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Source: Foreign Policy Magazine  

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I read this article called It’s Time To Found a New Republic from Daren Acemoglu and Simon Johnson over at Foreign Policy Magazine. And it wasn’t just the title of the article that caught my attention. It’s Time To Found a New Republic, if they spent more time on the title maybe they would’ve called It’s Time For a New Republic, Time To Create a New Republic, The New American Republic. When something is found you don’t need to fine it, because it’s already there.

But getting pass the wording of the title of their piece most of their article was about American history and the progressive movement. Starting with the Progressive Era of the early 1900s and going up to the New Deal of the 1930s and the creation of the our national infrastructure system of the 1950s. And then towards the end they were had some policy proposals.

Ranging from a national basic income, which I disagree with, to ending partisan, racial, and ethnic gerrymandering which I’m in favor of. When I saw the title of their piece I’m, thinking maybe they were talking about creating a new form of American government. That the problem with American society (as they might see it) is the structure of our government all together. Perhaps they don’t like our Federal system based on limited government and would propose replacing that with a unitarian style of government that you see a lot of in Europe. Where most of the governmental power in the country is based with the national government. Instead of spread out between the national, state, and local government’s.

Just to comment on Daren Acemoglu’s and Simon Johnson’s economic proposals. I don’t believe the problem of income inequality (if you want to call it that) has to do with our government structure and how power and responsibility is spread out. Not that they were arguing that either necessarily. But it has to do with the skills gap and opportunity gaps in the American economy.

If you live in rural America and grow there, or you’re raised in a rough part of an inner city your chances of doing well in America are far lesser than if you come from a middle class neighborhood in a city or from the suburbs. Also if you have parents or even one parent who are doing well in life, not necessarily rich but doing well enough for you to be raised right and have you what you need to do well growing up, your chances of doing well in America are much better if you come from a low-income family in a low-income neighborhood, where your parent or parents are just struggling to survive.

So you want to reduce income inequality (again, if you want to call it that) you have to reduce the inequality that’s part of our education system and have an education system where more Americans can simply get a good education. Regardless of where they live and where they grow up and who their parents are. And of course regardless of their race, ethnicity, or gender. Which should go without saying anyway.

As well as having an adult educational system in this country where low-income adults whether they’re currently working or not, can advance in the American economy by finishing and furthering their education and getting themselves a good job that leads them to economic independence.

As well as having that system available for workers who already have a solid education. High school diploma plus some vocational training and perhaps a college degree, but now find themselves working in a field where those jobs are disappearing or where they’re no longer able to make the money that allows for them to live comfortably. And allow for them to further their education perhaps even in a new field for them.

The problem with the American economy has nothing to do with our form of government. Or our Federal Government is too small, our state and local government’s, have too much responsibility, or middle class Americans are undertaxed and have to much personal and economic freedom and have to make too many decisions on their own.

The problem with the American economy and why we have income inequality (if you want to call it that) has to do with education and skills. We need to move pass the idea that schools should be funded based on the property values of the people who live in those communities . Which has to do with property taxes. And sending kids to school based on where they live, instead of what’s the best school for them.

And get pass the idea that if you start at a low-wage low-skilled job because you’re low-skilled, that you’re stuck working jobs like that indefinitely. Because you can’t afford to go back to school or simply don’t have the time for it, because you’re working multiple low-wage jobs just to try to survive.

You close the skills and education gaps in America, you reduce poverty, because you’ll not just have more Americans working as long as you have pro-growth economic policies in place that promote economic development and growth, but you’ll also have more Americans working good jobs. Which will also improve your long-term economic and financial outlook of the country. Because you’ll have fewer Americans on public assistance.

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Source: RCO 64

RCO 64: The American Form of Government

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Source: The Independent Institute 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

According to Wikipedia the definition of social justice is, “justice in terms of distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within society.”

People let’s say on the farther left (Social Democrats/Democratic Socialists) take the definition to mean that there should be distribution of wealth in society. That wealth should be distributed based on what people need to live well. Not based on what people earn. And of course the central government usually a unitarian government in most social democracies (one large government for the entire country) will collect most of the wealth in the country and dish it back out in the form of welfare state payments to the people based on what the government believes people need to live well in society.

So the people not just living above poverty, but living somewhat comfortably, but short of being wealthy and perhaps even upper middle class. Socialists (democratic and otherwise) don’t believe in rich or poor. They want equality of outcomes where no one is wealthy or poor, but able to live well. This type of economic system is how Scandinavia operates and the states there and to a certain extent even in Britain. (Even when the Conservatives are in charge)

The libertarian notion of social justice is to put it in plain terms is that what’s mine is mine and what’s yours, is yours. To paraphrase Libertarian Economist Walter Williams. Meaning what the people make for themselves is exactly that. And shouldn’t be subjected to taxation especially to help pay for the people who don’t have much to live on and are in living in poverty as a result.

To go back to the Wikipedia definition of social justice. Liberals (in the real and classical sense) concentrate on the opportunities portion of social justice. Liberals believe in an opportunity society. Where everyone has the ability to make a good life for themselves. Where everyone has access to a quality education even if they live in poverty. And if they live in poverty that their parents or parent, has the ability to finish and further their education so they can get themselves a good job and make a good living.

Get off of public assistance, buy a nice home and live in a nice community where they don’t have to worry about being physically harmed when they go to the grocery store, or are coming back or going to school. Where they have a basic fundamental sense and reality when it comes to their own economic and physical security. And then what the people make for themselves financially, they’re able to keep most of that and pay back in taxes what it takes for the government to function effectively and to do only what we need for government to do well for us, that is also consistent with strong economic and job growth so people are encouraged to be productive and make a good living for themselves and their families.

And yes you need an effective government to invest in what makes economies strong so as many people can benefit from capitalism and private enterprise as possible. Not to run the economy or to run business’s, or tax and regulate private business so much that the government essentially owns and runs those companies.

But to see that everyone can get a good education. Where kids aren’t sent to school simply because of where they live, but what’s the best school for them even if that might mean a charter school or private school all together.

Where economic development is encouraged so you don’t have ghost towns essentially where the only people who live there are people who can’t afford to live anywhere else. Where gangs and organize criminals run the communities.

Where you have an modern infrastructure system so companies can get their products to market (to use an old phrase) and also to encourage more private economic development.

A responsible regulatory state to protect consumers from predators and worker from abusive employers.

And a limited effective safety net (not welfare state) that serves an economic insurance system for people who are out-of-work, or lack basic skills to get themselves a good job. But also empowers low-skilled individuals to get themselves on their feet by finishing and furthering their education and learning a trade so they can get themselves a good job.

Where Liberals separate from Socialists has to do with government’s involvement in the economy. Socialists want government to take most of the national income and dish it back out based on what they believe people need to do well. Where Liberals differ with Libertarians is that Liberals believe that the people should be able to to keep most of what they earn. But that Liberals believe there is a real role for government even in a free society and that being part of a free society is like being part of a club. Where you end up paying for the services that you consume and even some of the services that don’t personally benefit you.

Independent Institute: Kyle Swan- Social Justice in The Classical Liberal Tradition

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Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

The way I look at Catholics and Christians in general when it comes to terrorists and other bad apples like child molesters, is the way I look at Muslims in this sense. There are roughly two-billion Muslims in the world, maybe a hundred-thousand of them are terrorists. You could do a lot with a military of a hundred-thousand especially if you’re a mid-size country. But out of two-billon people that is not much of an army when it comes to percentages. The overwhelmingly majority of Muslims in the world are peaceful people. Who may have far-right cultural views, but not to the point they’re willing to kill themselves and others to express those views. I’m not Catholic, even though a lot of Germans American and otherwise are Catholic or Lutheran, but most Catholics are good moral people. The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in the early and mid two-thousands, was a horrible scandal with a lot of people hurt badly. But if that scandal represented Catholicism in general, we would see a lot more people come forward and share their abuse stories at the hands of Catholic priests and other Catholic leaders. Chris Hitchens and to a certain extent Bill Maher, are guilty of over-generalizing here.

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“Without the emergence of the Christian-Right in the 1970s…”

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Without the emergence of the Christian-Right in the 1970s and 1980s, there is no Reform Party USA today. Why, because what is the Reform Party and what’s the point of it? The Reform Party is what the Republican Party use to be and what they believed in. Before they recruited the Christian-Right and broader Far-Right out of the Democratic Party and into the GOP. They use to believe in fiscal responsibility, economic freedom, strong but limited national defense and foreign policy that’s not designed to police the world and they were tolerant or federalist on social issues. Not believing that the Federal Government or government in general, should be used to tell how Americans should live their own lives and make their personal decisions for them. That was the GOP of the 1960s that Dwight Eisenhower essentially created in the 1950s, that Tom Dewey tried to create in the 1940s. That also had a growing conservative-libertarian wing in it led by Barry Goldwater and others.

If Donald Trump takes down the Republican Party in November and they lose the House as well as the Senate and he decides to take his movement with him and perhaps launches a new third-party and perhaps some nationalist party, the Reform Party could become relevant for the first time since Ross Perot launched this movement in the early 1990s. Along with the Libertarians and this is how the Republican Party could become a national party again that can win the presidency, because it would have the members and voters, to compete for the presidency and not need gerrymandered House districts to hold a majority in the House. Or low turnout elections to win a majority in the Senate, because again they would have the voters to be able to compete with Democrats everywhere. Or perhaps the GOP dies and the Reform Party emerges as the new Center-Right party in America. And brings in Libertarians and Northeastern Conservative Republicans.

The Reform Party, to me at least represents the Republican Party when it wasn’t owned by the Christian-Right and broader Far-Right in America. A party where the Ku Klux Klan and other Far-Right European-American nationalist groups, didn’t feel at home in. Because it was a big-tent party that welcomed African-Americans, Latin-Americans, Jewish-Americans, women, Catholics, immigrants, etc. Where it was the party of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and yes even Barry Goldwater. Not Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, David Duke, Donald Trump, or the Tea Party. A party that could not only competed in the Northeast with moderate-conservative Republicans, but in the Midwest and the West with Conservative-Libertarians and even California, but in the South as well. And could win high turnout elections, because it had the members and voters to compete everywhere with the Democratic Party. That is no longer the case for the GOP today.

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Libya
RAND Corporation: Opinion: Christopher S. Chivvis: Libya, The Somalia on The Mediterranean

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Unlike the War in Iraq, America and Europe went into the Libya and knocked out the Gadaffi Regime and let the Libyan rebels take over to try to build their own government and society for the people. Iraq of course is much different where America by itself went in and knocked out the Hussein Regime and tried to establish a new state itself and then brought in the Iraqi people. The thing about Libya is that new government wasn’t prepared to govern and defend their own country. Plus the new government had Islamists authoritarian ties that moderate Libyans didn’t want to be part of and as a result a new civil war has broken out.

Libya as a failed state is not in the best interest of the United States, United Kingdom and European Union. Especially in that part of the world where ISIS is already in Libya. That country with only six-million people, but with a lot of land the size of Algeria and Saudi Arabia, a large country would be disaster for the Democratic West if it were allowed to become a terrorist state. Which means America, Europe and the Arab League should step up and try to reestablish order in that country and allow for the Libyan people to go in and try to establish a new state that will represent the Libyan people as a whole. Not just the Islamists or the Democrats, but the whole country.

Which is why I would be in favor of an international force involving the United States with NATO, the European Union and Arab League to go into that country with a peacekeeping force while Libyans with democratic and responsible intentions go in and either work with current Libyan Government in Tripoli and build a new Libyan state that can govern and defend the entire country, or replace the current regime with a more democratic oriented that will work to bring peace to the country. Instead of trying to eliminate the opposition. And you could send in people from the United Nations, European Union, Arab League and even U.S. Foreign Service to help Libya develop a government and state that represents and governs the whole country.

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I got a crazy idea that may just have people running to the North Pole to escape the summer weather. How about instead of paying Europeans to defend themselves, we have them pay us for their defense? Or here’s a crazier idea, how about Europeans invest in their own defense and national security which would be a big boost to their economies. God knows they need that type of economic growth now. And they could even buy their defense equipment and other resources from the United States.
I mention these things for a few reasons.
1. Europe or at least the countries we are still responsible for defending are made up of developed democracies. Countries that can afford to take care of themselves. Or work together to defend Greater Europe in coalition. The reasons why Europe’s defense budgets are so much smaller than the United States at least as far as percentage of Gross National Product has to do with the fact that they rely on America for their national defense.
2. Another big reason for President George W. Bush’s National Security Council vision of creating democracy or building democracy in Arabia comes from the vision for Europe with NATO and building democracy in those countries and have an international defense force largely funded by American tax payers to defend democracy in Europe from Russia. A big difference being that America had European allies to help sustain that security including Europeans themselves. Arabia especially with Iraq has been much different where America for the most part has been responsible for the development and security of Iraq.
In case the latest developments in Eurasia in Ukraine and in Arabia with Syria and Iraq and of course the seventeen-trillion-dollar national debt in the United States aren’t obvious enough. There’s a limit to what America can do by itself financially and militarily which means countries that can afford to defend themselves need to do that. And then we need to work with them instead trying to police the world ourself to make the world as safe as it possibly can.

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This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Strange title for an over two-minute video, two-minutes and seventeen seconds to be precise, that spends only twenty seconds talking about the Canadian middle class. Most of this video was about the decline of the American middle class, which should’ve been reflected in the title.  The last twenty seconds discusses why Canada wasn’t hurt as much by the Great Recession as the U.S.

Why Canada wasn’t hurt as much by the Great Recession as America and Europe?  Canada is larger than America geographically but has one-ninth the population. They have thirty-five million people v.s. three-hundred and ten million. Canada is also energy independent, sending energy to the U.S. via the Keystone Pipeline. They don’t have the debt and deficit issues that the U.S. or a lot of Europe has and they tax business at a much lower rate.  Canada has a lot of economic resources with a fairly small population and a lot of land.  Physically, it is  the second largest country in the world, trailing only the Russian Federation.

Germany’s economic system is similar to both Canada’s and America’s.  It has a robust private sector and a strong safety net.  It has modern infrastructure and taxes business’s lower than the U.S. They have managed to keep their debt to GDP ratio down throughout the Great Recession.

The U.S. is trying to figure out how to become energy independent, how to finance and rebuild a crumbling infrastructure, educate more Americans and improve our 39th in the world ranking in education.  We have to move millions of Americans out of poverty.  Our poverty levels are roughly twice that of the rest of the developed world.  This requires improvements in education and job training. We need  to get our national debt stabilized and under control.

 

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