Author Topic: So Let's Speculate about Realistic Bipartisan Legislation with a Split Congress  (Read 5327 times)

SwordGuy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4667
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
Require all non-primary races on federal ballots to have a "None of the above" option.

If "None of the above" gets a majority of votes cast, then none of the candidates in that race get elected.

None of the candidates can hold, be elected to, be hired for or be elected to any position of trust and responsibility in the Federal government (including quasi-governmental organizations) for a period of 10 years since they were deemed unfit for office by the electorate.  (If constitutional, which i doubt, forbid any state or local government position either).


This next bit gets a bit more complicated.   You see, some political parties automatically get their candidates placed on the ballot.  In some states, other parties have to petition to get on the ballot if their candidates didn't get a minimum % of the vote last time.   This makes it harder for small parties to compete because they expend their scarce resources just to get on the ballot, much less win the election.


So, if none of above wins that race, then each and every political party in that race - provided that party's candidates are automatically placed on the ballot - is fined the full cost of a new election.   

This would also have to include the provision that political parties withdraw from a given race, but that withdrawal would need to come within 2 weeks of the primary election.  If the party withdraws, that party's candidate(s) do not get on the ballot.

This would motivate the parties to identify and put forward candidates whose best reason to vote for them isn't because they're the lesser of two evils.

SwordGuy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4667
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
Corporations don't commit crimes, people commit crimes.

If a corporation breaks the law in a felonious manner, the prosecutors are directed to identify and prosecute all workers and managers and shareholders who broke that law or who applied pressure to break the law to those who did so.

And, punishments for these crimes should be higher in dollars and longer in sentences than smaller burglaries and robberies in which no one is injured.

SwordGuy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4667
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
Any member of congress accused of a crime or misdemeanor must go thru the regular justice system just like any other citizen.

There can be no slush fund to pay for the misdeeds of congressman who want to sexually harass people (or anything else, for that matter).

SwordGuy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4667
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
No President can pardon anyone who worked in their White House (or the VP's).  They cannot pardon anyone who served in their cabinet or was a top level administrator or military person or on the supreme court whilst they were in office.   They cannot pardon anyone who committed a crime that did, or was intended to benefit the President, their administration, or the President's political party.  No VP becoming President other than by an election can pardon anyone the prior President could not pardon.

For example, this prevents a President hiring someone to murder an opponent and, if caught, pardoning them.





GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 12507
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Corporations don't commit crimes, people commit crimes.

Corporations are people though.  That's why they're allowed to use their money ("free speech") to lobby politicians.  I'm not against imprisoning/fining those in corporations who break the law, but the corporation itself should also be fined.  Otherwise there's incentive to encourage your employees to do illegal stuff . . . as it'll make your corporation more profitable with no risk.

SwordGuy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4667
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
Corporations don't commit crimes, people commit crimes.

Corporations are people though.  That's why they're allowed to use their money ("free speech") to lobby politicians.  I'm not against imprisoning/fining those in corporations who break the law, but the corporation itself should also be fined.  Otherwise there's incentive to encourage your employees to do illegal stuff . . . as it'll make your corporation more profitable with no risk.

That's why I specifically said that applying pressure to someone to break the law is breaking the same law. :)

But I don't mind the corporations paying a fine in addition to those people in it who break the law.

robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1997
  • Location: Northern California
Require all non-primary races on federal ballots to have a "None of the above" option.
I can certainly see an argument for banning candidates losing to "none of the above" from appointed public office for a term (probably less than 10 years though), but see no reason to bar them from continuing to seek elected public office. A less severe penalty for losing to "none of the above" could be to shorten the term of office for the candidate that takes office based on a plurality rather than majority.

I could see "none of the above" useful on an instant runoff style ballot. Voters would rank candidates that they approve of then select "none of the above" rather than ranking candidates they disapprove of. In counting the votes, first you'd count all the first choice votes. If no candidate got a majority of first choice votes, you'd follow runoff procedures. Runoff procedures would rank candidates by number of votes they received and retain enough candidates to represent a majority of votes cast - all other candidates are eliminated and votes cast for those candidates would transfer to the next highest ranked candidate cast on the ballot that was still in the running. Multiple rounds of ranking candidates, eliminating candidates, and transferring votes could occur until either a candidate or "none of the above" received a majority of votes. The result of "none of the above" getting the majority of votes cast could either be a vacant office as you suggest or the plurality winner of the round where "none of the above" took the majority taking office (potentially with a shorter term than a majority elected candidate would receive).

JGS1980

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Implement a "Bad Citizenship Tax"

The tax is levied on all US citizens 18 years of age or order.

It is assessed at $100 per month.

It is due one week after each election.

Payment can be in cash or by voting in the election.

Provide reasonable mitigating circumstances and rules to handle invalids, people whose car broke down, had medical issues, absentee ballot lost in the mail, etc.


This has several benefits.

1) It encourages people to vote.   The biggest tax collection is for primary elections because the gap between primary elections and the previous election will usually be much larger than the gap between the primary and the main election.

2) It only taxes people who don't vote.  Makes it very easy for a politician to vote for that tax.

3) It dilutes the extreme partisan folks in each party with lots of moderates.  (Most voters skip the primary and that means each party has to play to the extremes to get elected, because extremes in each party are most likely to vote.)


This would have the effect of moving both parties to a more moderate position and enable the elected politicians to negotiate better because the crazies in their party won't be able to vote them out in the primary so easily.

In response to your "Bad Citizenship Tax" policy proposal:

1. No one likes new taxes or fines -> it can't pass congress.

2. If your goal is moderating both parties and diluting the crazies, why not just provide everyone with a "National Voting Holiday" every 2 years with the understanding that the holiday is created solely to get more people to vote?

3. Alternatively, we can just have elections on Sundays, when more people are already off.
Plenty of other countries have weekend elections exactly for this reason.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
3. Alternatively, we can just have elections on Sundays, when more people are already off.
Plenty of other countries have weekend elections exactly for this reason.

America can't have elections on Sundays because a significant fraction of our voting citizens are deeply superstitious.  There's this really old book, you see...

talltexan

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2104
I know we are only a few posts in, but surprised to not see some legislation protecting the Special Counsel investigation. Trump has been trying to block that from many angles now for 1.5 years, obstructing justice along the way. This could even get done with the current Congress, I see Flake is on board.

I don't see a path for bipartisan support for this.  Republican voters have made it quite clear that they don't want to know the truth, and their elected representatives are not interested in bringing the truth to light.

I actually think McConnel likes the current environment. He thinks this would actually be protecting Trump from himself.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9405
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Implement a "Bad Citizenship Tax"

The tax is levied on all US citizens 18 years of age or order.

It is assessed at $100 per month.

It is due one week after each election.

Payment can be in cash or by voting in the election.

Provide reasonable mitigating circumstances and rules to handle invalids, people whose car broke down, had medical issues, absentee ballot lost in the mail, etc.


This has several benefits.

1) It encourages people to vote.   The biggest tax collection is for primary elections because the gap between primary elections and the previous election will usually be much larger than the gap between the primary and the main election.

2) It only taxes people who don't vote.  Makes it very easy for a politician to vote for that tax.

3) It dilutes the extreme partisan folks in each party with lots of moderates.  (Most voters skip the primary and that means each party has to play to the extremes to get elected, because extremes in each party are most likely to vote.)


This would have the effect of moving both parties to a more moderate position and enable the elected politicians to negotiate better because the crazies in their party won't be able to vote them out in the primary so easily.

In response to your "Bad Citizenship Tax" policy proposal:

1. No one likes new taxes or fines -> it can't pass congress.

2. If your goal is moderating both parties and diluting the crazies, why not just provide everyone with a "National Voting Holiday" every 2 years with the understanding that the holiday is created solely to get more people to vote?

3. Alternatively, we can just have elections on Sundays, when more people are already off.
Plenty of other countries have weekend elections exactly for this reason.

Seems there are a few easy steps which could be taken that would not incur additional costs yet address several of our current problems.

1) automate voter registration as much as possible.  When you file your taxes, update your drivers license, change jobs etc. you are automatically registered to vote in the appropriate location.  Voter registration ought to be automatic and include ~100% of the eligible public

2) allow everyone to cast their votes over the span of a week.  They can be in person or via mail.  No results are shared until the end of voting.

3) go to ranked-choice voting.  This allows voters to select 3rd party candidates without 'throwing away' their vote - it also discourages candidates with extreme right or extreme left positions to win.  Candidates must win by majority, not plurality.

Sugaree

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 279
there are roughly 11MM undocumented (according to PEW's estimates), but only ~6MM are in the labor force.  In the US we have a labor force of roughly 160MM.  So they compose less than 4% of the total labor force.  Ergo, most businesses aren't hiring illegals.

I suspect that in some sectors, like dairy farms and fruit orchards, the percentage of businesses that hire undocumented workers is approaching 100%.  They just aren't profitable without immigrants willing to bust ass for $5/hour while living in a shack next to a manure lagoon.  Conversely, my old white collar job was full of PhDs and federal contracts, and I'm pretty confident that 0% of office like mine are currently employing undocumented immigrants. 


Correct my if I'm wrong, but at one point in the not-so-distant past, didn't the US somewhat actively recruit Central American workers to come do the gruntwork for the summer/harvest/milk "wet" season and then go back home?  But once the border became harder to cross, people began staying because they didn't know if they'd be able to get back in for the next harvest season?

talltexan

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2104
I believe you're describing the braceros program.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10062
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada

1) automate voter registration as much as possible.  When you file your taxes, update your drivers license, change jobs etc. you are automatically registered to vote in the appropriate location.  Voter registration ought to be automatic and include ~100% of the eligible public


You were in Canada too long. ;-)

I have registered to vote for years by ticking that box on my federal income tax form.  Easy.  There are lots of other easy ways to register to vote in Canada.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9405
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:

1) automate voter registration as much as possible.  When you file your taxes, update your drivers license, change jobs etc. you are automatically registered to vote in the appropriate location.  Voter registration ought to be automatic and include ~100% of the eligible public


You were in Canada too long. ;-)

I have registered to vote for years by ticking that box on my federal income tax form.  Easy.  There are lots of other easy ways to register to vote in Canada.

There are lots of ways of registering to vote in the US as well which are easy, including at the DMV - my broader point is that registration should be the default, not an extra step one needs to take in order to vote.  Unfortunately you currently cannot register to vote on your federal tax forms (which seems like a no-brainer option to have).

This would serve the purpose of circumventing much of the dubious legislation which aims to limit certain classes of voters (e.g. the poor, certain minorities, university students).

jim555

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1922
There are certain things that you know for certain the person would be eligible to vote, for example getting a passport, or registering in a program that requires citizenship.  That should auto register them, with an opt out option later.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10062
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
my broader point is that registration should be the default,

Why should it be the default?  You need to be a citizen to vote, which means people who are legal residents but not citizens can't vote.  So non-registration should be the default, but registration should be super easy. 

Easy, as in, on last year's tax form, right at the beginning where we give our general information, Elections Canada has a 2 part question. 
A. Do you have Canadian Citizenship?            Yes    No
If yes, go to Question B.  If no, skip question B.
B. As a Canadian citizen, do you authorize the Canada Revenue Agency to give your name, address, and date of birth to Elections Canada to update the National Register of Electors?                        Yes    No

If you don't pay taxes there are other ways to register, but this covers a huge number of Canadians.  It must also save Elections Canada masses of money, I can remember being enumerated in the mid-eighties, and they had to come to a residence 3 times before they gave up and tried to reach you some other way.

JGS1980

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
 So… I guess the answer is that nothing at all will be done with the a Split Congress.  Although, to be fair, the shutdown begin under the Republican House of representatives.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9405
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
So… I guess the answer is that nothing at all will be done with the a Split Congress.  Although, to be fair, the shutdown begin under the Republican House of representatives.

I would say it's too early to judge fairly.  This congress was sworn in 11 days ago. Not much of a sample size (yet)

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
So… I guess the answer is that nothing at all will be done with the a Split Congress.  Although, to be fair, the shutdown begin under the Republican House of representatives.

Oh, they'll get around to doing something eventually.  Any politician that spends their entire term boycotting the legislative process in order to support their party probably isn't going to get re-elected.  In a normal world.

So I think they'll end the shutdown eventually one way or another.  It wouldn't surprise me if it takes three months, though.

The alternative, of course, is that American politics are well and truly broken.  The current division between educated and economically successful racially diverse urban areas that vote blue, and less educated economically struggling and primarily white rural areas that vote red has set up an interesting dynamic in which stalemate is a real possibility.  The mismatch between population centers and political power centers means that a person can theoretically become the President of the United States while only winning 11 of the 50 states.  The Senate is not much better, with less than 25% of the people in the US constituting a Senate majority.  This is a situation in which it looks very possible for a vocal and angry minority of people to elect enough representatives to totally shut down the US government indefinitely.

Twice in recent memory we have seen a mismatch between the electoral college vote and the popular vote, and as more successful people continue to move to successful urban centers I can see this problem potentially getting worse and worse in the future.  I think it's very possible that we're all about to grow very accustomed to that the presidential candidates that people want are not the ones that win elections.

Shor

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 480
  • Location: Orange County, CA, USA
Hmm... well back in Sept 2018, the R House passed a bill to introduce Universal Savings Accounts (USA).
It operates similar to a Roth IRA, in that it's funded with after-tax money, no tax on gains, and limited contribution per tax year (a mere $2.5k). The difference is that this account can be withdrawn from - contributions and earnings - with no penalty, and no age restriction.

It is still waiting to get in to the Senate... and for the Presidential sign-off to make it law.
This was generally a Republican supported bill in the House, so hopefully it should have no trouble passing in the Senate. It just needs to get on someone's radar..

The only media opposition I've read about this piece of the bill is complaining that it mostly will only benefit middle to upper income households that can afford to set aside 2.5k per year(!), and that the plight of low savings among low income workers is a systematic issue of the economy which this won't really address (due to paycheck to paycheck style living).

Personally, I am openly supportive of a bill that would reduce household tax liability and provide a natural, emergency fund buffer for people, which is beneficial to the overall health of the economy and for financial household stability.
This bill almost seems tailor-made for Mustachian stashers who can recognize the advantage, and will organize their budget to set aside money for it.
In terms of tax-advantaged funding priority, I would say that a USA would rank very high, right after 401k matched contributions, due to its complete accessibility and tax free gains!

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9405
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Hmm... well back in Sept 2018, the R House passed a bill to introduce Universal Savings Accounts (USA).
...
The only media opposition I've read about this piece of the bill is complaining that it mostly will only benefit middle to upper income households that can afford to set aside 2.5k per year(!), and that the plight of low savings among low income workers is a systematic issue of the economy which this won't really address (due to paycheck to paycheck style living).


Ok, I'll fill in the blanks here.  The opposition isn't opposed because it would only help the rich and middle class, they are opposed because it would further restrict government revenue while simultaneously lowering the taxable burden of those towards the upper end of the income scale.  You may think that's a good thing, and it certainly would be for mustachian-minded savers like us.  But this bill continues the GOP trend of reducing taxes that wealthy individuals pay, while driving up the deficit.

Not coincidentally, a key GOP talking point is how the percentage of entitlement spending has shot up and is 'unsustainable'.  Well that's what happens when you cut revenue, and it was a pretty deliberate strategy of speaker Ryan (since they've been unable to cut the social net in years past, they've made them appear unsustainable by cutting revenue, and then going on talk shows to say how the system will be 'broke' if nothing is done.  Funny, but they never mention the revenue side.)


JGS1980

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Hmm... well back in Sept 2018, the R House passed a bill to introduce Universal Savings Accounts (USA).
It operates similar to a Roth IRA, in that it's funded with after-tax money, no tax on gains, and limited contribution per tax year (a mere $2.5k). The difference is that this account can be withdrawn from - contributions and earnings - with no penalty, and no age restriction.

It is still waiting to get in to the Senate... and for the Presidential sign-off to make it law.
This was generally a Republican supported bill in the House, so hopefully it should have no trouble passing in the Senate. It just needs to get on someone's radar..

The only media opposition I've read about this piece of the bill is complaining that it mostly will only benefit middle to upper income households that can afford to set aside 2.5k per year(!), and that the plight of low savings among low income workers is a systematic issue of the economy which this won't really address (due to paycheck to paycheck style living).

Personally, I am openly supportive of a bill that would reduce household tax liability and provide a natural, emergency fund buffer for people, which is beneficial to the overall health of the economy and for financial household stability.
This bill almost seems tailor-made for Mustachian stashers who can recognize the advantage, and will organize their budget to set aside money for it.
In terms of tax-advantaged funding priority, I would say that a USA would rank very high, right after 401k matched contributions, due to its complete accessibility and tax free gains!

Not a bad idea Shor. If I were king of the world, however, I would prefer to change the law so that EVERYONE could withdraw pre-tax from their paycheck to the 19K Limit. This would allow folks to save regardless of whether their employer had a plan. This will really help people who work in smaller businesses, in my opinion.