Saturday, July 31, 2010

Real Government Reform

There are big changes that need to be made in how government operates. These are changes that most elected officials would not want to hear about, much less support. Before any of this, borders should be closed and all illegal aliens deported. Governments loose respect when they don’t enforce their own laws. Government overspent and is broke. Between the pending $20 trillion National Debt and the $80 trillion in unfunded liabilities, government is bankrupt. If we allow government to print their way out of this, inflation will eat us alive, again. The incestuous relationship between government and big money got us here. It’s time to separate them. Government and Education are dominated by communists who deserve to be laid off.

First is real campaign finance reform.
This is the kind of reform that voters would support, special interests will fight against to the death and most elected officials know would make things better. This campaign finance law would make registered voters in the candidates’ city, county, district or state the only ones who could make legal campaign contributions only to those candidates who would appear on their ballot. This would work for Primaries, Run-offs and General Elections. It would redefine the role of lobbyists to remove campaign contributions as a means to legally bribe elected officials.

Candidates would need a website with their resume and position on issues posted and yard signs. They would be forced to develop relationships with voters rather than special interests.

Free speech would be preserved as special interests, lobbyists, corporations, unions and government employees could buy their own ads to support their own causes. I would hope that their customers, stockholders and members would receive an accounting of these activities along with their marketing and contributions budgets and vote on these to keep them in check. Even special interests must be held accountable to their constituents.

Liberals would fight this change to the death. They invented the corrupt system we are attempting to reform. When John Kerry resigns, you’ll know we’re making progress. Like unions and the mafia, liberals cannot operate without deal making, intimidation, coercion, corruption, divisiveness, bribery and extortion. George Soros’ strategy is to get big spending politicians elected to ensure the decline in the value of their currency and then short-sell the currency. He did this in the UK and he is doing it now in the US. Unions are unnecessary and damaging and they know it, so they’re desperate. Liberals get ugly when cornered.

This will need to be passed by State Legislatures and recognized by Federal Legislatures before any of these changes could occur. This is the only solution left to states like California, where government employee unions control the legislature.

Second is a return to the Constitution and the 10th Amendment.
We need to stop electing “welfare state Marxists”, those who say they want to “help” people. Helping people is the peoples’ job and it must be done without the government. The Federal Government’s powers must be stripped back to be consistent with the 10th Amendment; this will save needed dollars the Federal Government doesn’t have, but continues to spend.

The Federal Government must retreat from controlling and funding Education, Healthcare and Welfare Systems; the States do these anyway, but I would cut all federal subsidies and let the States scale these back to fit their budgets. This would involve the repeal of decades of Federal Laws.

The congress must assume responsibility for monetary policy to ensure that inflation is kept to under 1% a year. The Fed can present its analysis and get approval from congress before it prints more money. The dollar devaluation must stop. The 1913 dollar is now worth 3 cents. The Fed has failed. A stable dollar is the answer to increasing U.S. savings rates. Retirement accounts should be free from the kind of risk we have endured in the stock market.

Counties should shoulder the burden of this reduction in funding. I would hope that schools would use internet and home schooling as much as possible to reduce expenses.

Third is real legislative process reform.
For years, legislators made their own rules, allowing for legalized bribery and extortion. This has resulted in wasting over half of the tax revenues spent since the founding of our country.

House and Senate Rules should not allow unrelated, tacked-on amendments to be added to Bills. Start by banning any other items from being added to military and government operations appropriations Bills. Earmarks would be eliminated and “for other purposes” should be removed.

House and Senate Resolutions should be eliminated; they are trite and a waste of time.

It’s time to reform the rules used to pass legislation. Current rules allow unrelated issues and expenditures to be bundled with necessary legislation. The only intelligent decision is to vote NO. This should not be allowed. It’s a formula that allows really bad legislation and expenditures to hide in the corners of benign legislation and be passed.

Carve-outs should be removed. If it’s good enough for everybody else, it’s good enough for your biggest campaign contributors. Exempting favored states, industries and companies from regulations should not be allowed.

Many regulations codify dumb policies cooked up by unions and liberals and adopted by big dumb companies and they want to impose these on the rest of us. The big dumb companies support these to increase their smaller competitors’ costs.

Fourth, we need the Legislatures to reverse Court and Executive Order errors
Congress must define “Life” to include the unborn, define “Born” and revoke citizenship from ‘Anchor Babies” and should reverse the Supreme Court ruling on school prayer and end the attack on references to God by the ACLU.

We must roll back all “favored minority” regulations to end the Gay Rights movement. If we don’t, we will encourage pedophiles and terrorists to begin their own Rights Movements.

Social engineering must end. All of it should be repealed.
EPA rules should be pared back; CO2 is not a pollutant and doesn’t cause global anything.

Fifth, we are broke. We need to pay off the debt.
We must cut half of the Federal budget to match revenue. We need to reduce government employment from the current 25 million to 15 million. We can’t afford them. We need to cut 10 million government jobs, so the most humane approach would be to start a government hiring freeze now. We also need to freeze pay and benefits and convert government pensions to defined contribution plans. It could take several years of pay freezes before government pay packages settle back in closer parody with private sector compensation. Governments must limit their borrowing to 3 times their annual revenue.

We must pay off the debt. Government must cut spending to match revenue. Next government must set up principle and interest payments to begin to pay down the debt. That means the Federal Government must cut the functions that are ‘reserved for the states and for the people’. Annual spending is roughly $4 trillion a year vs. annual revenue of $2 trillion a year. If we need to spend $1 trillion a year to pay off the debt, the government will have to function on $1 trillion a year. The Federal government must withdraw from funding and controlling Education, R&D except defense, Healthcare and Welfare. States need to push these responsibilities back to the counties and cities’ this should take 3 years of pull-back spending reductions. These monsters will necessarily shrink.

Federal parks and unused land should revert to the States. The Tax Code and the Income tax should be eliminated and replaced by a 10% national sales tax. All Departments except Defense, State and Interior should be eliminated. Functions from the eliminated Departments should be reconsolidated under the Interior.

We must phase out Medicaid which is now less effective and many times more expensive than the old county hospital and neighborhood clinic model we need to return to.
We must phase out Medicare and Social Security. They are unsustainable and unconstitutional. If we had paid our 17% to our own lock-box accounts, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

We must remember that any responsibilities assumed by the Federal government will cost 10 times more than it’s worth and will result in disaster, without exception. Most laws enacted since 1913 should be repealed.

Sixth, we need to stop being the world’s policeman.
We need to close most of our 700 overseas military bases and put those bases on the Mexican border to fight the drug cartel war and replace the border patrol. Border guarding should be a military responsibility.

Focus on Iran. Stop kicking the can down the road. If we deal with Iran, our other problems will go away, so deal with Iran, harshly. We should do this by freezing Iranian assets. If we need military action we should do it with drones, air attacks and Special Operations forces, not occupying armies. We need to stop Iran and all others who would fund terrorism and be done with it.

We will waste $2 trillion in nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like most things government does, it was not a good deal. We don’t have to do this. We can take out the poppy fields every year with napalm.

Colonialism should die a natural death. It results in extinction events for empires and creates top down country creating that causes problems forever. Our record of inserting ourselves in every world conflict that arises hasn’t bought us much. In most cases we end up creating a monster we have to fight a decade later.

Seventh, we need to redefine terms and establish priorities.
U.S. interests must be redefined as U.S. voters’ interests and would not necessarily include U.S industry, business or globalist interests. We no longer need a large footprint around the world beyond what businesses do for themselves, if they are responsible vendors who deliver value.

Social engineering has to go. It is not in the interests of the U.S. voter to have a government engage in social engineering or funding special interest activities or funding and adopting junk science and using it to create regulations that double our energy bills.

Foreign aid and involvement must be curtailed. We can’t afford to buy the world a coke. There is a long established principle in Ethics that attaches proximity and personal charity to the moral imperative. The good Samaritan became responsible for the injured man who was beaten and robbed when he happened upon him. It is not in the U.S. voters’ interest to ship billions of tax dollars overseas. It is the decision of each voter to give to all charitable causes personally.

We need lower unemployment. We have 20 million illegal aliens and 20 million unemployed. Is this hard ? Illegal aliens must be deported. When our government ignores our citizens living in Arizona in the middle of a war zone, but sends past Presidents to raise millions for overseas relief, voters’ interests are not served.
Eighth, we need to get government out of unconstitutional, dangerous, unsustainable and wasteful activities

Education, funded and controlled by government is a recipe for tyranny. It’s dangerous and pollutes the subject matter. The communist ideological indoctrination taking place in our schools will ruin the country. It’s the Hitler Youth on steroids and a black hole for funding. The curriculum has declined to be dominated by “useless studies” as the predominant major. These degrees do not prepare us for anything. These graduates cannot find jobs. We fill our engineering classes with foreigners. Let’s pull the plug and start over. Giving loans to students to study this stuff is criminal. Communist ideology must be surgically removed from all education. Starving it into oblivion is a good start. All education can now be done on the internet.

Healthcare, funded and controlled by government is unsustainable because it is a black hole for funding. We treat everything and cure nothing. Most cancer patients die from the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation. We are spending way more than these drugs and medical treatments are worth and it’s time to get back to basics. Healthcare is a scandal. I predict that the abandonment of healthcare by government would usher in its salvation, leaving healthcare to providers and patients.

Health Insurance should be optional. Companies should flip whatever they are spending on health insurance into pay raises and allow employees to find their own insurance, or not.

Illegal Aliens are an economic drag. If we could lose 20 million illegal aliens and send indigents to county health, healthcare could survive, so could schools and the legal system.

Earmarks are wasteful and should be banned. These are projects local voters won’t fund. Sometimes they are very expensive like “the bridge to no-where”. Mostly they are low priority city and county projects that could be funded by donations, like bike-paths and landscaping.

Grants are wasteful in all departments and should be eliminated. If somebody has a project that has merit, they can figure out how to turn it into a commercial success. If not, voters shouldn’t have to pay for it.
Government funding of studies are wasteful. Research should be funded privately.

The Arts should be funded privately. They’d none of them be missed.

The EPA should be rolled back and left to the states. They do more harm than good. CO2 is not a pollutant.

The Department of Labor should be closed and left to the states. Unions should be left on their own to sink or swim without government help.

Social Security should be exposed for the Ponzie scheme it is and should be privatized over time, but first, investment vehicles that are impervious to wild swings in value must be established. This would have been debt equity, but social engineering wrecked it.

FDA functions should be left to the states where their charter can be limited and met. Drugs should be tested for safety and side effects by a designated non-governmental lab at pharmaceutical company expense.
The department of Agriculture should be closed, subsidies ended and functions returned to the states.

The department of Health and Human Services should be closed and its functions left to the states and counties.
The department of Transportation should stop subsidizing light rail and Amtrak and stick to maintaining Interstate Highways.

Oil and gas are needed. Congress must open up drilling for gas and oil everywhere, with no exceptions. The Interior department needs to learn about how to avoid oil spills and ensure, in person, that these standards are followed.

Ninth, regulations and red tape should be value stream process mapped and continuously improved to remove non-value-added activities and barriers.
We need to make it easier to do business in the U.S., not harder. India’s economy was in gridlock before they streamlined their business license maze. It’s impossible to do business in government controlled socialist republics, which is what we now have.

Most of our legislation misses the mark. It punishes the innocent and lets the guilty go free. Large companies are squandering resources to comply with laws and regulations that are unnecessary and stem from government initiated social engineering.

Large companies are the last place I would look for an illegal alien workforce. They need English speaking employees. Yet they maintain Affirmative Action Plans, I-9 Forms and use E-Verify. Small landscapers, large and small farming operations, construction companies, drug cartels, tree removal companies, retail, fast food operations and grocery stores have all the illegal aliens working there, but somehow, they are never discovered, arrested or deported. What were you thinking ?

Tenth, goods producing jobs must return to the U.S.
We need a viable U.S. economy to dig our way out of our government debt hole. The Federal government needs to remove legislative obstacles and let the states do the job.

Goods Producing employment, including manufacturing, mining, logging and drilling must double from the current 18 million jobs to 36 million jobs. We need to make manufacturing in the U.S. competitive with the rest of the world through automation and regulatory and tax reform. Companies in various industries can tell you the cost of manufacturing overseas vs. in the U.S.

Foreign governments have actively recruited our manufacturing industries to locate plants in their countries. Incentives include long-term tax holidays, free land or rent and all manner of bribes. The end result has been that our companies, realizing that they could cut their costs by 50%, have relocated to these other countries. In many cases, these companies have no unions, less stringent regulations and more freedom to operate efficiently. We will not get some of these industries back, ever.

Elected Officials should be actively engaged in gathering facts and numbers from industries we could entice to return manufacturing operations to the U.S.
Unions must be recognized as the job killers they are. They ruin companies. There are industries who would return their manufacturing operations to the U.S. but for exposure to re-unionization.

The information we got from the “Information Age” wasn’t good. We lost our wealth-producing industries. In the 1990 manufacturing jobs were off-shored and laid-off workers went to retail jobs. In 2001, after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, the economy took a tumble along with the airline industry. The lower interest rate response to the down-turn resulted in the 2008 Meltdown. Green jobs have necessarily gone to the Martians. The “unintended” results of government action and inaction have taken their toll. The collapse of the dollar has been long in the making; it isn’t like it’s a surprise we won’t see coming. It will arrive as the result of excessive government spending and excessive government debt.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Aftershock Prep

In Aftershock, the authors cite four reforms that will be necessary after our sovereign debt meltdown and national bankruptcy. These are: 1. campaign finance reform, 2. media reform, 3. lobbying reform and 4. increased government efficiency. It is imperative that we think about what reforms will work before this meltdown occurs, otherwise we will have a banana republic with a military dictator.
One would have to be an idiot, or a Democrat to propose any blueprint other than the original Constitution and Bill of Rights. We will be forced to return to these. If the government is bankrupt, then downsizing to small government is an attractive alternative.

What went wrong and what caused our government bankruptcy are easy to diagnose. Government, by allowing special interests to contribute to campaigns meant that our Representatives would necessarily be “for sale”. If you didn’t own your Representative or a stable of them, you were not a wealthy, successful special interest group. If, on the other hand, you were a registered voter in the city, county, district or state these candidates purport to represent, you have had very little control over the legislation, court rulings or Presidential orders that got us in this mess.

Campaign finance reform should allow only registered voters in the city, county, district or state of these candidates to contribute to their campaigns. This alone would clean up most of the media reform and lobbying reform, as both are special interest segments, who would no longer be allowed to play. If we really want limited government, then we remove Representatives from the payrolls of wealthy special interests; they will get bored with the new arrangement and leave our Representatives alone. Candidates would post their resumes, positions on issues and their world-view on their websites and answer voters email questions. Yes, we voters will have to make campaign contributions and put up more yard signs, but we wouldn’t have to listen to those Attack Ads on TV.

There would be no bail-outs, no favored groups, no social safety nets, no subsidies and very little taxes. Business could no longer use the U.S. Government to intimidate other countries into having anything to do with us. Our prosperity would be in our own hands and we had better be customer and quality oriented. I doubt that we would continue to have an income tax or a Federal Reserve, so much for inflation. Yes, we should really reduce government to the size and scope we maintained before we let the special interest groups screw it up. Our military could come home and win the Mexican border war against the cartels, then build the border wall.

The efficiency we seek already exists. All government business should be done on the internet, even popular votes on issues to be dealt with by our Representatives. House and Senate Resolutions should be judged as a waste of time and done away with. All Bills should be read, studied, understood and explained in detail with email input and questions by the voters before Bills are released from Conference Groups. All Bills should be stand-alone with no riders attached, especially appropriations Bills. All education should take place on the internet and should be the responsibility of local concerns. The new education model should be built by parents’ internet interaction. Much healthcare could be done on the internet as self-care; drugs that really do not require a prescription should be available over-the-counter from anywhere. All trade protection laws could be repealed, including the Jones Act that is keeping foreign oil skimmers from saving our beaches in the gulf. The law allowing government employees to join unions should be repealed, especially in California. All public transportation and utilities should be private, non-union and unsubsidized. All laws giving advantage to any groups should be repealed.

Environmental issues should be subject to thorough scrutiny, conclusive proof and cost-benefit analyses. We should agree that the planet is big enough to take care of itself as long as we don’t dump garbage or chemicals into lakes, rivers and oceans, on the beaches or on the road-side. Consumers and environmentalists should agree on what to do with aluminum cans, plastic bottles and adult-proof packaging via internet discourse and let consumer product businesses know our preferences; no laws should be necessary. Real necessities should receive priority including more than adequate drinking water and crop watering supplies and road expansion and repair. All local and world-wide criminal enterprises that bother us should be found, hunted down and destroyed. Illegal aliens should be deported and Immigration should be reduced to a dribble of geniuses we want to hire.