Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Individual Freedom For Everyone

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ron Paul - End the Welfare State: A Politician who stand up for what he believes

Ron Paul is a member of the wrong party, he's not a conservative, he's not a fan of the Christian Right or Neo Conservatives. Or a fan of any other Authoritarian Movement. He's a libertarian, he's not a Conservative Libertarian or a Liberal Libertarian or a Socialist Libertarian. He's a Classical Libertarian who believes the Federal Government should only perform the services that are laid out in the 11th Amendment. He's isolationist on Foreign Policy and believes that America should only use our military to protect us when we are under attack. He believes these what he calls Civil Wars are unconstitutional and the Welfare State and Highway System to use as examples, are unconstitutional. Because they aren't laid out in the constitution. He believes America shouldn't be involved in the United Nations or any of these other International Organizations, because he believes we lose some of our independence to be members of them. He's not a conservative or a republican or a liberal. He's someone who believes in Maximize Freedom and responsibility for the individual as long as they aren't hurting anyone else with their freedom. Liberals believe in Maximize Freedom as well, but we aren't against eliminating things like the Medicare or Social Security. But reforming them in order to save them. Ron Paul is against the Welfare State and what he calls the Warfare State. With America getting involved in what he describes as Civil Wars.

Ron Paul seems to of moderated his positions on the Welfare State for practical reasons. Probably believing that since they are popular, politically its not possible to eliminate them. So what we should do instead is privatize them, a similar position that the House GOP Leadership is now taking. Which I believe is a fair position but goes too far. I mean do we really want to see Medicare and Medicaid become private For Profit Health Insurance company's, with all the abuses that have come from that industry before the Affordable Care Act of 2010? There's a consensus that doesn't want that to happen. Do we really want to as a country see Social Security privatize, especially with the Stock Market crash of 2008. Where peoples savings and retirements got wiped out. That led to the "Great Recession", that were just starting to recover from. I believe there's a consensus in America that doesn't want that either.
Ron Paul not to put him down, because I do have a lot of respect for him a liberal on Social Issues. Except we clearly disagree on the War on Drugs. Where yes I'm for Legalization but with Taxation and Regulation of Marijuana and treat it like Alcohol and Tobacco. But I'm certainly not in favor of legalizing Cocaine, Heroin and Meth. Because these aren't innocent crimes but crimes that effect the Health Care costs of everyone. When they can't pay for their Health Care costs as a result of their addiction. But I would like to see Drug Addicts in rehabilitation not incarceration. But Ron Paul to me represents why I'm a liberal and not a libertarian. Because I do believe in Maximize Freedom but I also believe in a limited Safety Net that can help people who need it, help themselves by empowering them. And you need a limited Safety Net to do that.

The main reason I respect Ron Paul is, because you would have to see the label on the TV Screen. You know the graphics, where it says Ron Paul US Rep. from Texas to know that he's a politician. And you would have to see the R to believe he's a republican by the way. Because ideologically he doesn't fit into that party anymore. He's a deep breath of fresh air, a true Citizen Politician, who says what he believes, unlike a lot of politicians in Washington today. And for that I have a lot of respect for Ron Paul.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Nation: Dave Zirin- Taking Back The Los Angeles Dodgers?: Public Ownership vs. Government Ownership

This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Journal Plus

I’m not a Socialist in any form, even though I do read The Nation Magazine and I’m in favor of a limited safety Net. Limited form of a safety net being the key words there. But as a Liberal I’m also not a big fan of centralized power, whether it comes from the private or public sectors. Liberals tend not to trust establishment power and like to see it spread around where a lot of the population can benefit from it. We like to see power whether it comes from the private or public sectors to benefit the many and not just the few.

I believe in capitalism and freedom of choice and decentralized Power. Where its spread around and the people can decide for themselves where to get their services from. The Green Bay Packers are an excellent example of this where they are run yes by a CEO, and Board of Directors and stockholders throughout the Green Bay area and the State of Wisconsin. The Packers don’t have one or a few people owning the club and collecting the profits. The Packers aren’t a socialist franchise that’s owned by the government, where the Mayor is essentially the boss of the club. Like Socialists in America have claimed that they are either. But they are owned by the people who are actual stakeholders in the Packers Club. And make money off of them with their stocks.

In today’s corporate dominated sports world, especially in pro team sports, the model of most if not each franchise in the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA except for the Packers, is that you have one person owning and running the club. Sometimes others as well, but there’s generally a majority owner of the club. MLS is an example of a sports league that has a similar management model as the Packers. But the other four have essentially a strongman running each club. Who’s accountable to no one, other than having to follow the rules of the league.

But for the most part are chief executive of the club accountable only to the profits and makes decisions, good or bad based on that. And these owners are essentially strongmen with no term limits or contracts that they have to sign. In most cases not even a Board of Directors that they have to respond to. So they can pretty much do whatever they want, again as long as they comply with league rules. The Los Angeles Dodgers one of the greatest franchises in both MLB and pro sports in general, at least historically, are going to up for sale. Because the McCourt couple that owns the club, are going through a divorce and their battle has turned into a public soap opera.

And the McCourt’s can no longer afford to run the club. This would be a great opportunity for MLB to install public not government, but public ownership of the club. Where they would have a CEO and their administration, but with a Board of Directors that would represent the stockholders. Meaning the people of Los Angeles and the surrounding market that owns stock in the club, would make profits with their stocks based on how the Dodgers are doing. Where the CEO has a contract and runs for election to get the job and reelection to keep the job. Where the Directors would run for their jobs and run for reelection to keep their jobs.

This would make the Dodgers Management as well as players accountable. And they would know that they need to do a good job to keep their job. The Dodger franchise is worth around 1B$ or more, in a city of 4M people, in a market of 15-17M people. They are a great franchise that would make a great investment for their fans.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Social Security - Robbing The Middle Class: If not reformed Social Security could do this

If not reformed Social Security could end up up robbing my generation and anyone younger then Generation X. Because we'll end up paying into a system that we won't be able to collect from by the time we are eligible for it. In come cases as little as 15-20 years from now. Its no secret that my generation believes that Social Security won't be around when we are eligible to collect from it. A big reason for this is Washington Politicians who have dipped into this fund to pay for their Special Interest projects. Another reason is because we've over promised generations of americans. That Social Security in its current form won't be able to pay. And another reason for this is because as a country we keep reelecting politicians that dip into the Social Security Trust Fund for their Special Interest Projects. Thinking that they are in Congress and get away with it. As well because Social Security as of today still has a surplus and they figure that it won't hurt the fund because it does have a surplus and it really doesn't need that money anyway. Failing to mention that Social Security perhaps not in practical terms. But in legal terms is a Trust Fund, meaning that all the money that goes into it is suppose to be for nothing else other then Social Security. Thats exactly why its called a Trust Fund. If your a Baby Boomer, a Depression Baby. Not that your depressed just that you were born during the Great Depression. Or part of the World War II Generation, don't worry your in great shape as far as collecting Social Security. But if you were born after those generations, work needs to be done for these people to collect from Social Security.

When it comes to reforming Social Security, I'll just lay out what I'm against first. Because its easier and more fun. I'm not for privatizing Social Security and essentially turning it into another private pension plan. That Economic Libertarians would like to see. Imagine where Social Security would be today if we had done that pre "Great Recession". When the Stock Market crashed, millions of americans would've seen their Social Security go up in flames. Its called Social Security for a reason, because its suppose to be there when we actually need it. Its not called Social Gamble where everyone throws their money into the Stock Market to see where it lands. I am in favor of creating an extension to Social Security which is called Social Security Plus. Where the money that people are currently putting into Social Security would still be there. But where people would be able to open up an additional Social Security Personal Retirement Account. That they along with their employers would pay into. And where people would be able to invest their PRA into the Stock Market and put all gains made from that into the their PRA. As well as put any other revenue that they have, like other investments not affiliated with the Stock Market. Like selling their car for example into their PRA. I'm also not for what some socialists in America would like to see and turn Social Security into the Universal Retirement Fund and nationalize all private Pension Funds. Our Federal Government is simply not qualified to run something this large. We've already seen problems with how they run Social Security. If this Universal Retirement Fund were to go under, America would become United were Screwed.

But before we do anything to add on to Social Security, we need to reform it as it stands today. I believe reforming Social Security as far as what should be done is fairly simple. The question is how do you garner the support to get it done. This is what I would like to see done with Social Security.
Raise the Retirement Age from 67-70 with a Hardship Exemption for people not physically and mentally capable of working that long.
End early Social Security payments for people who make enough money that they don't need that Social Security income.
Raise Payroll Taxes on High Earners who can afford to pay more and lower Payroll Taxes on people that get hit real hard by this tax.
Cut the Social Security payments for people who don't need them if not eliminate them all together. And increase the payments for the people who need them. And can't get by without Social Security.

Social Security is not part of the "Third Rail" of American Politics for nothing. Its the hardest thing in America to touch or fix because it affects all of us. But that doesn't mean we should be afraid to talk about it and reform it. Because if we don't, it won't be around for anyone.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Young Turks: Cenk Uygur- Progressive Budget Vs Conservative Budget

Source: The Young Turks-
Source: The Young Turks: Cenk Uygur- Progressive Budget Vs Conservative Budget

Tax and Spend more of the same from the so-called Progressive Caucus, what else is new from them, nothing. They even raise taxes on middle income people right now. When they are struggling just to pay their bills and are worried about losing their jobs. Their income isn't growing but their taxes will be under the so-called Progressive Caucus budget. How can they call themselves Progressives, when they support taking more money from people who can't afford it, what's progressive about that? Progressivism is supposed to be about progress moving forward making things better. Taxing more money away from people who can't afford to pay it,  is regressive. It would be just as bad as having a tax system thats based on your ability to pay the least.

So if you're making a good living, lets 100K$ a year or more, you would be paying less in taxes, than someone making 30K$ a year, perhaps has a couple of jobs just to get by. Its just as bad, increasing taxes on people who can't afford tax increases is just as regressive not progressive, than having a tax system where people who make more money by law, not talking about loopholes, just the actual tax rates, where people who make more pay less in taxes than people who make a moderate income or a low income.

One of the arguments of the so-called Progressive Caucus (Democratic Socialist Caucus) is accurate about increasing taxes on everyone is that these are what the tax rates were with the Clinton Administration with the booming economy. What they fail to mention is we don't have a booming economy ten years later. We are just getting out of the Great Recession with a lot more people struggling and in poverty. Taking more money away from the people who work hard for a living and don't have multiple homes and only work half the year at 170K$ a year (like Members of Congress) makes their lives more difficult.

Also the budget cuts thats in the so-called Progressive Caucus's budget comes from, guess where? If you said national security, you're correct, what else is new! Because according to Socialists the only waste in the Federal Government is in defense, law enforcement and the Tax Code. The rest of the Federal Government according to Socialists, runs very smoothly. Apparently they don't read or understand GAO reports and reports from inspector generals. Government employees by the way, who are like God's to Socialists, who are responsible and get paid to point out waste in each Federal department and agency.

And when Socialists finally do acknowledge waste, their solution is always to give those programs more money. Because of course in their mind the program is wasteful because its underfunded. Not because its managed or designed badly. Even though it was designed and run by human beings, who of course never make mistakes. Look, I would like to cut the overall defense budget as well. But not just to cut it but to eliminate things we shouldn't be spending money on. By being smart about it, like getting rid of fighter planes and weapons we don't need. And stop defending developed nations oversees that can afford to defend themselves and closing bases oversees. Not cutting blind just to cut something.

The reason why the so-called Progressive Caucus isn't taken seriously except when the Democratic Leadership is trying to pass something and they need Socialist Votes to accomplish that, is because the Progressive Caucus is essentially another party. A democratic socialist party inside the Democratic Party. And the two parties are just very different ideologically on most economic and foreign policy issues.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Senator Bernie Sanders: Robin Hood in Reverse

Source: Senator Bernie Sanders-
Source: Senator Bernie Sanders: Robin Hood in Reverse

What do I like about Sen. Bernie Sanders admitted Democratic Socialist from Vermont, he truly believes what he's saying. All the time from what I've heard, he's easily one of the most honest Members of Congress.

Except for when he says America is the only country without a single payer health care system. The rest of the developed world might have universal health insurance and I think he knows this is true. But they all have their own approach in how they accomplish that. They don't all have single payer systems. Which I know what you're thinking, that ain't saying much. Where a lot of Members of Congress take the if my constituents are for it, so am I approach to leadership. But its true Senator Sanders is a very honest man. And he truly wants to do what is best in his mind and supporters mind for the country. He's not in Congress or ever has been to stay in Congress and keep getting reelected. Or make more money down the road as a lobbyist or something.

But Bernie Sanders is there to do what he believes is the right thing even if it costs him votes. My differences with Senator Sanders are purely political and on policy grounds. He simply has a socialist view of the world and would like to see America become more like Europe. I have a liberal view of the world and like to see America get back to being like America.

And paying our bills for one and stop bailing out people who failed and costs millions of people their jobs. And I would like us to become more free and have more freedom of choice in certain areas. But I truly love our Constitution and what America is about. To quote Ronald Reagan, just once I promise, in this blog, that America is a Shining Hill for the World to see. Actually I guess that would be a paraphrase, but you get the idea.

I have some advice for Senator Sanders, Representative Dennis Kucinich, the so-called Progressive Caucus in Congress and their Democratic Socialist followers. If you don't like the party meaning Democratic in this case, then get out go to another party or form your own party that better represents your own political values. A party that believes in centralized government, the welfare state, collectivism, a dovish foreign policy, and all the other policy's of democratic socialism. If you really believe the Democratic Party is corrupt and represents the wealthy and the elite at the expense of the rest, then leave the party. Why would anyone want to belong to a party like that, especially if they don't represent your values. Democratic Socialists represent 10-20% of the voting block in America, a new united Democratic Socialist Party would have a hell of a start right off the bat. And they have the public figures that can command the national media attention that they would need for their fundraising.

 Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, Michael Moore, Jane Shakowski, the Progressive Caucus and many others. This would be a major 3rd party that could develop if managed well. By people who understand money, which tends to be a weakness of Socialists. As a Democrat, if I agreed with Senator Sanders speech on the Senate floor today, I know I would leave the Democratic Party. Because the Democratic Party and the Barack Obama that he describes, is not the party and man that I know.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Back off Social Security edit 1: Social Security reform that benefits everyone who needs it

There isn't anyone serious in the room in either party, that will be part of the final Social Security reform package. Thats talking about cutting the benefits from Social Security for the people who need it. The debate is how to reform Social Security to make it more Cost Effective and to save the program for the people who need it in the future. If anything part of the debate has been about how we can make Social Security work better in the future for the people who really need it. Especially for the people who only have Social Security for their income. And how they can benefit from it better in the future. We have 65-70M Baby Boomers that have already retired or about to retire. Social Security if nothing is done will start running a deficit by 2014 and be bankrupt by 2040. We now have a Federal Budget Deficit of 1.6T$ and a Federal Debt of 14T$. The sooner we address Social Security to fix and save it. The easier it will be and lesser the cuts and pain will be.

The best way to reform Social Security is to make it better for the people who need it to pay their bills. And to cut yet cut it for the people who don't need it as much or not at all.
That means moving up the Retirement Age for people who are physically and mentally capable of working longer to around seventy years old. The Retirement Age wouldn't go from 67-70 overnight, but like a month a year until we reach seventy. And for people with Hard Labor jobs, who physically and mentally can't work until seventy. The Retirement Age would still remain the same and they would still be able to collect Social Security early. The ones who need that income.
We should also cut the early retirement income from people taking it from Social Security at 62, for the people who don't need the income. People making a good living on their own and don't need that extra income. They simply don't need this income and this money would be better served for saving the program.
We should also increase the Payroll Tax on High Earners who can afford to pay more and reduce the Payroll Tax on moderate to Low Income people. Which would also be a benefit for the economy, because these moderate to Low Income people would have more money to spend. They would go out and spend it, which would create more jobs to meet the new Higher Demand.

This is not about cutting but saving Social Security to make sure its there in the future and to make it work better for the people who actually need that income to pay their bills.