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Old 12-02-2010, 12:46 PM   #21
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I voted yes. We have to do something before our creditors do it for us. The proposal is better than any ideas Congress currently has (which is nothing).

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Old 12-02-2010, 12:52 PM   #22
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It seems like a sensible proposal. I voted yes.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:56 PM   #23
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These are sensible recommendations. They say in the law that a settlement no one is happy with is a good settlement. That's what we have here.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:00 PM   #24
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I think you are correct that ultimately, health care costs need to be contained because many of the out of control obligations are ultimately health care costs.
. . .
Not that health care is the whole problem, but it is certainly key.
Rep Paul Ryan (R), who is on the debt commission, reportedly will vote against the plan because he believes it will increase rather than decrease govt health care expenditures.
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“I think it goes backwards,” Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and the next chairman of the House Budget Committee, said at a breakfast with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
“I think it makes health care dramatically worse. And look, I’m trying to be guarded in my comments because I really respect what [commission co-chairs] Erskine [Bowles] and Alan [Simpson] have done. They should be commended. But they didn’t deal with health care.”

. . . “If you repeal the tax exclusion for individuals while maintaining the infrastructure of Obamacare — this actually enhances it in a few ways — then all you’re doing is accelerating the expansion of Obamacare,” he said. “You’re going to accelerate the dumping of people from employer-sponsored health insurance into these exchanges. The exchanges will grow and magnify far faster than [Congressional Budget Office] or anybody else anticipated.”
Note: This post is not in the Politics Forum and I won't make a comment on the info above. It is included to give context to the decisions being made by the Debt Commission.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:27 PM   #25
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Sam,
I think you have pointed out why this will fail. The politicians have reasons to vote against it, and the people have not spoken to vote for it, nor do I think they will have time. Everyone can find something they don't like, and can build a case why that one thing is so bad they just can't support it.

My major concern was stated 'it is a comprehensive' program. That's what makes it work, yet that's what will also bring many unintended consequences. I am not sure how our politicians would ever craft this into a law, without 20,000 pages of lobbyist input.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:36 PM   #26
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“If you repeal the tax exclusion for individuals while maintaining the infrastructure of Obamacare — this actually enhances it in a few ways — then all you’re doing is accelerating the expansion of Obamacare,” he said. “You’re going to accelerate the dumping of people from employer-sponsored health insurance into these exchanges. The exchanges will grow and magnify far faster than [Congressional Budget Office] or anybody else anticipated.”
That's kind of the crux of any honest disagreement - no one knows for sure what will happen, but we all project through our own filter. It also highlights how interconnected the whole mess is and why piecemeal efforts haven't / won't solve the budget crisis.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:51 PM   #27
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Looks like Congress is trying to lame duck some bad legislation through before there is a power swing...what bad can happen with that?
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:05 PM   #28
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The politicians have reasons to vote against it, and the people have not spoken to vote for it, nor do I think they will have time.
One big problem is the way information is presented in elections (and the depth at which voters analyze things). If Congressman X votes for this package as written, his opponent's campaign ads practically write themselves:
(Start threatening music, go to unflattering B&W photos, begin authoritative baritone script- "Congressman X voted to SLASH Medicare and Medicaid . . .but held out for a cut in the tax rate for his friends in big corporations. He cut funding for national defense as we are engaged in two wars. He even wanted to increase the taxes paid by injured veterans . . .") The big picture hardly matters, the nuances of the entire package, etc. Few will listen to Congressman X's rationale, it will be drowned out in the deluge of negative ads.
One nice thing about a big, fairly high profile package like this one--voters can read it, see all the tradeoffs in context, and get comfortable with a "yes" vote by Congressman X ("Yep, I remember there was plenty in there I didn;t like, But Congressman X probbaly voted for it for the same reason I would have--it was better than what we were fixin to do, which was nuthin."). But folks have to take the time to read it.
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:08 PM   #29
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One big problem is the way information is presented in elections (and the depth at which voters analyze things). If Congressman X votes for this package as written, his opponent's campaign ads practically write themselves:
(Start threatening music, go to unflattering B&W photos, begin authoritative baritone script- "Congressman X voted to SLASH Medicare and Medicaid . . .but held out for a cut in the tax rate for his friends in big corporations. He cut funding for national defense as we are engaged in two wars. He even wanted to increase the taxes paid by injured veterans . . .") The big picture hardly matters, the nuances of the entire package, etc. Few will listen to Congressman X's rationale, it will be drowned out in the deluge of negative ads.
One nice thing about a big, fairly high profile package like this one--voters can read it, see all the tradeoffs in context, and get comfortable with a "yes" vote by Congressman X ("Yep, I remember there was plenty in there I didn;t like, But Congressman X probbaly voted for it for the same reason I would have--it was better than what we were fixin to do, which was nuthin."). But folks have to take the time to read it.
Seems this is the OPPOSITS of the Healthcare Bill, which was hurriedly passed BEFORE folks could read it, I guess we know why.........
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:58 PM   #30
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Is there any surprise this LBYM, financially conservative group of tightwads would vote their overwhelming support of this proposal?
You could probably get similar results with a "Do you like bacon?" poll...
Or the legalize marijuana poll?

Maybe the country would be better off if we passed both. Everyone would get upset - but then they'd just kick back, light one up - and everything would be all better.

Both measures should be put up for vote as a national referendum before 12/31/10.
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:48 PM   #31
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Both measures should be put up for vote as a national referendum before 12/31/10.
I come from a different culture and believe that it is a mistake to have referenda on detailed fiscal policy. Obviously everyone on this forum is a macro-economics wiz kid, but the average voter doesn't have a clue. For details like this I've always believed that we vote for the big issues and the elected officials should fight it out make the detailed decisions.

A referendum on the legalization of marijana I could accept as a reasonable thing to vote on.
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:17 PM   #32
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I come from a different culture and believe that it is a mistake to have referenda on detailed fiscal policy. Obviously everyone on this forum is a macro-economics wiz kid, but the average voter doesn't have a clue. For details like this I've always believed that we vote for the big issues and the elected officials should fight it out make the detailed decisions.

A referendum on the legalization of marijana I could accept as a reasonable thing to vote on.
You are right that detailed fiscal policy and public referenda do not mix. Fiscal and political dysfunction in California show just how bad it can end. I was thinking a single vote for the entire set of recommendations as a way to head off the entire gaggle of elected officials honking about and talking about what "the people" want.
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:26 PM   #33
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You are right that detailed fiscal policy and public referenda do not mix. Fiscal and political dysfunction in California show just how bad it can end. I was thinking a single vote for the entire set of recommendations as a way to head off the entire gaggle of elected officials honking about and talking about what "the people" want.
Has the USA ever had a national referendum? I've lived through one or two in the UK I think, and the problem is that after many months of a media blitz, the average voter ends up completed confused - and that is just for simple stuff.

I did actually read most of the document that was linked to here, but how many folks would actually read it? They would have to rely on the advice given by whatever news feed they watched, or the commercials they see and hear on TV and Radio paid for by lobbying groups trying to save their patch from cuts.
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:46 PM   #34
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Has the USA ever had a national referendum? I've lived through one or two in the UK I think, and the problem is that after many months of a media blitz, the average voter ends up completed confused - and that is just for simple stuff.
No, because there is no "national" election in the US, only a series of state and local elections.

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I did actually read most of the document that was linked to here, but how many folks would actually read it? They would have to rely on the advice given by whatever news feed they watched, or the commercials they see and hear on TV and Radio paid for by lobbying groups trying to save their patch from cuts.
So we would have Fox, CNN, MSNBC and a bunch of radio lunatics troublemakers announcers inciting explaining fiscal recommendations? That's funny. But not humorous.
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:06 PM   #35
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I did actually read most of the document that was linked to here, but how many folks would actually read it? They would have to rely on the advice given by whatever news feed they watched, or the commercials they see and hear on TV and Radio paid for by lobbying groups trying to save their patch from cuts.
Everyone can find something to hate in a document as complex as this one. Some will be ticked off by the changes in retirement benefits, some will be ticked off by the loss of tax breaks and, in the end, the big picture will get lost amidst the details. I personally doubt the Deficit Commission Recommendations would be backed by a popular vote. It's up to our politicians to make the hard decisions.

IMO, referenda work best with simple, one dimensional questions, i.e. should full retirement age be pushed back to 69? That's how the Swiss do it, one question at a time, and it seems to work well for them.
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:08 PM   #36
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No, because there is no "national" election in the US, only a series of state and local elections.
Not sure what you mean. The presidential election is national is it not, even though he with the popular vote does not necessarily become President? When folks vote for their representatives to Congress they vote for their local state candidates which is just the same as in the UK except the electoral districts are much smaller. ~800 MP's representing ~60M people.

There are no national elections in the UK that I can think of. Only about 25,000 folks actually get to vote for the person who becomes Prime Minister. You can only vote for your local representative, who then becomes a member of parliament. The party with the most seats chooses the Prime Minister and it is not uncommon for the Prime Minister to change without any votes by the people. eg John Major succeeded Margaret Thatcher when the party decided on a change of leadership, and the same goes with the UK's last Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

Like the USA the party that forms the government doesn't accurately reflect the percentage of votes passed because the party members are elected locally. ( they don't have proportional representation)


Anyway, you answered my question, no nationwide referenda ever in the USA.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:02 PM   #37
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Not sure what you mean. The presidential election is national is it not, even though he with the popular vote does not necessarily become President? When folks vote for their representatives to Congress they vote for their local state candidates which is just the same as in the UK except the electoral districts are much smaller. ~800 MP's representing ~60M people.
Alan, the US presidential election is the result of 50 state elections. The tally is a sum of states and a majority is needed. One vote in a less populous state (e.g. Rhode Island) carries much more electoral weight than one vote the more populous state (e.g.California).

Each state has its own unique electoral process to determine candidate eligibility. This is why candidates not affiliated with either of the two political parties are not able to compete effectively.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:18 PM   #38
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Alan, the US presidential election is the result of 50 state elections. The tally is a sum of states and a majority is needed. One vote in a less populous state (e.g. Rhode Island) carries much more electoral weight than one vote the more populous state (e.g.California).

Each state has its own unique electoral process to determine candidate eligibility. This is why candidates not affiliated with either of the two political parties are not able to compete effectively.
Yes, I understand that completely, but I don't understand why that makes a referendum so difficult. Even with a presidential election everyone votes on the same day with the same choices and the system knows nationally exactly how many votes were cast for which candidate. The fact that the popular vote is not the method for choosing the president is the same sort of twist that the UK has in that the members of parliament are not representative of the numbers of votes cast.

For the US to hold a referendum they would need to implement exactly the same procedure as for a Presidential election, except use the vote count instead of the state count. Does the Constitution not allow referenda?

PS - I'm only asking since you mentioned a referendum and in my 23 years here I realized I've never seen or heard of one outside of local/State propositions.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:33 PM   #39
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Yes, I understand that completely, but I don't understand why that makes a referendum so difficult. Even with a presidential election everyone votes on the same day with the same choices and the system knows nationally exactly how many votes were cast for which candidate. The fact that the popular vote is not the method for choosing the president is the same sort of twist that the UK has in that the members of parliament are not representative of the numbers of votes cast.

For the US to hold a referendum they would need to implement exactly the same procedure as for a Presidential election, except use the vote count instead of the state count. Does the Constitution not allow referenda?

PS - I'm only asking since you mentioned a referendum and in my 23 years here I realized I've never seen or heard of one outside of local/State propositions.
My understanding of it is that we have referenda to amend our national constituion.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:55 PM   #40
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My understanding of it is that we have referenda to amend our national constitution.
Nope, we have no national referenda on anything. To amend the Constitution:

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To Propose Amendments
  • Two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote to propose an amendment, or
  • Two-thirds of the state legislatures ask Congress to call a national convention to propose amendments. (This method has never been used.)
To Ratify Amendments
  • Three-fourths of the state legislatures approve it, or
  • Ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states approve it. This method has been used only once -- to ratify the 21st Amendment -- repealing Prohibition.
A national referendum would have been abhorrent to the framers of the Constitution. They deliberately steered us well clear of direct democracy and the passions of the masses.
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