AMERICA'S MAJOR PROBLEMS NEED CITIZEN ATTENTION

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Are the People really in control of our Government today? I think not. The over-reach of the Federal gov’t seems to preoccupy Executive and Legislative Leadership with matters and detail that should not even be in-scope to Federal jurisdiction. Simultaneously, major Issues/Programs/Rule-making etc, are delegated to unelected subbordinates and Agencies. What can be done? Some specific solutions are offered herein to fix some of our many broken gov’t processes. But I’d really like to hear from the readers - - what problems/solutions would you like to add in or modify?

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AMERICA'S MAJOR PROBLEMS NEED CITIZEN ATTENTION

  1. 1. “OF, BY & FOR THE PEOPLE”. BUT ARE THE CITIZENS REALLY IN ADEQUATE CONTROL OF GOV’T. TODAY? MANY THINK NOT. PERHAPS WE NEED TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION TO ENSURE BETTER ADHERENCE TO THE IDEAL? PIQUE YOUR INTEREST? PLEASE READ ON. A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA
  2. 2. President Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg quote has been an inspiration to Americans for a century and a half. But in recent years, it’s clear that the Government these days too often feels that they already know what’s best for the People. But is that truly the case? And how do we Citizens regain the influence over government that the Founders and Abe Lincoln revered so highly. That’s the issue, and some solutions, that we treat in this chart-form analysis. A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA
  3. 3. l OVERVIEW RETURNING CONSTITUTIONALISM TO AMERICA GENERALIZING OUR PROBLEMS MATCHING SOME PROBLEMS WITH SOLUTIONS A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA TOPICS COVERED
  4. 4. In this section, the purpose of this article is discussed. In brief, it is this: Many National Leaders have discussed the specifics of various of America’s problems. An example was the very recent address Senator Rand Paul gave , in which he indicated grave disappointment with some of the waste that goes on in our National spending. In particular, he contrasted it with President Obama’s discussion of a few month’s ago, describing the impacts of the “Budget Sequester”; e.g., to curtail TSA Agents and seriously degrade security waits for those flying across our extensive airport system. Senator Paul observed that this was largely a scare tactic as the Sequester budget still contained enough waste and fraud to very comfortably adapt to the Sequester impact. That’s a quite specific issue. But the broader vision is of our National Executive and Legislative branches, so totally immersed in trivia that they can’t and don’t prioritize their critical work, put energy behind the key priorities and get the National Government out of the micromanagement of thousands of aspects of Citizen’s lives. They seem totally unwilling to delegate this work to the States, local governments and specifically, to the American Citizens as stipulated in the 10th Amendment of our Constitution. Well, that generalized problem cries out for this generalized solution: Citizens need to reassert their influence over our Government - - the Federal level most specifically - - but lower levels as well. So this current article is an attempt, in broad terms to try apply that approach to a series of 20 or so Problems. Then, it is attempted to generalize the solutions to those problems and others in (cont’d) next page) OVERVIEW
  5. 5. 8-10 or so legal provisions. This small set of solutions would then rationally replace the vast government micromanagement of our lives and businesses by (1) moving responsibility for these problems to lower levels of government and / or (2) returning more responsibility back to the Citizens. The final result of this article casts the solution set as a single Amendment to our U.S. Constitution. The next few OVERVIEW charts embellish the above thoughts a bit before getting into further specifics in the remaining sections: • We start with a statement of principle by our 30th President, Calvin Coolidge, who tended to live that principle during his life of service to the Nation. Then a piece of data from the Heritage Foundation, showing that the measure of American freedom has been a victim of over-intrusive government. We also note that a prime defect of government ineptness: bureaucracy - - which well- intentioned as it may be, is simply not up to effective management of our modern, complex Nation. • Another reflection of Government failure is our ever-increasing federal employment shown by the historical and projected debt load depicted across a 130 year spectrum. • Then we hear a little about Citizens and governance from 6 American Leaders of historical prominance. • What’s an ideal output that we can strive for? Well, there’s one in our history that we’re all familiar with. Of course the author of these actions sets a very high goal to meet. But replication of this goal is not the objective. It’s simply to remind us all that some actions, simply but profoundly stated, have a continuing strong resonance with the People. • Finally we look at the first set of Problems to be explored in this article. These Problems are first stated in “popular terminology”, and then restated in more general terms as prelude to looking at a few “general solutions”. OVERVIEW
  6. 6. N! OVERVIEW
  7. 7. l OVERVIEW
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  10. 10. l OVERVIEW
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  12. 12. l OVERVIEW RETURNING CONSTITUTIONALISM TO AMERICA GENERALIZING OUR PROBLEMS MATCHING SOME PROBLEMS WITH SOLUTIONS A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA TOPICS COVERED
  13. 13. In this section, we’ll be covering some thoughts in these charts: • Newt Gingrich ‘s highly perceptive assertion that many of our problems arise from governmental processes which are “broken”. I find it a quite profound point of guidance and it is a foundation element of this article. • Over-centralized government rests on a fatal flaw, for which I use the analogy of an ant colony. It’s not that the ants (the government bureaucracy) are not well intentioned and industrious. They are. And to build an anthill they do a highly competent job. But would anyone assign them the task of building a modern American City? Preposterous, of course! Now think about 535 + 1 + many other gov’t. workers mostly ensconced along the banks of the Potomac - - assigned the responsibility to manage a Nation of 300M+ Citizens with homes, jobs, families, beliefs, utilities, industry, infrastructure, financial systems, defense, police and fire protection, etc. etc. Does the ant analogy still seem so preposterous? • Further, look at even the very recent growth of government. A good trend? • Our Founders didn’t think so. Some say “it’s now a different world”. But are People’s ideals, ambitions, characters really so diferent? Most philosophers and specialists in human behavior and ethics think not. • Finally we look at a little “systems analysis” sketch of People relating to their Governance. The intent is to illustrate some general solutions by looking at the busy-ness of a currently problematic activity and compare it with a solution that is a much simpler process leading to the need for much less central government. The idea of the Fair Tax as a replacement for our current tax system is given as a radiant example. We’ll see more of this later. RETURNING CONSTITUTIONALISM TO AMERICA
  14. 14. l RETURNING CONSTITUTIONALISM TO AMERICA
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  18. 18. INTRO TO THE NEXT FEW CHARTS The next 3 charts are related and here’s a brief intro. These are 3 versions of a “systems analysis-type” chart as mentioned earlier. The idea is to show how Citizens relate to the Governmental and Private Enterprise environments they encounter in daily living. This set of 3 charts is to help explore the following: 1st chart: This is simply a 1st order depiction of Citizens, our Nation as an entity, and Private Enterprise entities as they are embedded within the philosophies and inclinations of Government and Private Enterprise. 2nd chart: Here are some specific interactions (arrows) between the 4 basic entities for the special case of our current American Tax system. Money flows and various other exchanges including lobbying and tax rules are shown. As noted, even this simplified depiction appears fairly complex. 3rd chart: Modification of our current tax system to some variant of the “Fair Tax ”system, shows that the need for much of the complication is no longer required (red X deletion). RETURNING CONSTITUTIONALISM TO AMERICA
  19. 19. l EXAMPLE: THE TAX SYSTEM (CURRENT)
  20. 20. l EXAMPLE: THE TAX SYSTEM (UNDER “THE FAIR TAX”)
  21. 21. l OVERVIEW RETURNING CONSTITUTIONALISM TO AMERICA GENERALIZING OUR PROBLEMS 3 EXAMPLES: • AMERICA’S ULTRA-COMPLEX TAX SYSTEM • BUREAUCRATIC POLITICAL MEDDLING (e.g., THE IRS) • CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING ACCOUNTABILITY MATCHING SOME PROBLEMS WITH SOLUTIONS A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA TOPICS COVERED
  22. 22. INTRO TO THE NEXT FEW CHARTS The next 3 sets of charts are related and here’s a brief intro. Each of the 3 sets relates to a single specific problem selected in this article to help explore the process of taking a specific Problem, then generalizing several specific problems into a “Problem Category”. Ultimately we’ll match the Problem Categories to a set of “Generalized Solutions”. The present examples serve to help “test” the true versatility of the proposed General Solutions, and ultimately the consolidation of the Solutions into a single proposed Constitutional Amendment. IDEALLY, ALL OF AMERICA’S PROBLEMS WOULD THEN BE AMENABLE TO SOLUTION BY ONE OR MORE OF THE GENERAL SOLUTIONS DEVELOPED. For our purposes here, 3 Problems have been selected to illustrate the technique used. The 3 problems and sets of charts to follow are these: 1. AMERICA’S ULTRA-COMPLEX TAX SYSTEM 2. BUREAUCRATIC POLITICAL MEDDLING (e.g. THE IRS) 3. CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING ACCOUNTABILITY Of course, I don’t pretend to have the ultimate solution set here and now. Rather I hope this to be an introduction to others to help contribute their views toward the ideal objective of a single, simple Constitutional Amendment that will help put Citizens back in control of America and America back to the path of long-term beacon of Liberty for all Nations. GENERALIZING OUR PROBLEMS
  23. 23. In this section, we’ll be covering several charts with these thoughts: • A graph illustrating the growth ot the U.S. Tax Code over the past 75 years. This won’t be a surprise to anyone wrestling with his tax return every April. • Several charts exploring in detail, some of the opportunities for simplification in the lives of private Citizens. The Fair Tax is an “elegant” solution to a branch of government, which currently wastes much Citizen effort and government monies, which could be far better employed tackling some real problems, such as creating an economic climate that encourages maintaining American innovation, manufacturing and world Leadership in the Principles of Freedom. • There are then several charts on a 2nd, related IRS Problem: just in recent weeks the Agency has admitted a politicization of its activities. This politicization is indeed a most heinous affront to every principle of freedom that most Americans hold dear. And we don’t even touch on the arrogant excesses and mis-use of taxpayer monies that have also come to light. These are issues that can be laid directly on the doorstep of much-too-intrusive central government and bureaucracy. And this example is only the tip of the “big government” iceberg, nine tenths of which , as the word iceberg implies, is hidden below the surface. GENERALIZING OUR PROBLEMS
  24. 24. OVERALL BACKGROUND The current federal income tax system is large and growing. Moreover, it is so complex, most Americans (and most Elected officials) do not understand it. As discussed in covering Problem #1, It is a process rife with special loopholes developed to punish or reward politically selected population segments. This injustice is surely inimical to the intent of our American Constitution. Moreover, within this important tax framework, it is not feasible for Citizens to perform their necessary role of overseeing government revenue raising as it makes laws impacting our future. A brief summary of Fair Tax (FT) features is this: • It is structured like a National sales tax, is inherently simple, and is immune from special designations bestowed by Politicians. It abolishes Income, Capital Gains, Gift and Estate taxes. Rather, it is based on each Citizen’s personal consumption levels. Thus, the rich, who typically purchase more, will pay proportionally more in taxes. • Citizens will no longer have to fill out any yearly tax forms, since taxes are collected only from those businesses that sell new goods directly to the Citizen/Consumer. Re-sales of used goods are not taxed. PROBLEM: AMERICA’S ULTRA-COMPLEX TAX SYSTEM U.S. TAX CODE GROWTH – cchgroup.com
  25. 25. Moreover, a unique accounting technique known as the “prebate” is used to assure a uniform, simple way provide for those in poverty. Every Citizen/Family gets a monthly prebate payment, directly equal to poverty level costs for single individuals or family sizes, as determined by a calculation currently in use to define the poverty level in America. Thus those in need have the funds to purchase their critical life needs. Those spending beyond crtical needs, will, with their purchases, be funding the National budget. Many economists have analyzed and attested to the multiple economic benefits the simpicity of the FT would bring to, and greatly enhance, our overall economy. A highly important feature of the FT is this: The IRS Bureaucracy Is No Longer Needed. All of the FT payments will be collected by the businesses noted, then remitted to each of the 50 States within which the Citizen consumption took place, and thence transmitted by the States to the U.S. Treasury. In sum, our politically-tainted bureaucratic tax system will be replaced by a far simpler system driven by the collective choices of the American Citizenry. The process could hardly be fairer and more aligned to Citizen oversight. Plus, it is economically more productive for the Nation as a whole. PROBLEM: AMERICA’S ULTRA-COMPLEX TAX SYSTEM
  26. 26. SUMMARY PROBLEM STATEMENT The Political abuse of IRS power, much in the news in recent weeks, has been going on since FDR’s “New Deal”. A key issue is that the persistent and complex growth of the IRS has become a camouflage for hiding many political twists and turns. The ultimate solution is to abolish the IRS, repeal the 16th Amendment and replace most existing Federal taxes with the far simpler FairTax, which is a national retail sales tax. In the broad picture, it is telling that so many government employees could participate in an unlawful attack on Conservative organizations and not realize that they were doing something wrong. The FairTax would not involve collecting any information regarding individual citizens, yet be easily capable of collecting sufficient revenue to replace our current individual and corporate income taxes, payroll taxes, and death tax. A move to the FairTax would benefit the poor and the middle class the most. Moreover, the fairness level and simplicity of enforcement should appeal to many Americans, independent of political persuasion. E.g., even if a Citizen were employed “off the books” and received all of their income in cash, they would not be able to avoid paying the FairTax when they go shopping. PROBLEM: AMERICA’S ULTRA-COMPLEX TAX SYSTEM
  27. 27. Moreover, our Elected and Agency officials would be freed of spending significant time continually honing the massive details of the current system. This time could now be spent more wisely by Elected officials, for example: pruning other government Programs of duplication and activities no longer serving their initial purpose. Furthermore, arcane Citizen expertise to fulfill their oversight role of government would be lessened - - as indeed it should be. The current IRS scandal demonstrates that the existing tax “patchquilt” cannot be “reformed” into something compatible with a free society. Citizens need to work for a better system. The IRS is one of the subtle tools of Progressivism which holds that control over the lives of ordinary Americans should not be vested in the people themselves, but should instead be wielded by “government experts”. However, the Founders saw the political temptations in direct taxation, and that’s why they prohibited it when they wrote the Constitution. The latest IRS scandal is a wakeup call. The 16th Amendment was a mistake. The income tax process gives the federal government more information about, and power over, citizens than is compatible with the freedom created by our Founders and defended by our Servicemen. THE FAIR TAX: AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME ….UHH… IS LONG PAST DUE ! PROBLEM: AMERICA’S ULTRA-COMPLEX TAX SYSTEM
  28. 28. Because the FairTax would not tax savings and investment at all, and because its compliance costs would be nil, the Fair Tax would deliver the highest rate of economic growth of any tax system. Here’s why. Both GDP and jobs are driven by capital investment. The Fair Tax would maximize GDP growth because it would maximize private sector savings and investment. Under the FairTax, every large corporation in the world would move its headquarters to the U.S. to avoid the corporate taxes imposed by other nations. At the larger growth rates stimulated by the Fair tax, our federal debt should quickly become manageable. Both Social Security and Medicare could then be sustainable without benefit-cutting “reforms”. Grateful Acknowledgement: ref sources 1., 2. ROOT CAUSE ISSUES (PROBLEM CATEGORIES A,B, C) As the introductory discussion illustrates, the following Root Causes characterize this issue: A. The complexity of tax collection imposes significant waste of time for both Elected Officials and the Citizenry. Both groups could be far more productive by spending their time on (1) advancing American progress and economic health, and 2) managing the Nation’s Budgets and Debt accumulation. B. Government complexity due to size and mass of regulations is a recipe for abuse of power by Electeds and the fundamental Rights of Citizenry. The Tax System opaqueness has enabled favoritism, waivers and loopholes that undermine Citizen confidence in basic fairness. C. Additionally, the savings to all of the Fair Tax simplicity, could readily enable improved focus by both Officeholders and Citizens on better accountability of the former to the latter. PROBLEM: AMERICA’S ULTRA-COMPLEX TAX SYSTEM
  29. 29. GENERALIZED SOLUTION A. KEEP THE SOLUTION SIMPLE, WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY, WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF SMALL TO ZERO ROLE FOR THE FEDERAL GOV’T. THE FBI WILL INVESTIGATE AND DOCUMENT ANY CITIZEN ALLEGATION OF ANY FEDERAL ELECTED OFFICIAL FAILING TO LIVE UP TO HIS OATH OF OFFICE. B. GOV’T REVENUES, BUDGETING AND DEBT: EMPLOY THE FAIR TAX; MORE CITIZEN TRANSPARENCY; CITIZEN CHOICE; AND CITIZEN OVERSIGHT OF BUDGETING AND DEBT ACCUMULATION. C. ENSURE CONGRESSIONAL FOCUS. LIMITED # BILLS PER SESSION AND LIMITED WORDS PER BILL. ADEQUATE TIME FOR CAREFUL DELIBERATION, PUBLISHED EXPERT ANALYSIS & CITIZEN FEEDBACK. DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY TO REGULATORY AGENCIES IS RESTRICTED TO OVERSEEING IMPLEMENTATION, BUT ZERO ADDITION TO, OR EXPANSION OF, DULY ENACTED CONGRESSIONAL LAW.. REF SOURCES : 1. “IRS Scandal Is The Latest Evidence That We Need A Fair Tax”, Lous Woodhill, 5/22/2013 , Forbes.com 2. http://www.fairtax.org PROBLEM: AMERICA’S ULTRA-COMPLEX TAX SYSTEM
  30. 30. l OVERVIEW RETURNING CONSTITUTIONALISM TO AMERICA GENERALIZING OUR PROBLEMS 3 EXAMPLES: • AMERICA’S ULTRA-COMPLEX TAX SYSTEM • BUREAUCRATIC POLITICAL MEDDLING (e.g., THE IRS) • CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING ACCOUNTABILITY MATCHING SOME PROBLEMS WITH SOLUTIONS A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA TOPICS COVERED
  31. 31. OVERALL BACKGROUND THIS IS A PROBLEM ABOUT A CHILLING EFFECT ON CITIZEN’S 1ST AMENDMENT FREE SPEECH AND FREE PRESS RIGHTS. SOME ELEMENTS OF THE CHILL, WHICH CURIOUSLY SEEM TO HAVE IN COMMON, OPPOSITION TO ADMINISTRATION POLICIES: • THE DOJ ISSUED A DEMAND FOR TWO MONTHS OF OFFICE, CELLULAR AND HOME TELEPHONE RECORDS FROM MULTIPLE ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTERS AND EDITORS TO INVESTIGATE AN ALLEGED BREACH OF NATIONAL SECURITY, IN CONNECTION WITH A FOILED TERRORIST PLOT. • OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IRS AGENTS TARGETED CONSERVATIVE ORGANIZATIONS BY SELECTIVELY DELAYING APPROVALS FOR TAX-EXEMPT STATUS TO GROUPS WITH "TEA PARTY" AND "PATRIOT" IN THEIR NAMES. ANTI- ABORTION GROUPS WERE ASKED TO PLEDGE THAT THEY WOULD NEVER PICKET PLANNED PARENTHOOD CLINICS. • MULTIPLE ORGANIZERS WERE ASKED NUMEROUS PERSONAL QUESTIONS, INCLUDING WHAT THEY SAID IN THEIR PRAYERS. PROBLEM: BUREAUCRATIC POLITICAL MEDDLING (eg, IRS) “GEE! IT DOESN’T SAY HERE THAT THEY ONLY SUPPORT PROGRESSIVES !
  32. 32. THE ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE IRS WAS TOLD ABOUT THIS ACTIVITY IN MAY 2012. GIVEN THAT IRS PERSONNEL ARE LARGELY DEMOCRATIC, THE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THIS WAS POLITICALLY DESIGNED TO PREVENT THE STORY FROM COMING OUT JUST BEFORE THE 2012 ELECTION. SO, IS ALL THIS JUST WATER OVER THE DAM? NOT EXACTLY. SARAH HALL INGRAM, WHO SERVED AS HEAD OF THE IRS OFFICE HANDLING TAX-EXEMPT ORGANIZATIONS BETWEEN 2009 AND 2012 -- WHEN THE TARGETING WAS GOING ON - - THIS PERSON IS NOW HEAD OF THE IRS DIVISION RESPONSIBLE FOR POLICING OBAMACARE. IT WILL IMPOSE PENALTIES ON AMERICANS WHO CAN AFFORD HEALTH INSURANCE BUT CHOOSE NOT TO BUY IT. IT WILL IMPOSE PENALTIES ON COMPANIES WITH MORE THAN 50 EMPLOYEES WHO WORK 30 HOURS A WEEK AND DON'T PROVIDE GOVERNMENT-MANDATED POLICIES. DOES GOVERNMENT ARROGANCE AND INTRUSION HAVE NO BOUNDS? PROBLEM: BUREAUCRATIC POLITICAL MEDDLING (eg, IRS)
  33. 33. ROOT CAUSE ISSUES (PROBLEM CATEGORIES A,C,G) A.) A GOVERNMENT AGENCY IS SUBVERTING THE CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOMS OF CITIZENS AS PROTECTED BY THE 1st AMENDMENT. C.) THE AGENTS WHO HAVE THIS POWER ARE NOT ELECTED BY THE CITIZENS AND CONSEQUENTLY ARE NOT DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE TO CITIZENS. CONGRESS SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO FORMALLY SIGN OFF ON ALL RULES AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY AGENCIES WHOSE TOP MANAGEMENT IS NOT DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE CITIZENS. G.) CITIZENS NEED TO TO BE ABLE TO LODGE SIGNIFCANT COMPLAINTS, REQUIRING TIMELY INVESTIGATIVE FOLLOW UP AND PUBLIC REPORTING, REGARDING THE ARROGANCE AND MIS- USE OF POWER BY THESE AGENCIES. PROBLEM: BUREAUCRATIC POLITICAL MEDDLING (eg, IRS)
  34. 34. GENERALIZED SOLUTION: A.) KEEP THE SOLUTION SIMPLE, WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY, WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF SMALL TO ZERO ROLE FOR THE FEDERAL GOV’T. THE FBI WILL INVESTIGATE AND DOCUMENT ANY CITIZEN ALLEGATION OF ANY FEDERAL ELECTED OFFICIAL FAILING TO LIVE UP TO HIS OATH OF OFFICE. C.) ENSURE CONGRESSIONAL FOCUS. LIMITED # OF BILLS PER SESSION AND LIMITED WORDS PER BILL. ADEQUATE TIME FOR CAREFUL DELIBERATION, PUBLISHED EXPERT ANALYSIS & CITIZEN FEEDBACK. DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY TO REGULATORY AGENCIES IS RESTRICTED TO OVERSEEING IMPLEMENTATION, BUT ZERO ADDITION TO, OR EXPANSION OF, DULY ENACTED CONGRESSIONAL LAW. G.) ALL CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP ASSIGNMENTS AND CHAIRMANSHIPS WILL BE SUBJECT TO ROTATION OF THE JOBHOLDER EVERY 4 YEARS. ELECTED OFFICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY: EVERY FEDERAL ELECTED OFFICIAL AND EVERY CABINET LEVEL OFFICER SHALL BE SUBJECT TO FBI INVESTIGATION AND PUBLIC REPORTING OF ANY CITIZEN-SUBMITTED REPORT, WITH GREATER THAN 100 SIGNATURES, DOCUMENTING AN OFFICAL WHO FAILS TO LIVE UP TO HIS OATH OF OFFICE. REF SOURCES : 1. “IRS and AP Scandals Cast a Big Chill on Free Speech” Michael Barone , May 20, 2013, townhall.com 2. “Unions break ranks on ObamaCare”, Kevin Bogardus - 05/21/1, thehill.com PROBLEM: BUREAUCRATIC POLITICAL MEDDLING (eg, IRS)
  35. 35. l OVERVIEW RETURNING CONSTITUTIONALISM TO AMERICA GENERALIZING OUR PROBLEMS 3 EXAMPLES: • AMERICA’S ULTRA-COMPLEX TAX SYSTEM • BUREAUCRATIC POLITICAL MEDDLING (e.g., THE IRS) • CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING ACCOUNTABILITY MATCHING SOME PROBLEMS WITH SOLUTIONS A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA TOPICS COVERED
  36. 36. OVERALL BACKGROUND Government waste, fraud, abuse and duplication is nothing new at all levels of government. But in recent years, and particularly in the current recession, this extravagance becomes more and more outrageous. Some quantification of the duplocations can be seen in the Figure. The government has 76 programs to treat drug abuse spread across 15 different agencies. It has 47 programs for job training. And there are three federal agencies that inspect catfish. These are among the findings in a new Government Accountability Office report that found 162 areas where services are duplicated or money is being wasted in the Federal government. The annual cost of duplicative or wasteful programs is estimated at roughly $250 billion, according to fiscal hawk Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. The Government Accounting Office does some assessments to expose this waste. But by and large there is not a stable resolution and this is due to the difficulty of establishing accountability for the various government components involved. PROBLEM: CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING ACCOUNTABILITY
  37. 37. Now, part of the problem seems to be that Congress spends so much time on less important matters that they lack time to follow the progress (or lack of) of previously legislated Programs. So some thought must be given to how to put effort into more productive output. Part of the answer would seem to be more prioritization and focus on the major issues imposed on the Congress by the Constitution. Other issues should be left to the States and the People. Moreover a mechanism must be in place to establish a total boundary on the budget within which priorities can be assessed and established. PROBLEM: CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING ACCOUNTABILITY
  38. 38. ROOT CAUSE ISSUES (Primarily PROBLEM CATEGORIES A, C, D, G but also some of E, and F) A.) Government complexity and lack of focus leaves Congress little time to truly manage Federal expenditures. This results in continuing wastage of of taxpayer monies on old and newly-legislated programs. C.) Congress needs the discipline of careful budget analysis, firm budget limitations and a mechanism to ensure open deliberation and spending prioritizations. D.) There is no justification for any law to be voted upon without a careful, transparent , and rigorous cost-benefit analysis . G.). The Constitution stipulates an allocation of responsibilities between the Federal government and “to the States respectively, or to the People”. But this wisdom is increasingly ignored. PROBLEM: CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING ACCOUNTABILITY
  39. 39. GENERALIZED SOLUTION: A. Each Congressman will be assigned RESPONSIBILITY TO PRIORITIZE a different Budget segment comprising approximately 1/535th of the total budget based on the immediately prior approved Budget tabulation, and to publish an annual REPORT TO THE PEOPLE. B. Congress will enlist the support of the CBO and/or GAO for budget analysis, but each Congressional submittal of its share of the budget shall: (1) be published in a 500 word report to the Citizens, (2) turned into a newly created, ongoing, Special Joint, Congressional Budget Sub-Committee (SJCBS) for a full, integrated budget prioritization, and (3) contain a recommendation by the submitting Congressperson for deletion of the loweprioritization as summarized in the SJCBS REPORT. st 15% of the priority tabulation. The SJCBS shall similarly, but for the total budget, identify the lowest 10 % of their priority tabulation which shall be published yearly. C. In any given year in which the proposed budget exceeds the 20% GDP limit (see Section 2. of the Proposed Constitutional 28th Amendment) by YY%, the SJCBS shall submit for full Senate and House vote, deletion of YY% of the Budget based upon the Congressional prioritization as summarized in the SJCBS REPORT. REF SOURCES : 1. “Actions Needed to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Other Financial Benefits”, GAO 2013 ANNUAL REPORT, GAO-13- 279SP, Apr 9, 2013 2. “2012 WASTEBOOK”, Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., October 2012 PROBLEM: CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING ACCOUNTABILITY
  40. 40. l OVERVIEW RETURNING CONSTITUTIONALISM TO AMERICA GENERALIZING OUR PROBLEMS MATCHING SOME PROBLEMS WITH SOLUTIONS A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA TOPICS COVERED
  41. 41. In this section, we illustrate briefly some of the synthesis of a “generalized problem” and “solution” as compiled in the final section. For simplicity, just the example of IRS POLITICAL MEDDLING is illustrated. In the 4 step process ( next chart), We start with simply a phrase that most Citizens will recognize as a specific problem due to treatment in the various news media. Next a common Problem Category is created broadly enough to apply to several selected Problems . Then a short Solution phrase is created that responds to the Problem Category. Finally, we create a Generalized Solution statement suitably containing the What, When and How verbiage that might be used in a formally proposed Constitutional Amendment. Each of these Solution statements will be used as a formal section of the final Amendment. The next chart illustrates the correspondence achieved between the selected Problem and a shortened version of the Generalized Solution. To conclude, it is reitereated again that We’d really be interested in any thoughts or additions that any reader might think would add to the collection of Problems and thereby also add to an extension of the list of Solutions. MATCHING PROBLEMS TO GENERALIZED SOLUTIONS
  42. 42. l MATCHING PROBLEMS TO GENERALIZED SOLUTIONS
  43. 43. l A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA
  44. 44. l OVERVIEW RETURNING CONSTITUTIONALISM TO AMERICA GENERALIZING OUR PROBLEMS MATCHING SOME PROBLEMS WITH SOLUTIONS A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA TOPICS COVERED
  45. 45. PROPOSAL: AMENDMENT XXVIII; 20XX VALIDATING AND CLARIFYING CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT Section 1. IF APPROVED, THIS AMENDMENT WILL CLARIFY AND STIPULATE 7 DISTINCT WAYS (see Sections 2-8) THAT CITIZENS SHALL EXERT CONTROL OVER THE LEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE BRANCHES IN ACCORD WITH THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. Section 2. IT SHALL BE A PRIMARY OBJECTIVE OF THE EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES TO ASSURE THAT THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT, IN TERMS OF MONIES AUTHORIZED AND SPENT, SHALL NOT EXCEED ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS OF 20% OF THE AVERAGE OF THE PRIOR 5 YEARS OFFICIAL GDP LEVEL, UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY A 2/3 MAJORITY VOTE OF BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS. Section 3. THE METHOD OF INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN TAXATION CURRENTLY IN USE SHALL BE MODIFIED TO A PROCESS THAT TAXES CONSUMPTION ONLY, AND NOT INCOME, INVESTMENT EARNINGS, SAVINGS OR ANY OTHER SOURCE. THE METHOD SHALL NOT REQUIRE ANY IRS FILING BY ANY CITIZEN. SUCH FILINGS SHALL BE LIMITED TO TAXING BUSINESSES THAT SELL GOODS OR SERVICES DIRECTLY TO THE CITIZEN CONSUMER. A “PREBATE” TECHNIQUE SHALL BE USED TO ASSURE THAT THE TRULY NEEDY CITIZEN IS ABLE TO PURCHASE NECESSARY GOODS AND SERVICES AS CURRENTLY CONSIDERED IN THE FEDERAL ASSESSMENT OF POVERTY LEVEL. A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA
  46. 46. Section 4. TO ENSURE: CITIZEN UNDERSTANDING OF THE LAW; CONGRESSIONAL FOCUS; AND TO LIMIT EVER-GROWING LEGISLATIVE OVERREACH - - CONGRESS SHALL, UPON PASSAGE OF THIS AMENDMENT, BE LIMITED TO PASSAGE OF NOT MORE THAN 100 BILLS PER CONGRESSIONAL SESSION. MOREOVER, EACH BILL (EXCLUDING , AT CONGRESSIONAL OPTION) 3 SINGLE- SUBJECT BILLS, SHALL BE LIMITED TO A MAXIMUM OF 5000 WORDS PER BILL, WITH NO APPENDICES OR OTHER KINDS OF CLARIFYING REFERENCES. ADEQUATE TIME FOR: CAREFUL DELIBERATION; PUBLISHED EXPERT ANALYSIS; AND CITIZEN FEEDBACK; SHALL BE PROVIDED IN ACCORD WITH THE REQUIREMENT THAT EVERY BILL MUST BE PUBLICALLY ISSUED AT LEAST 120 DAYS PRIOR TO A FINAL VOTE BY EITHER HOUSE OF CONGRESS EXACTLY TO THE VERBATIM FORM OF THE PREVIOUSLY-ISSUED VERSION. DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY TO REGULATORY AGENCIES IS TO BE RESTRICTED TO OVERSEEING IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW LAW, BUT WITH ZERO ADDITION TO, OR MODIFICATION OF THE DULY ENACTED CONGRESSIONAL LAW. ALL REGULATIONS HENCEFORTH MUST BE APPROVED BY AT LEAST ONE APPROPRIATE COMMITTEE OF EACH HOUSE OF CONGRESS. ALL EXISTING REGULATIONS SHALL BE FULLY RE-ASSESSED AND RE-AUTHORIZED BY CONGRESS OVER A PERIOD OF 5 YEARS FROM THE DATE OF APPROVAL OF THIS AMENDMENT. AFTER THE 5-YEAR REVIEW, THE TOTAL VERBIAGE PAGE COUNT OF ALL FEDERAL REGULATIONS SHALL NOT EXCEED THE SIZE IN FORCE ON THE DAY OF THE 78th BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF PRESIDENT CALVIN COOLIDGE. A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA
  47. 47. lAM Section 5. TO ASSURE CITIZEN AND LEGISLATOR FULL COMPREHENSION OF THE COST AND BENEFIT IMPACTS OF ALL LEGISLATION, A SPECIFIC COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF ALL BILLS SHALL BE PERFORMED AND PUBLISHED BY 2 SOURCES OF EXPERTISE: (1) THE GAO AND/OR CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE AND (2) A NEWLY CREATED AND DESIGNATED 8 PERSON PANEL OF PRIVATE CITIZENS WITH EXPERTISE COMMENSURATE WITH THE TASK. THE PANEL SHALL BE EQUALLY DIVIDED IN ACCORD WITH THE 2 POLITICAL PARTIES EXHIBITING THE MOST CONGRESSIONAL VOTES IN THE MOST RECENT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. THE PANEL SHALL SERVE FOR A TERM OF OFFICE OF 4 YEARS AND REPORT JOINTLY TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE LEADERS AND PUBLICLY TO THE CITIZENRY. A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA
  48. 48. Section 6. ALL LEGISLATION SHALL BE CAREFULLY ALIGNED TO THE CONSTITUTION. ANY LEGISLATION THAT CAN BE CONSIDERED AS BORDERING ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND/OR CITIZEN LIBERTY SHALL REQUIRE THE SIGNATURE OF EVERY VOTING LEGISLATOR WITH THE FOLLOWING ASSERTION DIRECTLY ABOVE HIS/HER SIGNATURE: “I HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF THIS LEGISLATION. I BELIEVE ALL PROVISIONS ARE WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION, WHICH I HAVE SWORN TO PROTECT AND DEFEND.” A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA ADDITIONALLY A SPECIALLY- CREATED, 7 PERSON PANEL SHALL BE CONSULTED FOR THEIR WRITTEN ASSESSMENT OF CONSTITUTIONALITY. THE PANEL’S REPORT SHALL BE PUBLISHED 120 DAYS PRIOR TO A FINAL VOTE BY EITHER HOUSE OF CONGRESS. Section 7. TO HELP ASSURE MORE BALANCE TO CITIZENS FROM GOVERNMENT NEWS RELEASES, ALL EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCH MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENTS AND RELEASES (SEPARATE OR JOINT) MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY AN APPROXIMATELY EQUAL LENGTH STATEMENT FROM THE OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTY. THE MEDIA TO WHOM THE RELEASES ARE PROVIDED SHALL BE REQUESTED TO COMPLY WITH THIS AMENDMENT PROVISION. MEDIA WHICH GAIN A RECORD AFTER 30 SUCH RELEASES OF MORE THAN 10% NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THIS REQUEST SHALL NOT BE PROVIDED FUTURE EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE MEDIA RELEASES.
  49. 49. lAM Section 8. TO MAINTAIN BETTER OFFICIAL RAPPORT WITH , AND INFLUENCE BY, THE CITIZENRY, ALL CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP ASSIGNMENTS AND CHAIRMANSHIPS WILL BE SUBJECT TO ROTATION OF EACH SUCH JOBHOLDER EVERY 4 YEARS. TO ASSURE ELECTED OFFICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY: EVERY FEDERAL ELECTED OFFICIAL AND EVERY CABINET LEVEL OFFICER SHALL BE SUBJECT TO FBI INVESTIGATION AND PUBLIC REPORTING OF ANY CITIZEN-SUBMITTED ALLEGATION WITH 100 SIGNATURES, DOCUMENTING AN OFFICIAL WHO : (1) FAILS TO LIVE UP TO HIS OATH OF OFFICE , (2) IS BELIEVED TO HAVE KNOWINGLY MISLED THE PUBLIC ON A MATTER OF IMPORTANT PUBLIC INTEREST. THE FBI WILL INVESTIGATE THE CITIZEN COMPLAINT AND PUBLICLY ISSUE A RESPONSIVE AND DETERMINATIVE REPLY WITHIN 4 MONTHS OF RECEIPT OF THE ALLEGATION. A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA
  50. 50. To summarize, we return to the Table that shows the applicability of 2 dozen initial National Problems to the Generalized Solutions developed as explained throughout this article. The Table illustrates the hopeful result that : 1. Each of the original Problems stands to benefit from 2 or more of the Generalized Solutions developed. 2. Each of the Generalized Solutions has applicability to multiple of the realistic large National Problems examined. These results offer hope that the 28th Amendment proposal, comprised of the 7 derived General Solutions, has the potential to be an effective tool to solve critical Problems and ensure restoring Citizenry influence over our National governance. Further testing and clarifications remain. And again, if you’re interested in adding some thoughts, please contact: Mark Sussman at msuss@comcast.net. IN CONCLUSION
  51. 51. l A MODEST PROPOSAL: A BETTER PATH FOR AMERICA
  52. 52. THE END ACTUALLY, IT’S NOT THE END - - YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT TO OUR NATION. CITIZEN INTEREST, DIALOG AND DATA ARE CRITICAL TO GOOD CIVIC OUTCOMES. AND THAT INCLUDES OUTCOMES WHICH SIMPLY ASSURE PROPER CONDITIONS FOR THE FREE MARKET TO WORK.

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