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Some perspective on our flawed Founding Fathers

Terry Garlock's picture

Michelle Bachman, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, recently caused a stir when she said publicly that the Founding Fathers had worked tirelessly to end slavery.

We often hear about our Founding Fathers in a way that implies purity and virtue, inviting the vision of an angelic choir for background music. But we don’t often hear about the messy process, the infighting, factions, jealousies, suspicions, one group plotting against the other, or compromised principles like setting aside objections to slavery.

Far too seldom do we look past the romanticized version to recognize the reality of that period, an important part of appreciating the system our Founding Fathers left to us, warts and all.

For example, civil rights activists decry the Constitution’s original treatment of slaves as 3/5 of a person. The system of slavery was America’s shame, to be sure, but we should at least get the history right.

When the colonies met in the Continental Congress and eventually discussed independence, slavery was the elephant in the room. The issue was so divisive between northern and southern states, it ultimately had to be set aside and even ignored if the colonies were to do anything at all together.

Thus began the public pretense that slavery did not exist, a subject to be discussed behind closed doors, whispered about in dark corners instead of open, public arguments. And so it was throughout the Revolutionary War and in the early years of our country, even until the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

The infamous Constitutional clause (Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3) counting slaves as three-fifths of a person was a negotiated deal on enumeration to determine how many representatives a state would have, how many votes they would have in Congress.

Northern states obviously didn’t want slaves counted at all, while southern slave states wanted each slave counted. Three-fifths of a person was the compromise, the best deal either side could strike, a good example of the sordid business of making sausage, or deals in Congress.

Meanwhile, northern states struck a bargain with southern states to extend the slave trade for 20 years in exchange for making federal regulation of commerce a mere majority vote in Congress instead of requiring a 2/3 majority. So much for morality.

Decades later, the two closely related issues that had been swept under the rug from the outset, southern states’ rejection of interference into their own affairs and northern states’ objection to slavery, finally brought civil war to America.

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who now promote themselves by pointing the finger of blame at southern states for dehumanizing blacks with the 3/5 clause, get it wrong but either don’t understand this history or they think their constituents are too dimwitted to uncover the facts.

Sometimes we hear criticism of our founding fathers who were slave-owners. Some of them were. It was the way of the world in which they lived, but they had many other imperfections as well.

The men and women whose work brought about our independence were not one-dimensional people of either virtue or evil; they were a mix of strengths and weaknesses just like you and me. I think it is a good thing to remember that, and how our system is designed to keep the natural weaknesses of our leaders in check.

The founding fathers generally disdained the idea of political parties, since such “factions” were thought to work against the public interest. Maybe they were right, but they didn’t take long after independence to separate themselves into factions, following the course of human nature.

During George Washington’s first term, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, a man of humble beginnings but savvy on economic matters, advocated a strong federal government and monetary system. He built support from bankers and businessmen, eventually forming the Federalist party, from which John Adams became the first president after Washington stepped aside.

Opposing the Federalists was Adams’ formerly dear friend, Thomas Jefferson, who came to hate Hamilton. Jefferson believed the federal government should be strong on foreign policy but largely hands-off and restrained on domestic matters, leaving the states to manage their own affairs.

While Jefferson was a deep thinker and eloquent writer who rarely spoke more than a sentence or two in public, James Madison, Jefferson’s protégé, was a diminutive man but strong public speaker.

Commentator George Will said in a Sunday talk show that Madison, who became the architect of the Constitution, pointed out in Federalist 45 that the enumerated powers of the federal government in the Constitution were “few and defined,” just one example of many of the Founders’ belief the federal government was both necessary and dangerous.

Supporters of Jefferson and Madison formed the Democratic-Republicans, a party that denounced the centralization pushed by Hamilton.

Leaving aside the long list of other names on the front lines of the fray, these players collected in like-minded groups, disagreed, suspected each other, despised each other, plotted against each other, used intrigue and chicanery against each other and ... gee, sounds like today, doesn’t it?

Which leads me to my belief that the system of checks and balances embodied in the Constitution was a result of these factions despising and mistrusting each other, fearing the worst if the other side prevailed in a system that gave them too much power.

It seems to me that even though the Federalist party faded away by around 1815, the creeping power-grabs in Washington, especially in recent years, argues in strong favor of Jefferson’s suspicions. I believe the Founding Fathers would be appalled at the exponential expansion of federal power over a long time, creating unwarranted expense, oppressive regulation and intrusion into our private lives.

If the Founding Fathers could somehow come back for a conversation, their comments would likely have to wait until spring-loaded dummies lectured them on the 3/5 of a person clause, and until they were soundly lectured by nearly everyone on limiting the vote to white male landowners.

Maybe they were on to something by limiting the vote, considering the uneducated and uninformed rabble of the American public back in those days. I wonder how much progress we have made as I observe the pathologically sensitive crowd that howls about rights and scowls about responsibilities, the same people who insist that requiring a photo ID to prove identity at the voting place amounts to suppressing the vote of minorities.

While the rest of you are consumed with making voting easier, I question whether everyone should even be allowed to vote.

I would argue there is much ground to be regained on the Founders’ intent in the Constitution if we made just one change today – limit the vote to those citizens who actually pay taxes. I’ll bet the squabbling and divided Founding Fathers might even be able to come together in agreement on that one.

Was Michelle Bachman wrong about the Founding Fathers working tirelessly to end slavery? Of course she was wrong. She should admit her error and move on.

Were the Founding Fathers paragons of virtue? Hardly. Perhaps the background music to the founding of our country should be recrimination, squabbles, accusations, arguments, mistrust and suspicion instead of angelic hosts.

And maybe that isn’t a bad thing if you agree with me that our system was intended to withstand the frailties of human nature, to protect me from you and you from me.

[Terry Garlock of Peachtree City writes columns occasionally for The Citizen. His email is terry@garlock1.com.]

Comments

Nice column overall Terry, but I was stopped by your proposal near the end that voting rights should belong only to people “who actually pay taxes.”

I realize that’s probably just a little red meat treat tossed to the local fanbase, but…huh?

Virtually every adult citizen in the US pays some tax to someone, so as written the idea is pointless. Perhaps you meant to say only those who “actually pay FEDERAL INCOME taxes” should have voting rights. Well, that would be effective, all right. It would take away voting rights from low-wage workers who don’t make enough to owe income tax but still pay their share of payroll taxes. What about low-income retirees, among others, who still pay property taxes? And, well, everybody else who still pays sales taxes? Then there'd be the high-earners and investors who, for one reason or another, zero out their federal tax liability. I'm guessing they'd be exempt.

You might want to think through your red meat treats… this one went bad as soon as it was served….

PTC Observer's picture

From Mr. Garlock's article,

".. limit the vote to those citizens who actually pay taxes.."

Well in really you are correct Bowser to some degree most of us pay taxes, but the difference is that the taxes that are paid by government employees are not "real" taxes. They are take backs from government from their employees. Therefore, these "taxes" can better be called a "discount" on salary.

Putting it another way, since government doesn't create wealth, it only consumes it, employees of the government provide no net economic benefit to funding government. Therefore, if they vote they simply vote for someone that will increase their discounted salaries at the expense of those that actually create wealth.

If we restrict the vote, and not allow government workers the right to vote, they cannot increase their own salaries.

The founders knew employees voting to increase their "take" to be a big issue. That's why it took 203 long years to ratify the 27th Amendment to the US Constitution under considerable pressure.

Gotta hand it to you, you certainly upped the ante on old Terry. But I'm still hoping the perfesser himself will step back into the room to explain his idea.

Anyway good luck with your own plan. I’m sure President Bachmann’s first act will be to sign the Government Employees Can’t Vote Anymore Act of 2013.

PTC Observer's picture

We can only hope, not that I support Ms. Bachmann. Not radical enough for my taste.

carbonunit52's picture

[quote]While the rest of you are consumed with making voting easier, I question whether everyone should even be allowed to vote.[/quote]

How is this for radical: Everyone 18 years of age and older who is not in a coma should be required to vote? Regardless of what one's level of tax paying is, everyone is affected by the government and everyone should take ownership of their portion of the that effect. I think section 2 of the 15th ammendment would provide cover for this law, protecting the right by requiring its application.

PTC Observer's picture

The 15th Admendment, section 2, is referring to section 1 of the 15th. An Admendment that I happen to fully agree with.

Now, in a Representative Republic the franchise is limited by definition. I propose that we limit the vote based on the notion that those that work for the government, have a conflict of interest with regard to funding the government. Therefore, they should not have the right to vote if they work for the government. If they want to vote, they simply have to find a job in the private sector.

You mean like at Lockheed Martin?

“If we restrict the vote, and not allow government workers the right to vote, they cannot increase their own salaries.”

Tell me, which of these groups shouldn’t be able to vote?

1. All active and former military personnel
2. Air traffic controllers
3. FAA aircraft inspectors
4. DoD and civilian contract specialists
5. Trash collectors (some work for cities)
6. Astronauts
7. CIA, NSA and TSA employees
8. All law enforcement personnel
9. Local, County, State and Nationally elected personnel
10. Government contractors
11. Anyone who itemizes their taxes
12. Anyone collecting food stamps

Who does that leave to vote?

PTC Observer's picture

Well....all of them, except #11 if they don't work for the government, and #1 if they are former personnel and don't currently work for the government.

Who does that leave to vote?

Everyone else.

Questions?

members of organized unions.

If there was ever a group of people that openly attempt to influence the results of local and national elections for their own benefit, I would put unions are at the top of the list. Just look at the teachers union contributions towards presidential and congressional races.

I find it odd that you would allow former members of the military to vote. For many of them their retirement income only comes from the government so they could be considered government employees for life.

Aren’t people who itemize their taxes taking and/or being given free money from the government?

What I really find strange with your argument is that government workers are the only class of people who expressly forbidden from campaigning while at work. Something called the ‘Hatch’ act I believe.

PTC Observer's picture

Nope union members could vote as long as they didn't work for the government or a contractor of the government, like say General Dynamics. A teacher union member is another example of a union member who wouldn't be able to vote.

I forgot that many veteran pensions are tied to government funding, so no they couldn't vote either, if the pensions were paid from government funds and not from investments in equities.

People that itemize are simply taking advantage of the tax. They are not getting money from the government, they are keeping the government from getting more of their money. Anyway, tax reform is a whole different issue but I think we should have a flat tax of some sort.

The Hatch Act doesn't go far enough, IMHO. They shouldn't be able to vote as well.

Here's the rationle in a nutshell, people who work for the government create no wealth, they consume wealth, therefore they should have no voice in how the government is run.

These are radical ideas I know but they are based on the notion that we should have a Republic, not a democracy. The condition of the government/country is a direct result of the masses having the keys to the treasury. Who would not vote to increase their salary at the expense of someone else?

First and foremost I make no claim as to the accuracy of the numbers listed below as they were selected via a 30 min. search on the web. If you have different/better numbers I will accept yours as valid. Most of these numbers, but not all, came from BL&S.

Number of active military personnel as of 2007, 1,380,000
Number of retired military personnel as of 2009, 22,894,578
Number of federal employees as of 2010, 2,000,000
Number of contract federal workers as of 2010, 12,600,000
Number of state employees as of 2009, 3,836,544
Number of teachers as of 2010, 7,200,000
Number of union members as of 2010, 14,700,000
Number of law enforcement as of 2010, 800,000
Number of fire fighters as of 2010, 360,000

Total: 47,176,554 (I excluded union members as they are most likely included in one or more other entries)

Total employable people in the U.S. as of 2011, 131,000,000

Using your guidelines of a 'Republic' I’m using the following definitions as a guide. Again, if you have a different definition(s), I’ll accept yours:

A Republic:
Its purpose is to control The Majority strictly, as well as all others among the people, primarily to protect The Individual’s God-given, unalienable rights and therefore for the protection of the rights of The Minority, of all minorities, and the liberties of people in general. The definition of a Republic is: a constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution--adopted by the people and changeable (from its original meaning) by them only by its amendment--with its powers divided between three separate Branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Here the term "the people" means, of course, the electorate.

A Democracy
The chief characteristic and distinguishing feature of a Democracy is: Rule by Omnipotent Majority. In a Democracy, The Individual, and any group of Individuals composing any Minority, have no protection against the unlimited power of The Majority. It is a case of Majority-over-Man.

Questions:
Is it fair to exclude 36% of the eligible work force from voting if you truly believe that the U.S. should be governed as a republic? Should not a republic be looking out for the interests of the minority?

How and why do you believe that people working for the government, in any capacity, have the ability to vote themselves or persuade elected officials to vote them additional compensation? Please provide specific examples of such.

Should organized religion have any ability to persuade a person’s voting decisions? Churches and/or organized religion don’t pay taxes yet their influence is greatly felt in nearly all elections. Should we not exclude any and all church goers from voting as well?

Why not make things simple? Anyone with a bachelors degree or greater is required to vote, anyone with less can’t. Why should we allow the uneducated to have any say in how trillions of tax dollars are spent?

Allowing the ignorant, lazy and uninformed the right to vote is what has fueled the electorate we currently have.

I say make it mandatory that anyone with any kind of advanced degree, other than 'religious studies', must vote. Hell, I’m game for making voters pass a civics and or current event test. That alone should delete the entitlement vote for the most part. We’ll run the country as a ‘for profit business’ and simply discard those who don’t know any better to live off of what we can afford after profits.

Do you really want those who live off the government handouts deciding what’s good for the country?

Sorry, forgot one item. Anyone that wishes to vote must have been gainfully employed, in a lawful occupation, for at least 6 months prior to voting. Selling crack for a profit doesn’t count.

Please continue.

800,000 law enforcement (in the USA)?
360,000 firefighters

Is this 40% of workers paid by taxes? (your list)

More office personnel than that (Cops and firefighters)

PTC Observer's picture

I will number your questions in order of appearance.

1. Yes it is "fair" but more importantly it is "right", but "eligible workforce"? I am not sure what you mean. I would say just workforce, those that get a paycheck from the government or from a company that does business with the government could not vote.

2. Yes, our Republic was established to protect the rights of minorities, though in the beginning it did not, its "ideas and founding principles" established this fact, this is one reason we fought a civil war. In fact it was established to protect the Rights of Mankind, AGAINST government. It was founded on personal responsibility and individual freedom, not government largess. Concepts that are slowly slipping away from us.

3. In a democracy it is groups of people divided among those with financial interests, race, national origin, and religion that are separated by the political elite to gain power. Politicians under a democracy energize these groups to vote in a block in their own self-interest. This keeps us divided as a nation because these special interests are always "endorsing" candidates to serve their interest at the expense of someone else. It is a quid pro quo system, set up to reward those politicians that “feed” their constituents through legislation that benefits them. It is corruption of the highest order. The teachers unions are a good example but there are many, many more. I can expand on this concept but this is a brief answer. The common denominator in all this is the money and who pays it. Those that create wealth should be the only ones to vote where the money should be spent.

4. Churches should be taxed on their assets, like property taxes. They shouldn’t get a pass on being taxed. However, if we allow for taxes they should be allowed to "preach" to their members about politics. We wouldn't have a country if we had the same "tax exempt" status going during the American Revolution. Churches were very active in the political process during those times, now they are afraid to open their mouth during services because they might lose their tax status. The members that work in the private sector could vote based on persuasive arguments from the pulpit.

5. Being a good citizen has nothing to do with education, it has everything to do with involvement. If you know that it is you that pays the bills for the government and not someone else, you will pay attention. At least we would have a more engaged electorate at the very least, the fact is this has nothing to do with education or class; it has everything to do with who pays the bills. The reason we have lazy, uninformed voters is because of #3 above.

6. No, I don't want those that live off the government to vote, if they receive payment from the government, they would give up their right to vote.

7. Your point about being gainfully employed in the private sector has some merit. Those that are unemployed and receive checks from the government would lose their right to vote until they are either 1) no longer taking checks (support from a family member for example) or 2)find a job in the private sector and get off the government dole.

Hope this answers your questions and of course I realize that this will never happen because special interests are too well ingrained in our political system. These ideas are WAY too radical for most to accept, especially those living off the government.

PTCO

[quote]3. In a democracy it is groups of people divided among those with financial interests, race, national origin, and religion that are separated by the political elite to gain power. Politicians under a democracy energize these groups to vote in a block in their own self-interest. This keeps us divided as a nation because these special interests are always "endorsing" candidates to serve their interest at the expense of someone else. It is a quid pro quo system, set up to reward those politicians that “feed” their constituents through legislation that benefits them. It is corruption of the highest order. The teachers unions are a good example but there are many, many more. I can expand on this concept but this is a brief answer. The common denominator in all this is the money and who pays it. Those that create wealth should be the only ones to vote where the money should be spent[/quote]

This is the 'radical' idea that could destroy this country. Only let the 'monied' class vote - let the rest eat cake. Where have we heard that before? A good line to start a revolution.

PTC Observer's picture

Yes, it's a radical idea DM, and I would expect you would be one of the first to object to it.

I said nothing about the "monied" class, I specifically said that those that earn their income from the government would not be able to vote. A waitress would be able to vote under my proposal, I don't think you can classify this profession as a "monied" class.

The person that said let them "eat cake" was a queen and she lost her head to the knife. Aren't political professional elites the same as the kings of old Europe? They take the spoils and feed their special interests, just like King Louis XVI of France and his estate tariffs, he brought his country to ruin with hunger, mass riots, and slaughter. All by serving special interests.

Don't expect DM to know anything about history - she was a government edumicator, after all. She only uses little quips that she knows little of in a pathetic attempt to appear knowlegeable.

You are so knowledgeable, it's so refreshing to read your posts. Yes, I worked for a government to provide services to the public while also administrating a very profitable family business. What 'part ' of me would you allow the privilege of voting?
The 'queen' lost her head - and those beneath her successfully revolted. If you read the AJC, take a look at Chambliss comment about a possible solution to our current financial crisis. Using your philosophy PTCO, the shareholders in a business <strong>might</strong> be disenfranchised. What would happen to the business's that have only government contracts? What would happen to the constitutional 'one man, one vote' theory? Gee, I guess the US President couldn't vote or the members of Congress - since they're 'guv' workers. I'm sure you'll set me straight regarding my senile confusion.

PTC Observer's picture

"What would happen to the business's that have only government contracts?"

"What would happen to the constitutional 'one man, one vote' theory?"

#1 I don't know what you mean, businesses would not be impacted. The employees of these companies could not vote.

#2 That's what we are debating DM, or did you miss this somehow. There wouldn't be one man, one vote, the franchise would be limited.

Stockholders would not be impacted by their investments, if they invest in a company that does business with the government they would still be able to vote, as long as they didn't get direct payments from the government. We don't want to restrict capital flows or pretty soon there wouldn't be any companies that exist that would do business with the government. Have you never taken finance?

Finally, if any part of you received payment from the government, then the whole you wouldn't be able to vote.

hutch866's picture

How very...well...Hitler like, funny looking back on history, nobody ever tries to deny themselves the right to vote. PTCO, I find it especially funny that you would send someone to war, to fight YOUR battles, and yet at the same time, deny them the right to vote. Terry, I thought better of you.

I yam what I yam

But maybe we don't get it. We send 17 year old to get killed (up to 10,000 recently + 40,000 maimed, or more) but since they are volunteers and not the sons and daughters of judges, lawyers, bankers, hedge fund managers, etc., they got what they asked for and we won't even take care of them well when they do get home, if not dead---but then we mis-bury some of them!

Now, there are no jobs for them so they can't vote---isn't that great?

Time for exceptions isn't it? Let's make a great long list of exceptions.

Garlock has lost his mind or is joking us along for awhile.

I get the feeling that the only military people who deserve help, medical care, and voting rights are the pensioners--Last I saw there were maybe several hundreds of thousands of them!

I don't see the difference in 20 years and 24 months in combat.

No, YOU wouldn't see the difference. Between 1959 and 1979 I spent 30 months in a combat zone. But so what? That's what I signed up to do--serve where I was sent.

hutch866's picture

Looks like we got out of the service the same year, of course I was only 2 at most when you started.

I yam what I yam

PTC Observer's picture

Well Hutch, I would say that you should read a little history. Up until the 19th and early 20th century it was common for those that served in the military to give up their right to vote on principle. In fact, in the 1960's it was an unspoken "rule" that officers did not vote, thus separating the military from anything political.

It has nothing to do with disenfranchising the military because they serve; it has everything to do with being consistent in the application of the concept. If this is the only objection you have to the idea, then we are pretty close to agreement.

hutch866's picture

Not my only objection, people who talk about excluding voters scare me, but I can see I'm spinning my wheels talking about this with you, put it this way, if it came down to it, we would be shooting at each other, but of course, your people would be vote less soldiers, and I doubt you would be in the line of fire, and that's all I have to say about it.

I yam what I yam

PTC Observer's picture

Well if your mind is made up, I certainly won't try an convince you. I certainly don't want to scare you.

Ideas can be frigthening, especially new ideas.

As to shooting each other, I can't exclude this possibility if the franchise was limited, I am certain that government workers would not like this idea as it limits their ability to garner more and more income from the government. However, that's the idea, limited government.

hutch866's picture

Lets be sure of one thing, personally, you don't scare me, for another thing, I haven't been a government worker since the 70's when I was in the Navy, so you have no argument there. The fact that you would decide who vote's is the scary part, for now it's just the government workers, then what, those scarey Muslims, maybe the Hindu's, God knows we don't agree with them. I do love the Officer fact you threw in, because we all know the only people in the military with any brains are the OFFICERS, them dumb ole enlisted are just freaking drones waiting to be told what to do, tell me what the ratio of enlisted to officers is, or was back then, you really think it made any difference that the O's didn't vote? Of course that just plays into your elitist views doesn't it?

The fact is, IMHO, when you get on your high horse and try to limit who votes, it's just a roller coaster that gains speed going downhill, but has a diminishing return the further it goes.

I can see you a couple hundred years ago, saying them dumb old peasants don't need to vote, of course unless they have a degree and a few thou in the bank, or maybe a couple thousand acres planted, but I'm sure you get where I'm going.

Yes, Ideas can be "frigthening", but I really don't believe this one is new, but I will give you recycled.

I yam what I yam

PTC Observer's picture

This I hope is an intellectual exchange and it certainly is not personal on my part.

So, let's start from the beginning. My argument is that the government was founded upon the principle of a republic, not a democracy. By definition, a republic limits the vote, it was not conceived as a "one man, one vote" form of government. That is a democracy.

Now, as Mr. Garlock has pointed out in his article, the founders had it wrong about HOW to restrict the vote. Many of them kept slaves and didn't allow slaves and non-property owners to vote. The concept of a republic though has merit in todays world. As government continues to grow and outstrips our ability to pay for it we need to limit its size, scope and power. Our out of control government and its spending is going to destroy our way of life. So, my proposal is quite simple. Restrict the vote based on WHERE you derive your income. I have outlined in some earlier posts the value of taking this approach.

As far as things getting out of hand, well that why we have the provision in the Constitution that allows for admendments. We don't want to change the construction of the Constitution we simply want to admend it to return it to a Republic.

Again this is an intellectual argument, if you can think of reasons why this doesn't make sense, I would like to hear them.

Finally, you are correct in your last sentence. This idea is not "new", it is as old as our former republic of the United States of America.

hutch866's picture

Using your logic, well, women wouldn't be voting today, let alone the blacks and the people who rent their houses, instead of looking for ways to limit voting, I say lets look at ways to increase voting, wouldn't bother me a bit to make voting mandatory. I can't believe how many people bitch about whatever laws are passed, or who is elected, but they themselves couldn't be bothered to vote. This was the first year my daughter was able to vote, too bad the rest of the country wasn't as eager to vote as she was, of course, she being a senior in high school, in Terry's view, she wouldn't be able to vote as she didn't make enough money to pay taxes. It's just a small jump to your assertion that government workers shouldn't vote.

You said "Finally, you are correct in your last sentence. This idea is not "new", it is as old as our former republic of the United States of America." There were many mistakes in the founding of our country, hence the amendments, in my opinion, you're trying to return to those mistakes, not advance us.

Finally, I notice while you thought it was important enough to include the officer point in your previous post, you seem to have omitted any response in your rebuttal, inquiring minds would like to know why.

I yam what I yam

PTC Observer's picture

Trying to eliminate the narrow columns

Cyclist's picture

While I feel that the right to vote should be reserved for citizens I disagree with the idea that it should be limited to only those "educated" or that pay taxes.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

PTC Observer's picture

I can understand your concern, but to clarify, I am saying that only those that work for the government or derive their income from the government would be restricted from voting. If they want to vote the simply need to leave government service and enter the private sector.

I never said anything about education level or taxation as a limiting factor.

Cyclist's picture

I had to re-read everything again. The tax thingy was Terry's. Sorry.

I doubt seriously that the Hatch Act of 1939 will be modified to the degree that you support for workers in all levels of the guv. And to apply that to private companies...well it ain't going to happen.

I know that some Federal employees and their unions push the boundaries of "Hatch" and I also know the "issue/problems" that you speak of. However, denying them the right to vote.....that's not a tenable position politically.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

PTC Observer's picture

I never thought it was tenable, at least today. However, if we let the entire government and financial system collapes it will be not only possible politically, it will be demanded.

The governmment and all of it components will be out in force trying to convince us that it was the "evil" rich that caused the collapes, when it is the rich that have the most to lose in such a collapes.

No, it will be the government and it's role as a consumer of wealth that will be the real culprit. Somehow, we need to get a hold of the spending spree or we all go down with the ship.

Cyclist's picture

I'm still optimistic that a deal will be reached for this year. But that "certain" clock is ticking.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

PTC Observer's picture

a deal will be reached, but will it be a deal that will solve the problem?

I think not, both parties have a vested interest in keeping things just as they are, it's about power Cy, pure and simple.

The moment someone talks about reducing the power of our government, tons and I mean tons of people come out of the woodwork to stop it.

That's why the Tea Party is going nowhere, and it will take a collapes to change things.....to what I am not certain. However, unless we keep the framework of the Constitution, we are all dead meat.

Meanwhile, I will go to work and pay my taxes and complain about it..

The plutocracy need not restrict voting to themselves, but rather seek the inclusion of corporate person voting. That tips the scales in their favor. Until that happens -- and it will -- they'll continue getting fat by corrupting whichever candidate wins.

Try reading a 'lil Lysander Spooner if you're feeling truly radical.

I am going to ASSUME you two are joking?

But if you are not, I need to add a few to the list:

Ignorant people like you!

officials at all levels should not be the ones to vote on anything that enriches them because of their positions. Raises, benefits, etc should be put on a ballot where the citizens could vote on these matters. How ridiculous that they are able to decide if they get raises or not--other bennies or not---just who, of all the elected officials, do you think would ever vote against it--unless they knew it would pass anyways and was only grandstanding. There should definitely be term limits and the changes idicated above. Sure would make things different. No one goes into politics for altruistic reasons anymore--no matter what their financial situation was when they went into office they always come out millionaires. The only one who comes to mind who did not profit was Harry Truman. There may have been others farther back in history, but it sure isn't the case anymore. I'm sure Roundie will be able to remember more--after all he has been there since our Republic was established--so I am sure he will have an opinion.

As a matter of fact I do know of some earlier politicians who got rich while in office! However Presidents of the USA has to have approval for their salary increases. It usually happens when congress needs (wants) a raise and since they don't want to make more than the President, they vote him a raise also!

I must say though that I think maybe you are talking about local politicians who only need the Council or Commissioners approval.

Raises are the smallest part of getting rich however. Nowadays it occurs mostly from books written which all party members buy; also what money they have is put into a trust to invest for them and who would want the name of the Trust investing in something that broke the President?

Then when they leave office, they are put onto all of the boards of directors of large, rich companies that they can handle (pays pretty good) or put in charge of a large company where the salary is enormous and the bonuses and stock options can make them worth multi-millions whether they do well or not!

As to the older dudes in times past, Of course some of them had free labor slaves to make a lot of money on their great plantations. Actually, one couldn't get elected unless wealthy and a great landowner (with slaves).

Females couldn't vote but actually some had a lot of land and married some of the dudes---George Washington did alright with that situation.

Actually wealth was measured more in those days by acreage than cash money. There was no stock market or hedge funds or bad loan bundles!

Barter was a favorite way of making exchanges---one young black female and stout man-child for say seed and horses and mules!

from their salaries but they get rich from either putting the companies they own in a blind trust, supposedly so they do not benefit from them but as with most anything, there are always ways around that. Does anyone really believe that Cheney did not profit in any way from Blackwater and his other companies getting all those contracts that no other companies had a chance to bid on? Sure, his stakes in those companies were in a blind trust, wink, wink, but he profited as have many others. Then when they get out of office, there are all the cushy "consultation" positions they get where being the ex-president with all those connections are invaluable-and those monstrous fees for speaking--no, they do not go in it for the salary---but it sure has benefits!

Observerofu's picture

and they say crime doesn't pay...bah.

"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt"
-Samuel Adams
Illegitimi non carborundum

PTC Observer's picture

Pelosi became wealthy through marriage (San Francisco) and her father's political connections in Baltimore. She's never worked a day in her life in the private sector. She is one of the best examples of a professional politician you can get. What wealth she has, has been gained on the backs of the people.

NUK_1's picture

Since she married into money and hasn't busted a grape ever except for her government "work," she feels "guilt" and angst" over how "well off" she is and assuages those feelings by trying to redirect everyone else's money to those "less fortunate" and to enlarging government control as much as possible to make that happen. She's got hers and wants everyone else to somehow have the same things despite that being impossible. Pure pandering and even white guilt expressed through matriarchal BS of "I know what's best for those people."

Sleazebag Joe Kennedy would be proud.

carbonunit52's picture

Sensors have detected a strong "wealth envy' radiating from your vicinity. You may want to be careful who you stand beside.

PTC Observer's picture

Yes, I totally agree. Elected officials would not be able to vote, neither would their staffs. If they get a check from the government then they can't vote, that's the idea.

It is also true that very few people go into politics anymore for altruistic reasons, but isn't that a result of "professionalizing" our political elite? I happen to think that it is. The founders feared a professional political class, this was discussed in the Anti-Federalist Papers.

I would personally rather have millionaires going into politics and millionaires coming out of politics. As long as we have some type of term limits, having the rich make decisions makes sense. They have the most to lose if a government overspends and overextends itself.

Harry Truman, is not half the man you think he was. However, compared to the crop of crooks we have today, he was in the minor leagues.

was aware of that did not come out of office richer than when he went in---just that nothing more.

PTC Observer's picture

You could be right....I don't know for sure.

It would be interesting to look it up for all the Presidents.

Term limits happen every four years.

It's ignorant people that keep them in office longer than that.

Last I looked, we had no shortage of ignorant people.

PTC Observer's picture

Well if we limited the franchise and actually let the people who are paying the bill elect, then I suppose you are right about electorial term limits.

But human nature being what it is, there is too much temptation I think even for the rich.

So, some type of limits would need to be put in place to "fix" the problem of professional politicians.

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