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The framers respected majority rule … January 4, 2012

Posted by WillardWhyte in 2012 elections, Financial Reform, Obama, Politics.
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… and built a government around it, one that has served us extremely well over our 230-odd years. They were careful to not design their government with slavish adherence to this rule,  building in numerous checks and balances on power — among branches, within branches and with frequent elections to reflect changing public sentiments.

Over time,  both the Senate and House arrived at rules, procedures and courtesies that allowed the machinery of government to move, with a very healthy respect for minority opinion and stature. This all came together to form a government that moved slowly, with consideration and conservation — by design.

The filibuster for centuries was the Death Star — the ultimate weapon for a minority in Congress to employ to draw a very firm line in the sand on a matter not routine, a matter that went to the very core of principle.

Of late, that weapon has become a tool used by the minority in Congress to impose its will on the nation, on matters large and small, petty and of portent. It no longer relates to principle, except by extension from a minor matter down a very long tortuous logic chain to a “principal” such as a question of the relative strength of government overall, perhaps, or of methodology.

It has been used to usurp majority rule and, with intent, to bring the functioning of duly elected government to a halt.

Today the President said: “Enough.” He went ahead and used his recess appointment power to install Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a much-needed agency enacted into law in 2009.

Republicans who opposed the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill in 2009 lost that vote to a healthy majority after many compromises were incorporated into the bill to accommodate the minority’s views. What initially was proposed as a separate, standalone agency was moved within the Treasury Department — a concession to those who feared it could become a rogue operating on its own, with its own budget and no oversight by people with sufficient respect for the needs of lenders, be they banks, near-banks or the many non-bank actors making payday loans.

Some Republicans see no need at all for an agency acting to require fair, open and honest lending — and debt instruments a common person can understand. They have attempted for more than a year to overturn the majority verdict on this bureau with stalemate, backed by the threat of filibuster on any and all nominees to head this lawfully established agency. They lacked the votes to alter the enabling legislation, so they dug in their heels and refused to allow an up-or-down vote on the matter.

Now in nine months, the voters will listen to candidates for Congress, and all are welcome to discuss the merits of the law establishing this agency, any and all flaws in its establishment and propose any and all remedies. Perhaps their arguments will be telling and help win the election of a majority of like-thinkers to the House and the Senate — and perhaps even the White House.

At that point, they would be a majority backed by a clear vote and able to adopt a bill altering the current law. That’s how the Constitution set things up to work.

The minority view on a matter is not ignored or trampled. But the majority will holds sway until a new majority is elected and alters course.

A great many of the Republicans in Congress — and the voices over the air who urge them on — have worked now for more than a year to subvert the system that the Constitution established, many of them resorting to a suggestion that the vote of 2010 that granted the GOP a majority in the House came with a mantle anointing all of their views as blessed by a national majority.

Not so. Not so because the Founders were wise enough to not frame their government as a reflection of Parliament, to temper their democracy with systems that required the passage of considerable time to enable a majority voice to emerge fully formed, discussed and tempered.

The majority still rules in this nation and today the President spoke very forcefully in defense of that Constitutional concept — one the GOP with its long-running obstructionism has degraded to the detriment of the nation.

Voters who have watched this tyranny of a minority within a minority should mind the larger lesson: If this is how this party behaves with a share of power — with complete disrespect for majority rule — how do you think it would conduct business with majority power?

Clearly, the cadre sent to D.C. in 2010 have no respect whatever for any opinion other than their own, making them a danger to the nation and its people.



Not to belittle the good folks in Iowa … January 3, 2012

Posted by WillardWhyte in 2012 elections, Politics.
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… but then again, most of them will not budge from their homes tonight to join in what kicks off the presidential nomination season, follows the spending of a huge fortune — but boils down to very little.

A few tens of thousands, at the very most, of the most fringe Republicans will caucus to declare an initial preference from a field of people who have for three months shown that, even collectively, they have no clear plan for addressing the core issues facing the nation. None.

They have mouthed slogans sure to rally the activists, pulled a seeming series of “tax reform” rabbits from a thoughtless shared hat bereft of vetting, and told us over and over and over again what they are against.   They have similarly told us over and over again whose fault simply everything is: anyone drawing a cent from any federal government program or payroll, anyone enforcing laws to protect our air, our water and our investments from unbridled bottom-line-only morals in the suites of corporations owned by who-knows-who, and anyone who thinks the government has any role in rebuilding this nation’s future.

Tonight’s choosing could very well drive the Republican Party further toward an even more radical departure from the shared core policies of both parties in the last decade that built a dominant nation. And that would be a shame, for their are a great many Republicans who know better — much better — and whose contributions are sorely needed.

They must speak up — and recapture the Grand Old Party from the destructive forces that offer no creative vision. Only smoking ruins.


I’ve had about enough of the Tory Party ‘Patriots’ October 22, 2011

Posted by WillardWhyte in 2012 elections, Economy, Politics.
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Well, the first non-political assessment of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan is in and, to the surprise of no one at all familiar with various forms of flat tax-ery, it amounts to a massive redistribution of wealth going forward.

As this assessment  from the Tax Policy Center shows:

— 84% of U.S. households would pay more than they do under current federal taxes.

— Households with incomes below $30,000 would have, on average, between 16% and 20% less in after-tax income than they do today, mainly because of the national sales tax and the loss of Earned Income Tax Credit.

— Households making more than $200,000 would see their after-tax income grow by between 5% and 22% on average.

— 95% of those with more than $1 million in income would receive an average tax cut of $487,300.

The study doesn’t specifically say what happens to most of the people between $30,000 and $200,000, but you can figure it out. The poor pay a lot more than they do now, but that won’t raise much. Those at the upper end get big tax reductions.

And since the Tax Policy Center agrees with Cain that his plan would raise just as much money as the current system does, the folks in the Big Middle have an awful lot of lost revenue to make up through much higher tax outlays.

And this proposal has catapulted Mr. Cain to the head of the class among Republican presidential candidates. The others now are scrambling to come up with something similar to placate a wing of this “party” that seems so enamored with the 1770s that it has become completely color-blind.

And I make no reference to Mr. Cain’s ethnicity in that. The Palin-Bachman-Perry-Paul front seems to be hell-bent on turning the GOP into the Tory Party, for all they seem to wish for is the destruction of any and all legal protections for our air, our water, our land, any laws that would safeguard our marketplaces from usury, fraud, rotten food and goods brought in by boat from lands comfortable with the employment of children in sweatshops, in many cases employed by subsidiaries of multinational corporations based in the USofA.

And they rush to support a taxation system such as the one put forth by Mr. Cain that would execute a massive redistribution of wealth from people making less than $200,000 to the very wealthy – the new American royalty who will control the faux-King they hope to choose to replace Mr. Obama.

This would take us very rapidly to a place akin to 1776, when these colonies chose to take up arms to liberate themselves from an English tyranny that came with the seal of the King, but was planned, controlled and executed by the merchant elite in jolly old London. In America, the Tories sided with the mercantile tyranny. As the Tea Party does today.

Indeed, they clamor to ladle praise on a Cain plan that would enact a new national tax of 9 percent on — well, tea, among other common commodities.

If this all were not so deadly real, it would be comedy. It amazes me that good conservatives, good well-intentioned Republicans do not rise and thrust this band of absolute idiots from the stage.

If  for no other reason than to protect themselves from this radical restructuring of the entire economy, done in the hope that once all this wealth is moved to the very rich, some of  it will trickle down somehow and make everything better.

No. Mr. Cain’s extremely disruptive proposal would rip just about every business plan in the country to shreds, destroy tens of thousands of small businesses and make the recession of 2009 look like a minor bump in the road.

It would do this by erasing every shred of discretionary income left in most of the economy, leaving the very rich with a whole lot more money they will not be able to spend.

And guess what? They won’t invest it in new businesses that would hire a bunch of people to make stuff that no one has any money to buy.  Trust me — that’s not a formula many of them used to get rich.