Tag Archives: government


Where’s The (Political) Party?

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Categories: Politics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With the recent Occupy Wall Street protests and the debt ceiling faux-crisis resolution, I’m reminded of how people like me are not truly represented in America’s representative republic. The two major parties in the United States have drifted closer to their extremes, leaving the majority of Americans to choose the lesser of two evils each election cycle.

A CBS News poll conducted before the debt deal was finalized showed a strong majority of Americans wanted a deal that took a “balanced” approach. Moderates in the U.S. were looking for spending cuts, entitlement reform, and tax increases to balance the federal budget and tackle the national debt going forward. This is essentially the plan worked out by the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform late last year. The Commission’s balanced plan was shot down by Congress, and so were similar ideas closer to the debt ceiling deadline. Instead of fair and balanced, we got slash and burn. Of course, most economists will tell you the plan we got won’t work, but it’s not really about solutions, is it? No, it’s about looking like you’re solving problems so you can keep your job.

Most Americans fall in the middle of the political spectrum, and that’s why so many of us wanted a debt ceiling/ deficit reduction plan that straddled the fence of tax increases and spending cuts. It’s not because we’re wishy-washy as a nation; it’s because we believe in justice and equality.

Unfortunately, the Democratic and Republican parties in America are ill-equipped to make government work for the majority of citizens. They are beholden to the extreme ends of the political spectrum, with moderates trapped betwixt and between.

As the protesters in Manhattan and beyond show, everyday Americans feel cheated by a system that pretends to have their best interests in mind but rarely works for them. These brave folks are frustrated by social and economic injustice. Unfortunately, without dramatic change, their aspirations of a more just civil society are doomed to failure.

I, therefore, propose a new party to represent the moderates in America. Here’s the platform:

  1. Repeal DOMA. Marriage regulation is a matter for the states to decide. In fact, I’ve argued marriage is a matter for churches to decide, with the state having overstepped its authority.
  2. Amend the United States Constitution to provide for term limits on the legislature. If one cannot serve more than two terms as President, it seems to follow that one ought not serve more than two terms in Congress. “Politician” is not a career; it is a civil service one performs. By limiting legislators to two terms, we could potentially see a Congress less beholden to corporate interests, and more attuned to solving problems. As the Congress is unlikely to send an amendment proposal out to be voted on, this would likely need to be proposed by the state legislatures.
  3. Abolish the federal minimum wage. While it may seem counter-intuitive to many Americans, the federal minimum wage actually makes your life worse by driving inflation and increasing unemployment. The minimum wage also drives employment of illegal immigrants. Because employing an American citizen requires they be paid the minimum wage, employers are willing to hire illegals to save labor costs. Without the minimum wage, it’s likely these jobs would be filled by American citizens, as they are more attractive employees (no risk of penalty for employing undocumented workers, no language barrier to training, etc). Further, if you are not a minimum-wage worker, each increase in the minimum wage is an effective pay cut, unless your employer is generous enough to increase your pay by an amount equal to the MW hike. Oh, they’re not? I’m shocked, really.
  4. Speaking of illegal immigrants, I prefer the Starship Troopers solution: “Service guarantees citizenship.” You give us four years of sacrifice, we’ll give you a lifetime of opportunity. It doesn’t have to be military service. Peace Corps, Americorps, whatever – if you serve the greater good, we’ll forgive your trespass, so to speak, and put you on track to citizenship.
  5. Let those who can take care of themselves. It’s funny when one hears conservatives say the poor should take care of themselves, yet are more than willing to take their slop from Uncle Sam’s trough. If you do not need Social Security or Medicare when you retire, you should not get it. Let’s start means-testing these programs, like we do so many other entitlements, and see if we can save some money and make the programs more sustainable.
  6. Walk the walk; be the world’s Superman. We stand for truth, justice, and the American Way. That is to say, when it comes to foreign affairs, we ought to always act upon those principles which make America great, and never betray those ideals no matter the short-term cost. We will always benefit in the long run when we loudly denounce those who act in violation of democracy, freedom, and human dignity. Specifically, this means we should end our normal diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, support Palestinians, and provide assistance to the floundering government in Mogadishu (again). There are plenty of other examples of tyranny and abuse around the world, but make no mistake – I’m not suggesting America should become the world’s police. I’m not suggesting we engage in cultural imperialism either. I’m saying we can’t have our cake and eat it too. We cannot speak of freedom from one side of our mouth while negotiating oil deals with dictators from the other.

Of course, there are many, many, many other things wrong with our system, but the six things I’ve listed above are a pretty good place to start, I think. I’m no politician or political scientist, but I bet I could get a dozen people to agree with me pretty easily. If I found someone on a ballot that agreed with even half of the principles I just laid forth, they would get my vote up to two times (term limits!). Until then, I’m going to write in the only two reasonable candidates I’ve seen in the last decade: Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert.


Getting Enhanced


Categories: Politics, Rant, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There’s been a lot of hullabaloo recently over the “enhanced pat-downs” being doled out by the TSA. Some people, like Penn Jillette, think this amounts to assault. Others claim it’s a needed part of our security apparatus. Whether enhanced pat-downs make us safer or not is not the real issue, however. What’s important is how our government can make our lives better through enhanced language.

You see, there are many distasteful and morally repugnant things going on in the world today. Thankfully, the government has enhanced our lives with their words. They’ve sanitized the horrible things they do to make us happier. Shouldn’t we be happy they’re working so hard to make us happy?

Take torture, for instance. No one likes torture. But it’s OK, because the US government didn’t torture anyone by electrocuting them or practically drowning them; they gave them an enhanced interrogation. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Now, if you’re going to fly on an airplane, you get an enhanced pat-down. That’s much better than an embarassing public violation of your Fourth Amendment rights that borders on sexual assault, don’t you think?

I don’t think the government should have a monopoly on enhancing our lives though. Businesses and private citizens should enhance the world too. I’ve put together a list of enhancements for you to keep in mind. I’m sure, once you start thinking about it, you can come up with many other ways our world has been enhanced over the last few years. Feel free to comment with your own enhancements. Your fellow citizens thank you for enhancing their enhanced understanding of enhanced speech.

  • Four Loko is not a potentially dangerous alcoholic energy drink; it’s an enhanced beer.
  • Unwelcome sexual advances at work are not sexual harassment; they’re enhanced compliments.
  • The rent’s not too damn high; it’s got an enhanced price.
  • The Earth’s not undergoing global warming; it’s developing enhanced temperatures.
  • Fellatio is not a blowjob; it’s enhanced kissing.
  • Politicians are not deceitful, dishonest douchebags; they tell the enhanced truth.
  • Religious fundamentalists are not zealots; they’re enhanced believers.
  • Things are not awesome; they’re enhanced good (though I suppose “plusgood” would be an acceptable enhanced alternate word.)
  • I’m not a loudmouthed asshole; I have enhanced opinions.