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Gypsy & Willy - The Original Libertarian Bloggers

How Can You Laugh at a Time Like This?

Gypsy & Willy

No. 420

Supermajority

March 7, 2005

We have often spoken of requiring supermajorities to pass any legislation. We believe, for example, that this would be a necessary step in instituting direct democracy. We also think that it would be a good idea for the present legislative setup as well.

We have been taken to task about this, the dissenters suggesting that little enough gets done as it is...that there is a hard enough time getting even a bare 50% majority...to suggest raising the ante further. We say that is precisely the reason we DO need supermajorites. While controversial issues, the type that make it into the daily newspaper and network telecasts, often spur seemingly endless acrimonious debate in both houses of congress, the ones that grant favors to special interests...you know, the guys and gals that supply all the monetary grease to politicians' campaigns...often slip by with little or no debate or as riders on less controversial topics. Let's examine a couple of headline themes making news while we write this.

First there is the attempt by the Bush administration to scuttle Social Security. At first, it seemed like a very good idea. Libertarians in particular like the idea of doing away with "welfare" type programs in favor of private initiatives. However, upon closer examination, the Bushite plan would not only cost at least as much as the current program, but would give enormous gifts, in the form of mandatory capital accumulation, to Wall Street. Indeed, the "bubble" created by over-exuberant investment in Internet issues would look tiny compared to the bloat in capital markets created by forcing workers to put their money in the stock market. Fortunately, this silly proposal can't even muster a simple majority, so it is moot...at least temporarily. But, hey, Big Time Capitalists contribute far more money to politicians than ordinary workers, so this plan is going to surface over and over until it is either passed, or those same ordinary workers flush the perpetrators, say by initiating the type of democratic revolution we are advocating.

On the subject of bankruptcy, the criminal class has had much more success. A bill is currently being debated that would make it much more difficult for middle class people to discharge their debts. Credit card companies, which now get away with charging enormous interest rates...way beyond what was once considered usurious...having lured Americans of modest means into over-spending, now wish to prevent them from escaping once it becomes clear they can not really afford it. If destroying Social Security wouldn't be a large enough hit on those of us in the advanced age bracket, the criminals in Congress want to take away the Homestead Exemption from bankruptcy so that when we get wiped out by enormous medical bills, we will be forced to sell our homes to pay at least part of them. And, oh, by the way, RICH people seeking bankruptcy...it doesn't happen all that often, but it DOES occur...would be allowed to shelter their assets in trusts.

Believe it or not, the rationale for this is that most people declaring bankruptcy are actually simply deadbeats or people unwilling to "manage" their finances in a responsible manner. Besides the fact that this isn't true...but when has that ever bothered the politicians...it is an outrageous claim coming from the biggest spenders the world has ever seen! As we write this, the U.S. is itself heading for bankruptcy, or, alternatively, a massive round of inflation.

The Democrats...or at least some small subset of them...oppose this and are threatening to filibuster the issue to death. As you probably know, the filibuster is actually interminable debate, requiring 60% to cut it short, actually a type of supermajority check on small majority rule.

So, what do the Republicans who are pushing this threaten to do in turn? They want to overturn the 60% rule and they want to do it with a SIMPLE MAJORITY, something that has apparently always been possible, but never carried out in the two-plus centuries of our existence as a nation. Shades of Nazi maneuvering in the thirties to gain absolute power in prewar Germany!

So, if you are one of those who feels that the supermajority idea won't float, perhaps you prefer to sink along with the dollar as the "compassionate conservative" Right destroys our economy in the name of "assisting" growth...of the pocketbooks of the rich.

Talk to you later...


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To contact Willy or Gypsy and comment on what they have written...or anything else...write to willy@dreamagic.com or gypsy@dreamagic.com.

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