal debt every year. The only one that came close to not growing the debt was the year 2000 when we had a Republican House and Clinton as president.”

There you have it: Deemsel and Ruprit hard at work bankrupting your nation. Despite the trend going back as long as almost any of us have been eligible to vote, we still think the answer to Deemsel screwing it up is to send Ruprit back in, or vice versa. The following 1934 editorial cartoon from the Chicago Tribune shows that the troubles we face today are not new (click to enlarge):

The only real solution is to elect a third party that swears off financing from the same gang of special interests that control the purse and puppet strings of the two major parties. That won’t happen, because without that big funding no third party stands a chance of winning elections. That leaves only campaign finance reform as a possible solution, but that will never fly because the people who would plan and enact it are the ones who are in power because of the current system of campaign finance — and their backers aren’t eager to give up influence for the good of the people.

That’s why we’ll just keep screaming for change while choosing the same people to give us the same garbage that makes us scream for change again. Deemsel’s in the White House, and some people are excited to send Ruprit in his new Tea Party hat to Washington to shake things up.

Let’s see if we can get this more accurate than Bush got it: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. My fellow American voters, how many times will we get fooled before we feel a sense of shame and finally ask why we bother to choose between Deemsel and Ruprit every couple of years?

Perhaps abstaining from voting would send the clearest message that none of the usual suspects boasts a mandate.

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47 Comments

  1. sickof both parties
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I think this country ought to get rid of both parties and get 2 new ones. Just because they have both been around since the 1800’s doesn’t mean that we should keep them. Extreme liberalism and extreme conservatism are both like extreme cold and extreme heat – niether one of them is good. Democrats let people abuse welfare which is stupid and Republicans are against all taxes which is stupid too. People wonder why I never vote for either one of them. Well, this is why. Maybe we should fill up the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House with cats and dogs because at this point, I don’t think cats and dogs could mess up the country any worse than the people we have in both parties. What the Dems and Reps did a few weeks ago with the debt ceiling argument was the ultimate worst. I’m glad to know that there are other people who feel the same way about both parties as I do. Just remember, there is strength in numbers and the moderates of this country need to get together and demand a more middle of the road philosophy. The moderates are the only ones who have any sense at all.

  2. sikofdumdems
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe the psycho worship of Instant Runoff Voting by a bunch of imbeciles who are completely oblivious to the massive corruption it invites. I just witnessed a revolting nutjob get elected because she and her best friend invited 5 other friends to all run in an election against a pretty popular and more experienced candidate. The 2 women who started the collusion – and that’s what it is – are well-known businesswoman plus one is a minority, and very active in community affairs that support her particular minority group. Between the 2 of them with business and ethnic support, it was assumed they’d do ok in the election but not win. However, when they got their 5 friends in, the ballgame changed. Each of the friends had a certain amount of influence in a sector of their city. Again, none was hugely popular but enough that they’d get decent amount of votes. But the arrangement they made was simple, and they were very public about it – each of these 7 candidates asked their supporters to vote for them, of course. But then they chose one woman – the businesswoman – to be the designated recipient of each candidate’s #2 choice. While no one, or even two, candidates would ever have received enough votes to beat the popular & experienced candidated, having the ability to lump all 7 candidates’ votes into one box was enough to beat him by about 100 votes.

    This lesson in collusion didn’t go unnoticed by my Tea Party cousin. She’s prepping for the next election with a full scale plan of attack: She’s so far wrangled 19 people to run for mayor in a small city that uses rank. They are deliberately lining up people in a wide range of occupations – one is a teacher, one owns a restaurant, one’s an attorney, and so on. But the real estate agent that used to be a beauty queen is the one they’ve selected to actually win. Though they have 19 people already, the plan is to have at least 30 people run. If each can get 500- 1000 friends and family to vote for them, ranking Miss Real Estate USA as their #2 gives her 15,000 – 30,000 votes. Of course the Green Party will be aghast at this idea; after all, it’s THEIR idea and I bet it never occurred to them anyone else would’ve been smart enough to steal it. The Green Party has been shoving this easily manipulated, unconstitutional form of extortion down the throats of the US since Steven Hill bought voting machine stock a decade ago. Your a bunch of idiots for supporting it. I’m livid that majority rule has been so easily stolen from the United States and its citizens, all becuase a bunch of idiots disguised as liberals thought it’d be really cool – idiots.

  3. Posted September 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Jason, I know how you feel, and believe me, I get frustrated with politics also. This notion that “ALL politicians are crooks, and that is the one, big problem we have to solve” is popular but does not hold water for a couple of reasons. First, when constructing a logical argument, one must be very careful when using the words “all” or “none”. I do grant you that many or even most politicians are probably deceitful, dishonorable, etc, but I would not level those accusations at any specific politician until I had proof. Let’s say, for arguments sake you were elected to congress. How would you feel if everywhere you went, people accused you of being a crooked politician even though you know that you were serving your country with the utmost respect and honor? I’d bet you would be even more frustrated than you are now!

    The second reason that this theory has some weakness is found in the very nature of crooks. A crook will double cross you, but he will also double cross other crooks. I think you are failing to consider that all of those “big money, greedy corporations” that fund the campaigns, are often completely swindled by the politicians they sponsored. A shrewd politician may not fear losing funding as much as we might assume. In some cases, any funding put in jeapordy from a double cross has already been replaced by new sponsors in support of the new position. Sometimes the previously betrayed special interest is forced to once again support that crook just to prevent the nightmare of his opponent from the other party getting in there. In summary, buying a politician is not easy, straightforward, and never permanent.

    I apologize for not offering any solutions, but this post is getting longer than I wanted so I will leave it at that.

    • Posted September 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Eric.

      It would actually be easier to solve the problem if politicians were all crooks. Notice that the discussion here didn’t make that case. We just noted the history of Ds and Rs walking the nation down the same road to financial ruin. We can grant that individuals show up to their political posts with the best of intentions, but they get waylaid by a system that has transferred leadership pressure from the voters to the funders. That’s why campaigns focus on the voters, but politicians focus on the funders. Hence Obama’s campaign promise to change the way Washington works, then his expansion of the lobbying corps once in office. Even Obama must take care of his backers.

      Also, please note that the article did not single out “big money, greedy corporations.” Those were your words. I used “special interests” because that includes such corporations but also includes unions and other groups responsible for sucking the Treasury dry.

      From Financially Stupid People Are Everywhere:

      “In these pages, you and I are not concerned with whether Republicans or Democrats are better, or with our own opinions on issues like health care, oil, and military spending. We’re not really even looking at whether politicians are good or bad people. We can grant that presidents try to improve life for Americans. Let’s say they set out with the best of intentions and work as hard as they can in the best ways they know how. Fine, but nothing changes. Before new presidents know which number to dial for the White House kitchen, their glorious campaign vision is hog-tied by special interest groups who know their way around Washington better than any politician. Want to know a great place to eat or get free tickets to a concert in Washington? Ask a lobbyist, not a leader.

      “The salient point for us is that the political system was built for and is run by people whose interests are not necessarily aligned with ours.”

      Finally, don’t feel bad for not offering solutions. There aren’t any this side of a reset, violent or otherwise. The solution is campaign finance reform combined with instant runoff voting (see above for more on each), but neither will ever get enacted from within the current system because the people who would enact them are controlled by interests that don’t want them. Why? Because campaign finance reform and instant runoff voting would loosen the grip of special interests.

  4. Charlie
    Posted September 1, 2010 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    If you wait for the election to make your impact, then it is too late. I attended the caucus in the 4th most populus county in Colorado, this spring. There were <100 people in attendance. If you want to make an impact, get involved early and vocally. A group of 10 motivated people in a county caucus will have an impact. A similar group in each county will alter the political spectrum for an entire state. That, in turn, will impact the nation. We get the government we deserve, and if you sit on your butt until election day, then our fate is already sealed. You want to see things change? I'll see you at the next county party meeting.

    • Posted September 1, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Charlie. You’re right that getting involved early in the process increases the odds of getting the candidate you want on the ballot. However, how does it get around the special-interest chokehold on the elected politician?

      You write that we “get the government we deserve,” but those who supported Obama because they believed he would turn out differently than his predecessors didn’t get who they thought they elected. Even if a person had helped steward Obama from his early days in that infamous community he organized to the Senate to the White House, they still ended up with a president who campaigned on limiting the influence of lobbyists and then expanded the lobby corps once in office.

      I think real change isn’t possible until we (A) reform campaign financing to limit the influence of special interests either through federal financing or another method and, (B) implement instant runoff voting so we give third parties a genuine chance at winning because voters know they’re not throwing away their vote by supporting the third party.

      See comments above for more on those two ideas.

      • Charlie
        Posted September 6, 2010 at 4:15 am | Permalink

        Special interest groups are the symptom, not the disease. The disease is a federal gov’t that has the power (extra-constitutional) to pick winners and losers. It manipulates the system through un-equal tax laws, subsidies, grants and “entitlements,” so the only way to win is to get the gov’t on your side through lobbying and donations. Unfortunately, I don’t see any way to go back to a constitutional gov’t without bloodshed.

  5. Doug DeVries
    Posted August 29, 2010 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Lots of interesting comments so far. I might as well throw in my two cents worth.
    I didn’t vote in 2008. I live in Michigan. McCain had no chance of winning here and I live in a republican district. Local republicans always get elected in my district. Besides, I’m not a republican or a democrat. I’m not sure I will vote this year either. I know, shame on me…blah..blah…blah.

    I’ve come to realize that the whole thing is broken. In fact it’s so broken that it’s not repairable. From the lowest level of government to the highest, the corruption, stupidity and out right incompetence is staggering. Society as a whole is completely bankrupt of morals and most everyone has one basic goal. It’s bringing pleasure to me, myself and I. Yes, the American empire or the great experiment in democracy is doomed.

    Before the ink was dry on our constitution there was someone in that body of patriots who was trying to figure out a way to use the system to his benefit. Politicians have become so good at it over the last 200 plus years that now we have what we have. They love it so much that now they brag about being a full time life long politician. And we are such stupid sheeple that… just think about it…we actually choose these same people, election after election, to bend us over and continually rape us in the a**. And to add insult to injury we even let them decide how much they get paid for doing it. Is that insane or what?

    So what happens from here? Nothing very good. What happened the last time citizens tried to throw off the yoke of the Federal Government? Civil War. You can be naive and think that Beck and his merry band of tea men/women when elected will save the country or you can begin to prepare for the inevitable. It could take a year, five years or even ten.

    Our cities are a tinder box. When the match lights it watch out. Special interests have divided us into groups of people. One color of people against another and the rich against the poor. It’s all about power and money. They will tell us it’s because they care about injustice (liar, liar, pants on fire) but their bank accounts tell the real story.

    So, my advice…don’t believe anything you hear coming from Washington D.C…move out of the large urban areas if you can…stock up some food and water for a just in case scenario…buy a gun and some ammo (just for protection of your family, and learn how to use it) and begin paying off as much of your debts that you can.

    Or, just do nothing except vote in November trusting the next bunch of drunken sailors sent to Washington will miraculously fix it all.

    Enjoy the rest of the summer and thanks for the opportunity to share.

    • Posted August 30, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      A nicely worded vent, Doug. The following two videos provide more depth to your prediction that “nothing very good” happens from here.

  6. geoffrey
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    This is a great subject…lots of good replies. I don’t vote, never have, and never will. Voting does nothing except give the plebeians a false illusion that they have freedom of choice. The game is rigged and this country was bought and sold a long time ago, ten times over. Look at all the animosity we’ve seen in the last 6-12 months over lifetime and/or “status-quo” politicians. While there has been some successful backlash, who has been re-elected (or will be come Novemer)–the lifetime or status-quo politicians. They use their power, money, lobbying, and corporate cronies to buy them their spot for another 2-6 years. We couldn’t even get rid of Juan McAmnesty out of Arizona for crying out loud. Arizona handily brought him back for another term (not saying Hayworth was an ideal opponent, but still better than McAmnesty). There is no hope anymore. Why bother voting with such predictable outcomes?

    But the prince of modern comedic philosophy, George Carlin, has some interesting thoughts on this very subject:

    From 2007:
    The real owners of this country

    From 1992:
    Why you shouldn’t vote

    “If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. And term limits ain’t going to do you any good–you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans.”

    • Scott L.
      Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      With all due respect, this is a pathetic ideology by any standards unless you can prove outright voter fraud and fixing the ballots so your vote doesn’t count anyway (but at that point you should be in a violent revolution as in 1776). Not voting only enables the one fool who does vote to elect the idiot, who then becomes your elected idiot. Sound familiar?

      • geoffrey
        Posted August 28, 2010 at 12:25 am | Permalink

        Pathetic ideology? How’s this for ideology. Many of us live in states or districts where the political arena has long been decided for us. I live in Seattle, Washington–liberal cesspool of the universe. At a state and city level, the moderates and conservatives really shouldn’t even waste their time to go to the ballot box because anyone with a “D” next to their name wins damn near every time. Same goes for places like Utah where politicians with an “R” next to their name are perennially elected.

        Voting hasn’t had any major influence in American society since pre-WW2. It doesn’t really matter who is elected anymore–all politicians need money to win and money comes from their corporate masters who fund the campaign to ultimately dictate policy. This isn’t going to change in my lifetime (and I’m still relatively young).

        Case in point, let’s assume the R’s take control of Congress and/or the Senate in November. Do you honestly think that in 2-4 years the national deficit will be better (it will be worse), that immigration problems will get better (they’ll be worse), that government healthcare is going to disappear, that the corporate oligarchy running this country is going to change? Get real.

        As for revolution or citizens’ revolt, it should have happened a long, long time ago. It should have happened when the Federal Reserve was created. It should have happened during the Great Depression. It should have happened in the 1960s “Great Society”. It should have happened in the Reagan years. It should have happened during the Iraq war. But it didn’t. And it won’t. Americans are too complacent and too worried about their next 30-second thrill-ride, be it food, Facebook, iPhone, or television to have any hope for a fighting spirit left in them–just as the masters have programmed them to react for the last 70 years.

        So you go vote in November and give yourself that false sense of accomplishment and entitlement. I’ll sit at home and do what I always do–cook dinner, exercise, read a book, and on Tuesday morning I’ll read SeattleTimes.com to see that the liberal D’s are back for another 2-6 years. Garbage-in, garbage-out.

    • Roger
      Posted August 29, 2010 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Never say never Geoffrey.

      What I have been seeing is that Politicians seems to be exempt from fulfilling their campaign promises. Its like good sales person, they sell you the world and even their soul to get your vote if they have to because after that….those promises are just an empty talk.

      What if we have a new campaign rules that would based on fulfilled promised and backed by the punishment ? Would politicians keep campaigning ? Would they bother looking for your votes ?

      Just an Idea

  7. Posted August 27, 2010 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Thank you, everybody, for the many thought-provoking comments. I’m happy to see this forum filled with smart people.

  8. Posted August 27, 2010 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    I disagree that the parties are the same, but I will agree that politicians are the same. If any profession should be outlawed, it should be that of the professional politician. Limit to 1 term per position served, max of 3 positions per lifetime could be enough disincentive to keep the power hungry from ever gaining a foot hold.

    • Gregory Iwan
      Posted August 27, 2010 at 4:58 am | Permalink

      Don’t you think it is EGO that drives the push to get re-elected, regardless? After all, with the perks and attention, it may be difficult to avoid cathing the “star” syndrome, accorded to pro athletes and movie starts (and not a few CEOs). I doubt that term limits would change that. If I succumb to this environment and know that I’m on the bricks at the end of my term, I have nothing to lose. So I can rape, ruin, and run! Anything goes? Ethics investigation? Nope. I’m already long gone. I tend to think backwards from the obvious sometimes. Example: I wonder if people wouldn’t drive more responsibly if states had laws PROHIBITING liability insurance on autos and trucks. If I knew any mishap would nick my wallet, perhaps I would be SUPER careful. So, with politics, perhaps havin no term limits, but a new background investigation every two years (all made public) could help. I still like keeping a chief executive for a maximum of eight years, however. And dropping lifetime appointment terms for Supreme Court Justices — make THESE subject to a ten-year tenure. My model? Tenure as a college professor, something with which I have some experience. Getting it is almost always a grind, but not always. And keeping it requires going to one boat load of useless, boring meetings and publishing juried articles at least twice per year (in some places more). Keep the ongoing standards high, and reduce the size of the moat keeping good people out of the game. Then we might have a slightly better and more responsive system. As for the media, I think Helen Thomas was among the best as a check on the foils and foibles. Too bad someone decided to extract payment for her past assiduous ways.

  9. Gregory Iwan
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    No, Scott. Not Hitler, but his propaganda minister Dr. Josef Goebbels. He spoke more than once about if you tell a big enough lie often enough and loudly enough, people would believe it. He committed suiced the same day as Hitler, in the Chancellory bunker (Berlin).

  10. Gregory Iwan
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    Scott L., you have a point there regarding paternalistic government. I still interact with a few state legislators and my city council, and I believe their flaws are largely in the lack of solutions to problems WE impose, create, or imagine. We want instant forever, our own way, and right now, please. Perhaps a good deal of this comes about thanks to the end of the era of guaranteed outcomes (founded during the New Deal, which was necessary in concept even if not completely in execution). There’s some paternalism for you. But always ask, what is the alternative?

    As for owning land, that’s fine, but we are increasingly a society that has separated itself from the land. I once worked to acquire operating rights and properties for mining companies. If you think they screw the widow who owns 160 acres, you should see what they do to one another! Joint venture, my finger! Smoke that joint (but do not inhale)! We are now a nation which believes what they obtain comes from the shelf of a supermarket. There is no dirt in a cell phone, unless one drops it in the dust. We are increasingly oblivious, and that ain’t Irish, either. THERE lies the greates danger. the electorate that doesn’t pay attention, pays.

    Actually, speaking of property ownership: recall W’s “ownership society.” Well, we see now where that got us; right? That would have worked, if wages had gone anywhere since 1994. And they haven’t in real (post-inflation) terms, except for the “top” 1%. So capacity is vacant, yet policy is confused. And to be elected means being pressured, to say the acceptable thing, to cultivate the fruitful money sources, to advocate for the hot “issues.” When I was active lobbying Congress (I got the only exception ever granted for mining in a USFS Wilderness Area, in Idaho), there were 67 REGISTERED lobbyists for each of the 535 Congresspersons. That doesn’t count Puerto Rico, D.C., and American Samoa. There were “observers” from those spots, as you may know.

    No one wants to listen to anyone else any longer. Each of us has his own agenda, and his mind is made up. Flexible? Forget it! That fosters irrationality, because no one — not even I — is right every time. Nor perfect. There’s no longer horse-trading, even (in halls of Congress, for example). Maybe that’s because we no longer use horses to get to the swearing in. Now all we have is swearing AT. We want our cake, eat it, and to blazes with yours. That’s not a republic, or a democracy; that’s the tyranny of the majority — the majority of one. Ben Franklin warned us. Already we were deaf (1776).

  11. Scott L.
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    By the way, if you were curious, “the size of the lie” quote in my post above, is by none other than one of the greatest and successful liars, Adolph Hitler.

  12. Scott L.
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    Abstaining from voting is not the answer. If either a Republican or a Democrat get one vote that person will be sworn in. Voting for the electable “lesser of evils” is not the answer (vs. the person you really would vote for but you think isn’t electable). The truth is, regardless of potential outcome, must be to vote for the person you believe will best uphold their oath to uphold the Constitution; otherwise this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy to elect, in theory, the lesser of evils. Along with this is to know that the major Parties do not offer a true choice as both are beholden to greater interests than the voters and voters tend to see their elected officials as not the problem (look at their financial filings for clues). Clearly, someone’s elected official is the problem. The point, it’s always the other guy’s representative, so the same old incumbents just keep getting elected. I can’t even begin to address the nefarious role the media has played into all this, but they are also a part of the problem and controlled by the same powers (at the highest levels of their leadership) that control the elected officials.

    Sadly, the fundamental changes that were made to our system (via Constitutional Amendments, mostly in the 20th century) forever changed the likely outcomes of our elections. For example, the 17th Amendment allowed for popular election of Senators, effectively removing a more effective, republican (vs. the popular or democratic vote, which amounts to majority rule which is dangerous – another discussion) form of accountability for the Senate. Ultimately, the fact that anyone and everyone over 18 can vote is a dangerous concept. Radical statement but think about it. As Ben Franklin said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” The fact is, that is where we are now. 50%+1 (or a plurality in some cases) have finally figured this out. Why? How? Because these people are either messed up ideologically or have no long term vested interest in the success of our country. How does one truly have a long term vested interest, when you become a land owner, which is the way it was originally established. You might say, well that is elitist, but if it were the law, it would result in finding ways (hard work and sacrifice) for more and more people to own property, and thus have a very different attitude toward our laws.

    What has resulted is what Thomas Jefferson warned of, “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” Unrestrained government (which is what we are seeing at an exponential rate now) at all levels (Fed, State, and local – with a few rare exceptions in the latter two) is evil and grows like untreated cancer, always growing, never retreating. The current Administration is putting the final choke hold on our system under the pretense of taking care of us. Make no mistake – bureaucracy, taxes (regardless of label), excessive interference in our lives, unrestrained illegal immigration, and on and on, WILL result in the fall of the Republic, likely before the end of a second Obama term, if one is even necessary. (Obama, like Bush before him, is a pawn of the Bilderbergers and carrying out their agenda, under the guise of a liberal, national socialist fiscal and social agenda. (Bush carried it out under the guise of a big govt (i.e-military industrial complex), selective socially conservative agenda (which are throwaways for the Bilderbergers).)

    All this begs the question, how could a majority of Americans who undoubtedly love our country and who possess tremendous pride in our system, allow this to happen? The facts, revealed only after careful research, are that we have been lied to (increasingly over time) by our elected officials who either flat out do not represent us first, but represent larger interests controlled by international bankers, pharmaceutical companies, etc., or believe in earnest they are doing good, but have unwittingly bought into the plans of the global elitists. “The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of a nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies, but would be ashamed to tell big lies.” I encourage each of you to purchase and view a couple DVDs called, “The Secret of Oz: Solutions for a Broken Economy”, the story of The Federal Reserve and what to do about it, and “Invisible Empire: A New World Order Defined” available for free viewing vie YouTube. These are eye-openers.

    The bottom line is America is in big trouble and it is irreversible without SERIOUS change in voter attitude, which I do not foresee (but could occur in the event of a major catastrophe – terrorism (false flag?), natural earth event). I do not believe November, even with the best of outcomes, will effect sufficient change because the numbers simply won’t add up to overriding Obama’s vetoes for the necessary changes to restore our system to one of integrity and no man being above the law (because our highest levels of govt clearly believe they are above the law). The best solution is to get right with God and put your faith in Him instead of man. Praying that God will bless America and that America will bless God.

    • Daniel
      Posted August 27, 2010 at 3:17 am | Permalink

      Scott, I really enjoyed reading your post. I agreed with most of it; however, I do take exception to the fact that you place most of the blame on politicians. True, we’ve been lied to by them and this is a huge issue. But, as GW tried to not-so-eloquently say:

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

      Well, what about when I’ve been fooled more than twice? The reality is we’ve been fooled a thousand times over by the pigs in the White House and on Capitol Hill, and should not have continued to support either political party once corruption set in. In this vein, neither the Republican nor Democratic parties should be in existence. We’ve stupidly given them too many chances; we are the responsible party to this upheaval, and we are now paying the price.

      • Scott L.
        Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Agreed! Ultimately, we are to blame. After all, it is WE, THE PEOPLE who are supposedly empowered by the Declaration and Constitution. It is not only our right, but our obligation to overthrow the government when it becomes corrupt. Alas, like Colossus the super computer, it is now too large and powerful and protective of itself even against its own citizenry (instead on behalf of its people and their unalienable rights rather than all these new found “rights”). “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government ….” Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence What I want to know is, now that I am in the minority, will my rights be as protected as all previous minorities have been (this is not meant to be racial, but political relating to majority vs minority as it relates t a republic (what we once were) vs a national socialistic democracy (what we’ve become, although I think the democracy part is window dressing for the masses who think its good).

        And while I’m on my rant and have mentioned minorities, I am SO TIRED of the self-proclaimed leaders of various minority groups (racial, religious, and otherwise) taking advantage of and lying to their own constituency! Sickening, since most don’t even realize it or seem to accept it (powerlessness). They don’t hold a candle to Martin Luther King (as but one example).

        My apologies for being lengthy, but I am “MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!” My country that I have loved so dearly is disappearing before my eyes. Remember, the USSR disappeared with shocking speed (although the reality or effect of this, too, is another issue).

  13. JK Kelley
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t say they are the same; rather, they lead to the same result. One is openly the party of avarice, and makes no apologies for that, claiming it to be a great thing. The other is the party of influence peddling, openly lying about itself and pretending to be what it is not.

    One is Osama bin Laden, the other is Bernie Madoff. One says exactly what it intends and does it with brutal savagery, and is unrepentant. The other goes for years stringing people along, screwing them, covering lie with bigger lie. Which to hate more? I myself can’t decide, though I’ll start by hating the one that hates gay people and pagans the most, since I’m one out of two.

    Until each state’s EV are proportional to popular vote, until it becomes a felony to mention a political party’s name on a ballot, until we develop a unified and sane primary system, until we multiply the House and Senate by ten, and until we learn to vote for those who tell us truths we hate to hear rather than those who tell us lies we like to hear, nothing will change. But that’s okay, because it isn’t really my country. It has been made clear to me that this is a Christian nation in the eyes of most Americans, which frees me as a non-Christian of all obligation but to obey laws and pay taxes. You all settle this among yourselves, those of you who remain emotionally invested in Murrica. I’m emotionally gone.

  14. Ron Pena
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    It is very unfurtunate that the media has such an influence on the elections. I have given a protest vote for at least two elections hoping to send a message. As the morals and principles rapidly decline, I see very little hope…
    Ron.

  15. Gregory Iwan
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    I have from time to time thought it would be useful to abstain. That hardly sounds like “representative democracy.” And I fear this would open the door to a true “minority” type. Adolf Hitler was, after all, ELECTED. The swing votes in the Reichstag came from a party named the CENTER party. We need to be careful what we wish for, I think. The influence and power problems probably arise from the Aesop dog (the one with the bone). An African proverb states that the dog with the bone is always in danger. The dog knows it, and is paranoid enough to believe it even if it is not true. Like it or not, it is PRACTICES that have shaped our economic, social, and political landscapes, not planks on a platform. “Those who love the law and sausage should watch neither being made.” — Mark Twain
    Winston Churchill told us that democracy was a lousy form of government. But it beat the whiskers off every other kind. Rather Ben Franklinesque, wouldn’t one say?

    We are knee-deep in a period of great angst owing largely to an economic tide that began going out in the late 1960s. There is so little balance, I think because everybody’s ledger sheet wants to recognize only assets, not liabilities. Responsibility is seldom taught and even less often practiced. And every time since the Civil War — every one — that wealth has been anomalously concentrated in a small percentage of the American populace, hard times have followed. I don’t have to mention the 1930s, but look also at the early 1870s, not to mention the recent decade. What we had a generation ago was “me, too.” Then it was “me first” (observe at the nearby stop sign). Now it appears we have “me only.” The economic pie has shrunk, in part owing to the rise of certain “developing” nations, and everyone senses it. Those with a lot fight to hang on; those with little scramble to get a little, enough, some. Those remaining in the hollowed out “middle” class claw at “more.” When there is no more to be had, who suffers most, the one with a lot to lose, he who has nothing, or he who has great ambition and hunger but few means? In our system we are supposedly equally able, at least in theory, to fail and to “succeed.” Too bad that success has been accepted to mean what one HAS, not what one IS. We’re pretty good at accounting (balance sheet), but terrible at planning (cash flow). And our income statement is riddled with holes, largely because we want, want, want. The television set conditions us to want, want, want. Those who can still think for themselves and can keep their heads out of the cell phone (does that mean these few still READ? Amazing!), resist this cacophony and drive their own wagon. My fear is that while I slop the hogs down on the north forty, the ciy is burning.

    Many apparently worthwhile people have chosen not to run for higher office. Many little people unfortunately run for and achieve local office. My town has a narcissistic, sociopathic little martinet of a mayor who crushes dissent and practices bitter tirade and innuendo to a tee. I think of Mark Hatfield of Oregon, who might have made a very good President. Maybe even Birch Bayh (too “liberal” for newly enlisted GOPers, I suppose), or even Liddy Dole. Some won’t run because they must sell their souls. The money in politics has always been excessive and smelly. Perhaps we erred when we threw out the British system; with that “vote of no confidence” I dare say we could have had more governments since WWII than Japan, or even Italy. We would also still have some folks dissatisfied, wanting some evil or other genius who would make the calls and get on with matters. There is our next Hitler. Be careful what you wish for.

  16. John
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    They are the same until it comes to voting. The seem to vote lately along party lines. That is why in my view it is better to have more balance in Congress. I think that slows them down and maybe we get a debate and not just passing bills that are not even read with comments like ” we will just have to pass it to see what’s in it”.

    Oh well they don’t call them poli TICS for nothing. The blood sucking rascals exempt themselves from most of the laws they pass especially when it comes to pay and benefits for them and their staffs. Term limits would help I think.

  17. Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    FYI – I updated the PDFs to include job creation/losses and updated Obama’s numbers, which are a lot worse than they were based on the 2009 budget.

  18. Brad Tower
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Jason, you recognize the difference between the parties in your first inset. The fact is that each party is backed by a different set of money bags. Democrats have accepted as their master the public employees unions (primarily), while Republicans draw more of their money from business. Neither party has the willpower to resist spending money on their preferred projects, which is why we as citizens must limit the amount of money they can take from us. To expect that government will begin to manage our money better, thereby creating a surplus that will be returned to the taxpayer is as flawed as expecting that a family can amass savings without making savings a priority.

  19. Ralph Allswede
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Jason,

    I agree, they are all part of the “Ruling Class.” I think it comes down to us individuals. We are the only ones who can change things and we do it by how we live. Your book “There are Financially Stupid People Everywhere, Don’t Be One Of Them” sets the stage for how we can take control of our government again and it starts with taking control of ourselves. The latest scare is the “egg” problem with salmonella. We have so many government agencies “Protecting” us from ourselves we don’t feel any responsibility anymore. What ever happened to common sense! How about cooking the damned eggs until they are done? Also, there is talk of “Death Panels” with the new Obama healthcare plan. If they aren’t established yet, they will be. How about people taking responsibility for these issues. Government does not belong here! My family has had in depth talks on this issue and we will not linger.

    There are many many examples where we individuals have abdicated our responsibilities to the government and it is high time we take them back.

    People, be responsible for your self and all things you create!

    Ask more of yourself and less of your government!

  20. Daniel
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    As for abstaining from voting…it was tempting in 2008. Could we have ended up with candidates any worse than those two?!? (Well, there was 2004…..) Talk about confusion and poor choices: on the one hand, a candidate far to the left of the political spectrum, with a running mate only moderately closer to the center. And on the other hand, a major wild-card (that’s my polite, Internet-friendly term) with a running mate far to the right on the political spectrum.

    I know it’s been said many times in many places, but to reiterate: doesn’t either political party recognize that most Americans are not truly very partisan? That the majority of us want what’s best for the country, with no radical solutions to the problems we’re facing? It seems that with each passing election, candidates move further and further away from the center, creating not only a more partisan electoral environment, but also convincing more and more Americans to….abstain from voting. This is a more direct attack on democracy and the American system than terrorismwill ever be.

  21. Jerry Whitsitt
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Based on the current landscape, which is all we have at the moment, we must choose the lesser of two evils. For me, I’d rather not choose the socialistic, distribute the wealth policies of the Democrats, which ultimately lead to the higher taxes we will all see very soon.

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      The problem, however, is that the need for higher taxes did not arise just in the last 18 months — and I think we all know that. Our collapsing fiscal house began slumping under the attacks of both Deemsel and Ruprit decades ago. Obama is not helping, true, but the situation would be no better under a McCain administration.

      Until somebody in Washington understands that money is a scarce resource, we’ll continue to the unfortunate end of our current path.

  22. Posted August 26, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Federally Funded Elections.
    If we, the U.S. voters, and the politicians are serious about what is truly best for our America, then candidates should run on the Federally Funded Elections platform. Once elected and the historic FFE law is passed, politicians will no longer be legally bribed, nor will they have to waste time prostituting themselves for those campaign contributions. Rather, they’ll be set free to seek truth and do what is best for our country. That’s if anyone’s serious.
    With my one vote, I can only hope.

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      I’d love to see this take hold, but I doubt that it ever will. We can’t forget that the reason special interests spend so much to buy politicians is that it gives them power. They don’t want to lose that, so they’re going to use it to fend off anything that would make their financial power irrelevant.

      Nonetheless, it’s a good idea, Paul. More info at:

      http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/pubfund.shtml

  23. Posted August 26, 2010 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the mention, Jason. Excellent post.

    I think we should outlaw special interest groups…all of them (corporations, AARP, unions, lawyers…ALL OF THEM). They aren’t needed. Control should be given back to the states. Those who don’t like what their states legislate can move to another state.

    Taxes should be less and services should be limited. We don’t need the government involved in the bulk of our lives.

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear! You’re most welcome for the mention, Jeff. Thank you for work you did on the subject, and for making it public.

  24. Posted August 26, 2010 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    Abstaining from voting?! That’s literally exactly what they want people to do. And that is what they do. In the wide majority of elections, the wide majority of registered voters simply do not bother to show up at the polls. Thus, most Democrats and Republicans are elected with the support of only 10-25% of registered voters, and the numbers are even lower in terms of eligible voters.

    The reasons people don’t vote are simple to discern. They recognize that it does not matter whether Democrats or Republicans are in charge, as you demonstrate yourself.

    The solution is to vote for alternatives to the Republicans and Democrats. Today, freedom and independence begins with freedom and independence from the misrule of Democrat-Republican party government. The only wasted vote is a vote for a Republican or Democrat. Support third party and independent alternatives to the reproduction of the two-party state and duopoly system of government.

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      In 2008, around 63% of voters turned out. I agree that the only wasted vote is for the establishment, but ask anybody who’s voted for the third party in any election in their lives what that felt like. It’s usually just the equivalent of voting against the establishment candidate closest in view to the third-party candidate because they steal each other’s votes.

      For instance, Ross Perot saw to the defeat of the first Bush in 1992 when they shared the conservative voter base and enabled Clinton to become president with just a plurality of the vote. Here was the breakdown:

      43% Clinton
      37% Bush
      19% Perot

      Obviously, had Perot not gummed up the works for Bush, he would have been reelected despite having lied about not raising taxes (“Read my lips…”).

      Unfortunately, that’s what happens in most third-party situations. A vote for Perot was actually a vote against Bush, and thus a vote for Clinton — precisely the worst candidate to win in the view of a person inclined to vote for Perot. That’s why voting for the third candidate is seen as throwing away a vote. In fact, it’s worse than that because it’s voting for the least appealing candidate (from the third-party supporter’s perspective).

      Thus, many voters logically see their choices as being only this establishment goon or that one, and don’t see the point of showing up. George Carlin felt that way, for example.

      I hear you: voting for a third party that isn’t funded by the same groups that fund the establishment is the answer. I just don’t see it working, and thus don’t expect change, and thus look out for my own best interests as well as possible. I think that’s about all anybody can do, which is why I explained how to do so in my new book, Financially Stupid People Are Everywhere: Don’t Be One of Them.

      • Zack
        Posted August 26, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        Jason, I have to disagree with you here on principle. I certainly understand your reasoning that voting for the 3rd party (Perot) is like throwing your vote away or voting for the least appealing candidate. When you choose to exercise your Privilege (not Right) to vote then you should to give your support to the candidate whom you believe will be the best Leader, and not simply to the candidate who you think will win.
        I was not old enough to vote when Perot ran for President, however if I had been old enough to vote I would vote for Perot even knowing the outcome. My father (very conservative) voted for Perot and he regrets it, but I tell him that he made the right choice. Bush and Clinton were not that different. What did he really lose? If he had not voted then he would have wasted his Privilege; and if he had voted for Bush then he would have gotten more of the same anyhow.
        The key is not only to vote for third party but to do everything in your power to get everyone else to vote for the third party. More people listen to you than do me, so if I can convince you to vote and, even better, get you to convince others to vote 3rd party then we may see the ‘change’ we all want. We may not see the change, but years from now when future generations read the history books and ask me: “What did you do to try changing the outcome?”, I want to say that I voted for the third party and I tried to convince everyone I spoke to to vote for the third party… even if they have to ask me if there really was a third party or if I was just making that up.

        • Posted August 26, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          Good for you, Zack! The privilege of voting is a good principle to stand upon. Rather than go back and forth on this, how about a solution to the “Perot problem,” that is, the third-party candidate problem? It’s called instant runoff voting (IRV). It enables you and your father to vote for the third-party candidate without fear of wasting your vote, because you actually rank all the candidates in your order of preference. If your first choice doesn’t get a majority, maybe your second choice would.

          Here’s a video on it:

  25. Daniel
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    We need presidential candidates who run solely on their own funds, without taking a single dime from friends, relatives, constituents, corporations, or any other influential entity. My dream for some time been to launch a presidential campaign financed entirely through wealth I create in some entrepreneurial endeavor. I would like to be in a place where I can commit to spending up to US$1B of my own money on my U.S. presidential race. My political views are libertarian, so perhaps this would not fly with the general American public – who, as much as they claim to hate the establishment, also seem reluctant to vote for anyone outside of the establishment.

    Of more pressing and immediate concern, however, has been the lack of success in my entrepreneurial ventures of late. The restrictive government policies and abhorently burdensome taxes I’m experiencing aren’t helping.

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Self funding would, indeed, be best. Some object to it on the grounds that only rich people would be able to win elections. However, the ability to create capital is a nice test of how well a person would be able to manage public affairs. If a person has been entirely unable to create a financial base, then they probably don’t understand well enough the way society works and should not end up in charge of much of it.

      On the other hand, if a person can raise enough capital through small contribution amounts, say $5,000 as a legal limit, that could qualify as understanding the workings of society well enough to manage part of it. Too, that would be more tempting to people of modest means with a genuine desire to contribute new ideas. If a person had a spare $100,000 lying around, for instance, they’ve done a good job providing for their family and that’s probably enough to run a decent local campaign. However, few would want to risk their entire nest egg on that ambition. The ability to raise other people’s money in a way that doesn’t influence leadership would expand the pool of interested candidates.

      Did you really write “spending up to US $1B of my own money” to run your own presidential race? Now, there would be a person unworried about the financial consequences of running for office. If that level is what’s needed to be self funded, however, the concept will be meaningless as the candidate pool would be too small to introduce new ideas.

      • Daniel
        Posted August 26, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the $1B figure is what I meant. Unfortunately, factoring the candidate’s own funds, contributions from constituents/interests, and party efforts, the average per-candidate expenditure (from the Republican and Democrat parties) on a presidential campaign rests around $1B. In fact, if and when I get to the point where I can make a reasonable run myself, the real costs will likely be much higher. And I will need to contribute all funds myself, because I wont’ be taking donations from constituents and I won’t have the backing of a political party.

        Of course, this is all unless we end up with some form of campaign finance reform. But again, look at who would be doing the reforming. I think our founding fathers would shudder to see the political mess in Washington if they were alive in the present day.

        • Daniel
          Posted August 26, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          * won’t

      • Marcel Valcarce
        Posted August 28, 2010 at 12:39 am | Permalink

        While it’s true that someone starting from scratch and creating enough capital on their own to run for office would be a good litmus test as it were. But what worries me are the rich kids who would be spending not their own hard earned money, but rather family wealth which they had no part in creating. Are they going to be good leaders? Maybe, but likely as not they would be terrible.

        Public financing is the only way to guarantee a government of the people by the people for the people. With all people being represented.

  26. Doug Kettler
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Jason,

    You are spot on about both the Republicans and the Democrats being the same poison to our government.

    However, abstaining from voting is the worst thing that one can do. You forego the only amount of power that you have and leave the decisions in the hands of others who applaud the fact that their vote has just increased in “market share.”

    The solution, in my view, is to fix the political landscape from the local level on up. One’s vote holds far more power in a local election that it does in a national one. If a community can be convinced that responsible fiscal policies are a requirement to hold office in their district, the nation benefits a tiny bit as a whole.

    Unfortunately, your piece in the subscriber letter regarding the state of the runaway U.S. debt has caused me a certain amount of hopelessness with regard to the entire matter. Hit the reset button first, then we can talk about how to vote responsibly.

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Starting locally is a good suggestion, but doesn’t have a track record much better than the national level. California and several other states are bankrupt due to the same corrosions that eat away at Washington’s fiscal health. If that’s not local enough, Orange County went through the same thing 15 years ago — due to an investment in derivatives, no less. Scant wisdom trickled up from that ignominious failure.

      As for the debt, yes, I’m afraid that issue is already beyond the horizon line with sad implications for US economic growth. The middle class will disappear almost entirely as interest on the debt becomes a permanent impediment to growth, and very few of the new underclass will understand why life became so hard.

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