Friday, July 24, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"You can't beat City Hall"


For 200 years it has been a given that we should expand the electoral franchise. As New York Governor Al Smith said "The cure for the evils of Democracy is more Democracy." We now need to ask if we have passed the reductio ad absurdum of that principal. Personally I could support an Amendment that stated that no person may vote in any election either state or federal if the majority of their income is derived from that level of government. This determination of this disability however shall not consider income obtained from any service as an enlisted member of the Armed Forces or from service as an officer in the Armed forces called to active duty for training or during hostilities.

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My structuring the franchise limitation to compensation and not to union membership is designed to address some of the loopholes that would inevitably arise with a narrower definition. Inevitably if the restriction was worded to narrowly a host of evasions would arise. For example I could anticipate the creation of "contracted service providers" that would be funded from the public treasury but which on paper would be separate or even private agencies. The wording of the Amendment would have to make clear that if your income arises from the distribution of wealth collected using the tax authority, which rests in itself on the coercive potential of the police power, at either the State (which includes all subsidiaries in America) or Federal government then you do not get to vote at that level. The efforts to frustrate such a restriction will probably get complex, with entities set up funded 45% by the state and 45% by the national purse, with the balance filled by "user fees" or foundation grants. The practice of lobbying or supporting lobbying by any entity or person not entitled to vote should be firmly suppressed.

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Jamie Irons,
(who spoke of unimaginative Utility Industry Executives)
For decades, at least until the Savings and Loans Scandals, the Thrift business was the home of the financial underachievers. Dim bulbs like Uncle Billy in "It's A Wonderful Life" had a simple life. They took in deposits by offering 2% interest, made loans at 3% interest, and made it to the golf links by 4 PM. In the Industrial world Utilities had a similarly sheltered existence. Generating a safe regulated return on investment for the widows and orphans who were the stockholders left the Executives with few problems more complicated then finding their way home after getting drunk at the Country Club. The English sent the fool in the family into The Church and Americans used regulated industries to the same purpose.

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