How Can We Best Change Our Political System To Make A Real Difference?

The American Public Wants Change

Americans are fed up with their politicians and are looking for real change. Since both political parties seem devoted to old ideas that have failed us for a couple of decades, and are completely unwilling to budge on their perspectives, since they spend more time campaigning against each other than working together for the public good and since all of the evidence is that our leaders are bought and sold by commercial and special interests, it only makes sense that we are searching for ideas about how to reform the way that we chose our leaders in the hopes of getting a descent crop of honest hardworking public servants.

Over the roughly forty years that I've been paying attention to politics, I've heard a lot of ideas about how to change the system, most of which have already failed or that no one is talking about anymore. The death blow to most ideas for reforming the political system seemed to come when the supreme court decided that limiting the amount of campaign contributions that people with big bucks can use to lubricate the system is the same thing as limiting their freedom of speech, which, all things considered, is probably true even if it is distasteful that the people and interests with the most money get to talk the loudest.The only group with a plan that I hear talking loudly and proudly these days is right here on HubPages. I'm not going to name them because I'm sure that they are reading this and they know who they are. I disagree with their ideas and am going to say why but I don't want them to feel picked on or singled out. I like them even though I disagree with them. After I say why I disagree, I'll mention an old idea that isn't getting much attention that I think would really change the system for the better.

I disagree

The first change that my friends would like to make is to require people running for office to undergo a criminal back ground check. On the surface, this makes perfect sense. In order to get many jobs these days one must get a criminal back ground check, or a drug test. It would be nice to know before we vote if the candidates have a proven track record of corruption.

How can I disagree with something that makes this much sense? Well, many reasons, the first is personal. I probably would never consider running for political office myself just because on every level, being an elected official is a really tough job and I'm lazy enough that I just don't want to do a job that hard, but, I do think I could be good at it. Still, if I ran, there is no way I could get elected. When I was a stupid kid I once got into a bit of trouble and spent a night in jail. I've learned my lesson and it hasn't happened again, no jail time in the last thirty years, but, I did make other mistakes in my troubled youth and, the fact is, my moral/religious values are slightly different than those of the mainstream. I know if I ever ran for office the press and political opponents would use these things against me and I just wouldn't get the the votes. I might not get the votes, but, I would be eligible to run, I have the right to run. Whether or not I want to run, or could win, I want to defend my right to run. Any change in law that would make me ineligible to run, I will oppose, not just for me.. but for you in case you want to run. People can and do change. A mistake at some point in their life shouldn't require them to give up their most fundamental rights as a citizen.

Furthermore, I'm not happy with the fact that employers get to peak into our government files or our bodily fluids and see what we've been up to. Sure, it's legal. Sure, they just want to protect themselves, but, what happened to the idea that if you do a bad job or do something wrong you get fired, and, if you do a good job and do everything right, you get a raise? Nothing in my court record will tell you how good, bad, honest or dishonest a worker I will be and nothing in my blood or urine will tell you that either. It's up to me to convince you to take a chance on me and then to prove myself if you do. I'm not in favor of spreading the injustice of these intrusions from private to public sector, quite the opposite, I'd like to see it become illegal for possible employers to so violate my privacy and person.

How then do we know if one of the candidates is a bad apple? Well, I mentioned the press and political opponents above. The press is sometimes called "The Fourth Estate." The idea being that we have three official branches of government, executive, legislative and judicial. The Fourth Estate is an unofficial, privately owned fourth societal power whose job it is to dig up all the dirt. I think they do a pretty good job at it. Sure, they are politically biased, but more than they love whatever political cause du jour that they may have, they love the notoriety and ratings that come with digging up a really juicy story. I've seen interviews with reporters when they've been asked who their favorite candidate is and they have chosen, not the one that matches their own political agenda, but the one that is going to give them the most dirt to write/talk about. If you pay close attention over a long period of time you will see that most of the press (with some notable exceptions) love raking their own guys over the coals just as much as they enjoy exposing the other guy. They are, for the most part, equal opportunity mudslingers. One of my favorite political conversations between reporters ever was when one of my senators was running for re-election and one reporter asked another what were the pluses and minuses of his candidacy. The answer came back: "Huge war chest, not currently under indictment." Meaning, he has been under indictment in the past and may well be in the future. Furthermore, political candidates are looking for any chink in the other guy's armor and exploit it mercilessly when they find it. If you don't know whether or not your candidate has committed a crime it's not that the info isn't out there, it's that you're not paying attention. Making them ineligible to run because of past transgressions is just lazy. You can find out what they've done and vote against them if you choose but you've got to do your job as a citizen and pay attention, do some research, use the system that we've got rather than stripping down our rights further than they've already been stripped.

Term Limits

The second idea my friends are putting forth is an old one, term limits. I've actually flip flopped on this issue. Once upon a time I was all in favor of the idea, but, then I did some self examination and discovered that what I really wanted was to deny others their right to vote for who they wanted to vote for. I had in my mind a particular senator who I just hated. I disagreed with everything that he said and the way that he said it made me embarrassed for our whole country. Yet, year after year the people who could vote for him sent him back by a landslide. I wanted to be able to remove him even though they obviously loved him. I also hated one of my own senators, the one who wasn't "currently under indictment." I voted against him year after year after year and yet, my fellow New Yorkers kept sending him back to D.C. I wanted to stop them even though I didn't have the votes.

On the other hand, I also had a senator who was a genius. He was a diplomat and a statesman who, although liberal, worked with presidents and legislators from any side of the isle. He was a philosopher whose ideas changed our country for the better and whose ideas that weren't implemented are still talked about and might still get voted in. I realized that I didn't want anyone taking away my right to vote for him and I was willing to take the two boobs if I could keep the genius. More importantly, if I don't want anyone to take away my right to vote for who I want, then I can't take away that same right from someone else. I'm actually happy with my representative and both of my senators these days and I want to keep them. I know that if they should ever need to be fired, I get to vote against them. If I vote against them and they win anyway, it's not the systems fault, it's all the other voters faults. Look to your own representatives, leave me mine.

One last point: Some of what makes one eligible for national office is spelled out in The Constitution, the rest is left up to the state legislatures. Changing eligibility requirements means, at best, a constitutional amendment and at worst, amendments and/or legislation in all fifty states. This sounds like a very uphill battle to me. Sure, some constitutional amendments get through fairly quickly, but, those are the ones supported by the vast majority of congressmen, we can count on the fact that they won't support these which means that it would have to go to the fifty state legislatures which takes a long time and a lot of money and, I think I've got a simpler solution.

A Possible Solution

I've had an idea kicking around in my head for a long time now and I've only ever heard one public person say anything similar and that was the late great Walter Cronkite. It's fairly simple. First, ask yourself, what is the most corrupting thing about modern politics. The answer is, the amount of money that it takes to run a successful political campaign. It means that our representatives have to spend a huge amount of their time hat in hand looking for money and they end up beholding to the people who give it to them. What's the most expensive part of running a campaign? TV commercials. Most of us can't be bothered to study the issues and examine the candidates, we make our decision based on TV commercials, and they cost an enormous amount of money to produce and to buy the airtime to run them.

The solution, free television time to everyone on the ballot. Getting on ballots isn't rocket science. It's just a matter of getting a certain number of signatures on petitions. The smaller the number of people you want to represent, the fewer signatures you need. It's still possible to run for local office by going door to door for signatures. Once you do well in local office, you have some connections, people willing to help get signatures for you for state office and if you do good in your state, then, you've got people willing to help you get signatures for national office. This simple, elegant system should ensure that only those with experience get to the top jobs, and, it's not too hard to start of the path of getting that experience. The problem comes when the money washes in and lights up the TV screen. Suddenly, only people who can afford TV time can get elected.

I honestly believe that current office holders won't, for the most part, be opposed to the idea of free air time for people on the ballot. I've seen dozens of interviews in which politicians are asked what the worst part of their job is and all of them have answered that it's raising money to get re-elected. I've also seen interviews with big businessmen who say that what they like least about politics is the fact that there is always some politician on the phone looking for money. I believe that they are sincere. Okay, sure, there will always be rich folk who want to buy politicians and politicians who want to be bought or who just can't resist the temptation, but I think that most people who run for office start out wanting to serve and are corrupted by the fact that they have to have such huge amounts of money just to keep the job.

There are other benefits to the free air time scheme. Not only can it unshackle politicians from CEOs and special interests, it unshackles them from the leaders of their parties. No need for millions from the central committee means no need to tow the party line. It also means a wider variety of ideas in public life. You don't have to be a Republican or a Democrat to get on the ballot. Independents and third party candidates are on nearly every ballot I've ever seen. They just don't get heard because they can't afford to be on TV. With more candidates, we have a better public debate. We aren't even limiting anyone's rights because candidates can still buy commercials if they want to.

The only people likely to be opposed to such a plan are the TV stations and broadcast networks. They make an enormous amount of money off of political ads, some of which they would loose. Plus, since they've got someone paying for every minute that they are on the air, going a certain amount of time per night during campaign season without sponsors would certainly mean losing money. I can't take the position that they are big companies and can afford the loss because a lot of TV stations are small independent operations that struggle as much as any small business, I get the funny feeling the smallest most independent ones will be the first to embrace the idea though. It's the big syndicates that will yell the loudest at losing a single dime. Still, the law of the land is that broadcasting licenses require community service. This is community service of the most important kind in a democratic republic. Heck, what constitutes community service is decided by the FCC, this might not even have to go through Congress or the President, though it probably should in case of future court cases. You know someone's going to sue.

If something like this were to happen, it would all be up to us. No more excuses. If we don't run ourselves, it will be because we are lazy. If we don't watch and choose wisely, it will be because we are unwilling to exercise the responsibilities that come with our liberty. Lets face a fact, it's a lot easier if we can blame Republicans or Democrats or rich people or minorities for all of our problems. If we give up our excuse, we will have to take the blame.

Comments 35 comments

TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 5 years ago from Tucson, Az.

Very well laid out my friend. We've had the Political Security Act bill written at The Housefire Projet. ( back grouned check and psychological exam.) First, let me be honest. It will take longer to get this bill passed than Herman Cain's 999 thing. No one will sign it until public demand forces them to. In another comment, give me some time to explain the genius behind this effort. When you hear it all, you will love it.

The problem with the free air time is this. The average percentage of campaign funds spent on TV and radio is only 44%. Still a lot of money, but not enough to make a big, huge difference. The answer comes in getting to the root of the problem and, emposing term limits on these fat crooks in Washington, campaign finance reform, and strict lobbying laws. Finally, it starts at home in local elections. It means researching the candidates you're voting for, not just looking for the "D" or "R" box when you get into the booth. It's very simple and only takes a few minutes to check the voting records of that state senator with the purdy smile and great hair before jumping in that voting booth.

Awesome stuff though bro. We don't agree on much, but you are my pal, and that's what's important.

jim


FIS profile image

FIS 5 years ago Author

The whole point of having a country is living and working together bro... the great thing about the American experiment is that we don't have to agree... we just have to respect, and I respect you and your opinion and every time you restate it, I rethink mine so don't stop stating it..

Bob


TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 5 years ago from Tucson, Az.

(laughing) You've always made me re examine my rhetoric too Bob.

Sure wish other folks could disagree without hating and de-valuing one another my man. I think most folks are very insecure with their beliefs. I dunno. That's just guesswork, and you can't bank guesses.

jim


FIS profile image

FIS 5 years ago Author

I think that people in general have a tendency to be insecure about everything, but, that's understandable, we come into the world completely helpless and the odds are that we are going to go out that way too. I don't know why people have to devalue each others ideas but I suspect it has something to do with the ego never wanting to be wrong about anything. What I do know is that if we don't admit that someone else's ideas have value, we create blind spots in ourselves. It's only when we re-evaluate our own ideas in light of what others think that we have a chance of closing those blind spots... even if we don't actually change our opinion.

Bob


TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 5 years ago from Tucson, Az.

Gonna have you write my next speech bro. Well said.

jim


FIS profile image

FIS 5 years ago Author

Actually, I always thought that I would be a good speech writer.

Bob


TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 5 years ago from Tucson, Az.

Well sharpen up your pencil.

jim


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

You two are so funny! All that back and forth bro stuff-the beginning of a new Good Ol' Bro's Club, eh?

I suppose I disagree with both of you, but like you too. What the heck is a bro anyway? Could we have a new social contract that includes females in This Club, FIS?

On the media side, I worked at a radio station where we were required to devote a certain number of slots to Public Service Announcements. I am pretty sure tv stations have to do this as well. So ALL tv time is not billed out, if that is true. Details from the devil women.


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

Storytellersrus: Well... Bro is just short for brother and I'm more than happy to have sisters too... fact is... I'd rather spend time with sisters... though my wife doesn't always approve ha ha ha.

Yeah.. TV stations do have a public service requirement but most of the public service ads that I've seen on TV have been either very late at night or on stations that are doing so badly that they don't have a lot of paid advertisement. I think that most of them are using local news to meet their service/licensing requirement buy letting us know when the local church's spaghetti dinner is going to be..

Meanwhile.. I think Jim and I are just trying to demonstrate that it's possible for people on opposite sides of the political spectrum to be friends... you know... to combat the vitriol that.. to me.. seems to be the most destructive force in our nation at the moment. If people think of each other as the bad guy... it's hard to have a social contract... if people like each other but disagree.. they can come up with a compromise. I'm glad to have you aboard.. you're civil.. you're smart.. you've got good ideas... and I like the idea of Storytellers.. if I could figure out a way to get paid to be a storyteller... I would love it... welcome to the club sis..


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Hey bro, lol. Thanks for the comment on my unemployment and holidays question. I had to reread thIs hub and your comment on my comment, which fascinated me. My best friends are all but one Republican. And I mean serious Republican. You would think I w Sometimes I would get it

Somehow I have been designated to hold the liberal energy in a neighborhood radically right, haha. I am not that left.

As to ads, well I think Twitter is more effective these days. Who doesn't TiVo or fast forward through political ads???


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

Well... I can't say in that I don't have Tivo and don't tape enough shows that have political ads... but.. I also watch a lot of news, listen to NPR on the radio all day and read a lot of news from a lot of sources on the internet. However, most people I know get most of their politics from local news and TV ads... (except the conservatives that I know who mostly get their news from Fox.)

I'm kind of hard to pigeonhole politically myself. I'm very defiantly socially liberal and as long as conservatives insist on being aligned with the social right... they just won't get my vote. Aside from the culture wars, I hold a mix of liberal and conservative views and find myself frustrated that neither of the political parties is going to represent me. (There is a group out there called.. I think.. the third way, made up of people from the Clinton administration who are trying to go a moderate route but, you never really hear anything from them.)

In any event, I think that more ideas have to find their way into the dialog because it seems pretty obvious that conservative and liberal ideas have both been found wanting and the only thing that the major political parties care about is getting and keeping power.

I have, meanwhile, pretty much given up on politics. It's fairly obvious that even out here amongst "the people", no one is willing to take anyone else's ideas seriously. It's all about being right and there is very little room for compromise. Which I find ironic since it seems fairly obvious to me that big business, labor, the rich, government and "the people" are all equally shortsighted, corrupt, greedy and incompetent and none of them are even aware that this is the case. We don't know ourselves let alone others.

There's a line from an old song by The Police "There are no political solutions to our troubled evolution." and... I have begun to think that this is so... that... our solutions involve scientific and spiritual evolution of the individual and that... the best benefit of North American politics is that.. so far.. they have allowed a freedom of religion and thought that can make that evolution possible.

I don't know how long that can continue however, in a political climate where millions of voters are always trying to impose their will on more millions of people who just won't participate and even the millions who do are so evenly and violently divided as to be willing to work solely to keep the other guy out of power rather than to come to a compromise, I'm getting tired of government by campaign and corporate interest.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

I am a big fan of Mark Levin "Men In Black" He won his first election at 19 by going door to door introducing himself. That really impressed me. Last night I met a man at the farmers market, who introduced himself as a candidate for state congress and handed me information. I am going to look up his website and probably vote for him. The personal touch, especially for the local elections will get you farther than $$.


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

High Tireless,

Yes, and that's one thing that people who want term limits don't understand. On a local level, politicians still come to us with the personal touch, and we are smart enough to make decisions based on that interaction and connection. National politics however is a real problem. For example, it's not possible for a president, or in some cases, even a senator to meet with all of the millions of people that they represent. Whether they, or we, like it or not... they need some way to get out their message and that costs money. Although, some times I despair that, even if they could get out their messages for free... they would be so watered down in an attempt to appeal to all of us, that they will say nothing. Look at the present campaigns where both candidates are having trouble walking the tightrope between appealing to their bases... who are fanatics... and the rest of us... who aren't.


tammybarnette profile image

tammybarnette 4 years ago

Bob, I can't believe I am just now reading this, I don't think I get updates anymore....Anyway, this was a fantastic read and brought to attention things I hadn't thought about. I was also thinking while I was reading that maybe term limits aren't quiet fair...I mean in any other job they don't say, "well okay you have been a great employ but now it's time to go, your 2 years are up." So that is an excellent point....maybe what needs to happen is the government jobs should work as other jobs, which means you can be fired:) Also, background checks...I jumped feet first all in on this idea but I think you are right here as well...I was also a frisky(LOL) teen and is the very reason I do not run for even local offices. But we have to have some mid road here as well. There are many corrupt individuals sitting in high places and whether anyone wants to admit it or not, that is really what is wrong with our country right now. Love, love, love the idea of taking money out of the game, heck I'm for NO commercials, I hate them! Their ignorant and hateful for the most part anyway. Anyone who wants to run should be allowed and should have fair time to tell their plan, and that's all that the commercial should be, a detailed plan, no mud slinging allowed! Bob, I love the way you make me think outside the box:) Great hub by the way:)


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

Thanks Tammy... glad you liked it. I guess my first thoughts about corruption are... there are government employees who's job it is to fight corruption.. namely... police... on a federal level.. that would mean the F.B.I. which is supposed to be non-political. Now... it's easy to say that the F.B.I. has limited resources and that these days fighting terrorism is more important. I disagree... while everyone and their brother wants to slash budgets... it should also be obvious that.. sometimes it takes money to make money.. and.. funding anti corruption law enforcement task forces would, I hope, pay for itself.

There are other irons in the fire as well... banks are supposed to be watching their customer's to keep an eye out for funny money. Part of the law is... to pay special attention to foreign politicians. The banks aren't playing favorites... the are looking at our politicians too. That's how folks like Elliot Spitser (sp?) got caught in his little indiscretion.

I guess I should also point out that if you look at corruption around the world.. especially in Russia, China and the whole of the Middle East... you would see that we actually have one of the best anti corruption records the world has ever seen. In some countries.. corruption is such a way of life.. no one even imagines fighting it. If you are going to do business there.. you just have to get your bribe money in order first. (Our way of fighting foreign corruption is that, no companies that pay bribes in foreign countries are allowed to operate here, this is true in much of Europe as well... that is why from time to time you will see a big company in court here accused of bribing someone in some other country.) This has almost always been the state of mankind. The fact that we do already actively.. and more successively than anyone seems to realize, oppose corruption is one of the reasons why even with our economy in a shambles, people from all over the world want to put there money here for safe keeping and for investing. I'm not saying we are perfect and that we can safely rest on our laurels... the reason we are amongst the least corrupt nations on the planet is because the American people won't stand for it. The fight against it must be never ending.. but.. we do have some cause for patting ourselves on the back.

The main reason people seem to think that it's a front and center problem here is because people are looking for easy answers to tough problems. It's easier to point a finger and blame than it is to figure out how to actually pay for what we want or learn how to live without it. In fact, for every thing that you can find some political movement, professional or grass roots.. screaming about.. you can probably find five more problems that are much more serious and that everyone would just assume ignore.


tammybarnette profile image

tammybarnette 4 years ago

I tried to start a forum tonight, first time ever, but no takers(LOL) Speaking of banks, have you heard that the fed had decided to no longer report, acknowledge, or use M3....I think I smell some corruption here. These big stories don't get any heat? It boggles the mind, we would rather repeat the same political bull we talked about yesterday and the day before that, and the day before that....This should be front page news. Oh my, what are they hiding, what will they be able to hide, how will we be able to understand economic bubbles on the rise, especially in this "world" economy?

And another thing that I think I will be writing my next hub about...Do you see us trying to move towards becoming a religious based country? I see tis R/R ticket messing with women's rights and all these women just following right along, eyes wide shut!

I don't know Bob, am I just being paranoid?


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

Well... first things first... I saw the forum... and... I have to admit.. as much as I love to write and talk.. I'm stumped... I like to think I'm smart and well informed but I'd never heard of M3 before.. and... I hadn't heard that the Fed was going to stop dealing with it. You are the news breaker on this one for me. I had (and probably still have) no idea what it means... that said.. because of you.. I have been doing some research on it. So far.. I don't feel well educated enough on it to speak on it.. but.. my first gut reaction has nothing to do with corruption.

The Fed has been creating new money like crazy... in order to keep the economy from falling back into recession... or worse.. depression. Money just isn't moving... and.. that's bad for an economy... and the only power the Fed has is it's power over interest rates.. which.. it's already done as much as it can with... and.. the power to create money. So far the power to create money is keeping us afloat.. if not stimulating us.. but.. creating money is traditionally associated with inflation or worse.. hyperinflation. I've heard some convincing arguments about why they have to be creating money at the moment... and.. why the danger of inflation and/or hyper inflation is not great at this time but has to be kept in mind going forward.... all of this together makes me think that no longer reporting or acknowledging M3 is an attempt to prevent people thinking/worrying about hyperinflation because.. nothing causes hyperinflation more than a good old fashioned public panic... and... I think one of the greatest problems our nation faces if fear mongering... and... certain folks on the right have already been doing a lot of fear mongering about hyperinflation for four years. Doing some research into the M3 I see that there are several other areas of measure that cover so many of the bases that... the information the M3 reported should still get out. However... I don't really know that the Fed uses all those other methods of reporting and.. if this is an anti panic strategy.. I think it's a bad one as it just gives fuel to the fear mongers. Now... all of that said.. I just don't know enough about the M3 or why the Fed is doing this... or when... or how.. I only know that it is doing it because you say so.. and.. while... at the moment... I'm willing to take your word.. cause.. well.. I like ya... I need a few more sources before I form a real opinion that I am confident in.

I don't think that you're being paranoid on the religious issue.. I do think that the religious right would like to make this a religious nation.. and.. I think they would be just as good at running this country as the Iranian Ayatollahs are at running Iran and they do have serious political clout. During the W administration.. the head of the Southern Baptist convention was the chairman of W's committee to vet supreme court nominees.

This is not a new thing. Religious people trying to get political power have always been a factor in our history. The abolitionists who wanted an end to slavery were such... as were the folks who wanted prohibition of alcohol. However.. I do have some good news to report. A recent study has shown that people born in the 90's... who are now adults... are falling away from organized religion faster than any group of people in human history. I don't think this is good in and of itself, but, these same young people claim that they do "believe"... they just don't like the current political views of their former churches... and.. they don't like the aura of judgmentalism that those churches project. Researchers believe that.. when their churches get out of politics... and.. come at people they disagree with in a spirit of love rather than political attack... that.. those young people will go back to their churches.. so... while I think there is a movement on the part of some protestant denominations to control the country and that there has been since the 80's.... I think that it is doomed to failure.. so... work against it... have faith in God to work against it... and... don't be afraid... fear is our great enemy.. distrust anyone who tries to make you afraid. All fear does is initiate our fight and flight instinct. Instinct is an animal thing and we need our uniquely human powers to get out of the messes we've made.

here (http://www.pbs.org/godinamerica/view/) is a six hour documentary from PBS shows Frontline and The American Experience working together.. about religion in American History... Part six talks about the rise of the current "Christian right"... I think that it's balanced, fair and well researched.. I recommend it.. and.. I recommend never voting for someone who wants to cut funding to PBS.. let me know if you watch it and what you think.


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

Okay.. the link to the PBS documentary isn't working right... this one ought to do it: http://www.pbs.org/godinamerica/view/


tammybarnette profile image

tammybarnette 4 years ago

Bob, thank you so much(giggling at last comment...would never vote for someone who wants to hurt public access)...But seriously, thank you for letting me know that I'm not paranoid, sometimes you read so much you can get a little crazy...I will watch this link, tonight probably, I'm an insomniac:)...Anyway the M3 stuff, I'm going to send you a couple of links...It is the widest measure of the money supply and although normally runs with M2 there were large gaps at the sight of econmic bubbles...basically it consists of all of M1 and M2 and is the only measure of large time deposits, $100,000 or more.

http://www.economist.com/node/5661583 http://www.economist.com/node/5662647

Thanks Bob, I really trust your judgement, we are kindred spirits I think:)


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

I've saved the Economist links and will read them... probably not tonight... Insomnia not being one of my problems.. in fact.. the opposite... but I will read them.


tammybarnette profile image

tammybarnette 4 years ago

Thanks Bob, sweet dreams:)


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

I'll try my best not to dream about you being a frisky kid ha ha ha...


tammybarnette profile image

tammybarnette 4 years ago

LOL:)


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

Hi Tammy,

Well... I read the articles. I don't see anything in them that makes me want to think conspiratorially, although.. that doesn't mean there isn't a conspiracy there, just that I don't see it. It looks to me mostly like it just shows that at the time of the articles, the American and European central banks were approaching the management of money systems very differently and that the American way was fairly new and untested and that the Europeans thought it was a mistake. To me the telling line was that the European way was an attempt to stop economic bubbles from forming and the American way said... messing with the economy in that way and preventing or aborting the bubbles could cause more trouble than it is worth and that it is better to let the bubbles inflate and burst.. and it's easier to clean up the mess afterwards than to guess what damage preventing them will do. (This is a very pro 1% attitude as the investor class is the most likely to benefit from bubbles. Although if they don't get out fast, they can get hurt by them too.. but.. are most likely to be able to survive the bursting.)

However... for now at least.. the point is somewhat moot. The articles were written six years ago in spring of 2006..... before the housing bubble burst and the great recession. The Fed has reversed course and is using a classic money policy to try to keep the economy going... and the European Central bank is coming under huge criticism by European banks, governments and our government for not doing the same. It will be interesting to see what policies they will follow when and if the crisis ever passes.


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

Actually, re-reading what I wrote above... although the Fed may have been going a different way from the Europeans 6 years ago.. it wasn't really that much of a new way. It was very classic Laissez Faire capitalism that has always been a goal of conservative economists.... and.. which leads to a lack of regulation that often blows up in someone's face...


tammybarnette profile image

tammybarnette 4 years ago

Bob, thank you so much for reading and for your analysis of the situation. I may not be reading it right and that is why I started the forum to ask for the economist to clue me in. I realize the measures have been used mostly for inflation measures, and was interested that although they account for the laargest separation of m2 and m3 being during bubble growth they still decided to not report this measure...A man that commented on my forum suggested that maybe to not scare the masses and that is a plausible answer, however, the waiting to burst theory does not set right with me....Also, I may be mistaken, but I thought I learned in college economics that m3 was inclusive of monies abroad and therefore foung that to be odd with all of the hype of moneies oversees not being taxed,etc. To me it also seems to draw an untrue picture of the monies in motion and especially the wealth gap...Not sure, but I respect your analysis and appreciate your help. Thanks Bob:)


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

Hi Tammy, the work week begun again.. my time is limited.. but a couple of thoughts.. it isn't just that they have stopped reporting M3.. it's that they stopped compiling it.. so.. they won't even know what it is themselves... if they are hiding it.. they are hiding it from themselves as well.

There is no point to concealing the wealth gap.. everyone knows about it... but... conservatives don't care... and liberals don't know what to do about it... taxing the crap out of the rich wont put a dime in my pocket or yours... and... even if we peasants were of a mind to storm the castles and take it... we couldn't because it's no longer in gold coins in the basement.. it's in electronic units of measure in computers that can be transferred from one castle to another with the push of a button...

My biggest concern is, do we know for a fact that they still aren't compiling and reporting the number? As I mentioned, the articles are six years old and there has been a global economic crises since that has changed Fed policy on almost everything. Since money policy has changed, might they not be coming up with this number and reporting it again...? I don't know? Do you?


tammybarnette profile image

tammybarnette 4 years ago

Bob, I plan to do more research on the matter and Iwil let you know my findings:) The odd thing, I read an article about this back in the summer...when I went back I couldn't hardly find anything, and as you noticed this info is 6yrs old....I never heard it reported on the news, never heard it mentioned after the largest economical disaster since the Depression. The last I heard on Bernake was that they had cut interest rates to 0 and could go no further...so had begun the process of basically subsidizing mortgages...I will have to read up more as well..but I have noticed improvement in the housing market, but is it real? Since they stopped reporting(Do not know if that really means counting however)M3 6 years ago did this actually cause this huge economic plunge?

As far as being a Robin Hood Government,LOL, I am like you, do not care about their wealth, honestly, I wouldn't want that kind of wealth and I thank God that I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, because I would not be the person I am....and I largely believe that those such people(Romney for instance), really have no idea what real people problems are, therefore how can they help....If I became loaded all of the sudden that would be alright:) If I won the lottery, I wrote a Hub about that forever ago, but I would help people, which would make me feel so happy I could pop and is actually more selfish than I am willing to admit because of the genuine joy it would bring me:) However, I do believe the wealthy should fair the same share as any other, I actually think capital gains taxes should be targeted and raised, it is an unearned income, involves no labor, and should be taxed the same as revenues. I would support a flat tax actually, I think that would be most fair, would work like a sliding scale...

Hope you have a good week at work my friend:) Talk soon


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

I agree with everything you say on taxes except the flat tax.. the math I've seen suggests that it wouldn't work.. unless suplimented by a national sales tax which would raise the price of everything and we still wouldn't be getting a raise to help pay for it. Although.. if that was the only way.. I suppose we could get by.

I think that I actually read in the Economist article that they were going to stop compiling and stop reporting the M3... the Economist points out.. as one of the people in your forum did.. that this had to do with a change in the Feds relationship to money policy.. but the article said that the Fed claimed that they were going to stop compiling it because it cost too much to compile and they didn't think it was important to what they did. Sounds less than sincere to me.. but.. you never know.. I bet it does cost something ha ha ha.

I never heard it mentioned or reported anywhere either until you posted the question on your forum. Then again, most of my news sources are not geared towards economists and I'm thinking this is the sort of information that is all but meaningless to non economists... sooooo... again.. I don't see signs of conspiracy.. but.. I would love to see reporters assume that we aren't dummies and try to explain things to us rather than just let them slide. (As I said above.. I've been researching it since you brought it up.. Wikipedia has a good article explaining it and similar measures.) Lord knows.. everyone is talking about the 24 hour news cycle but... it seems to me like they fill it up with all the same old stories over and over again... it would make sense to me if they tried to use the extra time, not to give us more opinion.. but to educate us on this sort of thing.

I don't think that the stopping of reporting of M3 caused the crises... but... it certainly didn't help the powers that be to see it coming. I honestly don't know if the housing market is getting better... but then again.. where I live.. the real estate crises didn't hit... (although the unemployment did) but still again.. where I live we've been in recession for the better part of a century so.. it was nice to actually not be hit by it. The cause of the recession was the banks... the reason why the housing market is coming back so slowly is the banks.. and... the European banks could restart it all at any time. I'd go into more detail.. but I just don't have the time... hopefully I'll write a hub about it at some point.. but... God only knows when I'll find the time.

Back to taxes for a sec.. I do think that big business gets a bigger benefit from our infrastructure than most of us do.. they use it to make money.. foreigners invest here because of how good it is.. or has been... I think that that therefore.. they should chip in the biggest chunk to repair or rebuild it as it gets old and insufficient.

I could type all night.. but.. time.. :::sigh:: never enough...


tammybarnette profile image

tammybarnette 4 years ago

Bob, they have took my posting priveleges for some reason, for 24hrs, the message reads, I have no idea why or what that even means....I am checking to see here if I can at least post to hubs....


tammybarnette profile image

tammybarnette 4 years ago

Hey Bob, sorry I used this hub spot earlier to see if I could be allowed to make any comments today, LOL:) I still do not understand what's up, but oh well...

Thank you so much for helping me brainstorm about our recession and probabilty of another...I am working on a new hub this week and while doing research of the economic times of the 70"s (when I was born) till now I am seeing history repeat itself. Poor Obama has been labeled the Jimmy Carter of today...well, Jimmy did have to deal with a bad economy, bad war, and a previous crook, but the similarities stop there. I actually think if Reagan were alive today he would be closer to Obama policies than Romney...it seems the whole party system has shifted so far right that Obama is really more of a liberal minded conservative...

I agree 100% on your thoughts about the bigger corp.'s benefiting the most from our infrastructure, and why those taxes should meet the benefit. I also believe the unearned incomes known as capital gains should bare a higher tax rate, not the same as revenue, there should be some incentive to gamble I suppose, but the responsibility of their gambles are not paid by them when they go belly up...it's usually the middle class and 401ks, etc. that get clobbered. That is my largest concern with the M3 reporting....The deregulated power hungry banks are always the cause of catastrophe...my favorite Christmas movie is "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart, I cry every time I watch it, and Jimmy's character in this movie so replicates my own life and why I am a Democrat. I am seeing the housing market bounce back in my neck of the woods, my ex-husband and his father are real estate agents so I have a front row seat...However we are on the brink of another downturn unless some strict policies moves are put in place...According to the CBO we deal with it now and maintain a slow recovery or deal with it later when it's much worse...well, as you said I could go on and on, but I so appreciate this conversation and we will catch up soon:)


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

Hi Tammy, I'm enjoying our conversation too..

As for recession II.... the sequel... I don't think we have to look to much further than the fact that the European banks were in just as much trouble as ours were but they haven't actually come to the point of failure yet.. and they still might.. which.. will have a domino effect with our banks... that's another reason I'm voting for Obama.. I'm not a Democrat... but he had what it took to prevent the recession/financial collapse from becoming a depression... if we are facing another one.. maybe he can do it again... The Republicans on the other hand have a tendency to believe that... you have to let a crises get as bad as it can get in order for the markets to re-adjust naturally... well.. that may actually make some sense but I don't think that all of us becoming collateral damage in a re-adjustment is a good thing. Sure.. attempting to tinker with re-adjustments is going to lead to some mistakes.. but better to try than to do nothing. The whole idea of letting us all hit rock bottom as a part of a re-adjustment is particularly infuriating when.. the people who screwed up the balance in the first place will still be rich when it is over and show very little concern for how their gambling screwed the rest of us.

As to capital gains.. you know.. I don't even care if they tax it at the same rate as regular income... so long as they tax it.. income is income... if I have to pay tax on my income then they should pay tax on theirs... regardless of whether they worked for it.. or got it through investments... the fact that they want no capital gains tax at all is a crime against common sense. I have seen some projections that claim (and I have to say I haven't done the math) that they could stop taxing corporations entirely... and just tax capital gains as income.. and it would produce more revenue than every other tax plan in the works on either side of the aisle. Don't know if it's true.. but.. again.. no one is talking about it.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

May I point out that capital gains include the interest on you savings account, the interest on your checking account, any interest you make from a CD (Certified dividends from investments you may make or someday hope to make. Capital gains doesn't apply only when someone dies and you inherit money from them.

We had to get out of the company stock option about 8 years ago, because the taxes came out of our paycheck once a quarter and we couldn't make the house payment. Then we will were taxed again if when we sell/sold them. Some of those stocks that we paid $56 a share for and paid tax on the $56, are currently worth $14.


FIS profile image

FIS 4 years ago Author

You can point it out but... I don't currently know anyone.. including myself.. who actually makes any interest on bank accounts of any sort. Every dime is going into keeping the house, paying the rent, transportation.. food.. etc. I am opposed to taxing the same piece of money twice... but.. I don't understand why money made through labor.. should be taxed.. and money made by interest, dividend or sale of financial instruments should not be.


tammybarnette profile image

tammybarnette 4 years ago

Bob, I hope you had a good week at work and are having an even better weekend:) When you get the chance, check out my newest and tell me what you think.....I really value your opinion:)

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