Saturday, October 21, 2017

Conservative Liberals – future Porgs of the political America (hopefully).

America is losing its middle class (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/business/economy/middle-class-united-states-europe-pew.html).
But even more importantly, America is losing a middle ground.
For example, study shows that the number of the Republicans or the Democrats who did not care if their children would marry someone from the opposite party fell from about 70 % in 1958 to about 45 % in 2016; on the contrary, the percentage of people who say they want their children to marry someone from the same party grew from about 30 % to about 60 % (https://www.voanews.com/a/mixed-political-marriages-an-issue-on-rise/3705468.html).
This is just one of the indicators which show that the political dialog has gradually changed to intercultural loathing.
When we see on TV people chanting a “work together” mantra: “Politicians in Washington must stop its petty fighting and start working together for the benefit of the whole Country” – we see people who live in a dream, who do not know the reality, sometimes because they do not want to know it.
For the last twenty years the ideological, cultural, and even emotional divide between the two major parties has only grown.
What would be the reason for them to suddenly forget all the differences and start working together?
None.
Such a reason doesn’t exist.
A politician changes his or her way of acting only when he or she feels that his or her personal political existence is at risk.
That risk does not come any more from the opposite party; for the majority of elected officials the biggest challenge comes from the same party.
Hence,
If we want to force the Democrats and the Republicans to work together,
we have to create a political force strong enough to make them to fear it.
That political force should not base its actions on ideological dogmas (what the Republicans and the Democrats already do).
The new – the third one – political force has to act based on a reason and a common sense.
It does not have to be a party. In fact, it should be a movement open to everyone who accepts the common goals and principles of the movement.
Those common goals and principles of the movement should yet be developed, but some of them can already be set right now.
#1: “Americans first, profits second.”
Trickle-down economics is bull$#it (don't listen to me, listen to the Republicans: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article154691724.html).
No businessman would have ever thought: “Hmm, I got 56 million dollars, now I can stop making money for myself. From now on, everything I make I will give to the government to be distributed among the citizens”.
At the best, a businessman would think: “Hmm, I got so much money, now I can start thinking about carving my name on the human history stone. I’m going to establish a charity (also helps to write off some taxes)”.
If one does not listen what the Washington Republicans say, but watches what the Washington Republicans do, one sees that the Republicans build their politics on the assumption that all people are lazy and stupid (except them, of course, and the Lords of the Money who pay them to do what they do).
Since all people are intrinsically lazy, the only way to make them work is using “a carrot and a stick”.
Since all people are stupid, they need a Leader who will tell them what to do and how to do it. And for that, the Leader can take and have whatever he wants, and it is the Leader who decides what he gives to all those lazy stupid people who he leads to their bright future.
Every registered Republican voter needs to take a look in a mirror and say: “I’m a stupid lazy person, I need a leader who will tell me what to do, and who will decide what I can have”.
Of course, no Republican would do that. Instead, a Republican voter says: “I’m for economic freedom, I’m for business entrepreneurship, I’m for independent people who are doers and creators – so, give me my highly paid job, and secure my economic well-being”.
The last sentence, despite its internal contradiction, includes the seeds of wisdom.
Saying that ALL people have to be entrepreneurs is just wrong. It is a huge exaggeration of the fact that in realty only about 10 % of the population run some kind of an enterprise (https://www.inc.com/leigh-buchanan/us-entrepreneurship-reaches-record-highs.html; or http://www.asianentrepreneur.org/how-many-people-in-the-world-are-really-entrepreneurs/).
Entrepreneurs represent a very important part of a society; they are responsible for the change (hopefully to the better, a.k.a. progress). But it does not make them any better than the rest of the people. The remaining 90 % of the population is at least equally important; those are the people who let (or don’t let) entrepreneurs make the changes they want to make.
Eliminate all the entrepreneurs, and the society will run into a stagnation (until new entrepreneurs will be born), but it will survive.
Eliminate all the regular folks, and the society will cease to exists (contradictory to the book of a Russian born writer Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosendbuam, also known as Ayn Rand, who wrote “Atlas Shrugged” - a beloved fantasy of every conservative, a fine book, but still is a fantasy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand).
A normally functioning society needs a certain number of entrepreneurs, but they just can’t form the bulk of the society. To make a society stable, to keep it away from chaos and anarchy, the bulk of a society has to be built from steady functioning individuals.
Checks and balances are important not just in politics; they are also important in economy.
Everyone who is not an entrepreneur needs to ask himself or herself a question: “I am not an entrepreneur. Does it make me less important individual?”
If you say “Yes” – congratulations, the Republicans brainwashed you well.
If you say “No” – congratulations, you have a potential to change the American political landscape.
If you said “No”, follow up by saying “I am an individual who lets our leaders to lead until they keep their end of our social bargain. I am ready to work hard. I will learn what I need. I will do what I have to do. In return, I need to have a stable income letting me and my family to live well above a surviving limit.”
The social bargain between those people who make the society stable (90 % of the population, let’s call them “doers”), and those people who make the society move (10% of the population, let’s call them “movers”) should be very simple:
- first, the “doers” get the resources sufficient for them to live well above a surviving limit;
- then, the “movers” can have the rest of the wealth.
This is what “Americans first, profits second” approach means.
It requires a two-step wealth distribution system.
Step one: the wealth created in the society is divided between the “doers” and the “movers”.
Step two: the rest of the wealth is divided between the “movers”.
The rules for wealth distribution have to be constantly assessed and accordingly adjusted.
The human history has known and knows many different systems of wealth distribution (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distribution_of_wealth), and many examples of a transition from one system to another (https://aeon.co/essays/history-tells-us-where-the-wealth-gap-leads).
It is evident, that the current system of distribution of wealth in America does not work for the benefits of many Americans, and needs to be adjusted (https://www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequality/a-guide-to-statistics-on-historical-trends-in-income-inequality).
The Republican party does everything it can to fight any adjustments to the current wealth distribution system, which could decrease that part of the social wealth which goes to already rich people. The most common tactics are lying and scearing. For example, they try to scare "doers" by lying to them that if the "movers" will not get all they money they want, they will not create good jobs for "doers. "Job creators" (this is how the Republicans call "movers") need to take as much money as they want! Only then they will be able to dispense some of that money to the working folks.
When I hear this argument, my first intention is to ask a question - should we really call people who closed more than sixty thousand factories "job creators?" I don't think so (unless, of course, we count jobs they have created in China).
Then I ponder, what would really happen if "movers" would get say 5 % less than they planned? Would they quit their job? Would they move to a different country? Well, maybe they would. But would it destroy America? I don't think so.
I remember a colonel told me once that in the army everyone waits when a general would die, because in that case everyone below him would move one step up on the career ladder. He probably was joking. But the truth is, if our current moguls get upset with us - people - we should start looking for better moguls, for the ones who will not be so easily upset when workers start demanding to keep his end of the social bargain. And I am pretty sure, there is a long line of the potential moguls, who would work for the less. If our current "movers" try to replace some "doers" with the ones who would do the same for less money, we - "doers" should start doing the same, we should start looking for "movers" who would do the same for less money.
The connection between tax cuts for the rich and job creation  may have even worked in the past, but has been broken for at least twenty years. Slowly but surely the Wall Street moguls had imprinted in the brains of all CEOs that there is only one criterion of the quality of their work as a CEO, and that criterion is the price of their company stock; everything else is irrelevant. The result is that all CEOs are squeezing the last penny from everything they can. All Republican's tax plans are completely in the line drawn by the Wall Street. i.e. squeezing "doers" in the favor of "movers" (hoping to get some of it, too).
The Democratic party (except its radical Sandersian wing) also does not want to make any visible changes to the current system.
The radical wing of the Democratic party does not have a solid strategy which implementation would lead to the changes in the current wealth distribution system (“be active” is not really a strategy:  http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/10/spectre.html; this link has links to more posts on the matter).
That is why without a strong third political force one cannot expect any soon any serious social and economic changes.
#2: “Reason first, dogmas second”.
Whatever words we hear from around, from radio or from TV, those are just words. They are not given to us, humans, by an existential force. They are invented by other humans, and as such they are relative and challengeable.
Everything we hear/read/think/say/write is challengeable. That means, every single idea, rule, view, opinion we used to take just as "because" is challengeable.
The words we hear may sound demeaning or uplifting, familiar or ridiculous, boring or exciting. We need to learn how to get through the emotional reaction on what we hear, and get to the meaning of it.
First, we need to understand what people are trying to tell us, and then to compare it with our own views on what we count as right or wrong, what we want to achieve or avoid.
Of course, we also need to be able to be articulate our thoughts about what we count as right or wrong, and what we want to achieve or avoid.
The best way to challenge any well established rules, ideas, views is to start asking questions.
For example, if "corporations are people", shouldn't it also mean that "people are corporations", hence also can declare a bankruptcy to protect their assets against creditors when they cannot pay back?
Or, if "corporations are people", shouldn't it mean that ALL corporations  - i.e. non-people money holders - should pay taxes? Why shouldn't churches and non-profits pay taxes even when they have hundreds of millions of dollars in their volts, and the budget has a huge hole?
When we start rethinking our own views and rules, what helps to avoid chaos in our thoughts is to establish those fundamental principles which govern all our actions.
For me, the most importation rules and views are imprinted and implied in #1 principle: “Americans first, profits second”.
As an example of this approach, let’s enter the debate about the federal budget and the tax code.
The federal budget is in trouble; it has a big deficit, which is growing due to healthcare and entitlement spending (in part).
The Republicans want to cut the funds for the healthcare and entitlement programs.
The Democrats want to increase taxation on the rich.
“Each action has an equally strong but opposite reaction” (in politics physics works, too), hence, a stalemate.
The reason says, that this is a case when people need to start searching for a third path.
And the third path exists.
The third path always exists; people just have to wish to start the search for it.
My suggestion is to move all the healthcare and entitlement related spending outside of the budget.
In that case there will be no problem to discuss (well, tax code still will have lots of loopholes to be fixed, but that requires a different conversation).
I do not suggest to eliminate healthcare and entitlement programs.
Of course, we have to keep them and make them effective and broadly accessible.
Of course, we will need money to pay for them.
But those money should not be regulated by the congressional or White House budgetary committee (or whatever committee regulates the budget).
Instead, the Congress needs to establish two more “federal reserves”: a “healthcare federal reserve”, and an “entitlement federal reserve”.
Each “reserve” will be run by the board of independent appointees.
Each year each board will be calculating the amount of funds needed to pay for the related spending.
Then, that amount will be distributed among “income holders” (individuals or establishments/corporations) accordingly to the equation the board will come up with.
Each “income holder” will have to send a specific amount of money directly to each “reserve”.
That individual amount of money, each “income holder” will have to send to each “reserve”, will depend on the total amount of funds the reserve will need to accumulate on an annual basis.
Hence, every year that amount of money may be different, depending on the needs of the “reserves”.
It cannot and will not be called a “tax”; it will be a “fee” every “income holder” will need to pay.
Imagine you run a big company, and you have to pay healthcare cost for your employees, and it is huge. Maybe you will begin to reaching out to insurers and hospitals and start pushing them to drop the cost down?
Imagine you run a big company, and you pay your employees so little, that they have to apply for federal help. Maybe you will begin to think about raising their wages?
Imagine you run a big company, and you have to pay a big “fee” to the “entitlement federal reserve” because many people across the Country live of unemployment benefits. Maybe you will begin to think about bringing businesses to economically depressed areas, or about helping people to get education sufficient to get a nicely paid position?
It you are a Democrat or a Republican deeply rooted in the dogmas of your party, you will not even try to ponder a possibility of such “reserves” – “it’s never gonna work; “that’s just bull$#t”.
That is why only people who reason first and keep their doctrines in a reality check can find the solutions to drastically unordinary problems of our time.
As conservatives, those people always need to know where the money will be coming from.
As liberals, those people always need to fight for preservation of the democratic freedoms.
That is why I would call such people “Conservative Liberals” (not the other way around, because for me freedoms are above money; in that money is just one of the instruments for preserving and supporting freedoms).
Recent “Star Wars” trailer brought to us a Porg – “an adorable new Star Wars creature”.
No one really knows what it is, but everyone already loves it.
My hope is that very soon Conservative Liberals will become “political Porgs”, and then a political force.
P.S. A reader may say: "Valentin, all your explanations are limited, they do not include many important aspects".  That is absolutely correct! But that is how a reason works.
To understand a complicated phenomenon we always start from the simplest model 
- as long as it grasps the essential features of the phenomenon.
Then we build on it, making it more and more accurate, by making it more and more complicated. To discuss all the aspects of the past, current, and future American politics one post would never be enough; that would require a book (but some other aspects of "what happened" and "what needs to be done" have been discussed in previous posts of this blog - see the links at
 http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/10/spectre.html).
P.P.S. The comments I often get on Facebook tell me that the Democratic party is the one which has passed health care reform, advocates raising the minimum wage, defends Medicare and Medicaid, worker safety, etc. I assume, comments like that mean to defend the Democratic party from my criticism.
To avoid a lengthy discussion (which 9 times out of 10 does not help anyone), I usually try to forward attention to facts. One important fact is that the Democrats has lost the support of many people in the Country (i.e. they literally lost governorships, and legislations in many states); http://reason.com/blog/2016/11/14/the-2016-election-turned-more-state-legi
Why did it happen?
A reason tells us that we can blame (a) the Republicans; (b) the Democrats, or (c) the people – there is nothing else!
Blaming people is counter constructive (plus, it does not explain why did they make the switch).
The Democrats always blame the Republicans for many bad things those did.
And that is exactly why I blame the Democrats for their losses.
The Democrats never look inward; they always look outward searching for excuses. And that is why many people turned away from them (among other reasons). People do not like someone who always accuses others in wrongdoing, but never accepts mistakes done by him. That’s just a human psychology. As I see it, the Republicans have better consultants in human psychology than the Democrats do (President Trump is a living proof of this).
For a long time, many authors have been criticizing the two-party political system. However, only now we see conditions for the third – possibly strong – political force to arise. And the reason for that may happen is NOT the fact that many previously enrolled people go unenrolled. The reason is that inside both major parties we see a growing divide. That may lead to formation of a large number of people who would like to keep being enrolled, but do not want to stay neither with the Republicans nor with the Democrats.
Currently, progressives of all sort are busy with fashioning a big fiery GALA (http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/11/3dforcedown.html).
At the same time Regressive Republicans developed a network of disinformation: http://the3dforce.blogspot.com/2017/11/disinformation.html.
Who is a real revolutionary here?


 
The list of previous political posts.
a Short Letter to Jon Ossoff (the principles for moving the progressive agenda ahead)

And this link   http://www.gomars.xyz/op.html  leads to even more post on the matter: