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How to fix US Politics


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#1 Steel Samurai

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 02:04 PM

Clearly, something is fucked up with the way the country is run. US style democracy seems, after over two hundred years of functioning pretty well, to have finally reached a tipping point of corruption. The question is, how would you fix it, if you could rewrite the government from the ground up?

The biggest issue for me seems to be money. Any candidate hoping to win a major public office must make a deal with corporate interests with deep pockets in order to pay for the excessive cost of campaigning, which means that there's not a whole lot of economic reform they can viably pull off if they want to be reelected. This isn't so much a problem in other countries because the US is so goddamn big. Thus, they (especially republicans) focus on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. This has led, I think, to the polarization of the US political system, because social issues like that strike a deep emotional chord in the populace, which thus react violently against anyone who doesn't believe in whatever it is that's being discussed. Nobody gets THAT mad about economics.

My solution?

Limited monarchical Parliamentary democracy.

Having a king or queen who is not electable (i.e. doesn't have to spend millions on advertising every four years making them beholden to corporate interests), yet still wields enough power to provide a limited check to Parliament will substantially decrease the amount of power any given corporation has over politics. The head of the majority party in parliament is prime minister, and he selects his cabinet from other elected MPs.

Elected officials at the federal level do not receive pay. Upon election, they sign over their major assets to government caretaking and do not receive them back until they are voted out of office or retire. They receive personal stipends for day-to-day needs, live in housing provided by the state, and must apply to take a vacation to a neutral third-party.

Lobbying in its current form is banned.

If the citizens believe the king is acting more in his own interests, or the interests of another state or entity, a 3/4 majority referendum will result in the King's deposition and execution. This must be passed by a 3/4 vote in parliament.

You get the idea, I think. What would you do?

#2 ninja kitten

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 02:25 PM

It sounds like you're suggesting we should follow Canada's lead and submit to England's authority once more. Yes, the system is broken, but the whole point of having an elected leader who is changed out is that it can help the country quickly change directions. I shudder to think what it would be like to be stuck under Pres Bush's authority until he died. >_< I'm not a fan of how social issues seem to run the show, but they do play a major role in any election anywhere in the world.

I'm not much of a political scientist, but I think the US could benefit from improving the current presidential system. Having longer terms like Mexico would eliminate the re-election rush which would allow the president to focus more on important issues until the last day of his term. I also admire Japan's system, as flawed as it may be.

After spending 2 years studying the US political system and various ones from around the world, my conclusion is that politics are f-ed up no matter what system is adopted. Where there is power there will be the possibility for corruption.

#3 Elvenlord

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 02:28 PM

Couple things. How would a king in America come to be? If being a official is unpaid, only the rich will run for office, as only they could afford to take time off work, plus that would make "contributions" more attractive. See Texas. Legislatures only make $7000 every other year, and thus pretty much only lawyers and old money are in, since they can afford take a few months of every other year. The signing over assets thing will help with that, but the biggest problem with politics in America today, at least in my view, is that the best and brightest isn't going into it anymore. Look at our past. The best men were attracted to politics. But now, why would they? They could do so much better for themselves out of politics, and the signing over of assets will only make that worse.
So yeah. We just need something to attract the best and brightest, without attracting the greedy.

#4 JRPomazon

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 04:07 PM

I like a lot of Steel Samurai's ideas. Not too keen on the idea of a monarchy here in the US through, that's just trouble waiting to brew. Besides, the president is only a puppet leader to begin with, it's not like calling him a King would make much of a difference. If we removed Lobbyist from the equation, the incentives for many a politician to become more self serving would most likely vanish. But rather than take care of senators and congressmen while they served, I'd say get rid of the chance for them to make a career out of their civil duty and limit their tenures as officials. No one is supposed to do this their entire lives, it's not good for the people.

#5 Selena

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 05:07 PM

- A ban on lobbying would solve most of our major problems, I think.

- Restricting campaign donations to a certain amount per individual would also help. Prevents the rich from outweighing the poor. If corporations still count as "individuals," then the limit extends to them, too. But preferably keep the corporations out of it all together.

- Getting rid of the two-party system, and embracing a greater number of smaller, more specific parties. There are huge conflicting viewpoints within both the republican and democrat camps.

- Not lumping a ton of issues into one bill. Some of the bills sent through Congress and the Senate are written so that one big controversial issue is shoved in with a lot of things that need to pass. Meaning that, in order to prevent the controversial item from passing, you have to shoot yourself in the foot by dismissing everything else that was packaged in. And then you have to waste time redrafting and resubmitting etc. The whole "the army can now detain you without warning" measure was slipped into a wider military funding bill. In order to prevent detention, a lot of bases and their personnel would have been denied funding. Same with that recent North Carolina gay marriage bill -- it effected single parents, too.

- Oh, just let the south secede. (joking -- I think)


A monarchy wouldn't really do anything. Most sovereigns don't use any of the power they technically have, and they're just ceremonial holdouts from older forms of government. Good for tourism, though. But implementing one in the States would be impossible due to lack of historical background. The president already fulfills the role of "mostly useless leader." The real power has always been in the Senate and Congress. The president only ever influences and does the occasional strategic veto.

#6 Egann

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 05:30 PM

The problem with politics boils down to one factor; PEOPLE are INTELLIGENT, a fact that most political systems forget. This omission is absolutely critical, too. I'm reading a book called "The Antropocentric Cosmological Principle" which was written by some prominent physicists. Their conclusion?

Final Anthropic Principle: Intelligent information-processing must come into existence in the Universe, and, once it comes into existence, it will never die out.


Translation: Intelligence will find a way to defeat the heat-death of the universe. (And this is comming from Barrow and Tipler; both are prominent Physicists/ Cosmologists that I'm sure a few of you have heard of.)

The problem is that intelligence is all about finding unconventional ways to get what you want. In politics, this means that no matter what checks and balances you put up, people will eventually find ways past them. What makes a difference isn't the system, but the intent of the people in that system. That contrasts completely with political systems, which are designed to be stable, balance power...put simply, they assume people are ants who can be confined within a single system indefinitely.

TL;DR: it doesn't matter what SYSTEM you put on top of people; what matters is what the people want. Grass roots are really the only way to get things done.

So what's the problem in the U.S?

1.) People want opposing things because of the two-party system.

2. ) People have figured out that lobbying can get them money or that they can sell their votes. My cynical side calls this one the important one because money is what almost everybody wants.

There isn't a good fix. The United States is politically unified under a powerful central government, while the local cultures are very far from homogeneous. The power of the central government makes people play cut-throat.

Really, I don't think drastic changes are needed to drastically cut this back. Impose term limits on politicians and lobbyists won't have long-term buddies in office. Put a balanced budget ammendment into effect, and Congress won't have the power to arbitrarily throw money around like it does now.


What's ideal? A BENEVOLENT absolute monarch. Indulge me with another TP reference; I just finished replaying the game. Sure you see Zelda all of three times, but you see in that time that she's kind, wise, intelligent, and brave. You cannot put a check or a balance on her that's not already trumped by her own spirit. The people can get away with being only casually informed on current events, too, and focus their energies on living their lives, not watching their political overlords for misconduct, issues of the day, and voting every few months.

Unfortunately, such people are exceedingly rare, and by the nature of the beast they will almost never seek out power in a republican system of government. And then there are the leeches attracted to the power of the court....I call this an ideal for a reason.

Edited by Egann, 22 May 2012 - 05:31 PM.


#7 FŽanen

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 05:33 PM

Half the reason I almost never post in contro: Lena says pretty much everything I have to say. But while I do to an extent admire parliamentary democracy, especially since you tend not to get the mess we see in U.S. politics (Democrat president, Republican house, filibusters making the Senate a tug-of-war and nobody walks away happy) it's not exactly something that's established overnight. And while I'd love for some decent third parties (the current ones tend to represent my views even less than the Democrats), this would probably require changing the electoral system substantially from the first-past-the-post system we have now. Which I approve of, but would be a hard thing to sell to a generally set in their ways public.

My opinion? Cut campaigns to their bare bones and set an absolute maximum that political campaigns can earn and spend. Let them do what us ordinary folks do: make every cent count (and, frankly, volunteers and social networking can potentially do a lot in this day and age). Most importantly, corporations, unions, and non-profit groups should be kept out of the mix entirely: lobbying based on an special interest is perfectly legit, but as far as I'm concerned when a group lobbies and makes campaign contributions it's basically bribery. I say this knowing that many of the special interests I favor (labor, child welfare, etc.) are as guilty as the ones I oppose when it comes to campaign contributions, PACs and what have you.

Edited by FŽanen, 22 May 2012 - 07:25 PM.


#8 TheAvengerLever

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:45 PM

I should like to say that giving more power to state governments will decrease the amount of power and influence of the federal government. But I agree with some things Egann and Bot say.

#9 Reflectionist

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 09:55 PM

We should take America back to before the Revolutionary War and put them back under the rule of the British. That'll totally fix American ideals.


I'll get right on that, after I hire Nicolas Cage to steal the Declaration of Independence so I can use it as toilet paper.

The simple solution (note: not the easiest or most practical to implement) to the problem of US politics is to cut the payroll of Congress. As elected officials, they should be public servants, not an elite aristocracy. Senators maintain their pay for life, get free gas, get free private jets to anywhere in the world they want at a moment's notice. That's not only irresponsible fiscally, but it tells the American people that sitting on your ass being a corrupt jackass will get you farther in life than being doing honest work.

You want to fix politics? Give our elected officials a motivation to be honest and do what they say. Cut their pay. Put them in a completely different bracket. Let them still be the 1%, but let's change that to the bottom 1%. Those assholes don't deserve their prodigal salary. There's no accountability, and as long as we keep worshiping small green pieces of paper, there never will be. Accountability will lead to productivity, and less of a "thumbs up our asses, laughing stock of the world" factor.

Personally, I think they should all be fired, and be lucky to receive any recognition whatsoever.

PEOPLE are INTELLIGENT


Wrong. You of all people, really?

....I respectfully disagree, wholeheartedly.

Edited by Reflectionist, 22 May 2012 - 10:17 PM.


#10 Egann

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:45 PM


PEOPLE are INTELLIGENT


Wrong. You of all people, really?

....I respectfully disagree, wholeheartedly.


Bear in mind that I'm a giant egotistical selfish smartass, so when I say "people," I mean "me." And (I think) being smart is a prerequisite for being a smartass, ergo I am intelligent and the rest of you are incompetent dullards. No one can refute my logic, FTW!

#11 Reflectionist

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:57 PM



PEOPLE are INTELLIGENT


Wrong. You of all people, really?

....I respectfully disagree, wholeheartedly.


Bear in mind that I'm a giant egotistical selfish smartass, so when I say "people," I mean "me." And (I think) being smart is a prerequisite for being a smartass, ergo I am intelligent and the rest of you are incompetent dullards. No one can refute my logic, FTW!


...

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#12 TheAvengerLever

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:03 PM

Oh man, good old Contro is back!

#13 ninja kitten

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 04:27 PM

I'm impressed. Lena pretty much solved all of the problems and I have to agree with Reflectionist that we should make politics more like any average job rather than a bloated money maker. Now if only we could get the government to listen to us...

#14 TheAvengerLever

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 05:15 PM

I'm impressed. Lena pretty much solved all of the problems and I have to agree with Reflectionist that we should make politics more like any average job rather than a bloated money maker. Now if only we could get the government to listen to us...


I can help you there. All it would take is some inspired revolution, a few deaths, and a government makeover.

#15 Nevermind

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 05:29 PM

All bundled and compressed into a single montage.

#16 Crimson Lego

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 08:31 PM

Reorganize the US into an American Empire for a safe and secure society.




Problem solved.

#17 Steel Samurai

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 12:40 AM


We should take America back to before the Revolutionary War and put them back under the rule of the British. That'll totally fix American ideals.


Yes, actually, that's exactly what I'm saying. The current British system (at least as it's been implemented in Australia) seems to work a lot better than the US one does.

My point with monarchy is not, of course, that it's practical, as the American public would never accept a monarch, but that I'm not sure it would hurt to have an executive branch with more power that could not be affected by corporate money. A figurehead that only answers to the people and to the constitution in truth as well as in name. And one that ALSO doesn't always have to make populist decisions based on whatever the polls are saying, or plan everything around a relatively short four year term.

As regards Lena's point about only the rich being able to enter public office, my entire point was that the state would take care of the family's physical, and educational needs, leveling the playing field and making it really be about serving the country rather than lining pockets.

#18 Nevermind

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:00 AM

Problem is we also have pretty much a two party system where we get to elect a person we don't like cos she stole power, or a person we simply would never allow to have power. Both parties have mass infighting within them as well. The system is okay but it's the people. The people are not okay.

There is also a third party that refuses to compromise on anything and very nearly controls the first of the other two parties mentioned, anyway. Needs more independent members so as to diversify the swing of the policies and bills passed through.


But hey, I'd have no problems with more places being like Australia. :pumpkin:
as nationalist as that sounds

Edited by Lazurukeel, 24 May 2012 - 07:03 AM.


#19 Twinrova

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:25 AM

But hey, I'd have no problems with more places being like Australia. :pumpkin:
as nationalist as that sounds


No THANK you! I don't want my country to become a death trap. D:<

#20 Nevermind

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:30 AM

You mean you don't want it to become an ADVENTURE! :honor:

#21 Twinrova

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:00 AM

No. No I don't. I want to stay inside and hide from everything that wants to kill me. ; n;

#22 Masamune

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 03:50 PM

Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country might do to you.

#23 SOAP

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 05:30 AM

You mean you don't want it to become an ADVENTURE! :honor:

Problem is we also have pretty much a two party system where we get to elect a person we don't like cos she stole power, or a person we simply would never allow to have power. Both parties have mass infighting within them as well. The system is okay but it's the people. The people are not okay.

There is also a third party that refuses to compromise on anything and very nearly controls the first of the other two parties mentioned, anyway. Needs more independent members so as to diversify the swing of the policies and bills passed through.


But hey, I'd have no problems with more places being like Australia. :pumpkin:
as nationalist as that sounds


I wish our schools were more like Austrialas. At least the colleges.

#24 Alastair

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 05:56 PM



We should take America back to before the Revolutionary War and put them back under the rule of the British. That'll totally fix American ideals.


Yes, actually, that's exactly what I'm saying. The current British system (at least as it's been implemented in Australia) seems to work a lot better than the US one does.


The current British system (at least as it's been implemented in Australia) seems to work a lot better than the current British system (at least as it's been implemented in Britain) :huh:

Joking aside, a lot of the problems with U.S. democracy are not unique. The U.K. also has problems with lobbying and party donations. All of our main political parties claim that they want to reform both areas, but despite having a coalition in Government (one party of which had a manifesto pledge to publish details of Government lobbying) nothing is likely to change.

What does appear different in the U.S. is the extreme polarisation. There seems to be a level of hatred directed at people holding the opposing view in America that is not prevalent in Europe.

#25 SOAP

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 03:36 AM

There's only one solution to American politics. And it's this:

Posted Image

Welp, preferably not until I make it out of the south first.

#26 ninja kitten

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 03:22 PM

I'm going to have to hop the border and live in Oregon because as much as I love my religion, I can't stand the idea of my whole life becoming religion-oriented. Also, I think Canada has a lot going for them. :)