Wednesday, July 13, 2011

US Congressional term limits

Recently on Facebook, I wrote:

Actually, I am opposed to a balanced budget amendment. Simply, I call it a “tax-hike amendment;” better by far to pass a “flat tax amendment:” if the “proles” want a 50% tax rate on the rich (I do not think the U.S. has many proles, nor do I think they want a rate this high), let them pay it, too. Under this amendment, any deviation from the flat tax would last 2 years and require a 3/5 majority in Congress to pass.

The idea is to make tax laws written for special interests more expensive. Only the broadest exemptions will be allowed (e.g., personal and dependent exemptions, &c.).

But someone asked about term limits. Will we weaken the Legislature against the bureaucracy if they are too low? Yes, but I have no idea how low that effect would begin. (Perhaps low term limits would simplify procedural rules, or not.)

That being said, I think 30 years is a good start on eliminating the Robt Byrds. Go to the Wikipedia page on the U.S. Senate members: click the small graphic under the column header “First took office.” We would eliminate 9 Senators: Inouye (D-HA), Leahy (D-VT), Lugar (R-IN), Hatch (R-UT), Levin (D-MI) (a sacrifice I will gladly make), Cochran (R-MS), Baucus (D-MT), Grassley (R-IA), Bingaman (D-MN). 5 Dems, 4 Repubs: 9% is not bad. We could also allow a Senator to serve less than half an extra term if raised to office in a special election.

The House should be lower, but how much? Let's try 28 as a start. Let's look at the House membership lost: Dingell (D-MI), Conyers (D-MI), Young (R-FL), Rangel (D-NY), Young (R-AK), Stark (D-CA), Miller (D-CA), Waxman (D-CA), Markey (D-MA), Killdee (D-MI), Dicks (D-WA), Rahall (D-WV), Lewis (R-CA), Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Petri (R-WI), Smith (R-NJ), Dreier (R-CA), Rogers (R-KY), Hoyer (D-MA), Frank (D-MA) (YES!), Hall (R-TX), Wolf (R-VA), Berman (D-CA), Burton (R-IN), Levin (D-MI), Ackerman (D-NY), Towns (D-NY), Kaptur (D-OH).

17 Dems, 11 Repubs. 6.43% of the total. Sadly, Frank would still have been around to cover Fannie and Freddie and get a job at the former for his then current butt-buddy. (I'm bisexual, I can say it.) So this amendment, as I noted, will not guarantee good government: we're basically eliminating deadwood.

Boehner is serving his 10th term and Pelosi was well under 28 years when she served. McConnell (who opposed McCain-Feingold) is fresh on his 5th term. McConnell could be replaced by Shelby, McCain, Hutchison, Kyl, Inhofe; all have 15+ years in the Senate right now, and more would accumulate that experience in the next 4+ years. Going back to the Nixon era, all Senate Majority Leaders were serving under 30 years during their leadership tenure, so leadership would not be affected.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Of Wine and Whiners

We read in Althouse some manufactured Talking Points Memo rage after Congressman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) tablemate ordered a bottle of $300-plus wine. Ryan had a glass and insisted on paying his share. Please note this prevents Ryan from being indebted to this acquaintance, you'll be a step ahead of the game. (The Leftie and her Enraged Ovaries do not mention Pelosi One and the $100,000.00-plus liquor bill she racked up.)

Althouse notes:

TPM should be ashamed of itself passing along this embarrassing story and for the way it presented this material. In the middle of the piece, TPM informs us of Congressional ethics rules barring expensive gifts from lobbyists. I was thinking: Oh, maybe this is a serious problem. But if you keep reading, much further down, you see that Ryan paid for the meal with his own credit card, and TPM saw the receipt. Ridiculous! What hackery from the once-respectable Talking Points Memo!

Why is this so surprising? My mom listens to Rush Limbaugh religiously, so one day, when I read Josh of TPM babbling about how good he was to complain about Bush putting troops into Afghanistan, since righties were complaining about US involvement in Kosovo, I wrote him to tell him I had heard Limbaugh (mentioned specifically by TPM as one of these Cassandras) assuring his listeners not to be worried if the US military needed to put boots on the ground in the Balkans. His response? "Well, he probably said something else like it, so it doesn't really matter!"

Once a dirty, lying shitbag, forever a dirty, lying shitbag. Why so surprised?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Democratic Astroturf and false flag operations

I have just gotten some Democratic false flag astroturf in an email from some outfit calling itself the National Tea Party Alert. These people are busy trying to convince us that the Gipper loved tax hikes, just like Joe Biden. Email follows:

Throwing The Gipper Under The Bus

It's impossible to overstate both the importance and impact that President Ronald Reagan had on the modern conservative movement. Actually, one could be forgiven for definitively stating that Reagan was the founder of the modern conservative movement. The problem with holding such an exalted position is that it's easy for people on both sides of a debate to co opt your legacy for their own purposes.

Reagan is rightfully exalted for being the godfather of supply side economic theory. He didn't develop it (Economist Arthur Laffer did), nor did he even modify it, but he was certainly his most enthusiastic supporter (with former congressman Jack Kemp coming in a close second) and the economic growth that his policies helped create were unprecedented in American history.

The problem with the Reagan presidency is separating fact from fiction, and nowhere is this problem more evident than in the current debate over extending the national debt ceiling. House republicans, led by John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan have insisted that no tax increases are up for discussion, with Speaker Boehner saying, " increases are unacceptable and are a nonstarter"

Oddly enough, the record shows that supply side cheerleader Ronald Reagan himself incorporated tax increases into his economic recovery plans, most famously into 1982's Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act, though there were four more tax increases in the remaining six years of his presidency, with a total of $190 billion (in today's dollars) in revenue increases coming from those tax hikes. That's an amount significantly above what Vice President Biden is calling for during the recent deficit talks with GOP leaders.

In hindsight, one of Ronald Reagan's most enduring legacies was the economic recovery from the 1970's "malaise" and it's staggering, long-term positive impact on both our economy and our society as a whole. No one is doing Reagan's legacy any favors by misstating it's essential truths.

Ronald Reagan's revolution, despised and fought by, at the time, 95% of America's media establishment, was and is incomplete, and in the same way that America's revolution is incomplete. All men are not yet free. All are not guaranteed their rights, due by Nature and Nature's God, of life, liberty and property. Reagan famously said, "Better to get 80% of what you want now and go for the rest later." Reagan, working with a Democratic Congress after 1982, managed to rein in government growth. I appreciate the man for what he did, against all headwinds. But we must surpass the teacher, not repeat his mistakes and forced strategic retreats. Ronald Reagan is dead. Long live Reaganism.

And political death to tax-and-spend Leftists and con men.

Modern Grotesque

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