25 May 2010

Danger! Children* in charge!

(via DW) "Legislators are seeking the public's input in the budgeting process in order to make tough choices on what to fund, what to cut and where to find needed revenues..."

I suggest that we fire all the legislators and make the decisions ourselves. They have clearly failed.

Bottom Line: Incumbents who cannot do their job should be ineligible for re-election.

* Kids would probably do a better job...

11 comments:

  1. I'll have to disagree with you on this one.

    They is us, man. They is us.

    As for firing the legislators, that's possible, mostly. But, expecting some notion of "we" in this state to do better is pretty iffy.

    It's that damned democracy, is what it is.

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  2. Oh, they mean special interests need to voice their opinion on how the state needs to spend more money. Right! Hmmm. Maybe seeing how one got into the current situation is a clue on how to get out of the current situation. Maybe.

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  3. Mr. Heasley, what does "special interest" mean, anyway? Usually, it means "groups who don't agree with me", but if one really thinks about it, how else is democracy supposed to work, than with groups of people expressing their ideas? And does or does not the 1st Amendment protect speech and assembly? And does or does not that speech and assembly include supporting who you will?

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  4. Josh said... ‘Mr. Heasley, what does "special interest" mean, anyway? ‘

    Special interest is a single individual e.g. Al Gore or group of individuals e.g. PETA that have a specific agenda based on their specific vision that want to influence and/or impose their vision upon the more abstract majority group known as society. The outcome in many cases is that the minority vision supplants the majority due to money, lobbying and insider influence exercised by the special interest.

    “…. how else is democracy supposed to work, than with groups of people expressing their ideas? And does or does not the 1st Amendment protect speech and assembly? And does or does not that speech and assembly include supporting who you will?”

    We are not in a democracy we are a representative republic. Rather than a special interest needing to influence each individual within a “democracy” the special interest merely needs to influence the “representatives” of the republic. Hence one can poll society and find society fells one way regarding policy yet government imposes its will in a separate direction from society as special interests (the minority) influence a majority of representatives hence creating the minority vision as policy contrary to the society majority view.

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  5. Oh, I get it Josh! Totally a special interest is a group I don't agree with, because when I read Heasley's first post I thought he was talking about big business or big Ag or country club owners or someone with real power to consistently sway the elected officials, certainly not environmentalists:) This is the way I look at that little slice, but then of course, I'm sure someone will balance with the other side: What does your typical non-profit (PETA, Sierra Club group, whatever) have to gain from influencing a politician, and what have they got to do the influencing with? How about an oil company, other big corporation, etc? Now, use of and pursuit of money may be all well and good, but when people are trying to change laws on how the earth is used, I think I'll first listen to those with nothing tangible to gain and see what their point is. But I am pulling dangerously off topic. Good discussion you two - keep it up.

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  6. Mr. Heasley, you start off good, though very biased, but then you lose focus.

    You define a special interest well, but your examples betray your bias. Why didn't you give as examples, say, the American Insurance Association, or the NRA? These are special interest groups. So are AAA, AARP, SASS, CWA, etc. (I threw SASS in there for fun, but they still are a special interest).

    Then you lose focus. Technically, how do we get our representatives? To be honest, since I usually refer to our government as a "democratic republic", I got sloppy here to see if you'd bite. Wow, did you!

    But, it's a red herring. Ultimately, the decision for our representatives lay with the voting public. No more, and no less.

    Your description of how special interests work in our system is also a tad off-focus, though better. A representative does not need to follow the wishes of the majority, (thank God for that) or else we would just have a direct democracy.

    Special interests are made up of people who wish to participate in our largely open and transparent form of government. Some volunteer time, and others money. Sure, it ain't perfect, and it ain't pretty, but few alternatives are better, and even fewer are feasible.

    The Constitution protects speech and assembly for these reasons. We understand that we factionalize (Madison wrote a great piece on faction), and that, instead of trying to discourage these separate ideas, we should instead encourage them so effectively that they can argue amongst each other without resorting to violence, and also then realizing that, since each holds a minority view, it is vital to protect the rights to minority views.

    I'm not happy with the undue influence of super-wealth in our system, and I'm not happy when what I perceive to be a reasonably held position by the majority gets undercut by an unreasonable minority view. But, I am happy with the framework, and I see no better alternative than fostering and supporting citizen involvement.

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  7. Josh said...


    “Mr. Heasley, you start off good, though very biased, but then you lose focus.”

    Really? Or is it that my answer doesn’t fit your particular vision?

    “You define a special interest well, but your examples betray your bias.”

    They were merely examples, you interjected the bias.

    “Then you lose focus. Technically, how do we get our representatives? To be honest, since I usually refer to our government as a "democratic republic", I got sloppy here to see if you'd bite. Wow, did you!”

    It’s a representative republic.

    “Special interests are made up of people who wish to participate in our largely open and transparent form of government. Some volunteer time, and others money.”

    That is an extremely naïve position.

    “I'm not happy with the undue influence of super-wealth in our system, and I'm not happy when what I perceive to be a reasonably held position by the majority gets undercut by an unreasonable minority view. But, I am happy with the framework, and I see no better alternative than fostering and supporting citizen involvement.”

    I am very glad you have found utility in the current system.

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  8. Mr. Heasley, read the Federalist #10, from whence I get my concept of faction and of the concept of what you insist on labeling a representative republic (which is kinda redundant, but okay). Then, hopefully, you will see that I'm not being naive.

    I have definitely found utility in the current system. I would even argue that you have, too. I do not worry about my safety nearly so much as in other parts of the world, I am generally secure in my person, my belongings, and my family. I have the ability to better myself and my family. I'm not starving, I'm not anywhere near to starving. Shoot, I have time to argue with you online, and the ability, and I don't even have to worry about you calling the cops to arrest me, or you attacking me, even though we sharply disagree on many things. I'm doing well.

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  9. Michelle, there are two questions that need asking:

    [1] What does the "interest group" gain by influencing a politician? E.g., less regulation, more regulation, more (willing or unwilling) customers.

    [2] What does the politician have to gain by being influenced? E.g., more power, bigger budget.

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  10. ESV, good points - and I'll add that your examples are not exhaustive. They are important examples, but there are more reasons to act in the public sphere.

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  11. Joshua:

    Personally find The Federalist Papers In Modern Language Indexed for Today’s Political Issues, Merrill Press, edited by Mary E. Webster a very useable resource.

    We are not arguing. I’m always right and you are interesting. :-)

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