US Super Committee Fails to Agree

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US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sardia » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:28 am UTC

Both sides are blaming each other, but more importantly, Republicans are searching for ways to escape their part of the punishment. They want to pass a bill to counteract the cuts to defense spending.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/us/po ... ml?_r=1&hp
Man, I thought the democrats would cave to one of the Republican offers, but I guess they'll just have to cave later. Maybe next year, they'll cave on the Bush tax cuts for yet another year. It's like their most used bargaining tool, and they keep using it to merely reduce how much ground they lose. Sometimes I wish the democrats were more united, some DINO is just undercutting the party. Mainly because it makes it that the Democrats can't accomplish anything since they have to keep a broader coalition together.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Ghostbear » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:10 am UTC

I feel reticent to be able to place blame, due to my own liberal bias, but I do feel, despite knowing that, that the blame is almost completely on the Republicans here. Both parties seemed to make a good-faith first effort with their proposals, but the Republican's successive proposals seem to be worse and worse. Toomey's proposal- in which their offer included lowering the highest income tax bracket from 35% to 28% and left the Bush tax cuts permanently in place- is something I would have considered outright insulting, were I a Democrat on the committee. In all fairness, I should add that from what I read, on the Democrat's side, both Clyburn and Becerra seemed relatively uninterested in compromise as well.

I was kind of hoping the committee would actually get somewhere- Kerry seemed like he would want to have some sort of big legislative accomplishment he could claim, after his failed bid for president. Kyl was retiring, so it'd seem to be he'd be less likely to be trapped by party line ideology. Baucus is I believe the single most conservative Democrat in congress, so it didn't seem like a stretch to expect him to bargain. I don't know much about the rest, but that seemed like a good building block for people being willing to compromise. Oh well... I think the ultimate collapse of the committee seems to be because some congressmen got it in their head that they can undo the parts of the trigger they don't like, removing any consequences for failure; I wish Obama had stated a straight up veto threat for such a bill. I believe he implied a threat, but never stated it right out.

On the bright side.. I'm glad that it appears that Democrats have visited a chiropractor and started using their spines again. I also suspect that Obama will be relatively safe from any potential electoral fallout of allowing the defense cuts to go through, due to his successes with foreign affairs, so I hope he's willing to veto any attempt to override them. As for the prior extension of the Bush tax cuts, Obama kind of dug his own grave on that one; his 2008 campaign insisted that for 98% (? I think it was 98%- maybe 95% or 90%- regardless, some form of "most") Americans, they would not see their taxes go up at all. That meant that for him, allowing the complete removal of the tax cuts wasn't really an option, from a political stand point. Hopefully he approaches 2012 wiser and doesn't repeat that. If he loses, he can veto it to his heart's content I suppose, but then his successor would probably try to get them back in place again right away.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Triangle_Man » Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:05 pm UTC

I'm honestly not shocked by this kind of news anymore.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Diadem » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:07 pm UTC

Can someone explain this 'trigger' to me? Where does it come from? Did they pass that legislation in a rare instance of bipartisanship, or was it always there?
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Qaanol » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:17 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Can someone explain this 'trigger' to me? Where does it come from? Did they pass that legislation in a rare instance of bipartisanship, or was it always there?

They passed it in August as part of the debt-ceiling “compromise”.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Diadem » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:20 pm UTC

Wasn't that compromise in August basically "Let's talk about it at some later time". That later time is now?
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Wodashin » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:33 pm UTC

Obviously the best way to get Congress to stop procrastinating is to give them power over their own deadlines and consequences. Obviously.

Is anyone actually surprised by this? Neither side really wanted an agreement.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby DaBigCheez » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:33 pm UTC

Yes - and as I understand it, the 'trigger' was cuts that neither side wants, to force them to actually make a decision on it to stop them from happening. Looks like that didn't work.

Republicans and Democrats fail to agree on budget issues, not big surprise.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Griffin » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:37 pm UTC

The problem, of course, being that it is easier to pass a new law saying the trigger doesn't count than it is to come up with an agreement to avoid the trigger.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Radical_Initiator » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:44 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:The problem, of course, being that it is easier to pass a new law saying the trigger doesn't count than it is to come up with an agreement to avoid the trigger.


I was just about to say that. The only way to make the negative consequences of not reaching a compromise severe enough to force a compromise is to remove the players' ability to bypass the consequences. But on the Republican side (just an instance), if military cuts are undesirable, simply wait out the "compromise" and then restore the funds after the cuts are triggered. No harm, no foul, except that nothing actually got done. When the people you depend on to play fair are the ones who write their own rules, we're screwed. Again.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Lucrece » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:04 pm UTC

The people called here "DINO's" are merely representative of the people that voted them in. Most of these reviled "blue dog Democrats" are already in a vulnerable position and you'd see a Republican in their place otherwise if they voted like a standard Democrat.

Don't blame the representatives. Somebody put them there -- blame these voters. I just think not many Americans like to admit that their country is headed to a shit storm now that all these regional tensions are boiling over once again and lack of a strong consensus ends up with nothing done.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Tirian » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:42 pm UTC

Wodashin wrote:Is anyone actually surprised by this? Neither side really wanted an agreement.


I'm mildly surprised. The triggers were supposed to be blunt and sucky enough that if nothing else these twelve smart people could have reached consensus on a more specific and pleasant way to spread the pain around. They could at least have made some savings on low-hanging fruit like ethanol subsidies, tax breaks for big oil, and rational COLA adjustments for Social Security -- shit that will undoubtedly be done before we're throughout here -- and then applied those savings to make smaller nicks to the defense and social cuts. I'm not saying that anyone is in love with those choices, but you'll vote for it if the alternative is sequestration.

So, yeah. I'm not so surprised that the Democrats didn't blink, but it's a little surprising that either the Republicans couldn't think of a plan that they hated less than automatic defense cuts. Or somehow they thought that they'd look good trying to renege on their rules and then painting the Democrats as weak on defense? I can't imagine that anyone thought that all the way through and decided to go that way....

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Xeio » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:44 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:So, yeah. I'm not so surprised that the Democrats didn't blink, but it's a little surprising that either the Republicans couldn't think of a plan that they hated less than automatic defense cuts. Or somehow they thought that they'd look good trying to renege on their rules and then painting the Democrats as weak on defense? I can't imagine that anyone thought that all the way through and decided to go that way....
They probably didn't, but then they realized "hey, wait, we can just undo the trigger". Though I'm hoping that will at the least get veto'd.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Tirian » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:21 pm UTC

I can't imagine it would ever get to be vetoed, because you'd need to find sixty senators who aren't sick of the argument that every conservative constituent must be excused from the shared sacrifices that everyone is going to have to take more than one serving of anyways.

An interesting play would be to suggest extending the "Bush tax cuts"* for another two years ONLY for people up through $250K in exchange for waiving the defense sequestration. Obama meets one of his signature promises in making the tax code more progressive and the Republicans protect defense (and even Grover Norquist has said that voting to letting a tax cut expire isn't voting for a tax increase IIRC) and depending on where they draw the baseline these days it's in the ballpark of revenue neutral.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:25 am UTC

Does republican insistence that no new taxes ever be added to anyone ever actually have voter support? It's so egregiously economically unsound that I'm even a bit skeptical that voters would fall for it.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby mmmcannibalism » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:29 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Does republican insistence that no new taxes ever be added to anyone ever actually have voter support? It's so egregiously economically unsound that I'm even a bit skeptical that voters would fall for it.


The trick is to keep people from thinking about the fact that the tax rate can be raised selectively.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Radical_Initiator » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:35 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Does republican insistence that no new taxes ever be added to anyone ever actually have voter support? It's so egregiously economically unsound that I'm even a bit skeptical that voters would fall for it.


The trick is to keep people from thinking.

FTFY?
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:37 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:The trick is to keep people from thinking about the fact that the tax rate can be raised selectively.

How could they do that when the democrats are constantly going on about keeping taxes low for the middle class and raising them only for the top 2%?
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby mmmcannibalism » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:49 am UTC

Radical_Initiator wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Does republican insistence that no new taxes ever be added to anyone ever actually have voter support? It's so egregiously economically unsound that I'm even a bit skeptical that voters would fall for it.


The trick is to keep people from thinking.

FTFY?


not sure if I prefer the precision of mine or the elegance of yours.

sourmìlk wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:The trick is to keep people from thinking about the fact that the tax rate can be raised selectively.

How could they do that when the democrats are constantly going on about keeping taxes low for the middle class and raising them only for the top 2%?


political polarization means people don't believe people who didn't already agree with them.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:52 am UTC

So, whose opinions then are so mutable that we actually get different results each election?
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Cathy » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:00 am UTC

Xeio wrote:
Tirian wrote:So, yeah. I'm not so surprised that the Democrats didn't blink, but it's a little surprising that either the Republicans couldn't think of a plan that they hated less than automatic defense cuts. Or somehow they thought that they'd look good trying to renege on their rules and then painting the Democrats as weak on defense? I can't imagine that anyone thought that all the way through and decided to go that way....
They probably didn't, but then they realized "hey, wait, we can just undo the trigger". Though I'm hoping that will at the least get veto'd.

Obama has issued a statement that any attempt to undo the trigger will be veto'd.

I expected this to fail. Just like they failed in August and July and June and for the love of God our taxes are pretty low relative to other developed nations anyway! Quit bitching and get something done!

This makes me want term limits for congresspeople. Of course, they're not likely to vote for term limits for themselves!
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Negated » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:59 am UTC

Well, this confirms the fact that the Congress has become dysfunctional.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Radical_Initiator » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:07 am UTC

Cathy wrote:Obama has issued a statement that any attempt to undo the trigger will be veto'd.


I sincerely hope he can hold to this, no matter who is trying to undo it. Republicans, especially, will not make it easy.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby lutzj » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:37 am UTC

Radical_Initiator wrote:
Cathy wrote:Obama has issued a statement that any attempt to undo the trigger will be veto'd.


I sincerely hope he can hold to this, no matter who is trying to undo it. Republicans, especially, will not make it easy.


The Republicans alone don't have anything near the number of votes needed to overturn a veto. Unless he faces mass resistance from his own party holding to his veto promise should be manageable.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Radical_Initiator » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:40 am UTC

lutzj wrote:
Radical_Initiator wrote:
Cathy wrote:Obama has issued a statement that any attempt to undo the trigger will be veto'd.


I sincerely hope he can hold to this, no matter who is trying to undo it. Republicans, especially, will not make it easy.


The Republicans alone don't have anything near the number of votes needed to overturn a veto. Unless he faces mass resistance from his own party holding to his veto promise should be manageable.


Oh, certainly, he should be able to defeat any direct attempts at a bypass; I'm more suggesting they'd try to tie such a bypass to necessary legislation, or use his veto to score more points ("Obama hates the military!"). Of course, they do that already; I'm not sure how much more damage that kind of tactic can do.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Adacore » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:41 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:So, whose opinions then are so mutable that we actually get different results each election?

I think this stems from an entirely different complex of there being lots of people who don't really care about party ideology, but personally feel they're worse off than they were before an administration came in, so vote for the other guy on the theory that the current one has done bad things for them.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:08 am UTC

Adacore wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:So, whose opinions then are so mutable that we actually get different results each election?

I think this stems from an entirely different complex of there being lots of people who don't really care about party ideology, but personally feel they're worse off than they were before an administration came in, so vote for the other guy on the theory that the current one has done bad things for them.


Ah yes, the classic political theory of "I don't like this guy, the other one must be better!" I'm still baffled that people vote for Tea Party candidates because they don't think Obama did a good enough job.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:24 am UTC

Adacore wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:So, whose opinions then are so mutable that we actually get different results each election?

I think this stems from an entirely different complex of there being lots of people who don't really care about party ideology, but personally feel they're worse off than they were before an administration came in, so vote for the other guy on the theory that the current one has done bad things for them.

I think it's actually worse than that- modern elections seem to be all about turnout of the base. In 2008, turnout for Democratic voters was great, but not so much for Republican voters. This swapped in 2010- the people that voted Democratic in 2008 mostly still would have voted for them again in 2010, if they could have been assed to vote. The same goes for the people that voted Republican in 2010, with respect to 2008.

Politicians seem to rely on partisan outrage now, more than anything. It's why even relatively moderate / swing states elected some much more strongly conservative people (e.g. Rubio in Florida or Walker in Wisconsin) than the electorate would cause you to expect them to. Perhaps the best example of this was Massachusetts, one of the most liberal voting states in the nation, electing Brown (a Republican) to the senate. Voter turnout for that election was 54% according to wiki, a drop from 60% in 2008. Also according to wikipedia, the greatest drops in turnout were from towns that voted for Obama by more than 60%, with Boston (which supported him at 79%) having a turnout drop of 35%. The people that would have voted for a more liberal senator were still there in Massachusetts, and they didn't wake up one morning and decide to vote Republican. Instead, they woke up on election day and decided not to vote at all. All of these "waves" are just alternating swathes of the electorate not voting, probably content with the fact that they "won" the last election.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Qaanol » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:16 am UTC

Radical_Initiator wrote:
Cathy wrote:Obama has issued a statement that any attempt to undo the trigger will be veto'd.


I sincerely hope he can hold to this, no matter who is trying to undo it. Republicans, especially, will not make it easy.

It’s worth noting that the “automatic cuts” don’t come into effect until 2013.

That means, even if Obama is true to his word, he needs to win the 2012 election in order to actually prevent the cuts from being repealed by promise-breaking, consequence-shirking Republicans.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:30 am UTC

I didn't know that voter turnout was that unstable. I thought it was a reasonably static amount. It's interesting to me that people would vote in some elections but not in others.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:17 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I didn't know that voter turnout was that unstable. I thought it was a reasonably static amount. It's interesting to me that people would vote in some elections but not in others.

Voter turnout in the US is awful, and horribly unstable going from presidential elections to just house elections. The average turnout from 1960 to 1995 (again, according to wikipedia) for the US was 48%. If you do just US presidential elections, and exclude the other years, we go from 48% to 57%. Turnout in 2008 was the highest since either 1960 or 1968, depending on how you calculate eligible voters, with turnout of either 63% or 61.7%. Also, something I found quite interesting, while getting numbers, is that voter turnout went up ~10% (from about 50% to about 55%) from 2000 to 2004; considering all the issues over how 2000 turned out, I'd have expected people to be more disenfranchised and not vote out of frustration.

Comparing to other nations on the 1960-1995 average, even Russia beat us, with an average of 64%. Though to be fair, Russia only had two elections during that time period. The European debt troubled nations (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece) were at 79%, 74%, 90%, and 86%, respectively. The UK and France each had 76%. Canada had 74%. I suppose part of the blame for our lower turnout relative to other nations is the greater perceived (rightly or not) importance of the executive branch than the legislative branch, combined with the fact that most voters reside in states that are not competitive at all*- a Democrat voting in Texas, or a Republican in New York, aren't going to have ANY influence on who the President is.

* By my calculations, 207,639,014 people live in a state that is not even considered remotely competitive in the Presidential elections, out of a total States + DC population of 308,745,538. Or about 2/3 of the US population. This number can change a bit- probably + 20,000,000 depending on what you consider competitive (I didn't include Pennsylvania or Wisconsin in that list, for example, despite both essentially always going to Democrats), but the general idea is still the same; most American's don't really have any influence on who becomes President.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sigsfried » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:09 pm UTC

That may well be the case but we would need to compare to other countries. For the UK, using http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/swing-calculator I see that around 50 constituencies are within a 5 point Labour/Conservative swing. With about 100 within an unrealistic 10 point Conservative to Labour swing. Double that for the reverse swing and you have about 1/3 within a huge swing. So about 2/3rds of voters not having a significant say.

I would consider the frequency of US elections as being a bigger cost after all America seems, from an outside view, to be permanently in election mode.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sourmìlk » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:19 pm UTC

Yeah, it's lead to a phenomenon of permanent campaigning where politicians don't so much govern as they respond directly to the whims of the people. If that's what I wanted, I'd live in a god damned direct democracy. I'd like elected officials to do the job they actually know how to do, not listen to uninformed and unthinking voters. Isn't the whole point of a representative to elect somebody you think knows best how to do is job, not to elect somebody to tell him exactly how to do his job?
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sardia » Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:08 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Yeah, it's lead to a phenomenon of permanent campaigning where politicians don't so much govern as they respond directly to the whims of the people. If that's what I wanted, I'd live in a god damned direct democracy. I'd like elected officials to do the job they actually know how to do, not listen to uninformed and unthinking voters. Isn't the whole point of a representative to elect somebody you think knows best how to do is job, not to elect somebody to tell him exactly how to do his job?

Why can't we have informed voters? It's not impossible, since most primary voters are pretty knowledgeable about THEIR concerns.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:30 am UTC

Primary voters are extreme, not knowledgeable. In theory, those should be the same, but...

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This does not reflect well on me, mind you. Once I build up an idea I usually hold onto it, as you are all painfully aware.
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Magnanimous » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:41 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Primary voters are extreme, not knowledgeable. In theory, those should be the same, but...

Relevant ASW!

And I would argue that the biggest problem is voters being disinformed, rather than uninformed.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:46 am UTC

Well, insufficiently informed such that they don't know better than the disinformation. My point is they're similar. Either way, it's a problem.

I've always thought that there should be a brief pamphlet before voting explaining the stances of each candidate, and then a small test on what the stances of each candidate are. This doesn't discriminate against anybody, it doesn't stop anybody from voting, but it makes sure people aren't too misinformed.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Malice
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Malice » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:50 am UTC

It doesn't stop anybody from voting except the illiterate, you mean?
And makes sure people aren't too misinformed so long as the pamphlets are written by Xenor, impartial observer from a distant plane of existence?
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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:03 am UTC

Ah, right, the illiterate.

Anyways, I was thinking that each stance should be written by the candidates themselves, but they'd only be allowed to talk about their own stances, not the opponents'.

Wait, don't voters need to be literate anyways? At the very least, they need to read the pamphlet instructions and candidate names.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Re: US Super Committee Fails to Agree

Postby Cleverbeans » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:08 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Anyways, I was thinking that each stance should be written by the candidates themselves, but they'd only be allowed to talk about their own stances, not the opponents'.


What makes you feel as though reading whatever propaganda piece they put in the pamphlet would make them any better informed?

Wait, don't voters need to be literate anyways? At the very least, they need to read the pamphlet instructions and candidate names.


No, the blind, elderly, dyslexic, and mentally disabled can, and do vote.
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." - Abraham Lincoln


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