Re: OT Politics One lump? Or seven??
- From: Pat <pfinley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2010 13:37:15 -0700 (PDT)
On Aug 27, 12:21 pm, clem <labin...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Aug 27, 1:36 pm, mark <markstenr...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Aug 27, 9:41 am, Pat <pfin...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I would love
to see the Constitution amended so that no state can have more
Senators than it has members of Congress. There's no logical reason
why the great frozen North or the Dakotas or any state with a
population of less than 600,000 should have as much influence in the
Senate as, say, California or New York. This country would one hell of
lot saner and better run if the Senate were better constituted.
I disagree, but I am one of those benighted fools who believes that
the Electoral College is a good idea.
I think that the Senate is currently out of control, but I don't think
we need a Constitutional amendment to deal with the problems.
Certainly the filibuster can be adjusted so that the kind of
obstructionism we see by Senate Rs these days can be avoided. Perhaps
a simple change in the rules that say a filibuster must be done in
person a la Mr Smith Goes To Washington rather than threatening or
phoning it in would make that procedure less common than it is these
days. Or may be the threshold to break a filibuster needs to be
lowered to 55-57 votes.
One place where I'd like to see a few rule changes would be in the way
the Senate allots tax revenues back to the states. I live in CA, where
we pay incredibly high taxes. At present, we get only 76 cents back
from the Feds for every $1 we send to DC in taxes. That means that $48-
billion a year that Californians send to the Feds ends up going to
states like Alaska to build those bridges to nowhere. Back when Reagan
was president, CA got $1 back for every $1 it sent to DC. CA is one of
only 13 "donor" states in the nation, ie: a state that gets less back
from the Feds than it sends to the Feds. Those other twelve states are
all blue states as well - NY, NJ, MA etc. The worst off is NJ, which
gets only $.66 back for every $1 it sends to DC.
Compare those states to NM, which gets $2.15 back for every dollar, or
the Southern states that also get more back than they send to the
Feds. There are only 26 donor state Senators in the body, and they are
opposed by 74 Senators whose states are what I like to call
"freeloaders" in this respect. It's easy to call CA a disfunctional
state with a $20-billion deficit when you're one of the Senators
taking $48-billion out of CA to make ends meet in your state. Were CA
to get an even break, we'd not only erase our deficits in an instant,
but we'd run surpluses into infinity.
So, I's like to see the Senate institute what I call "the 10% rule."
That would mean that no state gets more than 10% back from the Feds
over what they sent to DC and no state gets less than 90% back of what
they send. CA, NY et al would do just fine tithing 10% to their fellow
states. The question would be whether the freeloader states could live
within 110% of their means.
As an unaffiliated moderate, I find much to disagree with on both
sides! What is really depressing to me, though, is the quality of
many of the Republican candidates. I would like Andrew Cuomo to lose
(governor of NY), but against whom? When Krugman (in the Times
today) calls the stimulus package a failure, and denies that there has
been any substantial recovery, I tend to believe him;
Paul- Hide quoted text -============================
No one is going to win any elections trying to make the point I'm
going to try to make, but ...
I don't think the fact that the stimulus package has failed to be the
catalyst for a substantial recovery necessarily makes it a failure,
although it certainly hasn't lived up to its rosy billing. But none
of us can know where we would have been without it.
I don't know about you, but in late 2008 - early 2009, a lot of
people, including me, felt there was a substantial risk of a recession/
depression far worse than the one we've had to date. Banks large and
small were being closed with alarming regularity, severely draining
FDIC and similar funds, the housing market was in free fall, two-
thirds of the Big 3 were on the verge of bankruptcies that might have
led to the loss of millions of jobs in all sorts of industries, we
were hearing stories about bottomless Wall Street liabilities related
to credit default swaps and other esoteric obligations, and we were
losing jobs at the rate of several hundred thousand a month. And no
one I knew could tell me (and they still can't) which American
industries were going to lead us out of the chasm and toward recovery.
I still don't see where the recovery is going to come from unless the
capitalists do what they pride themselves no end on doing -- putting
their capital to constructive use. I read a few days ago that
American corporations are sitting on $3 trillion in cash and cash
equivalents. If I've sharpened my decimal point properly, that means
that American corporations have enough cash on hand to pay 30 million
people $50,000 a year for two years. And what are they doing with
that cash -- they are raising dividends (which is great if you're a
coupon clipper.but not particularly helpful if you're a working
stiff) and doing stock buy-backs, and looking for mergers and
acquisitions that will likely result in squeezing more jobs out of a
beleaguered American economy.
If it were in a movie script, no one would believe it.
A century or more ago, a lot of the brightest men in America were
scientists and inventors and engineers and industrialists. And even
the financiers (or robber barons, depending on one's taste in
epithets) - Vanderbilt, Morgan, Gould and the rest -- financed
tangible enterprises -- railroads, mines, steel, construction,
automobiles etc) that produced jobs for the working class. Perhaps
only incidentally, in the case of some, because those guys were clever
But nowadays a lot of the brightest men in America spend their lives
thinking up and trading new investment instruments, which is
apparently productive of much paper wealth but nothing else.
I read the other day that top internet poker players are much in
demand as traders and arbitrageurs these days, because they are used
to making hundreds of rapid fire decisions in quick succession, and
have little, if any emotional tie to the huge sums they are betting on
the next swing in the market.
They don't even pretend to call it investing any more.
It's just a really big floating crap game.
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