"What does not change / is the will to change"
--Charles Olson, "The Kingfishers"

Friday, February 26, 2010

More Senate disfunction

Unemployment is at a decades-long high and yet federal benefits are scheduled to run out this weekend, unless a single U.S. senator lifts his objection.

Forget Sen. Jim Bunning's hypocrisy -- demanding benefits be paid for even after voting for massive tax cuts that were not offset with any spending cuts -- the Senate hold he is using is just one more example of how the upper house has fallen into disrepair.

One senator can hold up legislation for any reasons at anytime. A minority of senators can stymie bills -- a minority representing no more than one ninth of the national population -- and even if we can get through a filibuster, we face the prospect that half the Senate -- representing about 20 percent or 25 percent of the population -- could kill a bill.

The compromise that created the Senate was a logical outgrowth of the times. The individual states in the late 18th century functioned as independent nations on some level and the compromise was needed to get the smaller states on board. Today, such a compromise looks quite quaint.

Amending the U.S. Constitution to reconstitute the Senate would likely be impossible, however, because the compromise enshrined small-state power in the amendment process. But the Senate cannot continue to (mal)function the way it has.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dysfunction is working out just fine for the GOP. The GOP filibusters and obstructs 24/7, it cripples the government and makes Obama and the Democrats look bad since they are the ones in power. Gingrich and the GOP did the same thing in 1994, they closed down the government because the GOP wanted to make drastic cuts to Medicare and Clinton would not go along with that scheme. But it made the Democrats look bad and the GOP won back power in Congress.

reinkefj said...

*** begin quote ***

Amending the U.S. Constitution to reconstitute the Senate would likely be impossible, however, because the compromise enshrined small-state power in the amendment process. But the Senate cannot continue to (mal)function the way it has.

*** end quote ***

The Dead Old White Guys were afraid of the "mob". They tried to throw road blocks into the "road to serfdom", the path to perdition, or the fast lane to tyranny.

We mess with their grand design at our own peril. Their "weak president" has become a near dictator waging foreign wars of aggression at will without a declaration and expanding welfare by corruption with inter-generational theft. The direct election of senators has allowed unfunded federal mandates. The creation of the FED, a banking monopoly cartel, has allowed the budget deficit / national debt to explode. The "income tax" amendment has allowed the federal government to steal our wealth with ease. "Social security" has damaged the civil society in numerous ways -- not the least of which was to create a slush fund for spending and stick the bill to future generations!

Argh, we need to go back to the ORIGINAL constitution and cut the gooferment down to a reasonable size to protect us from force or fraud and Nothing else. imho!

Anonymous said...

Well, excuse me, I'm just an ordinary mortal, I'm not a libertarian genius. Excuse me, I'm not a libertarian billionaire, a libertarian millionaire entrepreneur. I don't have one of those fancy libertarian 401(k)s that never loses money, I don't have a libertarian stock portfolio that never loses money.

I'm one of those horrible geezer bastard vampire welfare cheats who gets social security, likes getting social security and thinks that social security is the greatest thing since sliced Sicilian pizza. I was happy to fund SS during my working years because it helped the senior citizens in my family and because SS also helps with survivor benefits and disability benefits. But that's me, I'm just a dirty rotten no good evil filthy scum collecting SS. I am stealing money from all those upright, moral, independent libertarians who have saved millions for their retirement and saved millions more for their health care. When I die, I will go directly to libertarian hell for intergenerational theft.

Repealing the 17th amendment and going back to state legislators and/or governors selecting senators will make things better than they are now? What planet do libertarians live on? Oh wait, I forgot, I'm the stupid jackass and only libertarians can see truth. My bad.

I did put money aside during my working years, I did invest in some stocks but the dividends are nothing that I could live on, not even close but then I'm not libertarian. I'm a blithering non-libertarian moron so it's expected that my stock investments would be s**t.

reinkefj said...

*** begin quote ***
I'm just an ordinary mortal, I'm not a libertarian genius.
*** end quote ***

No, you're just one of the many people who have been deceived into thinking that "social security" makes any sense on any level. You've been FORCED to cough up 19% of your earnings -- 9.5% from you and 9.5% from you via your employer who could give it to you. And that 19% "earned" you the princely sum of a NEGATIVE 3 or 4%. The average long term portfolio averages 5 to 10% over decades.

Argh!

Saving a $1,000 per month at an average 8% per year over a 40 year lifespan, you get 3.5M$!!!

You can fund a lot of charity, retirement, and other stuff with what has been stolen from you!

Anonymous said...

The old white dead guys only wanted white male property owners to have the right to vote. They were leery of the "mob" voting for senators or voting at all. Who is this mob? Oh, it's you and I, libertarian and non-libertarians. Libertarians want to limit the right to vote, they don't like too many people voting because they are elitists. We can't have no stinking mob (the people) voting. In the ideal world, only card carrying libertarians would be allowed to vote because we all know that libertarians know best.

Over all my work years I did save almost $1,000 a month and came no where close to millions. While 401(k)s and stocks and mutual funds have been decimated, I get my dependable SS deposit every month on time.
I did save independently, invested in some stocks but the great recession made mince meat of those investments but SS is still there. I love my SS.

Anonymous said...

With $3.5 million or more in the banks, I'm surprised that Mr. libertarian is still in NJ and hasn't purchased his own island in the Caribbean.
Well, good for you Mr. Libertarian, you're a multi-millionaire.
You should not look down on SS recipients. We worked hard, tried our best, I don't think we should be demeaned or bashed because we did not make it to your millionaire class.
At least I'm assuming you're a millionaire because of all that glib advice you supplied about how easy it would be to become a millionaire, cough, cough. You must have followed your own advice and become a millionaire, right?
Just sock away a grand a month, easy as pie and just assume that the stock market always goes up and just assume that property values always go up and just assume that your 401(k) won't be decimated by a down turn in the economy and a crashing of the markets.
And just assume that your own business doesn't fail, or that the company you work for doesn't go out of business. Assume that you don't have a horrible illness that bankrupts you, assume that you don't have a divorce that destroys all your savings and retirement funds.
But after all that disaster and miasma, SS will still be there.