Saturday, January 18, 2014

Term Limits - A Step Toward Replacing Politicians with Statesmen and Stateswomen

What would you say if we could begin now a process of replacing our current crops of legislative and executive "politicians" with "Statesmen" and "Stateswomen" when we elect future government leaders? Our founders in 1776 and 1787 certainly seemed to be more of the latter type individuals. So why can't we redesign things to attract more Statesmen and Statewomen (and fewer "career politicians") to Congress, the White House and our state offices once more?

It seems that we would be better off if it could be made far more appealing for people from all walks and careers to run for these offices. Wouldn't we be better off if these offices were occupied more by people who are willing to sacrifice a part of their lives for the rest of us?  Wouldn't there be infinitely more new ideas considered if we had fewer lawyers and career politicians, and many more doctors, engineers, business types, teachers, accountants and others in those offices?

Here is a way to do this:

1) Change each Representative and the President's terms to four years and six years respective
ly (while leaving a Senator's term at six years).  Then institute a limit of one term with the proviso that each must pass a "vote of confidence" by their constituents at least every second year of that term.

These "votes of confidence" would not include an opposing candidate.  But - if the officeholder failed to obtain a majority from those they represent who vote at that time - the previously-elected "next-in-line" would immediately take their place in the office they had occupied.

In like fashion, each existing Representative and Senator in a "leadership" position would also have to pass a "vote of confidence" from all of us, or step back to a "non-leadership" seat and have their peers select a different member for that position.

2) Reimburse these new one-term officials in a way that will both allow and encourage individuals from many more vocations (e.g. - doctors, engineers, business types, teachers and accountants) to take time off from their chosen career or business for one term of service to their country. Pay them more nearly like some CEO's (i.e. - those whose directors use common sense in this area) in today's business world, but more importantly set them up with a great pension that immediately follows a term of honorable service.

3) Affix to these elected officials a "fiduciary" responsibility for the homeland's safety, security and defense; its citizens' opportunities; and the finances of the nation. Then set up a consistent system to judge - after they leave office - how they did, and award their "pensions" in "2" above accordingly.  (Read more on this - including what they would be judged on - in Shortening Our Leash On Politicians, pages 79 - 82.)

These changes would accomplish several badly needed objectives without limiting the abilities of our officeholders to do the job we ask of them.

(a) The limit of one term would mean no more overwhelming pressure to begin working for reelection from the first day in office.

(b) Having more individuals in office for shorter intervals would go far to reduce the influence of high-paid lobbyists and entrenched bureaucrats on these public officials.  With far less time for building close "relationships" and/or granting inappropriate favors and (with officeholders who will want a "good grade" at term's end), these "deep-pocket" forces should have a much harder time turning the voters' representatives into "yesmen" for the special-interest groups who pay for their services.

(c) Of special importance, there would far less entrenched "leadership" ready to assign the "plum" committee and party jobs only to those they "know" and "trust" leaving the incoming freshmen (who we elected on a par with those "leaders") to have to wait and "earn" the more responsible roles.

(d) With additional vocations and life-experiences in our legislatures and executive offices, many more fresh ideas for solutions that benefit our nation would emerge.

Finally, this should be an effective way of bringing back into effect one of this nation's long and distinguishing traits.  That trait has been the unselfish willingness of so many of its citizens to temporarily interrupt their lives to serve their country - particularly in its military branches - even at the cost of real personal and family sacrifice.  Today, it seems too many of us are not so willing - or want others to think we are "serving" even as our careers are being advanced and little or no real sacrifice is involved.

What do you think? Tell us at and check out our website,

Saturday, December 14, 2013

It's Time for a "New American Convention to Consider Needed Amendments"!

It seems we are clearly overdue on one very important task that our nation's founders expected of us!

Every indication points to an expectation on their part that we would reconvene periodically to update the documents they worked so diligently to produce.

Virtually every delegate to the American Constitutional Convention in 1787 expressed the opinion that the system for governing the new nation they had conceived was a very good one - but not a perfect one! So, they deliberately included two means by which we could change and improve on it as history moved along and exposed any such needs.

The first of these means was for Congress itself to recognize and propose amendments. This could be done by having two-thirds of the members in both the Senate and the House of Representatives vote to propose any changes. Then, if their proposals were subsequently ratified by three-fourths of the states, those changes would become part of our Constitution.

Unfortunately, very few of us now seem to believe that either our Congress or our state legislatures could ever take such a major step with any intent to seriously alter what has become for these elected representatives a source of such great personal power and individual wealth. There are simply too many career politicians (i. e. - not "Statemen" and "Stateswomen") and they are too "influenced" by so many "turf-protecting" (and entrenched) bureaucrats, party officials and high-paid special-interest lobbyists.

Fortunately, the founders included a second means for amending our Constitution that is considerably more within the "people's" ability to take action.

If the legislatures in two-thirds of the states apply for a convention for the purpose of proposing changes, then Congress must call for one to be convened. And, if three-fourths of the legislatures or state conventions ratify these changes coming out of that convention, they will automatically become official amendments to our Constitution.

This is critical!

First - we are much more able to get such action from our state governments. Its not automatic because there are also far too many politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists in our state capitols as well. But – these representatives are closer to the voters and therefore at least somewhat more responsive and less able to disguise their motives and actions.

Second - we need for the states to insist to Congress that ratification be done by state conventions rather than by the state legislatures.

So - the "trick" here is for "the people" to insist on the second route, and establish the rules under which this convention will operate.

             One more thing here is also critical!

What is provided for in Article V of our Constitution – and what is needed now by our nation - is a convention to consider amendments!  Article V does not provide for a “Constitutional Convention” to replace today’s Constitution – and we must jealously guard against any ideas some people may have of “hijacking” this convention we need.  (Read more on this in Shortening Our Leash On Politicians, Pages 122 - 126 and 141 - 159.)

Here are some ideas to consider for rules we should require for the national convention:
1) Allow delegates to come only from politically "lay people" willing and able to take an oath of independence from political party interests (i. e. - no politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists or political party operatives).  (If this sounds to you to be unconstitutional and without precedent, take a look at the limitations our founders specified for the Electoral College “electors” in Article II Section 1’s second paragraph.)

2) Select delegates in each state in a manner that protects their individual identity as much as possible from advance influence directed toward them (and their families) by politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists and other special interest groups.

3) Allow no direct or indirect communications during the time of this convention with politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists or businesses/unions/associations/political party interests.

4) Hold the convention somewhere other than Washington, D.C. or one of the state capitals, and sequester each delegate during the time of the convention.

5) Make available an extensive library of historical and current reference material that can be used by each delegate. (This could include any material that existing politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists and other interested parties care to place there in advance for the delegates while they are sequestered.)

What do you think? Tell us at and check out our website,

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Where Does Our Constitution Grant "Lifetime" Tenure to Supreme Court Judges?

Few citizens today debate the current practice of appointing judges to "lifetime" tours in our nation's Supreme Court.  Yet, this practice certainly is not specified in our Constitution.  Article Three, Section 1 clearly states that they "shall hold their offices during good behavior" and that they will not have their pay reduced while in that position.
So where did "lifetime" appointments come from?

There is little doubt that our founders thought it very important to insulate these judges from political pressures and popular movements that might otherwise cause them to make decisions based on those pressures and movements.  If we were to be a nation of laws, the founders felt strongly that our judges had to be free to decide each case on its merits under those laws and in accordance with our Constitution
What would make them more independent than a long tenure without the danger of having their earnings negatively affected if someone else did not like their reasoning?  In addition, the pay protection seemed like a good thing back then - and now.

But did a long tenure have to be one that lasted a lifetime?
In general, average lifetimes were somewhat shorter one and two centuries ago.  Also, the population was much smaller which probably meant there were fewer individuals with the requisite knowledge and experience from which candidates could be identified.  Given these and other circumstances in years past, maybe the practice of lifetime appointments seemed like a natural thing to set up.

On the other hand, while we talk a great deal about the "balance of powers" between the three branches of government, is there much doubt just how much "power" there is in these judges' positions today?  The fact is that they are actually the "referee" with final decision-making authority over the "game" where our Legislature and Executive branches are the "players". So, when we see how this kind of power and influence can affect our other governmental officials, is it really a "good" thing to invest in anyone for a lifetime?

Many of us would think twelve years should be considered a long term.  Some might think a longer time while others would consider a lesser period meets that criteria.  In any case, so long as the earnings part continued while in office (and after), why would some specified time limit not meet the need for a judge's independence?

What do you think? Tell us here or at: and check out our website,



Friday, November 1, 2013

Should the United States Get Out of the UN?

Let's face two important facts.
1) Our nation pays vastly more of the costs of the United Nations than any other member country, and
2) Far too often far too many of those other member nations "use" the organization as a platform to insult and work against us.

It should not be surprising therefore that we frequently hear citizens express their opinion that we should "Get the US Out of the UN"!

At the same time, many of us sense that there are some worthwhile programs within this worldwide body. Even though we know there is real corruption sometimes practiced, and there is sheer hypocrisy in so many of their "resolutions", sufficient value probably exists in having such a forum where all nations can assemble and interact. Our founders in 1776 certainly recognized the necessity of dealing effectively with other nations.

Maybe there is another way for us to "solve" this dilemma.

What would you think about an idea such as this one?
a) Let's stay with the United Nations as an active member, but greatly reduce the amount of money we provide them in funding. We might also consider "inviting" them to find a new world headquarters location that is not in the United States.  (This might ease somewhat the "dirtiness" we often feel when having to put up with allowing a petty tyrant coming onto our soil to speak his or her particular version of duplicity.)
b) With some of the dollars we save in "a" above, let's organize and fund a new organization of the world's nations who truly grant their people the right to chooose their own governments by voting in fair elections. Membership in this new "United Free Nations" would be limited to countries who continue to give their citizens this privilege, and would fluctuate up and down as fresh governments are created or old ones "fall" in coups, etc.  (In this case, a headquarters in the United States - say the "old" UN buildings - might be more agreeable to a lot of us.)

What do you think? Tell us at, and check out our website,

Monday, September 6, 2010

Can A Tax Systen That Is Really Fair And Effective Be Done?

What would a tax system that is fair to people and businesses in all income levels look like?

In a recent book - which was originally written in the mid-1990's - the characteristics of a fair and effective tax system were listed. They included:
1) No personal files on the vast majority of citizens.
2) No income taxes, property taxes, estate taxes or tax withholdings from our paychecks.
3) Allow low incomers and volunteers to earn a tax refund.
4) Encourage all citizens to provide for their own basic needs.
5) Keep more U. S. jobs from moving overseas.
6) Allow small and large U. S. businesses to compete more evenly.
7) Stop giant foreign firms from transferring huge untaxed profits back to their home country.

The book concluded that these things could be done, and the resulting combined federal, state and local tax for every citizen would be exemplified by the chart below.

It also spelled out (1) how our nation could transition to this new system with a relatively easy four or five year changeover from today's multiple and complex tax arrangements, and (2) how today's consumer prices would remain essentially unchanged.

This typical tax chart results from a very simple three-part system consisting of:

a) A "National Dues and Credits" program for each year that combines every taxpayer's share of the federal, state and local budgets where they reside, and then lets them have credits that can eliminate what they owe by taking care of their (or their families') own needs such as housing, food, clothing and other necessities like medical costs, savings, etc. Low incomers and volunteers could then earn additional credits that would result in tax refunds.

b) A "National Sales Tax" that lowers present-day retail prices by eliminating all existing government costs now "hidden" in those prices (e.g. - property taxes, workers' compensation mandates, licensing fees and unemployment levies). Then, a single sales tax rate that is calculated each year by experts (i. e. - not by politicians) to cover those federal, state and local budgets is set for the nation; collected each day by businesses; and sent immediately to the "new" IRS who quickly divides everything and sends out to the states and local governments their portions.

While the new sales tax rate will be quite high compared to the levels we are used to now, the new total price (i. e. - the new retail price plus the new sales tax) will normally be the same or lower for the consumer because the retailer's price will be so much less than it is today.

In addition, these tax revenues will be paid by many people who now pay no taxes (including "illegals" and other tax non-filers). Businesses who "hide behind loopholes" or transfer huge untaxed profits to a foreign country will no longer be able to continue doing those things.

Perhaps best of all, no personal records are required on the vast majority of us, and no complicated and expensive tax forms must be filed by any of us. And because the revenues flow almost immediately to all types of governments, no withholdings are needed from our paychecks.

c) A "High Revenue Tax" that applies only to very wealthy individuals and extremely large businesses/organizations. This type of tax will never apply to the vast majority of us since it does not even start until the individual's or firm's yearly revenues amount to sums well in excess of what is required for a "very comfortable" standard of living. For example, if that level is set for a family at $300,000, they would owe the High Revenue Tax only on amounts above that. The tax rates would start low (e. g. - 2%), but grow steadily as their revenues continue higher and higher.

Individuals and businesses who fall in this category would be able to lower or even eliminate their High Revenue Taxes by the salaries and wages they pay (up to a reasonable limit), the domestic raw materials and inventories they buy to make or sell their products, and the charitable activities to which they contribute.

Many more details are available in Rendering Unto Caesar released by the publishing company in 2011.

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