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News How do we reform the US political system to put leaders in office!

  1. Sep 2, 2005 #1
    How do we reform the US political system to put real "leaders" in office!

    It is my belief that all enduring institutions have a cycle. When they are first formed the social values that they uphold help drive social evolution to a higher standards of value. However there is a tip over point where the institutions become dogmatic, corrupt, and the values the uphold are no longer higher social ideals but instead become the very baser morals that hold society back.

    I believe that capitalism succeeded where socialism failed because of motivation. Profit-motive is a powerful motivator. America is a shining example of what free, educated, and motivated people can accomplish. Americans are made up of all the worlds cultures and races so this isn't a national cultural or racial accomplishment.

    The problem is that greed is immoral. We need another motivator, something other than greed to motivate people. I don't propose replacing capitalism, profit-motive is still the primary social motivator in any society and I don't think it will be replaced anytime soon.

    The head of FEMA is a political appointee and a big donor to the Bush campaign. He has no practical experience or even education in disaster management and the NO crisis makes that starkly obvious.

    How do we motivate people to serve?

    My idea is we change the system of suffrage in this country. Make suffrage a privilege that is earned through service. and allow people who serve their communities to earn greater suffrage.

    Right now the only people with any power to influence the government are those that can afford to pay lobbies, or band together to form lobbies.

    I would rather have the good citizens of my local community who actively work to make their community a better place have more say in who is elected.

    If people are motivated to serve, we will have more people volunteering to work to make their community a better place. This will in turn reflect well on the rest of the country.

    Service can be the military, peace corps, library, tutoring, volunteering in charitable organizations etc. I am certain that with the minds I have encountered on this forum, from the right, left, and middle, that you people can refine this idea into something more workable than my crude theory.

    Would anyone care to give it a try?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2005 #2
    We can start by turning off Fox News.
  4. Sep 2, 2005 #3


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    That's going to be a tough sell. It goes against biology itself.
    Ehh, I don't see how that can be made to be compatible with the Constitution, so before I'd try to impliment it, I'd want to be sure we should.
  5. Sep 2, 2005 #4


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    I nominate Russ Watters for President of the United States!

    Go get 'em Russ!
  6. Sep 2, 2005 #5


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    So you think that by making suffrage a privilege, it would tackle the motivation problem amongst our society? I think it would exacerbate it.
  7. Sep 2, 2005 #6


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    I think indeed that there is something wrong with the republican system where there is ONE winner of the elections. The fundamental problem is this: new ideas (and new parties) DON'T MAKE ANY CHANCE. And the reason is the following: someone who would be inclined to choose for the new party (which is of course, from starters, not expected to gain directly an absolute majority: things need to grow), would be silly to vote for it, because he will take his vote away from the traditional party that is closest to his view, hence making the chances higher that his OPPONENTS will win. This is in fact what happened during the last elections for Chirac: there were about 16 candidates in line in the first round, with two main competitors: left-wing Jospin, and right-wing Chirac. However, the left had many candidates (communist, green, revolutionaries etc...), while the right had only 3 or 4. So what happened ? Jospin got THIRD, after extreme-right wing Le Pen. If you made the sum of all left wing candidates, that was FAR ABOVE the sum of right wing candidates, but in the second round only the first two participated: Chirac and Le Pen. So all those who liked the ideas of some left wing candidates and did not vote for the "traditional" candidate Jospin, obtained in fact that they had, in the second round, a choice between right and extreme-right!
    Now, the American system is much more optimized in that way, so with such a system you will always have a bi-party system that gets locked in, and no others can grow.
  8. Sep 2, 2005 #7


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    I'll second the nomination!!! (never hurts to suck up)

    Astronuc for VP, or a post to Energy Czar?
  9. Sep 2, 2005 #8


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    Vanesch, I think you're addressing the voting system, not suffrage, surely.
  10. Sep 2, 2005 #9


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    Eh, yes. I already reformed the suffrage :-)
    The point was: have a random questionaire of 10 questions go with each voting, which are an "exam" of OBJECTIVE questions related to the item under voting (for instance, the program points of the candidates). Weight the vote with the score on the test.
    The 10 questions would be randomly generated for each different voter, drawn from a previous pool of, say, 200 questions all candidates agreed upon.
  11. Sep 2, 2005 #10
    That is good. not vote for candidates, but vote for ideas...
  12. Sep 2, 2005 #11
    Good point, and one I would like to hear further discussion on.

    Do you agree that our government is dysfunctional, or are you happy as long as the Republicans are in control?

    I would argue that this encourages people to participate. Those that are recognized as responsible, concerned, active, and thoughtful civic leaders will be the ones with the greatest voice. In order to earn greater suffrage one must gain the recognition of of their peers through service to the greater good.

    And if some one is not interested in being involved their vote is like adding zero's anyway. And I would rather concerned, involved, and educated people be the ones making the decisions.

    Why should someone like Jack Abramoff have so much influence?
    http://slate.msn.com/id/2116389/ [Broken]

    Another thing I would suggest is reforming the corporate laws. Corporations should be allowed to exist only when they are recognized as serving the public good. If they are found to be harming the community there should be a mechanism in place to deny them their status. If a person breaks the law he goes to jail. When a corporation breaks the law they pay a fine. If the fine is an acceptable cost of doing business then they will pay the fine. If the penalty is the loss of their right to exist and the forfeiture of all their assets, they might be a little more sensitive to the needs of the community they serve.

    Then tort reform would be unnecessary or at least practical. At the present time torts and market pressures are about the only restraining factors on corporations. They have thousands of times the influence over our government than we do.
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  13. Sep 2, 2005 #12
    They are your goverment, Ex ceo and directors actualy work in the goverment, plus looby, plus campaign contributions. They own your goverment.
  14. Sep 2, 2005 #13
    Well said! I'm glad you started this thread Skyhunter and it seems to be on topic too. I don't have time to post right now, I agree most with:
    This is the same type of mentality of which the war is being faught. The ends will justify the means for those who benefit. I will join you all later.
  15. Sep 2, 2005 #14


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    :confused: You're suggesting we get rid of free enterprise??? Sorry, in the real world, businesses are created to turn a profit. :bugeye:

    There are currently laws in place if a company breaks environmental laws.

    Do you understand why corporations are allowed?
  16. Sep 2, 2005 #15
    It is the methods corporations have been using to turn those profits that have become a problem. I remember an old saying: "What is good for General Motors is good for the nation." At the time of its saying that statement was true.

    But now we have :




    When the actions of corporations affect large numbers of people, and the economy in negative ways, it is time for change. They must be held accountable for their actions yet seldom are.
    (except for Martha and Bernie) :smile:

    I realize that a CEO has an obligation to gain the highest possible return on the stockholders investment. But we have to draw a line. Dishonesty can not be tolerated. Yet dishonesty seems to have become the norm.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2005
  17. Sep 2, 2005 #16


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    That would be incredibly unfair. You have to remember that corporations are publicly owned. If you forced a corporation to forfeit all of its assets because of illegal actions on the part of its CEO, you'd be punishing millions of shareholders who did absolutely nothing wrong. Taking away just the assets of the CEO, however, seems like a pretty good idea.
  18. Sep 2, 2005 #17
    :eek: No! That would be a disaster. :eek:

    I am no way suggesting that.

    Profit motive is linked to the primal survival instincts, it is almost as strong a motivator as sex. Well for some especially the impotent it can be an even a greater motivator. I am suggesting that we add another motivation to the people and limit the power of corporations, which are made up of people.

    It is the people who own these corporations that need to have some other motivation besides greed. I truly believe that human nature is benevolent, and when given the option people will choose a better way. I would like to find a better way.

    A corporation is not a person. I believe that a corporation should be required to demonstrate that it adds value to the people it serves other than a healthy bottom line. Now there should not be a rigorous process to incorporate, however a corporation should be answerable to the people when it affects them, and if the people are unhappy the corporation should be made to comply with the will of the people or cease to exist. Laws create corporations so laws should be able to destroy them.
  19. Sep 2, 2005 #18
    But it is compatable with the human spirit.
  20. Sep 2, 2005 #19


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    "I do not seek, nor will I accept...."

    Besides - the Republican Party would never allow someone who is pro-choice, pro gun control, and anti-SS to be nominated.
    I doubt that there is anyone in the country who wouldn't say there are parts of the government that are dysfunctional. Heck, we can start with FEMA!
    I realize you're just brainstorming here, and these aren't fully developed ideas, but these ideas lead to some scary places. Evo touched on this, but the US economy is not powered on food and clothing, it is powered by sales of things we don't necessarily need - tv's, cars (good cars), nice clothes, entertainment, etc. Putting a crimp on those industries would absolutely destroy the US economy. And thats just the practical side - its also against the very principles on which the US was founded.

    Part of this may be misunderstandings, though:
    That's not exactly true. No, Bill Gates didn't go to jail for his company's violation of the Sherman Act, but most of the top-tier execs of Enron and Worldcom are in jail, and a lot that didn't saw their companies essentially destroyed (see edward's link). Companies aren't entities unto themselves, they have leaders and those leaders are accountable.
    I think you underestimate the capacity of the average American for finger-pointing. The worst lawsuits aren't even against corporations - they are personal injury lawsuits.
    Could you expand on that - perhaps give an example?
    That isn't what your link shows, edward. Roughly half of the scandals listed involve arrests/prosecutions of execs or the destruction of the company involved.

    Perhaps laws need to be toughened (I'm all for it), but there isn't any basis for throwing out the capitalist system.
  21. Sep 2, 2005 #20
    Here's what I think should happen. If a corporation breaks a law, it should be able to face jail time. What do I mean by this? All of its assets would be frozen, and it should not be allowed to conduct business while it is "incarcerated." Now, I realize that you might say that's it's unfair to the stockholders, but by the time the criminal investigation becomes public knowledge, the stock price will drop to a low amount anyway. If a corporation is going to be treated as a person under the law, we should go all the way with that.
  22. Sep 2, 2005 #21


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    We simply need political leaders with integrity, just as we need corporate leaders with integrity.

    That means those who have such integrity must be encouraged and supported and voted into office.

    Look at Senators Alan Simpson (WY), Warren Rudman (NH), John Danforth (MO) - all very fine men who got tired of the system. They are the kind of people who need to be encouraged to stay.
  23. Sep 2, 2005 #22


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    I think that the problem is not so much that people leading corporations are motivated by greed (or motivated by those motivated by greed) or whatever, I think that the problem is that BIG corporations have so much money that the persons in charge of them can use that money to influence politics, and not just "doing business in the market" like in the economy textbooks: using their money to improve their production process etc... but just using their money to push through policies that are advantageous to them.
    Small is beautiful. Small corporations (greedy or not) have to play by the book. Big corporations can use the political card to play to "cheat" on the market.
    I had suggested an upper limit to the amount of money a company (or a person) can have, high enough not to have any luxury desire being frustrated, but low enough that its political impact remains neglegible.
  24. Sep 2, 2005 #23
    OK, I concede completely destroying a corporation is a bad idea. But changing the corporate culture is important. I have always avoided large corporations so I don't have a lot of experience with them.

    I am not advocating throwing out the capitalist system! I think it ranks as one of the greatest institutions of mankind. I am advocating that we augment it and reign in the out of control corporate government. If it is not obvious to people now it will be in the next week as we see starkly how our government now serves private interests, not public ones.

    FEMA was privatised and look how well they responded to the NO flood. We knew almost a week before she hit that Katrina was going to wreak havoc and it took 4 days to respond! I'll admit that handing out money indiscriminately to disaster victims was not the best course for FEMA to take, however it was far and away more effective at disaster response than the privatised version.

    Yesterday, while people are drowning in their attics in New Orleans. This is what the head of the RNC was doing.

    Is this where our priorities lie?

    Is this how government serves the public interest?

    We need to take back our government. It no longer serves the people. I think we need to reform the system. I don't know the answer but I feel fortunate that I found somewhere to voice my ideas and get good critical feedback.
  25. Sep 3, 2005 #24
    That's exactly what is wrong with the system, there are only two platforms that a certain small group of people will allow to get elected. And not enough people realize how un-democratic this actually is.
  26. Sep 3, 2005 #25
    I agree 100%. That is the reason I started this thread. Our current system does nothing to promote honesty and integrity in our leaders.

    I want to figure out a way motivate people on a large scale to be better humans. Something akin to the profit motive of free enterprise.

    Instead of one person one vote, allow people who are recognized as outstanding in their service to their communities have a greater voice in electing our leaders.

    This in my view would accomplish two things.

    1. It would motivate people to serve their communities thereby improving all of our communities.

    2. The people with first hand experience working to better their communities will be the ones electing our leaders.

    Those that don't care or are uninformed are the easiest manipulated with sound bites.

    If I could earn 5 votes or 10 in recognition from the people in my community, that is a powerful motivator.
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