Income inequality

English: Income inequality in the US

English: Income inequality in the US (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Income inequality is a danger to democracy and it makes social problems worse. In nations with great disparities in income, social problems, poverty, crime, drug use, etc., are worse than in nations with less income inequality. Great concentrations of wealth are a threat to democracy. Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court from 1916 to 1939, Louis Brandeis, said that you could have democracy or great concentrations of wealth, but not both at the same time. I agree. There are two models for the organization of society, the Democratic model and the Republican model. I support the Democratic model.

Under the Democratic model, income inequality is lessened by taxes and safety net programs. Republicans oppose both. I am not advocating total income equality. I am saying that having millions struggle to survive on or near the minimum wage while a few receive billions of dollars is morally wrong. In my opinion, no one is worth a billion dollars annually or cumulatively over a lifetime.

The Republican model is a patriarch one buttressed by religion. Not every Republican embraces this model, but the leadership of the party do as they channel the wishes of the 1%. Under the patriarch model, father knows best, children speak only when spoken to, women are silent and minorities know their place. Democracy is given only lip service at home and is used as a cover abroad to support the establishment of unregulated free market capitalism. Nominally Christian, the patriarch model worships profit, no matter how it is denominated, dollars, rubles, pesos or yen.

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Term limits

Washington DC - Capitol Hill: United States Ca...

Washington DC – Capitol Hill: United States Capitol – East front (Photo credit: wallyg)

Our Federal government has three branches, executive, legislative and judicial, and two of the three are elected periodically. Only the judicial branch is not elected and enjoys lifetime tenure. I think that it is time to end the lifetime tenure of the Federal judiciary, especially the US Supreme Court, which tends to lag behind necessary change by years or decades.

This is what I propose to put all three branches of the Federal government on an equal footing; limit all Federal elected offices and the Federal bench to serving a maximum of 12 years. Judges would continue to be nominated and confirmed, but they would serve only for 12 years. Judges are expected to be non-political, but some try to game the system, timing their retirements to when their party is in the White House. That must stop.

For the other two branches, I would also limit their terms to 12 years.
Six 2-year terms for members of the House
Two 6-year terms for Senators
Three 4-year terms for Presidents.
Under the present two-term limit for Presidents, speculation begins immediately about the next election after a President is-re-elected. That reduces a President’s ability to enact needed reforms during his/her second term. The possibility of a third term would give an incumbent President more time to accomplish the will of the people who elected him/her.

Less is more

Kaiser Family Foundation Affordable Care Act Poll

Kaiser Family Foundation Affordable Care Act Poll (Photo credit: Vince_Lamb)

Sunday morning and the political talk shows are in full-swing. Something struck me this morning that I had noted before, but had not fully assimilated. The faster they talk, the less they have to say. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, dominate the airways and are trying to squeeze as many words as possible into their allotted minutes or seconds before the cameras. In the future, I plan to shut my ears to those who bombard us with words in the mistaken believe that word count outweighs word content.

Lincoln

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. Latviešu: Abrahams Linkolns, sešpadsmitais ASV prezidents. Српски / Srpski: Абрахам Линколн, шеснаести председник Сједињених Америчких Држава. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If Lincoln were alive today, he would be deeply ashamed of today’s GOP. If Lincoln were alive today, he would be seriously considering becoming a Democrat. Reagan switched from Democrat to Republican saying that he didn’t leave the party, the party left him. Lincoln would be considering making the same statement in reverse; he was not leaving the Republican Party, the Party had left him.

Lincoln said, ” You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”  Of course, Lincoln died approximately 65 years before the invention of the Big Lie, and he never experienced big money politics or dreamed of the possibility of the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court. Let us hope in November that Lincoln was right.

Beginning of the end?

Yesterday I saw a blog post that asked if this is the beginning of the end of Obamacare. It could be the end of the beginning. Or it could be the middle of the middle. Or even the middle of the muddle. The muddle, of course, being the muddle that all the speculation will produce until the actual Supreme Court verdict.