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Posts Tagged ‘two-party system’

Originally posted to Facebook Notes

No term limits, but no consecutive terms

I was quite fortunate in that I ran low on money after my music scholarship ran out and ended up compromising by taking some of my core liberal arts credits through night extension courses at Oakland Community College through both the Auburn Hills and Farmington Hills campuses. I say fortunate because larger universities seem to be gathering places for a lot of left-wing thinkers and it tended to be a source of conflict at both Oakland University and Eastern Michigan University where I later transferred after moving to Ann Arbor. (although one of my most enjoyable college classes of all was a business ethics course run by a brilliant philosophy teacher at EMU who was admittedly a liberal)
O.C.C. however, especially in their extension courses (which were often run by professionals from the community rather than tenured faculty), more often than not had conservative minded teachers. One such class was a basic economics course run by an obvious supply-side thinker. All that is neither here nor there to my idea of how to handle term limits, however, one day in class he was discussing the principle of ‘velocity of money’ and this potential solution struck me.

The notion was that I, at the time, foresaw one of the biggest problems with the entrenched incumbency existing in our government as being a lack of new ideas. The same out-of-touch guys keep getting elected and re-elected through combination of their celebrity/name-recognition, franking privilege, party backing, practices like gerrymandering and the use of their pulpit. I don’t really support the notion of term limits because it reduces choice, but at the same time the desires of the founding fathers was not to have ‘career politicians’ holding the same office for life. Moreover most of them were reluctant to even hold office themselves and quickly reverted to civilian pursuits as soon as their one or two terms were complete.
THAT was the intention of their interest in republican rule. To encourage the common man to serve as leader if his ideas resounded with the people, but then to return to the common. The problem was in essence, a lack of ‘velocity of ideas’.

The economic principle was that you did not need to increase money supply to stimulate an economy. You simply needed to seek means by which to increase the ‘velocity of money’ – to make the existing money supply change hands rather than stagnate in savings or investments. In short, to encourage spending to stimulate production to revitalize the economy. Gross National Product goes up faster with increased velocity of money than with any other means.

Therefore if you are going to address problems with stagnant ideas in politics, you need to increase the velocity of ideas. You need to get back to – or at least attempt to approach closer to – the founders’ intentions. Encourage the common man to enter politics and discourage the career politician from stagnating in office.

The answer was obvious. Don’t limit terms – just don’t let anyone hold the same office twice in a row. The big argument on term limits has always been ‘it takes a while for someone to learn the system’ – I replace the word system with the word ‘game’ because that’s pretty much what it is… political game playing. Well guess what, if everyone is coming in to the office fresh (or at least reasonably fresh), far less entrenched ‘system’ of game playing to learn.

Would this mean no career politicians? NO, not at all. But tell me it would be a bad thing for someone that wanted to make a career of it to have to leave the Senate to take a seat for 2 years in the house or back at his state level before again running for the 6 year term!

Instant run-off ballots!

This one is by far not my idea. It’s actually been done. The concept of an instant run-off ballot is that you are not restricted to one choice. I see this as a benefit also because many times third parties with legitimately viable ideas are overshadowed by people’s desire ‘not to waste a vote’ on a candidate they think is unlikely to win. The old Douglas Adams argument comes into play:

“The people are people, the leaders are lizards. The lizards hate the people and the people hate the lizards. It’s a democracy! […] of course people vote for [the lizards], if they don’t, the wrong lizard might get in.”

An instant run-off ballot gives you the ability to make more than one choice in order of preference or to vote no preference at all on candidates you do not like. i.e. if you really like what the reform party candidate is saying but don’t want to waste your vote afraid that party ‘x’s popular candidate will win over your second choice in party ‘y’, you make your first choice for the reform candidate and your second for the party Y candidate.

After ballots are collected, if there is not a ‘super majority’ (over 50%), they take whoever’s name is the last on the list (least number of ‘first choice’ votes) off the list and tally in any ‘second choice’ candidates on those voter ballots to add to the existing totals and so on until one candidate has earned 50%

I think this kind of a process with so many conflicting ideas out there makes a lot more sense than the current ‘this guy or that guy’ method of the bi-cameral, one-person-one-vote-for-one-candidate nonsense we have in place today. And it would go a long way to introduce new concepts into politics as those 2nd (and beyond) choices needed to be tallied in.

Proportional salaries for politicians

I commented briefly on this in another response to someone on another facebook page who was referring to government dictation of executive pay as a factor of corporate profits and company well being. I’m ever and always saying we should hold our politicians to the same standards they try to introduce, legislate and enforce BEFORE giving them any audience for ridiculous notions sold as ‘fairness’.

Therefore, politician salaries should be proportional to the ‘average income’ of people whom they represent. It wouldn’t have to be a 1-to-1 correlation but should be across the board in any political wing (states could decide their own ratio, federal ratios should be uniform in the house and senate) and should be fixed so that only a public vote could change the ratio. (I also firmly believe that politicians should NOT be allowed to arbitrarily vote on their own compensation, benefits or what have you – that is insane!)

This would shift the incentive of politicians from ‘what they could get to give to their voters’ to what they can do to improve the lives, salaries and self-sufficiency of their voters overnight!

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