Skip to comments.5 Structural Problems That Are Destroying America
Posted on 03/15/2014 5:49:12 AM PDT by Kaslin
The biggest fallacy in politics is that we need "another Reagan" or more "Tea Partiers" in Congress if we want to save the country. Granted, either would certainly help, but America's structural problems are much bigger than any personnel issues we have in D.C. Even if you're an extremely talented craftsman, you're going to have trouble building a house if the only materials you're allowed to work with are sand and straw. It wouldn't matter if Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant were all on the same basketball team if they were only allowed to put three players on the court at a time. If you're trying to build the world's largest farm in the middle of the Sahara Desert, it probably isn't going to matter if you have state of the art equipment.
We have the ability to fix every problem that's confronting us as a nation, but until we stop making cosmetic changes and start addressing the underlying, intractable issues that are ruining the country, we're unlikely to make a lot of progress.
1) Insufficient Turnover In Congress: Because of gerrymandering, political polarization, and a lack of term limits, Congress has turned into a stagnant pond. In most states and districts, that notorious Third World dictum (One man, one vote, one time) has become the rule. Unless a politician upsets his own side's interest groups or gets caught up in a major scandal, an election to Congress is likely to last until a politician is ready to retire to a beach somewhere. Career politicians produce bad outcomes for the country. Members of Congress make draconian laws because they don't expect to have to live under them as citizens. Additionally, politicians who view being members of Congress as their "jobs" are likely to feel very comfortable selling out the country to special interest groups because they contribute to their campaigns and it benefits them personally. As a practical matter, we've gotten to the point where there's not much difference between most members of Congress and nobles from 500 years ago who ruled because of their family names and given that, it's no surprise that many of them "rule" just as poorly.
2) A Broken Education System: The primary goal of our education is not to educate our students; it's to sustain the teachers unions and fatten the bank accounts of the college professors and administrators at our universities. This is why the education establishment hates private schools, school vouchers, and charter schools, even though they do a better job of educating students than our public school system. It's also why, as Mike Rowe likes to say, "We are lending money we don't have to kids who can't pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist." In a time when low-skill jobs are being replaced by automation and sent overseas, the quality of our high school education is inferior in most ways to what it was a couple of generations ago while the price of our college education has skyrocketed. In a world where the economy is increasingly centered around high-skill jobs, our education system is a recipe for decay.
3) Unsustainable Spending: It is quite literally impossible to pay off the debt our nation owes along with the commitment we've made to our own citizens via Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security unless inflation dramatically reduces the value of our currency which would erode savings, drive cost-of-living expenses into the stratosphere and generally decimate the economy. Meanwhile, taking even the mildest steps to safeguard the future of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid has proven to be almost impossible in the current political environment. As a practical matter, this means our country is headed towards bankruptcy or runaway inflation so bad that we might as well be bankrupt. The tragedy of this is that there is no issue more important to our nation's future, but that has been said so often that most people's eyes glaze over when you talk about the subject. Sadly, our nation will probably have to start going over the falls before everyone agrees that we have to start paddling in the other direction and by then, it will be too late.
4) Our Immigration Policies: An ideal immigration policy would be based on merit, would focus on adding highly skilled immigrants, would be easily adjustable, wouldn't change the demographics of our country and would be simple and inexpensive for law-abiding immigrants. Our current system meets none of these requirements. Instead, we have a system that for all practical matters favors a law-breaking 17 year old from Mexico with a third grade education over a British neurosurgeon or a German engineer. Moreover, at times like these, when so many Americans are out of work, it's worth asking whether it makes sense to be bringing in any new citizens. That's not a slam on immigrants because we have a lot of hard-working entrepreneurs who came here because they saw America as a land of opportunity; it's an acknowledgement of the most basic fact of immigration: the whole purpose of it is to benefit people who are already American citizens. Bringing in uneducated ditch-diggers who'll never pay income tax doesn't benefit most Americans. Intentionally changing the demographics of the country doesn't benefit most Americans. Rewarding lawbreakers who come into the country illegally doesn't benefit most Americans. Bringing in more than a million a new immigrants a year when there are less people working today than there were seven years ago doesn't benefit most Americans. Immigration could be America's greatest strength, but our poorly designed system makes no sense. No business could survive if it brought in the same number of new employees every year, regardless of qualifications or need, then added everyone who could sneak into its lobby onto the payroll. Long term, our nation isn't much different than that business.
5) An Overly-Progressive Tax System: America doesn't have the highest taxes in the Western world, but it does have the most progressive tax system in the Western world. As a practical matter, what this means is that we have large numbers of Americans voting on whether others should pay more taxes in order to give them things. This is a recipe for disaster because it penalizes the most successful Americans, makes it more difficult to get ahead, discourages investment and job growth, and encourages massive spending in order to produce very marginal benefits. Put another way, "if you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can be pretty sure of getting Pauls vote." Meanwhile, as we've learned during the Obama era, even after Paul ends up with Peter's cash, he'll still be screaming that he's not paying his "fair share." That's not a recipe for a happy society, a growing economy or a small, efficient government.
Well...spot on article there. Have almost nothing to add, except I might have said the five problems are: Liberalism, Liberalism, Liberalism, Liberalism and Liberalism.
It may be a subset of the Congress problem, but we now have regulatory agencies producing laws. Those agencies have been taken over by anti-growth, anti-human agendas. That is the largest reason businesses have moved off shore. We need to eliminate probably half to all of the alphabet regulators.
His article is a total Non sequitur. I can’t figure out it’s purpose or what he’s really trying to say, that we don’t need party unity to advance our political party’s agenda?
A government that does not follow the US Constitution.
Yes, we basically have an entrenched, unaccountable, shadow government “governing” by regulatory decree with virtually no supervision by Congress.
Well at least reign in and change the notion of regulatory action. That’s how these 3 letter agencies get away with what they do. Congress has enabled them, not the President.
A government that does not follow the US Constitution.
Retreating rather than fighting the culture and education war has done serious damage.
Taking your kid out of public school is great but ultimately meaningless if you don’t remain engaged in the public system. I don’t even have kids and I attend a fair number of school board meetings and NEVER miss a vote on school issues.
the turnover problem is getting epically worse now that the wives and children of politicians who spent their entire lives in office are taking up the family business of screwing America!
I mean Hillary? What the heck! Are we going to have to put up with Mooochele running one day and Chelsea Clinton?
This has GOT to end!
A second structural issue, and very related to the first. . .the decline of the family overall and, specifically, within the African-American segment of society which presently suffers a near 75% of all African-American births being outside the commitment of marriage. It's impact on the economy and crime is soon to swamp a nation teetering on the edge.
Third, is the rise of Progressive political philosophy which is predicated upon the intentional severance of the principles of the Declaration and its necessary relation to the Constitution. Congress is divided because it is the clash of two value systems: Progressives (of both parties) seeking to turn society over to be run by "experts" vs. those (like Ted Cruz and other Tea Party supporters)who want to run the country based upon its founding principles and ideals.
There are plenty more. . but these are the ones I would add to the list.
In a word, Congress has capitulated. Can’t or won’t do it’s job, and “the people” are left holding the empty bag.
The Republican Party needs to become known as The Hoax Busters.
Solar Energy... for starters.
Ah yes, the four branches of government;
A very large problem which neither party is (for different reasons) addressing, is American jobs are disappearing. Or more specifically not disappearing, they are being sent to China (and other places, but China is a huge part of the problem)
This is a very big, very real problem, and neither party is addressing it. The problem with sending American jobs overseas is, that eventually America will stop functioning.
The Republican Party badly needs to get off the ball, and lead a return of American jobs.
1. The first thing you do is stop referring to education as a "right," and start kicking out any kid who is tagging, vandalizing, starting fights, being defiant, not trying, not showing up at all, or otherwise creating trouble.
The classrooms are full of nasty little creatures who can't or won't learn and are absolutely determined to level the playing field by making sure no one else learns either. By high school many of them have dropped out of their own accord but by then the damage is done, and most of their classmates have spent 10 years in a system struggling to cope with the lowest common denominator, among teachers whose expectations have been lowered to such an extent that being able to read at 6th grade level puts a 9th grader in "Honors English."
2. Go back to actually flunking children briskly in grade school. It'll create a bottle-neck in 3rd grade, but so be it. We'll graduate far fewer children, but the ones we do will actually be educated, not just possess a piece of paper that half of them can't read, but that proves they (and their teachers) "did their time" together.
Undocumented Democrats in the GOP are a big problem. They are happy to play for Team Dem against a conservative agenda. GOP leadership is happy to let them freelance because it undermines conservatives. I don’t see how you fix that problem with the current GOP leadership.
Pogo would say, “We have met all the five enemies and they are us, us, us, us and us.”
An excellent article.
yup, we sit and complain about the symptoms of Liberalism, of which 4 of the 5 items are, and the turnover is at least a 50/50 thing in DC.
We complain about the symptoms of Liberalism, but very few focus on the root problem....Liberalism itself and its absolute 100% failure worldwide and thruout history.
Unless we can restore the Senate to its original design and purpose we aren’t going to get anywhere.
Amen to all that but I think you actually UNDERSTATE the problem. The post-secondary system is abominable. A bachelor degree now is worth far less in the job market than a high school diploma was worth in the sixties and less than an eighth grade education was worth in the forties.
Every single one of these problems are based in Liberalism and political corruption on a massive scale. Until we get those under control, we will continue to spiral down.
“The Republican Party badly needs to get off the ball, and lead a return of American jobs.”
The jobs won’t return until the unions are killed off, starting with the public sector unions.
The entire underbelly of government is run by lazy government union workers. Millions of them living off the taxpayers that work for a living.
We need to outlaw public sector unions and pass a national RTW law that covers the rest of them.
I repeat, for the twentieth time: If term limits worked California would have a responsive legislature. They don't. What you get is a revolving door for lobbyists without a care for what the voters want.
I don’t think there is much disupte that these are the problems we face, but there are no suggestions here as to how to solve them.
People do need to stop blathering on about congressional terms limits, or if they won’t they need to start working to amend the contitution because that is what will be required.
Congressional term limits were passed as part of Gingrich & Co.’s “Contract with America” and signed into law by Clinton, but the SC ruled them unconstitutional and nothing short of an amendment is going to fix that.
It’s a popular idea, so it would likely pass, but somebody’s going to have to get the ball rolling.
I have a far simpler suggestion that I think would go a long way as a defacto limiter of terms. Remove any and all post-office benefits for elected officials. No pension, nothing like that. (They could have a 401k and whatever post employment benefits that are mandated by statute, such as COBRA). I think this would go a long way to discouraging people from spending decades in office. Not all of them of course, but many.
That is a very good idea.
But BRING BACK REAL JOBS while you’re at it.
America needs jobs. Jobs.
I see the problem as “noise from the left” that is important to the right which is harming the country. We play right into the lefts emotionalism and they use the media to put us down and it wins them elections. Look at leftwing societies. They despise abortion and gay marriage. It is a tool to hammer the right because of our religious beliefs. To the left, those “deviants” are usually jailed or killed.
If you take gay marriage and abortion off the table, democrats will never win another election. The right is winning the war on abortion. More centers close every year. Have the right to life march and nature will take its course.
This takes the women’s rights straw man off the table. What are the NAGS going to complain about? Abortion Barbie will get slaughtered in November.
Gay Marriage? It’s a bunch of whiny drama queens who want attention because mommy and daddy didn’t love them enough. They want the term civil union to say marriage. Fine. As long as it isn’t in the eyes of god who gives a rats behind. They want spousal benefits, great. Pay for them.
Look at it this way. With gay marriage off the table, schools wouldn’t be teaching it. And they do teach if for the only reason being it upsets the right to no end.
Think about how many voters are swayed just by these two issues. I use my liberal next door neighbors as an example. They are pro Israel, pro military, pro second amendment, fiscal conservatives, but they are voting for abortion Barbie because she is Pro-choice.(pro abortion) if Abbot said, “if a woman wants to kill her unborn child that is her option” and “I support women’s reproductive rights. All women should have the right to reproduce” people like abortion Barbie will become extinct.
As for the other stuff, my daddy always said, give the rats enough rope and eventually they will hang themselves with it.
(1) Term limit should be 18 years max for total time as a U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative; and neither shall receive benefits after office, except from their state.
(2) The election of U.S. Senators should alternate in method, between the current popular state residents’ vote (V2) and the pre-17th Amendment state’s legislature (V1); whichever, V1 or V2 was the last/recent method, then the other shall be the next method.
(3) The tax laws and regulations of the United States shall not exceed 4 pages, single spaced lines, font Times, font size 12, with 1 inch margins at all four sides of each page.
All members of the Congressional (includes employees/staffs), of the Excecutive (includes employees/staffs), and of the Judicial (includes employees/staffs) branches ... shall complete their federal tax forms while sitting in a monitored venue within a hangar at Andrews Air Force Base; these preparers shall not have access to any assistance, in their completing the task, other than 1 yellow legal pad of paper (not exceeding 1/4 inch thick), 1 handheld calculator, and there shall be no phone calls or communications.
In other words, the tax code and completion of tax work, shall be simple; and, if the tax code is found to be complex, such that these people cannot *all* complete the task in one morning session between 9:00 AM and 12:00 non ... then the tax code shall be simplified further, so that the task is completed.
The due date for taxes, is changed to the last day of October.
(4) A Maximum Wage shall be set for lawyers and judges, not to exceed the wage set for the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and, that amount - the Maximum Wage - when divided by the days of the year, and then divided by four, will thus be the maximum hourly rate that any legal agent, lawyer, law firm, and/or judge can bill.
(5) No bill nor legislation passed by any legislative body, shall include “back door” phrases that allow expansion of the bill’s meaning and/or spending ... an example of such wordity being: “for other purposes.”
All bills are henceforth required to comply with Truth in Labeling - ie the bill’s title shall truthfully reflect the bills content and purpose.
There shall be no amendments and/or riders and additions to bills, that are not in line with the bill’s content and purpose -— no more hiding “pork;” ie the bill shall be as it states on its label.
(6) There shall be no more income tax withholding; and there shall instead be for all individuals, quarterly estimated tax payments ... in order for the mechanism of “taxation thru representation” be restored; ie, the filer will *notice* the decline in the checking account.
(7) Aliens entering the territories of the United States, other than thru established gateways, checkpoints, portals ... have 1 week to report to the INS ... after which, aliens are automatically *illegal aliens* and shall be deported within 1 month.
No child born to an *illegal alien,* will ever gain U.S. citizenship. No *illegal alien* will ever gain U.S. citizenship. No *illegal alien* may possess, nor be assigned, a Social Security Number.
Simply, if an alien seeks to enter the U.S., the alien has only to enter “thru the front door;” and that, is not difficult to find at many locations along the borders of the U.S.A.
(8) No taxpayer shall be required to pay taxes - in total (meaning the total of local, state, and federal ... and international ... and sales, and any other taxes including government fees, charges, levies) - that exceed 40% of the taxpayer’s gross income for the year, even in time of war.
(9) The highest wage of a wage/salary earner of a company and/or corporation shall not exceed by a factor of 50, the lowest wage of a 50-hour-or-greater-work-week worker of that company and/or corporation.
That leaves the growing, retained earnings of the enterprise, for the man or woman to re-invest as well as to preserve wisely ... instead of the people bailing out the enterprise, thru government mandates (TARP is one example) and/or inflation and/or Federal Reserve check writing schemes.
(10) There shall be no income tax on dividend and interest income for people younger than 26 and for people older than 68.
(11) Stock Market / Bond Market / Commodities Market - there shall be no electronic trading, there shall be no before hours trading, there shall be no after hours trading, there shall be no futures trading nor options.
All trades are to be made by live, human brokers and/or agents on established trading floors, during the hours 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
The purchase of commodities requires the buyer to prove preparedness to accept possession of the purchased commodities.
The purchase of stock requires the purchaser to accept possession of the stock.
The purchase of a bond requires the purchaser to accept possesion of the bond.
In other words, the so-called “risk taker” *is going to TAKE the risk of being involved in the success of the enterprise.*
(12) A 3/4ths vote of approval by the states’ legislatures, shall remove from any federal government office, any federal government agent and/or official, at any time.
Or (1) as many people as possible sincerely worship God again.
My plan’s simpler, no?
6 ) spiritual decline ... Forsaking God...
And yes, "sincerely worship God again," sounds good, except that I have to add, that I hope that I will be forgiven for never being able to do that better than as a mere recruit; and, *that* colors my thought, that, so many people steer away because they, at least I, am vulnerable to the many criticisms of my weakness before Him.
It doesn’t take a Billy Graham to get God’s ear or tell God’s story.
People have been acting like nothing can be done with sin but bow down to it until God gets mad enough to clean house.
This translates to a colossal headache in heaven.
“...if Abbot said, if a woman wants to kill her unborn child that is her option and I support womens reproductive rights.”
So...if someone wants to murder their children you think it’s no big deal? You’re willing to adopt the demoncrap platform if you think it would get your guy elected?
The entrenched powers that be in Washington are never going to vote themselves out of office. The best shot we have is the Convention of States. We, the people, have one more chance to get it right. We need, not only term limits, but a LIFETIME limit.
The founders never envisioned these DYNASTIES of families running our Country. Also a ban on former legislators acting as lobbyists. Professional politicians are what has ruined our Country. Citizen legislators could do no worse.
e need to remove the Congress from Washington. If elected officials had to reside in their home districts and legislate via teleconference, they would be more aware of the needs of their constituents. E-mails are too easy to ignore. At best, you get an automated reply. Is a lot harder to ignore people standing outside your door, especially if they have torches and pitchforks.
Too much time in Washington is wasted at parties and formal dinners, being schmoozed and glad-handed by big money lobbyists. If they need to go somewhere, let them attend gatherings at Community halls and Church basements. They can meet and rub shoulders with the people who hired them. Put them farther from the arm-twisters.
Senators should be appointed by the State legislatures, like the Founders intended. They represent the State and as long as they perform, they are retained, subject to term limits. Make them listen to the people who hired them.
As long as they are in office they receive medical insurance, just like the rest of us, when they leave office, Cobra kicks in at their own expense. Give them a 401k, same as everyone else. When they leave office they take it with them, and is their own responsibility.
I think this would make elected officials more aware of their Constituents needs and wants. A little fear would make them better legislators.
No. I believe it should be illegal. And as of this post it still isn’t. But my point is, this is being taken care of by the grassroots as we see more abortion clinics being shut down. If we take this off the table during an election, the left has nothing to run on.
Alinsky uses our core beliefs against us. Rats are afraid that one day we will catch on. Alinsky makes a point of it. The way you win the culture war is by not having it.
It will never be illegal if both parties say it’s no big deal. No votes are gained by adopting liberal ideas.
These things were true 20 years ago, but today I would cite a very different list of structural problems.
1) The presidency is too powerful. We are close to achieving an “imperial president”, and it is critical that the office be returned to just constitutional authority. While candidates might *think* “I can use this power wisely”, the truth is no, they can’t. Nobody could. It needs to be taken away from the office.
2) The judiciary needs a major structural reorganization. Each year, some 8,000 or more cases are appealed to the Supreme Court, which can only consider a few dozen. Congress must remove the never resolved cases, heard over and over again, from the federal docket, as not being federal issues.
Likewise, just because a corporation has deep pockets does not mean it should be able to drag out litigation for decades. And death penalty appeals should be reduced in duration to under 5 years total.
3) A conservative congress and president must act soon to correct glaring problems or they are close to forcing an Article V convention. The best way to do this is to quickly pass both a balanced budget and line-item veto amendment and send them to the states for ratification.
4) The vast majority of the tax code must be scrubbed and replaced with a simpler system.
5) International treaties and “agreements below the level of treaties” should be abrogated if they do not benefit the US, or worse, harm it. Treaties signed but not ratified should be discarded automatically, not left to fester.
“BRING BACK REAL JOBS”
But that’s my point: a diploma is worthless because they’ll hand one to any little snot who shows up. You have to bring an AK-47 to school and kill half your graduating class to get kicked out as it stands. Because education is “a right” and if you are in that room with a teacher (regardless of whether the teacher is tied to a chair and doused with gasoline) you are “getting an education” as far as the general public is concerned. But I’ve been a teacher for 10 years and a Freeper for 12, and I can tell you: the teachers are only a small part of the problem.
No one is saying to adopt them. Saying ignore them. The fight is taken to them every day. When we keep it out of the news we win. The left is about emotion and sensationalism. Take that away from them and they have nothing.
Fifth branch - Ministry of Truth.
Sorry, but I cringe a little every time I hear/see that, as it excuses those responsible. The regulation enforcers are denizens of an out of control executive branch and are empowered by an apathetic legislature who defer to the regulator's legislation by fiat. If the problem is ever going to be fixed, we those who created it must be held accountable. The regulators simply did not spontaneously arise form thin air.
I agree 100%. When you see some of the GOP “leaders” threatening to crush the Tea Party, that tells you all you need to know.
Undocumented Democrats is right. And I see that as a major problem, because we are moving towards a one-party political system, and that frightens me.
OMG...Pogo! That brings back memories of when the Sunday comics were actually something to look forward to.
Something happened to them over the years. Too much derisive and sarcastic humor, and not enough things that just make you laugh because they are funny.
But what Pogo would say is true. We all bear blame.
“No one is saying to adopt them.”
You said our candidates should do exactly that. Go back and read what you wrote.
Yes, I miss the old comics still. I have seen it written forty years or so ago that one easy way to judge a person’s level of intelligence was to note what they thought of newspaper comics. I never knew a real thinker who did NOT like Pogo, Lil’ Abner, Snuffy Smith etc. I have known a few who thought they were only for children but that is because they lacked the depth of thinking necessary to understand them.
Your political party’s agenda is to gain power. Party unity helps with that, but it doesn’t help the country very much.