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post #41 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 08:30 PM
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It's just a "scrap of paper"...

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #42 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 08:43 PM
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You will not fix the centralized system, Bear, and those layers of administratium that you fear from decentralization already exist, they'd just have more governing to do. There are no delusions about what we have today nor about snapping our fingers and dismantling it overnight. But, a severe reduction in the size and scope of the federal government, it's power, it's control, is badly needed in this country. And, as long as people believe that it must be that way or that it cannot change, then it won't.
Or the exact opposite can also be true. As long as people believe that the centralized system can't be modified to work better, it won't.

I have watched procurement and spending from the inside from 88-92 while working with the state Senate Revenue Chairman during session. Having watched him work, I trust this guy with anything and know that the level of complications that would arise with an exponential increase of load on state budgets would overwhelm any state body.

The sheer amount of politicking that goes on with the current load is mindnumbing. If all the minutia that would be associated with what is now held by Federal government agencies, state agencies and elected bodies would melt. Not only would the size of state governments balloon [not a bad thing if they are the only one's pulling taxes] but the influence of lobbyists on small town politicians is much more likely and harder to track.

When you multiply the efforts by 50, there is simply a waste of money that is generated by that duplication of administrivia.

I would bet anything that levels of corruption would be both higher and, because of local politics, harder to manage and stop. At least now we have infrastructure to start managing the problem.

Rebuilding from the ground up is not always the best solution. It looks good on the white board but the astronomical number of changes, and overlapping interstate issues would make "de-Federalization" the most costly project this country has ever undertaken. And in the end, everyone would still pay about the same in taxes.

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post #43 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 08:44 PM
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No, good reason to respect it for what it is but to understand what it is not. It is an outline and roadmap, not a recipe and specific formula.

As a dynamic document it has tremendous latitude that is expected to be addressed by the two houses of Congress as they see fit to insure that the needs of the growing nation are met. And it has an Executive with Veto power to check a Congress that might over step and a Supreme Court to be the final arbiter of the laws passed by that Congress.

That is the coolest part of our Democratic Republic. We have a dynamic living government, not a static instrument.
It is a recipe and a specific formula. It has provisions contained within it for revision, with rules, mind you, that were expected to be utilized when revision was warranted. It has limits to the powers of that Congress, but we've been through that before. I've been Googling for a good site to list the laws those first Congresses passed, as well as the judgements of the Supreme Courts, as I expect those will clearly show how the people who wrote it intended it to be applied, ie - Ed's enumerated list with a 10th Amendment, or Bear's they can do anything they see fit with a moot 10th Amendment. I expect to find that Ed is correct, but somewhere around the New Deal or a decade or two before, the enlightened socialists took over.

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post #44 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 08:45 PM
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It's just a "scrap of paper"...
I've seen it. It's not black and white.

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post #45 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 09:07 PM
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It is a recipe and a specific formula. It has provisions contained within it for revision, with rules, mind you, that were expected to be utilized when revision was warranted. It has limits to the powers of that Congress, but we've been through that before. I've been Googling for a good site to list the laws those first Congresses passed, as well as the judgements of the Supreme Courts, as I expect those will clearly show how the people who wrote it intended it to be applied, ie - Ed's enumerated list with a 10th Amendment, or Bear's they can do anything they see fit with a moot 10th Amendment. I expect to find that Ed is correct, but somewhere around the New Deal or a decade or two before, the enlightened socialists took over.
Actually it was the three Republicans [1921-1932] just before Roosevelt that started the ball rolling. [I love trivia].

It cannot be both a specific formula AND a document that provides provisions for revisions.

And don't get me wrong, I have never believed that "anything goes". I am a strong believer in Checks and Balances and a strong Constitutional Supreme Court. It is why I am so offended by the highly weighted political appointees that have been sprinkled on the court in the past quarter century. That court needs to be the bedrock Check and Balance to insure that Congress or the White House can't wander too far from the direction of the Republic.

With that said we have the Democrat Republic that we have. It has evolved, specifically through the rules of the Constitution to give us what we have at this point in time. Challenges have been made to question whether we can declare war without being threatened [apparently we can], whether we can levy an income tax on an individual's wages [again, it appears we can do so effortlessly], to run up debt with impunity [yeppers].

We can, as a government set up ALL the necessary infrastructure to run the country as it is now run. Most, if not all have been tested in court, either by opposition party, Executive, ACLU or private party. The MacDaddy of courts does not have ANY pending cases that suggest that our government is illegal.

I talk to a lot of young adults, many of whom are pissed at the system. Many are not registered to vote because they think the system is broken, that the system does not represent them. The thing that I tell them all [and a lesson I learned myself] is:
  • that you cannot rage against the machine from the outside.
  • you cannot simply declare the system broken, throw rocks at it and expect changes.
  • you cannot simply say the current system sucks and a different system would be better [unless you have really REALLY good data and a plan to back that up with numbers and hard analysis].
  • you cannot fix the machine without getting inside and getting your hands really dirty.

That is what this is going to take. Lots of people rolling up their sleeves and fixing the system that exists. If nothing else results, the system would then be more streamlined and more conducive to transitioning to a states based system should the need still be felt.

McBear,
Kentucky

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post #46 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mcbear View Post
Or the exact opposite can also be true. As long as people believe that the centralized system can't be modified to work better, it won't.

I have watched procurement and spending from the inside from 88-92 while working with the state Senate Revenue Chairman during session. Having watched him work, I trust this guy with anything and know that the level of complications that would arise with an exponential increase of load on state budgets would overwhelm any state body.

The sheer amount of politicking that goes on with the current load is mindnumbing. If all the minutia that would be associated with what is now held by Federal government agencies, state agencies and elected bodies would melt. Not only would the size of state governments balloon [not a bad thing if they are the only one's pulling taxes] but the influence of lobbyists on small town politicians is much more likely and harder to track.

When you multiply the efforts by 50, there is simply a waste of money that is generated by that duplication of administrivia.
What duplication? The duplication of responsible people doing their jobs? What does conducting a study to ascertain the need and costs involved with building a bridge in Idaho have to do with a process to establish a senior center in Kansas? These are two very typical earmarks. The only thing being duplicated now is a complete and utter lack of oversight because the folks charged with that task are too busy to concern themselves. The most baffling element to this is your continued argument that that is a good thing.

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I would bet anything that levels of corruption would be both higher and, because of local politics, harder to manage and stop. At least now we have infrastructure to start managing the problem.
If a guy across the street is paying off the mayor's brother who lives on the next block in order to obtain a city contract, none of the neighbors will know. They'll only know if the money is appropriated and dispersed as part of a last-minute earmark attachment to a federal defense bill in Washington.

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Rebuilding from the ground up is not always the best solution. It looks good on the white board but the astronomical number of changes, and overlapping interstate issues would make "de-Federalization" the most costly project this country has ever undertaken. And in the end, everyone would still pay about the same in taxes.
Forget rebuilding from the ground up. Let's just settle for starting a trend to reduce spending, reduce taxation, and reduce the size, scope, and number of federal agencies. Let's figure out a way to make that trend exciting and fashionable. That is what is required, nothing so dramatic as the impossible scenario you present. That is why the status quo prevails, because those profiting from the arrangement ridicule genuine attempts to improve it.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #47 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 09:57 PM
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What duplication? The duplication of responsible people doing their jobs? What does conducting a study to ascertain the need and costs involved with building a bridge in Idaho have to do with a process to establish a senior center in Kansas? These are two very typical earmarks. The only thing being duplicated now is a complete and utter lack of oversight because the folks charged with that task are too busy to concern themselves. The most baffling element to this is your continued argument that that is a good thing.
The duplication of having 50 sets of procurement mechanisms instead of a couple.

The commonality is that the elected official of the local districts had folks address needs for their districts that was otherwise unavailable. It is not as if the idea just came out of the sky [except for the nefarious dealings which are a different matter].

Most of these earmarks actually go through very specific, well established programs that already exist. When I looked up the Cripple Creek Bus earmark, as an example I found an infrastructure that encompassed all the criteria required for the grant.

Gamblers' shuttle gets terrorism funds

FEMA: Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP)

Oh, and I believe the system is essentially good as it provides the best level of service for the most people at the least cost and the most efficiency.

Quote:
If a guy across the street is paying off the mayor's brother who lives on the next block in order to obtain a contract, none of the neighbors will know. They'll only know if the money is appropriated and dispersed as part of a last-minute earmark attachment to a federal defense bill in Washington.
This is why there is oversight and it is getting tighter every year


Quote:
Forget rebuilding from the ground up. Let's just settle for starting a trend to reduce spending, reduce taxation, and reduce the size, scope, and number of federal agencies. Let's figure out a way to make that trend exciting and fashionable. That is what is required, nothing so dramatic as the impossible scenario you present. That is why the status quo prevails, because those profiting from the arrangement ridicule genuine attempts to improve it.
I agree with this pretty much completely [although the "That is what is required, nothing so dramatic as the impossible scenario you present" seems incongruous to the paragraph as my suggestions are similar, to fix the current problems by reducing spending, look at what services are necessary to manage this country.

While it looks really good on paper to say reduce the size, scope and number of federal agencies, reality says that the SERVICES are just going to have to be replicated at the state and local level and the total costs to the Country as a whole will be much more. While some states will provide only minimal services to their constituents, their constituents will be somewhat surprised when their wages don't go up and now they are paying for toll roads and bridges and higher sales taxes an higher school taxes and...while their Federal impact will only go down 15% or so.

You ask why I continue to argue that centralized government is better, simply put the "move services from Federal to State level" is just not fiscally practicable. It costs much more than it saves and the levels of effort to try and achieve this goal would be astronomical. Cleaning up the current system, with a multibillion dollar oversight budget would be a drop in the bucket in comparison.

McBear,
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post #48 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 10:05 PM
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The duplication of having 50 sets of procurement mechanisms instead of a couple.
Those mechanisms are already in place. We are only debating whether they should be allowed to do their jobs or not.

My sense is that you like the federal earmark program because it gives things to people they could either not afford or would not approve because cost outweighs usefulness. That is one reason among many that I oppose it. If you don't want to pay for something, you can't have it. Suffering and deprivation are a necessary consequence of capitalism. Replace that consequence with entitlement and we remove the impetus to achieve.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #49 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 10:17 PM
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I agree with this pretty much completely [although the "That is what is required, nothing so dramatic as the impossible scenario you present" seems incongruous to the paragraph as my suggestions are similar, to fix the current problems by reducing spending, look at what services are necessary to manage this country.

While it looks really good on paper to say reduce the size, scope and number of federal agencies, reality says that the SERVICES are just going to have to be replicated at the state and local level and the total costs to the Country as a whole will be much more. While some states will provide only minimal services to their constituents, their constituents will be somewhat surprised when their wages don't go up and now they are paying for toll roads and bridges and higher sales taxes an higher school taxes and...while their Federal impact will only go down 15% or so.

You ask why I continue to argue that centralized government is better, simply put the "move services from Federal to State level" is just not fiscally practicable. It costs much more than it saves and the levels of effort to try and achieve this goal would be astronomical. Cleaning up the current system, with a multibillion dollar oversight budget would be a drop in the bucket in comparison.
It would take many years to reach a point of actually reducing services, although we should most definitely continue past that point. The process would first target inefficiency and redundancy in our federal government, and that process would start very slowly and face countless challenges and battles in Congress. Elimination of the IRS, privatization of the postal service, elimination of needless federal bureaucracy and an assortment of superfluous federal agencies would all add the rolls of unemployment, and must proceed slowly.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #50 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-03-2008, 06:11 AM
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...
The thing that I tell them all [and a lesson I learned myself] is:
  • that you cannot rage against the machine from the outside.
  • you cannot simply declare the system broken, throw rocks at it and expect changes.
  • you cannot simply say the current system sucks and a different system would be better [unless you have really REALLY good data and a plan to back that up with numbers and hard analysis].
  • you cannot fix the machine without getting inside and getting your hands really dirty.
....
Bullshit.
1. Obviously one can, and most of us do. It may or may not be effective.
2. Obviously untrue. Read-up on Sam Adams.
3. See #1.
4. Depends on what you mean by hands dirty. See #2.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and that’s what I intend to reverse.

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