Monthly Archives: September 2020

The Republican Party Must Die

So as I suggest in a previous article, many of us should vote for the Libertarian candidate where it will not harm the chances of Trump being thrown out of office. To call the orange thing a cancer on the nation and the Constitution is frankly an insult to cancer. He is a wannabe tyrant who surrounds himself with the most vile filth in existence who have no respect for the law, rights, reason, or truth and they cannot be allowed. They are small bigoted people who want only temporary power and care nothing about securing “the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Trump and all of his ilk need to go. There is no question about this at any level. They are an evil that cannot under any circumstances be allowed to continue to be in power, and after they are out they cannot be allowed to roam free, they must all be jailed for the rest of their disgusting lives as a testament to what trying to destroy this country will get you. Vote for the Libertarian in safe blue and red states, especially in safe red—see if you can pick off as much as possible. But in swing states, if you can stomach it vote for the dumb guy over the dumb and evil guy. I know it’s not a great choice but we need to keep the union alive if we are going to fix it and Trump has the goal of burning it to the ground.
But getting rid of Trump is only the first step. The problem is that he tapped into a vein of evil in this country that I think many of us didn’t want to admit existed. Before this sad excuse for a human got the traction I would have said that honest to god racists were only about 5%-10% of the Republican party and Independents, and between 10%-15% of the Democrats, and maybe, just maybe 20% of the people who didn’t vote. Holy shit did I underestimate those numbers. I still think there are way too many racists and bigots in the Democratic party and they pander to interest groups without shame of the fact that they work to ensure progress and harmony don’t continue. But whether the racists were always there in the GOP (yeah I underestimated) or Trump brought in all those racists who didn’t usually vote (which he did). Honestly, I’ll never know exactly how far off I was because there is probably no way to measure accurately who came into the Republican party and who left when the stench of bigotry went from the fringe that everyone ignored to party plank, but it doesn’t matter. The Republican party has become a party of white supremacy, fascist big government control, and a complete opposition to the Constitution and rule of law in their piggish desire for power. Their own party platform says they stand for nothing but a blind devotion to Der Fuhrer.
In 2014 the GOP was still suffering for what now comes off as minor infractions of Richard Nixon. It would take a century to end the taint of the evil of Trump. And as the Democratic Party keeps leaning towards mindless progressive socialism we don’t’ have a century to wait to stop them. So there is really only one answer on what to do with the Republican party. Take a page from the Romans at Carthage, burn the party to the ground; jail, destroy or exile those who still hold to the name Republican, salt the ground, and never look back.
Luckily there is historical precedence for this. The Whig died after they elected Zachary Taylor (a man with huge popularity, no experience, and no adherence to the Whig party platform) because the party was torn asunder after his win in 1848 (unlike Trump, Taylor at least had the good manners to die in office and spare us the hassle of hanging him for gross incompetence.). But after Taylor, the Whigs quickly died and a mere 12 years after he was elected to his pathetic term (so really only 8 years after the Whig term ended).

So history shows that a new party can rise up in a relatively quick fashion. (And if it has to involve a Civil War where we slit the throats of every last bigot and not make the mistake of Reconstruction where we thought we could bring the traitors back into the fold…so be it. The good news is that now all the bigots lack having the best generals on their side as the South did, it would not be a national tragedy, only a massacre of mowing down Klansmen, skinheads, and Proud-boy incels showing them all the mercy they have shown to others.)
But what should that party be about?
We need to start thinking about this now.

So here are my suggestions. I’m under no illusion that huge numbers of people listen to me, but ideas have to start somewhere and if you find this and spread the ideas to other who talk about them to others, so forth and so on, maybe this can be the spark that will reach someone who really can change things.

Social Safety Net:
Replace everything (Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, unemployment insurance, everything) with a Universal Basic Income ($1,000 a month) which will guarantee that no one falls into poverty but no one has to waste dozens of hours every week justifying to the government why they shouldn’t be in poverty. A $3,500 voucher to buy any private insurance plan of your choice—along with a law every insurance company has to offer a plan for that price that will cover all major and emergency medical— will guarantee that no one goes without health care. We can therefore get rid of ACA and all other laws, rules, and regulations governing healthcare. Also with a UBI there no longer needs to be a minimum wage.

Everybody pays the same rate income tax rate. No other federal taxes, no tariffs, no death tax, no capital gains, no taxes on anything other than a flat tax on income. If corporations want the rights of individuals, I support that and they will pay the exact same rate. I calculate it’s 33% and a 14K deduction, plus a 2K deduction for every child (keep in mind you’re no longer paying social security or medicare taxes and you’re now getting a $1,000 a month from the UBI…basically, everyone, making under $75K is probably going to have more take-home money under this plan). Corporations get to deduct payroll, capital investment, and R&D, but not things like advertising. No other deductions for individuals.
Charities will have to spend everything they take in within 12 months of getting the cash (being allowed a 6-month reserve and probably some way to store money without taxation for larger projects). But otherwise, this will stop the practice of hiding family money in fake charities to pay out the kids from said charity…it’s not just the Trumps who do this.
Once the debt is paid down we can probably drop the tax rate further.
The numbers of course are all best guesses on my part and economists who can run better models with dynamic scoring should probably be listened to more what I can calculate on my spreadsheet.

Foreign policy:
I would like a return some sane foreign policy. Things like supporting the free market through trade treaties and engaging in the WTO, pushing for human rights, opposing tyranny through soft pressure where possible…and if necessary have small targeted and well thought out military action. And when that all fails to actually have a plan for what to do after a war is over (because the Wilson/Bush idiocy that democracy just magically springs up is just preposterous even before it was tried after WWI, and W. has no excuse for that shortsightedness). Support the good and push back on the evil, you know act like an adult and realize that isolationism has never and will never work, no exceptions.
The goal also needs to be absolute free trade, no tariffs, no Jones Act, no subsidies, let the free market rule and we need to push that for all of our allies as well.

The Military:
With that, we also need to modernize the military. The future of any war is more about technology and not about the biggest army and biggest navy. Out tooth to tail ratio (the number of people in the military who are in combat versus those who are not in the field providing support) is one the highest in the world, but that is more a symptom of waste than efficiency. There is a lot we can cut from the military and still have it be stronger and more able to react to the needs of the nation.

This is more a state thing but we should start pushing to transition to a completely voucher-based education system (about $10,000 a year). You can have public education, and they get the voucher, but charters, private, pods, and homeschooling need to be treated as entirely equal in funding and we will see who can get the best result for society’s investments. And if we make those vouchers go from 3 to 21 then we can guarantee universal pre-K and have everyone get at least some trade school or college it’s up to them. Really bright kids with a dedicated parent can probably get done with high school before the age of 18 use that voucher for community college, AND get a trade school degree, before still having time to put those remaining voucher years to a state school.
All we have to do is ensure there is a national set of standards and tests to make sure the institutions or individuals. It would again be cheaper than the current system, have far less bureaucracy and waster, and get much higher rates of graduation and college attendance with vastly less debt.

End the War on Drugs:
Let’s admit it, the corruption, abuse by police and prosecutors, gang wars it funds, and general idiocy in government caused by the war on drugs is vastly more destructive to society than drugs could ever be.
Just legalize it all and let states tax the sales.

Open Borders. First, because there is no power in the Constitution to regulate immigration—every member of ICE should be on a gallows for trying to enforce blatantly unconstitutional laws. Second, because all laws of economics and human decency show that there is no downside to immigration and anything to the contrary is racist lies. THERE ARE NO GOOD REASONS TO RESTRICT IMMIGRATION. NONE.

Limits on the Executive:ddddd
It has become abundantly clear over the last 12 years that presidents all too often are in their position because of a cult of personality, not because of their character, virtue, intelligence, or skill. Too often now presidents are ruling by fiat than by law and we need to stop that. We need Congressional veto of executive orders, we need an independent Department of Internal Affairs that can investigate anyone in government and arrest anyone but a Congressman (because the Constitution says they can’t be arrested while Congress is in session, notice how the founders put no such rule for the President so the DOJ’s policy that the President can’t be arrested is unconstitutional and right now anyone enforcing that should be strung up for aiding and abetting), removing the president’s absolute ability to declare national emergencies without having his declarations questioned, removing this insanity that executive authority means the executive doesn’t have to comply with the law…you know basically make everything that Obama and Trump things that will land future executives on the receiving end of a firing squad. Over the course of the Cold War, we gave the president vastly too much power and that needs to be undone.

Move as much power as possible back to the states for things that they can control by themselves
90% of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Interior, Education, Transportation, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services are things that the states can do on their own, and as much of those departments need to be returned to state power with only minimal federal oversight for issues of true interstate commerce, the tragedy of the commons, and externalities like pollution.
The Departments of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and the Secret Service were all cute experiments but have clearly been shown to have no value, made everyone’s life worse, and serve absolutely no purpose.

Removing government waste

Granted everything above would remove a vast amount of government waste and insanity but there should always be a goal to cut as much of government as possible, specifically the federal registry. Right now there are more rules that govern every part of the government than any human could ever be expected to read let alone understand. We must return, as much as possible, to have the rules of government be limited enough that a person can be expected to read up on any area they are working in and thus once again ignorance of the law is not an excuse…as it stands right now ignorance is not only an excuse it should be expected.

Public investment
At this point there is relatively little a federal government would need to do for national infrastructure as so much of it should be turned over to the states, but one thing the government should be putting money into in R&D, especially in sciences where the commercial value isn’t immediately obvious, there is a growing body of research that a lot of what we take for granted today was the private sector building off of scientific discoveries made in the immediate post-war period on scientific research that didn’t have immediate value to the private sector. If we want to retain our edge we need to be at the forefront of science and that requires not just improving what is known but breaking new ground and finding out new things. The market has yet to fully find a way to fund these otherwise expensive but not usually immediately profitable kinds of research. The best way to do this would be to set up public-private research funds (where the government will match a donation made by individual interested in this kind of research—it’s a policy that was created by Benjamin Franklin, so it’s not like it doesn’t have some impressive roots). Further rewards for coming up with solutions to major problems should be offered in return for only earning a minimal fee off their patents (because a person will spend hours trying to find a solution to a problem if there is a $100M reward plus the possibility of an equal amount in patent fees for that discovery whereas they won’t spend the time if they have to make the discovery and then spend a lifetime marketing something only to earn $200M, people have short-term thinking we should use it to our advantage rather than pretend it isn’t there). Batteries that will hold the kind of changes we need to make solar, wind, and electric cars actually useful, concrete mixtures that won’t wear down and require repaving every three years, room temperature superconductors, you know things that we all could benefit from but which may require the wacky genius of someone not working in a lab and trying something that no legitimate scientist would try because the scientist “knows” that it will never work.

Social Issues
Let’s take the intelligent libertarian take on social issues and neither fund nor hinder these things and let society deal with them and keep them out of government.

There are dozens of other little things I could go over but at the heart of it is a faith in the free market and individuals on the whole, with an admission that there are a few things it doesn’t work for very well. Respect for individual rights, and dedication to rule of law, and belief that human progress is both a good thing but that it doesn’t require either radical revolution or intractable stagnation.

So this is the goal. Does it have to be exactly like this? I wish, but I doubt I would ever get everything I would want. But this is a start for the conversation.

Leave a comment

Filed under GOP

Let’s have a serious talk about reparations

Recently I have heard the issue of the reparations come back up. Now, on the one hand you certainly can argue that slavery, institutional, legal, and systemic racism has held people the defendants of slaves back…but it is just as unjust to demand that those who never engaged in slavery to pay for those past mistakes. You don’t make things better by just adding to a number of wrongs and punishing the people who are not responsible.

So how do you make it so that only those who are to blame pay the price?

Further, the logical problem comes up with how long do you go back? Some of my ancestors came from Ireland, they were treated with bigotry when they came to these shores, they were certainly treated with outright hatred from the rest of Europe for over a millennia…but no sane person thinks that Britain should pay for the suffering my Irish ancestors endured. I mean, if you want to get crazy some of my ancestors came from France…should Italy pay reparations for their invasion of my ancestral homelands under Julius Caesar? That last line is preposterous but it makes the point at what point in history do you just say the past is the past and get over it?

Luckily there is a rational answer to both.

The first comes from the joys of genetics where we find that epigenetics is beginning to answer a lot of questions about why genes behave the way they do. Epigenetics is the study of which genes get turned on which ones don’t. For instance, that low metabolism you have, it might be because your parent or grandparent suffered from a period of great want in their life and certain triggers turned on in their DNA to ensure that their offspring process nutrients in a much more efficient way and store tons of it in fat because as far as their metabolism can tell the food is scarce and thus their offspring will need to have a metabolism that can store lots of food because there will be times it needs to run off only that fat…so one 10 year Great Depression ends in two generations of obesity and heart disease. And as far as science can find out, these triggers usually only go back to grandparents. And this affects numerous issues, such as IQ, metabolism, health, and personality, which in turn can have a massive effect on your life now. So from a very science-based way of looking at things, systemic racism against your grandparents is something that likely had an effect on you personally. So we will go back two generations. That is not going to address every wrong ever done, but it will address the wrongs that have a direct effect on an individual. And that is just, because it is not saying you should suffer or benefit from what your ancestors did, only from the very real environmental factors that had a direct effect on you.

The next question is who should pay for this? Because putting a tax burden on people now who were never born doesn’t make sense. It is the idea that the child should pay for the sins of the father (now it might be tempting to throw the whole Trump clan in Chateau d’If and throw away the key, but let’s be honest the kids have committed crimes on their own and can be tried and locked away for their own crimes and humanity is just as safe). So we should only make those who had a hand in these forms of racism pay. Luckily, due to the fact that corporations and governments are immortal, there are some very attractive targets to actually payout on this one.
First off, as anyone who has read Richard Rothestein’s excellent book The Color of Law knows that the entire housing market for the last century has been a racist mess (you should read it, it will make you unspeakably angry at the government for engaging in racist evil well into most of our lives, and then angry at liberals for not presenting these facts years ago…seriously if courts are ruling that segregation is only de facto and not de jure when it most certainly is de jure, a reasonable person is not going to get upset until they see the evidence that it is de jure…this book should have been published no later than 1990…and yet…). And we all know about the government’s last attempt to solve this problem: the subprime loan! Yeah, they not only encourage racism but helped to tank the whole system. But the government through the FHA made racism the de jure law of the land, and FHA’s inheritors Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac still have the blood on their hands. But in addition to blood, Fannie and Freddie have money and a lot of notes on house loans. Make them payout to everyone who can even suggest – that they, their parents, or their grandparents were prevented from owning a home get paid out from the complete, total, and irreversible liquidation of everything Fannie and Freddy own. Their total assets are around $5.5 Trillion but you’d probably have to fire sale that, so that’s only about $550 Billion…so that’s only a payment of about $13,000 for every single African American in the US. And the added advantage is that by killing Fannie and Freddy as they should have been eliminated a decade ago will do three things (1) make the banking system stronger as they will be able to acquire lots of mortgages at a fraction of the list price and less likely to fail again (2) lower the price of houses which in the long run is a much better system and (3) make that payout worth more in purchasing power as compared to today. Oh, government control over the economy would also be radically lowered. So actually paying out reparations in this way wouldn’t be hurting people who never engaged in these evils, but actually helping them.  Yes people who over invested in real-estate will be hurt in the short-run…but if you did that after the 2008 crash you deserve to pay for your foolishness.

But $13,000 isn’t going to make up for everything. After all the government engaged in contracts that prevent non-whites from getting jobs, police have harassed non-whites in ways ranging from annoyance to unjust fines to outright murder, and schools have systematically ensured that certain communities get lower education. No soft bigotry of low expectations here, this is outright evil. And you know who was behind those evils? Labor unions preventing non-whites from getting jobs, police unions keeping the racists on the street and preventing reform, and teachers unions making sure that the inept stay in their jobs. And you know what unions have, be they public or private? They have nice fat pensions accounts. Yeah, I’m suggesting taxpayers cease all contributions to those funds (because not everyone is to blame for this and doesn’t need to be punished further by continuing to fund this evil) and that those accounts be raided for every last cent. Yeah, some racist cops and some racist teachers will now be broke in their old age. I don’t care. (Please keep in mind I am a teacher and I do have some skin in the game when it comes to this proposal…not a lot, but money is money, and this is still the right thing to do even though I will be taking a loss.) Let’s throw in the pensions for every elected official in the country because their votes allowed all this evil to continue and they can pay for that. It is better that the people who had a hand in this evil pay, rather than a whole nation which would only lead to more animosity thus giving more fodder for the nationalists and populists to use against those who have already been abused. I couldn’t begin to calculate how much money that will be, but it probably will not be small.  And we’ll see how much the nationalists believe Blue lives matter…if they take care of the aging racists then they’ve put their money where their mouth is, but we all know that their support goes only as far as it hurts non-whites.

After that, we can certainly sue every cop, teacher, union rep, and legislator who you can show actively continued these policies, but that will only be pennies on the dollar compared to those pension funds…but those responsible must suffer.
Now, I’m sure there are companies and specific funds that can be gone after with the same logic. But this is the point, only those responsible and only going back two generations. This holds to justice and doesn’t allow people to think that they’re being abused.
Will this solve every problem in every minority community. Hardly. But it is a start and maybe if we’re lucky it’s a start that hastens the justice we yearn for actually getting here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized