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Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland?

Posted by art_1 10 CA (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 3, 13 at 3:44

How do you feel about allowing petitions and popular voting on laws? This seems like it could be a good idea.

"Through referenda, citizens may challenge any law voted by federal parliament and through initiatives introduce amendments to the federal constitution, making Switzerland the closest state in the world to a direct democracy."

Here is a link that might be useful: Politics of Switzerland


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 3, 13 at 3:50

Letting Washington operate on its own certainly hasn't been working too well for the 99% lately.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I'll be leaving this Switzerland in a few days.

Walking around Geneva a couple of days ago with my Commie friend, she was pointing out some posters urging various laws under this system. Which led to my trying to convert her of course.

One of the posters dealt with a law proposed and a vote to allow or continue to DISALLOW gas stations from extending their open hours. As it stands now, the gas stations are not allowed to operate, say, all night. What!!!! , I say, you have a law that keeps a gas station from staying open as the owner chooses? Well, yes, they do.

Why, I ask.

"Well, think of the employees. They need to have the time to spend with their families", she says.

But, I say, "the owner can just hire someone else to work the other hours......"

Soon I'll be out of this country and back to a sane world.

Get ready.

au revoir

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

yes, of course. Like new england town-meeting decisions. But that would be far too much like true democracy, wouldn't it?


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 3, 13 at 9:35

"Soon I'll be out of this country and back to a sane world."

Where might that be?


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Killing time til my friend is off work and we hit the dance floor.

Where might that be?

My tiny little house will work.

Like new england town-meeting decisions. But that would be far too much like true democracy, wouldn't it?

My tiny little house in New England. George Orwell got the idea for Animal Farm from watching a little kid control a big horse pulling his cart, thinking that the horse, if he were smart enough, could easily overpower the little kid and get his way. The story unfolds and, if you read the book, you'll see where it led. Not a happy ending.

Democracy may be better than some alternatives, but it's certainly not ideal. After participating on this forum for a very long time, the idea that the rest of you, (try not to take it personally), could vote and control my life doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

au revoir.

Libertarian Hay. The real thing, unlike Marshall. You mind your business; I'll mind mine.

Getting psyched up for my returning to reality here.

Get ready.

au revoir

Cosmopolitan Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

In our republic, we elect representatives to make and enact laws. I prefer our form of democracy over others.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

On a small local scale yes!
The tyranny of the majority can often (not always) be seen as fear based & reactionary!
In this country often bought with misleading information by those with the most cash!

This post was edited by labrea on Tue, Sep 3, 13 at 11:22


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I fear that the varied population of this vast nation is too uneducated to rule by popular vote only. Could happen, but the 'learning curve' could be so slow that we'd soon be citizens of another country.

Heck, we can't even manage our State or Municipal governments!


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I'm with Joe... individually, humans can be very logical and calm, but in large groups we often tend to be fearful and reactionary, panicky and frenzied, more like lemmings rushing toward the proverbial cliff. Introduce misleading propaganda, deception, and exaggerate frightening misinformation, and I'm not so sure a "popular vote" would be the way to go.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

On a small local scale yes!

The tyranny of the majority can often (not always) be seen as fear based & reactionary!

In this country often bought with misleading information by those with the most cash!

All of the above apply to California's initiative process.

Grassroots activists and concerned voters circulate petitions to put an initiative on the ballot. Opposing or industry-friendly initiatives can also be placed on the ballot with paid signature gatherers, and industry-backed campaigns. Then there are the purely spite-driven initiatives regarding foreign languages, gender orientation, and immigration status.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

We have referenda here-you come up with an idea, get the required number of signatures and it shows up on the ballot. We have a ultra right wing guy who is determined to gut out the tax base of the state. He proposes laws and because they will cut taxes people vote for them and if they make it through the process of the courts(usually not) they wreck havoc with our internal state systems because the process is not DELIBERATIVE. That is the magic word in law creation. The process of changing laws needs to be deliberative. That is why a representative government as flawed as it is is better than a true democracy because when we vote to make our license plate taxes less(bases of funding for roads here) we have no idea in this world how much it costs to keep up said roads etc. We do not rearrange funding and don't have a clue what is actually going to be affected while the representatives if they are doing their jobs have to sit through all sorts of dull meetings where they discuss ad nauseum all those nitty details in a deliberative process where they deliberate on the affects of any changes. When we bitterly complain they aren't doing a good job-our only job is to hire people who will-plenty of people want to do it.


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I was gonna say yes, but now I remember "tyranny of the majority". So no, we sholdn't have referenda for US laws.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I would like to see some made available and let us vote via the internet. That way more people could register their vote than if they had to keep stopping by the polling place.

We could start out small and increase it as confidence and technical security is validated.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I'm just musing; wondering if the participants on HT are a good cross section sampling of an informed body. Although I think our lawmakers more often than not, overlook the fact they were elected to represent the people - given the opportunity, how good a job would we do?

Didn't internet voting come up once before? On the face of it, it seems like a good idea. Since somebody or some agency has access to all of our personal, financial, medical, etc. records anyway, why not add voting history to the mix?


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Nationally, no. Can you imagine the number of petitions going around at any one time? Yikes!


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

You had a good idea with referendums in California now anyone with cash enough can start another one up to repeal the previous vote as soon as it's passed.
In Michigan that piece of excrement of a Governor.
Emergency management law was defeated by the will of the majority only to have this floater put back a new emergency manager law without bi partisan support & written so the voters could not override it again!


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Hay, good to see you again! Glad you are having fun. Don't forget to bring us a present from Switzerland. ;-)

Back to the conversation. Mob rule sounds like a good idea until you get something like Prop 8. All you need is 50% + 1 vote to, say, reinstate slavery. There should be far more brakes put on mob rule than on a representative democracy/republic.

Actually, there are theoretical brakes put on legislators. It's the Constitution, although they handily ignore and/or redefine it to suit their agendas. Mobs don't necessarily have to adhere to the Constitution. They can just do their damage and then others go through protracted legal battles to undo their damage.

On the other hand, having representatives doesn't necessarily work out well either. They'll throw you under the bus in an instant for lobbyist money or their own self-interests. I haven't been overly impressed with the so-called "intelligence" of legislators and their devious behaviors. I don't find legislators to be any more intelligent than a lot of people. Add in that they are smarmy and not particularly trustworthy, and I'm undecided as to which would be the better system.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

So according to this board, a popular vote on popular voting says no to popular voting, is that about right?

In a way I think the current state of affairs may be somewhat self regulated. In other words, no matter the type of government, or whether a 'reset button' were to be pressed, there would still be the same amount of industrious, lazy, greedy, generous, well educated, less educated people, and things pretty much fall into place.

I think it might be beneficial not necessarily to vote on every law, but for special cases. For example, what about Congress allowing insider trading?


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

The key is being informed. - the problem is that if money buys congress it can also buy constituents. Think of all the political advertising we have now, then multiply it by a factor of 1,000. Or just think of when we had cigarette ads on t.v.- corporations use advertising because it works.

So If we had a vibrant press, and a well educated population, maybe it would work.

However, I live in a housing cooperative, and even something mundane like re-doing a roof deck becomes a real chore-on so many levels, so I see the wisdom of representatives and assigned leaders.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"So If we had a vibrant press, and a well educated population, maybe it would work."

If we had a free press, not biased or bought, and not given to circulating misinformation and propaganda.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

bon jour

I'm not a history buff, but someone I know is, and he has suggested to me that the framers of our constitution, an elite group, really were not so interested in letting the "masses" control our law making.

I don't think I am confident enough to encourage the "masses" to control or even have a say in my destiny. I was shocked in the recent past, and, I think I have this right, that something on the order of 25 percent of our population doesn't finish high school. At least it takes a bright, educated person to do what's needed to become a lawmaker.

Meanwhile in Switzerland, my friend tells me if you like to work, too bad. It is Swiss law that you MUST, not can, take two contiguous weeks vacation each year. But, but, but... I LIKE to work. Too bad, we've decided that it's best that you lounge around for a couple of weeks each year. My friend's parting words this morning, "you can see why I like to work in Geneva". I'm thinking, "work". You mean "not work"?

In addition, you get 2 days vacation each month. 24 days, "work days", over the course of the year of vacation, two weeks of which must be taken contiguous. That's not counting all the holidays.

God bless the rich Swiss bankers. Somebody's got to create some wealth to support all these policies. Policies voted in I presume by this kind of voting practice.

Meanwhile, in Commie France, there's no need to tip after a meal. Just a little small change will do. There's a law that requires that something like 18 percent of the tab is automatically added as a gratuity. Makes for really lousy service with a touch of attitude when you eat out.


au revoir.

Get ready, I'm coming back soon.

Cosmopolitan Hay, soon to join the masses again.

Haz...getting used to these kezboards is a pain.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I don't know Hay, the stuff you're saying about Switzerland sounds pretty good to me.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I don't know Hay, the stuff you're saying about Switzerland sounds pretty good to me.

Are you a gas station owner with four kids that you're working hard to send to college and would like to keep your station open for longer hours so that you can help them along?

A gas station owner who has a friend who has four kids and would love to put in a few extra hours to send his kids to school?

Would you like to travel late at night and avoid the traffic jams but don't want to risk running out of gas a hundred miles from home at 2 AM?

Have you ever worked at a beautiful public garden that you love and care more about how it looks than getting home early, and would put in the extra hours for free, but the union, that you're not a member of won't allow? I have.

Have you ever tried to start a business, run a business?

Walk down the streets of a big city. Check out the next ten people you meet along the way. Do you have a problem with these ten people deciding your work conditions? How long, for how much, and when? After that, who knows what else they'll want to control about your life.

If you can answer "no" to all these questions, then Switzerland may be the place for you.

Switzerland is great in large part because of the rich bankers and the rich of the world who want to live in this wonderful place. Not because of the masses deciding your life.

Soon Cosmopolitan Hay will join you back in the states. You want me to decide how you live your life? No problema. Do I want you to decide how I live my life? We have a big problem.

Liberty. It's worth fighting for.

Cosmopolitan Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

A popular election of the President without electoral votes would be nice!


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I agree Labrea-we have already changed it once, why not again especially in these well connected times.

I don't suppose when the founders first set us up they thought that congress would have so very much to do as they do now but the world was much bigger in those days and just distance alone would be enough to keep most laws local-times change.

Switzerland is a very conservative country. They are not the only one with work limits. Most European counties have limits of sorts. Even little relatively poor Austria has a mandated month holiday. Over time is frowned upon-they are thinking of workers being forced to work overtime so business owners don't have to have so many workers and putting your neighbor out of work is bad for the country and tacky beside. So many of the things that we work overtime for are provided by their government agencies.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

They voted against minarets! It was nice to see the same hysteria!


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

patriciae: " . . . while the representatives if they are doing their jobs have to sit through all sorts of dull meetings where they discuss ad nauseum all those nitty details in a deliberative process where they deliberate on the affects of any changes. "

I'm not sure they do this anymore. Way too often, I think their votes are are bought and paid for in advance. They will vote based on the lining of their own pockets. I'm thinking they probably rush through any discussions on (most) legislation, or if there is lengthly discussion, it's more like they're actors in a play. Pretending to consider effects of the legislation when really, all they want to do is get the he!! out of DC and spend time with the mistress, I mean wife.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Are you a gas station owner with four kids that you're working hard to send to college and would like to keep your station open for longer hours so that you can help them along?

Seriously? We should fail to regain control over our governance so that "gas station owners" can earn money? I think you really mean shareholders in energy companies, and yes, we should definitely mind those mo-fo's business.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Putting things to a popular vote by the people doesn't always work... look at Proposition 8 in California as an example. Some things should not be voted on this way, like the civil liberties of people. Too often, prejudices and personal ideals come into play.

I think the way our government is supposed to work is a decent way... it's just a crying shame that money has so much influence and power these days.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Ditto jodik. Every last word.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

DH and I lost two years of our lives at meetings of our small city's government. We were leading a community fight against the developer of a 20-acre mall. (We won!) We had to sit through hours of other discussion before the meeting was open to public comment.

My observation is that the smaller the issue, the more people feel competent to comment on it. Few contest the big-money projects, but *everybody* has an idea about how many shrubs are required to screen a new parking lot.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I know the answer to that one! Zero shrubs. They make good hiding places for criminals. People don't ever think about those things when they're setting stuff up. C'mon people, security is an important factor.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

polly vous francee?

Translate this for me.

I think I can translate a little bit: The Smiling Politician seems to be a "socialiste".


Something seems to have gotten lost in translation with my friend in Geneva. I thought she was saying that the gas pumps were turned off at night and that was the issue. Later she says, no, that the pumps can be used with just a credit card, even without an attendant being around. Did I lose something again in translation because that sounds very dangerous to me? I imagine a situation in which someone drives off and rips the pump hose out and gas is running down the street.

But, she later clarifies the closings. The new version is just talking about the "convenience store" portion of the gas stations. Which is not quite as bad, but still bad in my mind. Keeping people from doing what they want with their business as a start, but more importantly, perhaps, keeping me from buying Cheetos on my way home from dance late at night and I get the munchies. I need those Cheetos!!!

pnbrown, you like controlling people's lives? You think you can decide for me how I should operate my business in my best interest better than me? You like deciding when I can buy Cheetos? Commies, fascists, slavedrivers...you'll fit right in.

Libertarian Hay... the real thing.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I don't want people who can't see beyond their next meal to decide my fate. They see that the rich have something they want and figure that they can simply take it with no consequences for tomorrow's meal. Greed mixed with stupidity.

Aesop had these people in mind with The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs

"The majority of illustrations of "The Goose that laid the Golden Eggs" picture the farmer despairing after discovering that he has killed the goose to no purpose. This was one of several fables applied to political issues by the American illustrator Thomas Nast. In this case his picture of the baffled farmer, advised by a 'Communistic Statesman', referred to the rail strike of 1877 and appeared in Harpers Weekly for March 16, 1878. Captioned "Always killing the goose that lays the golden eggs", the farmer stands for the politically driven union members. His wife and children sorrow in the background.[7]

A man ahead of his time, that Mr. Nast.

And even with our advantage of hindsight, we still don't get the message.

Libertarian Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Where are the eggs (jobs)? The goose has had plenty of time to get fat without taxes...but has produced no jobs (eggs)!


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Jodi, at 9:52, well said!

Hay, you yank our chains quite well and Im sometimes relieved when you take a break for awhile to go dancing with your beautiful women, but Im also always glad to see you back - even if you are yanking our chains as you enter the forum!
But, it wouldnt really be you if you didnt.

It sounds like your extended holiday was heaven on earth. If I believed in heaven in the first place, of course! ;)


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Hay's mistaken belief in the freedoms that unfettered capitalism brings to the masses mirrors the naive 19th century hope that the rule by the masses would not rapidly devolve into rule by clique.

The reality is that all forms of government become partially or totally corrupted by power, whether immediately or over periods of time. How much economic activity is regulated has zero effect on that reality.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I would have to say it is Hay who lives in the real world.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"The reality is that all forms of government become partially or totally corrupted by power, whether immediately or over periods of time. How much economic activity is regulated has zero effect on that reality."

I certainly don't disagree with the idea that governments have a strong tendency to become corrupt.

And, yet, as I point out, many of the people on this forum are always strongly advocating to give our government more and more control over our lives. And then, in their very next breath, they're complaining about how this same government is so inept in what they end up actually doing.

You give the government the power over your life and then complain about their abuse of that power.

Don't give them any more power than is absolutely necessary.

It's not necessary that the government decides how many hours I keep my convenience store open. It's not necessary that the government decide how much vacation time I should take.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Thanks, Robin... and Mylab.

Capitalism without reasonable regulation or ethics is just short of stealing... but we all know this.

I dunno... whatever you gotta tell yourself to sleep at night, I guess... (that would be the general "you", not anyone in particular.)


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I'd like to suggest a different perspective from any that I have seen yet.

I think that public referendum might be a lot like a draft. I think it might actually force a lot of people who don't participate in our democracy (much less participate in being an informed public) to get more informed and more active.

Sure, there needs to be some sort of minority protection, and something that works much faster than having to file suit with SCOTUS.

But I really have faith in my countrymen that they want to care and that they want to be empowered ... it's just so confusing with our 24 hour news cycle constantly seeking to disperse our priorities, and with the cynical and widespread knowledge that our dollars have a great deal more meaning than our votes.

"There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America." Bill Clinton.

I would love to see how public referendum could transform our country.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I would trust the votes of my fellow countrymen and women a lot more if people weren't so easily bamboozled by our propagandist media, their oftentimes extreme religious ideals and prejudices, and money weren't such an influence...

But we can too obviously see that forces are trying hard to take away logic, common sense, an educated view, etc... and trying hard to input fallacy, divide the public, inject religion, play upon fears, ramp up prejudices, etc...

Frankly, I wouldn't trust various segments of our population to vote objectively or with a suitable amount of knowledge...


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Well, to refine my point, or perhaps I wasn't clear enough, I really do think the reason that people are so "easily bamboozled" as you put it, is because of the anxiety created by hopelessness.

I think when people feel enfranchised and empowered that they are less likely to be taken in by attempts to create anxiety by the marketing forces that run the news media.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

My own situation often feels hopeless, TxanGoddess... and certainly a lot of things in our world do, too.. but I think that's all the more reason to seek out the truth, to keep pushing forward, to fully utilize logic, critical thought, and common sense in my world view and in what directs my actions.

As just a citizen with a single vote and no ludicrously huge bank account with which to bribe any public officials, I can't make much of a difference when it comes to the future of our planet, our nation... so it is what it is. You just deal with it and do the best you can.

But I still want to know the truth. I still want to know what's happening out there in the big, bad world... even if it's heinous.

What's the worst that can happen? I can die? Yeah.. and? That's inevitable.. why fear it?

But I surely don't want anyone else who doesn't have their eyes completely open and can't look at the world objectively and fairly making life decisions for me!



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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

The populations is fickle!


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

The populations is fickle!


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Speaking of unions, Mexican teacher's unions are showing us union's true colors these days.

""We're going to reorganize and go back," said a masked teacher who gave only his first name, Juan Carlos, as he waited in an alley with about 10 other demonstrators. "It's not going to stay like this. The government isn't going to repress us."

Pena Nieto's, (Mexico's President), new standardized system of test-based hiring and promotion is expected to give the government the tools to break teachers unions' near-total control of school staffing. That control includes the corrupt sale and inheritance of teaching jobs, and it has been widely blamed for much of the poor performance of Mexican schools, which have higher relative costs and worse results than any other country in the 34-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

With the education reforms now law, the teachers say they are trying to maintain pressure to protect their rights and privileges as the government puts the changes into effect and reduces union control over teacher hiring and assignment."

Mob rule. Unions.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

And jobs?

There's always a job out there. What you really want is a job that suits you. Near your home, not too hard to do, pays well,....

You think you can just legislate these jobs. Easy solution.

They can afford it.

"The bill, approved by the city council two months ago, would have required big retailers to pay a roughly 50 percent premium on the U.S. capital's minimum wage of $8.25 per hour. Backers said that Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, and others could easily afford it to enter the District of Columbia's fast-growing market."

Not to be outdone, California wants to drive all the employers out of the state.

"The bill, which Governor Jerry Brown said he will sign, would increase the minimum wage for hourly workers in the most populous U.S. state from the current rate of $8 an hour to $9 in July 2014, and to $10 by January 2016.

"The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs," Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement. "This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy."

I don't know about you, but, if I had a struggling business that depended on low wage, unskilled workers to survive, I'd be giving serious consideration to moving out of state or figuring out how to automate the work and eliminate some staff. So much for helping "families that are struggling in this harsh economy."

Enjoy the goose.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

It would work better from a 'top down' approach rather than 'bottom up' in my opinion, if that makes any sense. We should be introducing changes at the billion and up level, not $8.50 vs $9.00.

Think about the changes in prices of common items during the past decade. Do you think these changes are accurately reflected in wages or employment rates?

This post was edited by art_1 on Sat, Sep 14, 13 at 17:16


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"Think about the changes in prices of common items during the past decade. Do you think these changes are accurately reflected in wages or employment rates?"

I think the statistics show that, for the most part, it's only the very rich who have gained income over the past decades. The rest of us are treading water.

That means, of course, that we should shoot the goose and eat it.

We poor slobs need to adjust our expectations. It's the poor in China, willing to do the same work that we refuse to do for very little pay, that is the problem for us slobs. With the size of the world shrinking, we can't escape that reality and they've got a lot of very, very poor people who are clamoring to catch up to us. You can't stop it. Killing the goose won't help.

The automobile workers of a generation ago had a good, fat life. Unions helped them achieve that. That greed hastened the move to foreign soil of those jobs. Today, in bankrupt Detroit, their kids and grandkids of this greed are paying the price for that nice goose meal.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

If you remember, the Swiss were bringing up a vote to decide if they would allow people to work when they wanted to work. Hard for me to even imagine such an attitude, but that's Commie thinking for you: The state knows better than you about when you should work. Crazy, I know.

My Commie friend that I stayed with sent me this article.

The French Commies at work. Or not....

"“I really don’t understand,” said one customer, quoted in the Catholic daily La Croix. “If everyone has agreed to work, why can’t you open the store?”

For an American coming from the world of 24/7 capitalism, where the market and individual freedom are hallowed values, the French approach to labor seems upside down. Here is a country with a 10.5 per cent unemployment rate, mired in a prolonged recession and desperate for growth, whose national debt has spiraled from seventy-three per cent of G.D.P. to more than a hundred per cent since the recession began---and it’s preventing businesses from remaining open and keeping people who want to work from doing so?"

....

" “The French labor system is based on the flawed assumption that if everyone worked fewer hours, there would be more jobs to go around,” Zylberberg, an economist at the University of Paris I, told me. “It’s based on the idea that the job market is a zero-sum game in which the more one person works, the less is left for others. That’s simply wrong.” In 2000, France passed a law instituting a thirty-five-hour work week; since then, the number of hours has indeed gone down---but unemployment has gone up. "

Craziness.

What next? Married people tend to live longer than single people. Will Commies decide to force me to get married? Dear God, protect me from people who want to help me.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Probably in your case they would require you to remain single?


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They would want Hay to prohaycreate. :)


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

The insanity continues.

Can the masses really be this stupid? Yes.

Pay me $33,600 a year not to work and I'll never work again.

"A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ... about $2,800 per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population."

...

"A separate proposal to limit monthly executive pay to no more than what the company's lowest-paid staff earn in a year, the so-called 1:12 initiative, faces a popular vote on Nov. 24."

Some executives are actually suggesting that they may move their companies out of Switzerland. Imagine that. Enjoy the goose dinner, you fools.

Meanwhile in Venezuela.

"Prices are soaring at an annualized 45 percent, a black market for dollars is booming, and basic goods from flour to toilet-paper are often scarce."

Another day in Commie Fantasyland. Dear God, protect me from people wanting to help me.


Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Hayaway, I wish you would rush home and save us from the TP-ers trashing Washington DC. Or have you changed your investment strategy to a Swiss-centered investment portfolio so that the dunning of the dollar will have less impact on your portfolio. How else can I explain to your fans why you are so incensed over the workings of Swiss democracy?

BTW, your link demonstrates why we need you for on-the-scene reporting; perhaps you could do some copy editing on the content of the link. TIA

There are Commies everywhere. I saw a campaign button highlighting the change in names from Commie to Liberal in contemporary political conversations. So, every Liberal is a blood relation to former and current Commies around the world. You must be gratified to be vindicated in your campaign to save us from Commie=Liberals.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"So, every Liberal is a blood relation to former and current Commies around the world. You must be gratified to be vindicated in your campaign to save us from Commie=Liberals."

I haven't seen you going on about how much of a Libertarian you are these days. Your true colors are finally showing through the facade.

It's true, the names change: Commie, Socialist, Progressive, Liberal, but the underlying philosophy stays the same. And the final result is always the same, too: Misery.

In a capitalist society, the smartest, most innovative will rise to the top. In a Commie society the most ruthless will rise to the top.

The ones, in the end, who will suffer the most are the stupid poor. You who advocate for all this nonsense will be the ones who will end up at the bottom of the heap when it finally ends.

I wish I could save you. I've got enough to do to save myself. Good luck. Not that luck will really help you. You're beyond help. We're on a course to disaster.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Yes, Disaster Capitalism is hardly a friend of us libertarians (small ell kind). I have given up expecting in my 77th year a world searching for some sort of libertarian utopia, that Jeffersonian vision of yeoman and craftsmen creating and sustaining communities across this land. Your capitalists will have none of that nonsense.

To persist will cause us to be classified as some sort of terrorists. Who will save us from the reactions to that categorization?


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Speaking of ruthless behavior. Is it just coincidence that there was a close connection between the unions and the mob in the heyday of Jimmy Hoffa and the unions and the mob? Extortion worked well for both organizations.

"The automobile workers of a generation ago had a good, fat life. Unions helped them achieve that. That greed hastened the move to foreign soil of those jobs. Today, in bankrupt Detroit, their kids and grandkids of this greed are paying the price for that nice goose meal."

And now the extortionists are moving in on the car makers in the South. I was just reading A New York Times article about it.

I like the antiunion shirt that some of the workers are wearing:

" “If you want a union, move to Detroit.”

Good luck, automobile workers. I hope there's enough people among you who remember the evils of unions. People who can, at least, slow the coming of the disaster.

Hay's back, Marshall. Hope you enjoyed my vacation as much as I did.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I did Hay, Now that the dancing has stopped.

PS that is not the disaster to which I referred. Unions of industrial workers is so passe.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Re the 35-hour work week in France:

There are two (at minimum) very strong arguments for or against this. The French people strongly value family and their primary purpose is to work to live, not live to work. They go to their ancestors' homes on the weekends and instill in their children the importance of family ties. They go home for lunch (two hours) to spend time together. Having a 35-hour week which is the law, ensures that this "family value" is available to them

Capitalism, on the other hand, at its worst, demands that workers work as long hours at the least amount of pay possible so that the "owners" will realize the maximum profit.

So, if you are a family-oriented person who is French, and this is part of your culture, you will most assuredly be in favor of the 35 hour work week.

We have friends in Paris. She owns her own consulting business so is able to set her own hours. Her husband has several jobs (by choice - he is a professor which allows him time to act as a self-employed consultant in his field, etc.). I would say he is a workaholic. He works many more hours, per week, than she. This is their choice and they are not hampered in it. They are upper-income. So, no French law is encumbering their life-style. But, for those who are more dependent on one lower-paying job, dependent on their employers' largesse, the law makes a lot of sense.

And, Hay, we wouldn't have a 40-hour work week if it wasn't for unions. A century ago, only Sundays were days off. Spending time with family was not part of the lexicon, nor was leisure-time activities. And, if you were hurt or killed while working, too bad. Suck it up, family members. Your main wage earner can no longer earn a living. Same with unemployment compensation.

I prefer living with today's laws than the lack of them 100 years ago.

This post was edited by dockside on Mon, Oct 7, 13 at 23:32


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"So, if you are a family-oriented person who is French, and this is part of your culture, you will most assuredly be in favor of the 35 hour work week."

I don't have a problem with anyone deciding that they only want to work 35 hours a week. That's more than I worked on average over the past 10 or 15 years. And that's only in the Summer. In the Winter, for the most part, I didn't work at all.

MY CHOICE. I was doing gardening work and the work I chose allowed me to do that. If I wanted OR NEEDED more money and less leisure, then I'd have picked some other work or some other job within that industry. MY CHOICE!!

I also worked on Sundays. MY CHOICE. My employer wanted to work with me on Saturdays and Sundays and I was quite willing to accommodate that. We had a great working relationship.

We didn't need the state to decide our arrangement.

I've also worked at union controlled work places where I was STOPPED from doing work I wanted to do and the employer wanted done because the union had some dumb rules prohibiting it. Rules to ensure their power over me.

Meanwhile, in Switzerland, a gas station owner can't open his convenience store on Sunday. Why? Because people should spend time with their families on Sunday? Meanwhile in Switzerland, people are REQUIRED to take two consecutive weeks vacation. Why? Because people should take some extended leisure time?

I doubt it.

If you want to spend more time with your family, take more vacation time or do anything else you want, fine. Let me and my employer decide how WE want to arrange our work. I don't need a union or the state to help me with that.

Freedom. It's worth something.

"And, Hay, we wouldn't have a 40-hour work week if it wasn't for unions."

That is union propaganda. Ever notice how union leaders and politicians love to get out in front of the parade? Nothing wrong with establishing a standard 40 hour work week. If that's what people want, companies will compete and accommodate that.

Meanwhile, I can work 35 hours a week and sit around all Winter.

Freedom, I love it.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Hayseedman said:
We poor slobs need to adjust our expectations. It's the poor in China, willing to do the same work that we refuse to do for very little pay, that is the problem for us slobs. With the size of the world shrinking, we can't escape that reality and they've got a lot of very, very poor people who are clamoring to catch up to us. You can't stop it. Killing the goose won't help.
The automobile workers of a generation ago had a good, fat life. Unions helped them achieve that. That greed hastened the move to foreign soil of those jobs. Today, in bankrupt Detroit, their kids and grandkids of this greed are paying the price for that nice goose meal.

Your right wing ideological lecture is filled with opinion masquerading as fact. Perhaps your next vacation stop should be to China to see how the manufacturing model you describe has worked out for them. You better check first though to see if the Bejing airport, the expressways, manufacturing plants, schools etc. have been reopened after the recent shutdown because of severe air pollution. When they do open, perhaps you can visit some of the solar panel manufacturing plants and find out about the Chinese government's commitment to the environment and to research, develop and manufacture products that reduce their carbon footprint, including solar and wind.

As far as the auto workers from a generation ago, they white flighted out of inner city Detroit and most of the retired workers have something left because of the Unions they worked for. And our auto industry is recovering thanks in part to our government backing loans when the financial market crashed as a result of unregulated financial markets.

Now have fun dancing with your friends.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dr. Detroit


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"We poor slobs need to adjust our expectations. It's the poor in China, willing to do the same work that we refuse to do for very little pay, that is the problem for us slobs. With the size of the world shrinking, we can't escape that reality and they've got a lot of very, very poor people who are clamoring to catch up to us. You can't stop it. Killing the goose won't help."

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you!!!!

Not only are the poor, hardworking Chinese doing the industrial work for us in China, but they're managing to bring the same hard work to our shores. Well, at least the French shores for now. With the French attitude toward work, it's easy to see how the Chinese find it a good opportunity.

"A newspaper open on the bar of this Paris cafe tells of a row over France's Sunday trading rules. But the bar owner, Zhang Chang, says he has little time to follow such debates. He's too busy working.

While French workers worry the country's long economic downturn could mean the end of laws banning Sunday trading and enforcing a 35-hour week, Zhang and Chinese immigrants like him are quietly getting ahead the old-fashioned way - 11 hours a day, six days a week."

....

There are signs that French attitudes to longer working hours are starting to shift. In a first for the country, workers from home improvement (DIY) chains recently took to the streets to protest a court ruling ordering them to close on Sunday, when many other stores are also banned from trading. Employees of cosmetics store Sephora are also campaigning to overturn another ruling, which forbade its Champs Elysees outlet to stay open until midnight."

I love the grocery store nearby. A couple of years ago it was bought by some enterprising Koreans. Sometimes it's difficult to understand the Korean who works the fish department, but, boy, is it nice to be able to buy fresh fish, hauled up from New York City on an almost daily basis.

Sure beats the old days of sardines.

Ah so....

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"People aren't hungry here anymore," he said. "But they're going to have to get back to work, because the new immigrants are ready to work twice as hard, for twice as long, and they will end up being the bosses."

Poor French unions. Actually having to WORK!!!

"However President Francois Hollande, unwilling to raise the unions' ire, has so far defended the ban on Sunday trading and, despite a reform this year that eased some rigidity in labor rules, has sidestepped the issue of the 35-hour work week.

While the debate continues, the Chinese plough on."

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Last night my ride home from dance coincided with the NPR hour long program, Ted Radio Hour, a program that I don't know if I'd heard before. Last night's program was all about income inequality in the world and included several TED presenters and their take on all the ramifications of the inequality.

I thought it was interesting and you might think so, too.

Dave, you especially might find it interesting, in part because a lot of the discussion was about why, in sprite of our efforts over the years, we're not succeeding in Africa.

I thought it was interesting that someone in the presenters said something about how, in Africa, it's not really an economic system at work, it's a political system. That perked up my ears: I'm thinking that pretty much describes the problem I see with what you get from Socialism in all its forms.

I loved the segment about why "Western Civilization" became the dominant economic winner over the last 500 years, but how that's changing quickly in favor of the countries like China that are catching on to what made the West so successful. They're catching up. That explains a lot about our falling behind.

Good stuff in there.

The link goes to the front page of the site and has last night's program on that front page. If you link later than today, I'd imagine you might be seeing another, updated page. If that's the case, this might be a better link The program is called "Haves and Have Nots)

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I think I'm getting a better understanding of the French psyche: They have no concept of freedom.

"For sale: French rifle. Never fired. Dropped once."

From the same people that gave up so easily when the Germans invaded, not only do we get laws that keep a man from working when he chooses, he can't even sell you his product at a cheaper price.

The state decides when you can work and what to do with your product. Ah, Freedom!!!!

You must only buy from state approved sellers.

At the price the state dictates. Ah, Freedom!!!

""If tomorrow large chains began selling books at a 30 percent discount, like in the U.S., we independent booksellers would be finished.""

Finished?

Actually have to work?

Gott im Himmel!!!

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Hay! Hay! Moi ami!

You need to post these in French onto French "sujets d'actualité"


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Those Swiss seem determined to eat the goose

You'd think, after seeing, close-up, the horrors of Socialism that engulfed Europe a 100 years ago, the Swiss would be a little smarter than they seem to be.

But, no.

"Swiss voters are seen to have rejected a proposal to limit executives’ pay to 12 times that of junior employees, a measure that would have gone further than any other developed nation.

The measure was opposed by 66 percent of voters, SRF television projections showed as of 2 p.m. local time.""

Which still means that one-third of the population is really, really stupid.

" In Spain, the country’s Socialist party is proposing to apply the same rule.

“Today we’ve lost,” Young Socialist party leader David Roth told SRF. “But we’ll continue to fight long term.”"


Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Meanwhile, In Commie France.
If you're going to be cooking up a goose, the French probably do it best.

France’s Hollande Gets Court Approval for 75% Millionaire Tax

You know the routine:

"French President Francois Hollande received approval from the country’s constitutional court to proceed with his plan to tax salaries above 1 million euros at 75 percent for this year and next.

Same ole..

As is typical, I love the comments the most:

"France, welcome back to 3rd world status! Oui oui!"

...

"Socialists would happily destroy the country if they thought it would hurt the rich more than the poor."

...

"Well, you know the French, they will simply surrender without uttering a word."

...

"Good thing this is only 2 years, lol! Good luck suckers!"

...

"Watch as all the top-earners flee France or hide their income. Raising taxes on the rich will NEVER solve their money problems, it only appeases the easily-influenced, lazy, liberal morons at the bottom."

...

"Let me see if I've got this right...I put in 100% of my effort and get to keep 25% of my money and you put in 0% effort and get to take 75% of my money. Nice non-work if you can get it. Can we switch places please?"

...

"Pure democracy is mob rule !"

...

"Wait until the marxists and obamaites try to institute a wealth tax. This is coming. All who believe in free markets, individual liberty and individual responsibility must stand and rise...NOW. The democrat party and 2/3 of the Republican party want every penny we have...they want votes and that is how they get them through your money. support Tea Party-Libertarian-Conservatives or we are done."

...

"This Hollande guy is a complete joke and failure of the French presidency. It is enough already that he looks and acts like sissy. But he was also a secret communist.

The fact of life is that in the Western world the rich are rich mainly because they work hard and they know how to create wealth. All this socialist redistribution in favor of the good-for-nothing poor will end badly for the country in the end. Talk about killing incentives to work hard to become rich (what's the point if your government will rob you of 75% of your money?). Better do nothing and live on the social welfare paid by the rich..."

...

"This is France remember ... The nation that invented the Guillotine so they could execute rich people faster without running out of rope."

...

"Taxation in all its forms is merely legalized plunder. People should resist handing over the efforts of the fruits of their labor in the form of time, toil, blood, sacrifice and tears due to the results of a popularity contest. The way things are now, productive people serve as slaves to a system that does very little to help those who work, panders to those who won't in exchange for votes, and comes back time after time demanding even more!."

Nothing new here.

Still, it's good to be reminded.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Why so much screeching about high taxes on high-earners when most will never get close to it, but not a word about the property tax or the sales tax, which most every one pays?


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"Why so much screeching about high taxes on high-earners when most will never get close to it, but not a word about the property tax or the sales tax, which most every one pays?"

In some part because I think that taxing the rich really does amount to killing the proverbial goose. Maybe you don't see it that way.

The rich create a lot of the wealth. You want to tax the creation of wealth? Wealth that gets left behind when the rich die? They really don't consume nearly as much as they produce.

A bit of it is like tearing down a factory to get at the wood to heat you for the night. And tomorrow?

If I were as shortsighted as you, I'd be all for it, too. I'm not so shortsighted. That's why.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

They really don't consume nearly as much as they produce.

Whereas the low wage guy consumes everything he earns. Every extra dollar earned goes toward food, rent, consumables .. putting that dollar right back to work in the economy.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"putting that dollar right back to work in the economy."

Naive Economics 101.

Dollars don't work. People and machines do.

"Every extra dollar earned goes toward food, rent, consumables. "

Enjoy that goose. And tomorrow?

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Enjoy that goose. And tomorrow?

When you are living day to day, often there is only today. Not everyone can save some for tomorrow. I'm glad for you that you haven't had to live like that.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"When you are living day to day, often there is only today. Not everyone can save some for tomorrow. I'm glad for you that you haven't had to live like that."

These poor people continue to have kids. Their tomorrow?

I do think you touch on an issue that I'm always thinking about. I think it's hard for anyone to allow people to suffer today, even if they know, or should know, that it will increase suffering tomorrow.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

'I'm glad for you that you haven't had to live like that."

Don't be presumptuous.

I've been very poor in my life. Even then, I had the same attitude that I do today.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"The rich create a lot of the wealth"

No they don't, machines do, as you said yourself.

"A bit of it is like tearing down a factory to get at the wood to heat you for the night. "

If you mean highly taxing great control over wealth is like that, then no not even slightly. It is like the local government requiring the owner of the factory to contribute a not inconsiderable share of the produce for the commonwealth. It's interesting that you would betray such a profound misunderstanding about taxation, so as to liken it to physical destruction when it clearly is not.

Local governments gain all or nearly all of their revenue from exactly what the anti-tax crowd deplore: wealth redistribution. The real thing, because little governments can't implement "quantitative easing".

So I'll ask you again: why is that, and why no squawking about it? Try to answer it this time, instead of evading with references to folk tales.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Direct popular election of the President would be nice.
****************

Really. Then we would need every President to get 50% plus 1 votes. Do you want a President who gets the victory with 31% of the votes while the other 4 candidates split the rest? That's a President who the majority of the country voted against.

Now I know you're referring to George W Bush. But this happened three other times.
John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison.

In the case of Adams, he lost to Andrew Jackson, but the electoral vote was tied, so the election was decided by the House of Representatives. And since Jackson's party was in the minority....

Our Constitution says the President must be elected by a majority of the electors. If we had this system where the winning candidate didn't get that 50% plus one vote, Bill Clinton would not have been President. He never got 50% of the popular vote in either election, (46% and 49%) but he played the Electoral College and got the majority. A majority of the nation voted against Bill Clinton.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"No they don't, machines do, as you said yourself."

You're playing with words. You think dollars work, too?

"A bit of it is like tearing down a factory to get at the wood to heat you for the night. "

"If you mean highly taxing great control over wealth is like that, then no not even slightly. It is like the local government requiring the owner of the factory to contribute a not inconsiderable share of the produce for the commonwealth."

Contributions that would have gone to building factories (wealth of a people), instead, go to consumption (gone forever).

"Local governments gain all or nearly all of their revenue from exactly what the anti-tax crowd deplore: wealth redistribution."

I'm not anti-tax. I'm not anti-government. I'm against thinking that taking the wealth from the rich, especially in the extreme like France, will, in the long run, help anyone. Especially the poor, but all of us. In so many ways.

Back to reality. I don't think I'd eat a goose that lays the golden eggs.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Which of course begs the question: "What happens when you run out of rich people to tax?"

We all know the poorest of Americans are wealthy by other countries standards. Just do a Google at the poor and see how many have cars, color TV's, heat, air conditioning, refrigerators, etc. and compare that to the poor in Brazil, or Cambodia.

So what does everyone say when I suggest that EVERY person in this country fork over 10% of their income (NO exceptions) to the UN for "redistribution to the poor"?

Those on assistance can fork over 10% of the value of the food stamps, working people can fork over an additional 10 of their paycheck.

What do you say? Let the redistributionists here actually walk the walk.

Nah, they're probably going to demand the "other guy" do it.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Which of course begs the question: "What happens when you run out of rich people to tax?"

What happened in the 50's, 60's and 70's when tax rates were at their highest? Did we "run out of rich people" then?


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"Nah, they're probably going to demand the "other guy" do it."

I like to say, "Nah, the buck stops with you, doesn't it?"

And you better look up "begs the question" or Factotem will get after you.

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"What happened in the 50's, 60's and 70's when tax rates were at their highest? Did we "run out of rich people" then?"
****************
There were so many deductions that nobody other than the foolish paid those high rates. NOBODY paid 90% in taxes.

My father had a good job on Wall Street and I still have one of his tax returns from the early 50s. He was making $50,000 a year (a kingly sum) and his total tax was 5 1/2%.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Taxes back then were in increments just like today. You didn't pay 90% on all your income.

And there are plenty of deductions today. Perhaps you heard about Mitt Romney's tax return and how much he paid? 14.1 percent in 2011, a much lower rate than I did on a LOT less income.

Mitt Romney paid $1.9 million in taxes on $13.69 million in income in 2011, most of it from his investments, for an effective rate of 14.1 percent

Here is a link that might be useful: source


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"I also worked on Sundays. MY CHOICE. My employer wanted to work with me on Saturdays and Sundays and I was quite willing to accommodate that. We had a great working relationship.

We didn't need the state to decide our arrangement."

Love the irony, people thought/think--since they're still in effect in in many areas, Blues Laws were/are fine and dandy when it's implemented under the guise of religion.

"We all know the poorest of Americans are wealthy by other countries standards. Just do a Google at the poor and see how many have cars, color TV's, heat, air conditioning, refrigerators, etc. and compare that to the poor in Brazil, or Cambodia."

You mean akin to 'legitimate rape' thinking--i.e., you had to be beaten and defiled and fought back until almost your last breath for it to be a real rape?
Our poor aren't really poor because they don't suffer enough?

Apples to apples, our 'poor' can only be compared against the overall wealth of this country.
Brazil and Cambodia would be considered poor countries when compared to the US economy.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

These poor people continue to have kids. Their tomorrow?
I do think you touch on an issue that I'm always thinking about.

Why so pre-occipied with the birth rate when it is near zero?
Because you might have to pay some small amount of your investment income to contribute to a school lunch program for hungry children or some other socialist scheme designed to help the disadvantaged?
And how much is enough money for these golden geese?
And where did they hide their eggs during the Recession?


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"So what does everyone say when I suggest that EVERY person in this country fork over 10% of their income (NO exceptions) to the UN for "redistribution to the poor"?"

I'd be totally down for it as long as the federal income tax and the national military was abolished. State militia for defense, as stipulated in the articles.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Interesting how some think the entire system should be tuned to fit their experience - I have never lived in nor expect to live in a world where every decision and rule benefits ME or reflects exactly what I and my employer want to do. In fact I don't really recall ever having an employer who asked me what I wanted to do. Sometimes it is about the other fellow's experience and his employer.

As to unions being corrupt - of course they are when not regulated as are businesses and churches and governments and every other institution of man - that is why regulation is necessary. We certainly have had a recent lesson in what happens when "free" is let to be taken literally.

But unions at their best do supply some regulation by allowing those employees whose employers don't ask them what they want some voice.

And businesses at their best do provide employment.

And churches at their best provide comfort to many.

And government at its best keeps us from descending into chaos.

So I don't think we should abolish any of these entities - just regulate them as required to keep the playing field somewhat level and keep those only interested in money and power from redirecting the original intent of the institution or enterprise.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Well said Lotti.

I must tell you how much I enjoy your posts. Well written, balanced , thoughtful...... thank you so much for your contributions.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

No way will those tbaggers sit still for the balance that lottirose suggests. Face it, there is very little room for nuance or compromise within the Conservative/regressive mindset.
Unions?
Unthinkable. (and that even after Unions like the UAW made major concessions to allow the US auto makers to survive).
Regulation of Health Insurance companies and health providers? Nope, that's Obama Socialism. Repeal!
Taxation?
Tea Party time!
Assault weapon ban?
You just try to wrestling those assault weapons and the 30-40 clip magazines from their cold dead hands.

Compromise is music to my ears, but with the reactionary Right in this country, it's never going to happen.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"Compromise is music to my ears, but with the reactionary Right in this country, it's never going to happen."

heri, I share some of your concerns - but never is a long time and this country has a very long history of compromise after all - some of which has stepped on my toes and some of which will likely step on the tender toes of others but it will have to come.

Chase, thank you for your kind comment - yours is one of the voices that gave me the courage to finally step out of lurkerdom. Actually I think you were the first on this forum to address me directly and in an encouraging manner and that was probably a couple of years ago.

Since then others have taken a moment to acknowledge my presence from time to time so I am getting braver I suppose, but this is not an environment into which one of a fairly cautious nature would be apt to "leap."


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Hay

I love it over there 1 month at a time.

I played five season in schwabenland Munchen and then went to Wein and then to Salzlburg and then Davos from 1984-1989.
Its a different deal over there the Euros have no concept of the freedoms we have here. My friend in Hamburg (Germany) after 6 months just got approval to plant two trees in his back yard (with pruning stipulations) I just go to Home depot and have 4 planted by 1 pm. He loves it when he visits when we can shoot gofers in a 4x4 with a bud and a 30 shot clip without leaving the truck.

Foods great, ill have to admit

travel safe

be well


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

*...And there are plenty of deductions today. Perhaps you heard about Mitt Romney's tax return and how much he paid? 14.1 percent in 2011, a much lower rate than I did on a LOT less income..."
************************************
That's the way the tax code is set up. I am all for throwing the entire 70,000 page income tax code into the wood stove and starting over.

We need a tax where EVERYBODY pays something! Not 52% paying 100% of the income taxes.

I'm in favor of a flat tax, or a Value added tax, or some other program where again, EVERYBODY pays their "fair share". NO deductions.

I remember one time on the Phil Donahue Show, NJ Senator Bill Bradley was a guest and he had his idea of a fair tax. Now "Dollar Bill" Bradley was a Liberal. (He got the nickname when he played for the Noo Yawk Knicks)

He had a tax return on a file card with 3 sentences.
1- How much money did you make last year?
2- What is 10% of that figure?
3- Send it in.

When you print out the US Constitution, it's 17 pages long. The "Supreme Law of the Land" is only 17 pages long. Do we need 70,000 pages of deductions and subsidies?


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

I think most people (if not all) are anxious to redo the tax code. I certainly think it is excessively complicated. Course we'd need a lot few accountants! People would lose their jobs!

I do not support a flat tax, however. I still believe in some level of progression. Perhaps it would just be the simplest change of all to get rid of any deductions and lower the levels instead.

And yes, I would agree with everyone paying something. Even if it is just $10.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"...it would just be the simplest change of all to get rid of any deductions and lower the levels instead..."
********************
That's in essence what Reagan did. He lowered the tax rates and eliminated a lot of deductions. As an example, you could at one time deduct any interest you paid, be it car loans or credit cards. A lot of people screamed at that one.

But he lowered the tax rates too. And three things happened. One, the treasury took in more money, and two, the "rich" actually paid more in taxes.

Three? The economy exploded. It was growing at a 7 to 8 percent rate every year, and that continued under Clinton.

What happened? Three men. Andrew Cuomo (HUD Secretary) Christopher Dodd, and Barney Frank. These three decided that people who wouldn't normally qualify for mortgages should get them anyway. So legislation was written forcing Fannie and Freddie to underwrite bad mortgages. Banks and Countrywide Mortgage had no exposure so they wrote "liar's loans" and gave applicants 125% of the value of the home.

It was called the housing bubble. And like so many people predicted, it burst when the "liars" actually had to pay the mortgage payments and realized they couldn't afford them. They maxed themselves out at the 2% ARM and when the interest went to 4% it was foreclosure time.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

"The economy exploded. It was growing at a 7 to 8 percent rate every year, and that continued under Clinton"

Reagan took office in 81, Clinton went to 'y2k

This period is smack dab on the greatest flow of prime crude petroleum that will ever occur - just pre-peak world petroleum. Co-inkydink?


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

What does that have to do with it? The purchase of oil boomed because people had money and bought automobiles and of course, pickup trucks. Which of course meant the automobile companies had to hire employees who spent their money, creating even more economic growth.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Posted by esh_ga z7 GA (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 30, 13 at 20:04

I think most people (if not all) are anxious to redo the tax code. I certainly think it is excessively complicated. Course we'd need a lot few accountants! People would lose their jobs!

I do not support a flat tax, however. I still believe in some level of progression. Perhaps it would just be the simplest change of all to get rid of any deductions and lower the levels instead.

And yes, I would agree with everyone paying something. Even if it is just $10.

*

AHA--at least one person that agrees with me.

I do support a flat tax, but would be okay with a graduated scale--a very simple one, with no deductions and EVERYONE pays something on ANY income--even government income.

I doubt it will ever happen, though.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

In other news:

Filed under: You can't take it with you.

All that lost tax from the 15% hedge fund tax that Dave loves so much? It stays right here after they die. In this case it ended up directly in charity. Perhaps you'll directly benefit?

"A renowned Wall Street tycoon gave away his entire $800 million fortune before falling to his death in a suicide jump this week.

Hedge fund multi-millionaire Robert W. Wilson, 87,..."

Thank you, rich people!

If someone has to do the work in this world, thank goodness it's not me!

Thank you!

Hay


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

Good selection of charities. From the link above:

"Bob helped EDF grow with a pivotal $100 million challenge grant that inspired scores of others to increase their own giving," Krupp continued. "I am personally grateful to Bob for his leadership and support over many years."

Other beneficiaries of Wilson’s money include the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, the World Monuments Fund, the Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society, each of which received $100 million before Wilson passed away.


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RE: Should the US have popular voting on any law like Switzerland

More news. So far, no one seems to have been able to take all their wealth with them when they go. Let me know if you see it happening.

Another Thank you, Rich People!

"Johns Hopkins University scientists will share in one of the largest one-time philanthropic gifts for cancer research ever made, $540 million aimed at preventing and curing the disease, officials are scheduled to announce today.

The $90 million marked for Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center --- among the biggest donations for the center and the university--- will help researchers build on pioneering work identifying the genetic mutations responsible for cancers.

The money comes from the New York-based based Ludwig Cancer Research, an organization named for the late shipping tycoon Daniel K. Ludwig. His fortune was first used to establish an international network of cancer researchers in 1971 during the inception of the nation's "war on cancer."

...

"He said Ludwig, who died in 1992, left virtually his entire fortune to cancer research and wanted bold studies that would have outsized impacts on cancer treatment and prevention."

...

At Hopkins, officials are trying to raise money for research and scholarships in general, and this grant will count toward its $4.5 billion goal. The fundraising campaign, which lasts through 2017, has hit the halfway mark based on contributions from more than 162,000 donors.

That list includes former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Hopkins alumnus and the university's biggest donor, who gave $350 million. His total donations now top $1.1 billion.

Other top donors include philanthropist Sidney Kimmel, who gave $150 million to the cancer center that bears his name; the Gates Foundation, which has given hundreds of millions; the late Skip Viragh, a mutual fund leader who has donated more than $85 million; and the Commonwealth Fund, which has given more than $60 million."

Capitalist Pigs at work.

Hay


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