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The Parties Should Foot The Bill

September 21, 2012 by  

Those costly conventions. How big was the tab for U.S. taxpayers for the two political conventions that recently concluded? At least $136 million. That includes $18.2 million to help cover the costs of both the Republican and Democratic national conventions, plus another $50 million spent on security at each gathering. While this is a tiny fraction of overall Federal expenditures (and deficits), does anyone want to suggest that it should be the political parties themselves — not the taxpayers — who foot the bills for these lavish affairs?

A whistle-blower gets a big payoff. Bradley Birkenfeld, a former employee of Swiss banker UBS AG, has been awarded $104 million by the Internal Revenue Service — the largest payout the agency has ever made to an individual whistle-blower. Birkenfeld previously pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States and received a 40-month sentence. As a result of the case, UBS agreed to reveal the names of some 4,000 U.S. taxpayers with secret Swiss bank accounts and to pay $780 million to resolve a related criminal case.

A more accurate measure of inflation. Years ago, the British magazine The Economist created something it called the Big Mac index as an easy way to compare prices of a common product in various countries. It’s also a pretty good way to measure rising prices in the United States. In the past three years, the Federal government says the official rate of inflation has been 6.2 percent. But in the same period, the price of a Big Mac has gone up, on average, by some 17 percent — or almost three times what Uncle Sam’s statistics say. Is anyone surprised?

Jay Leno takes a pay cut. Comes word out of Hollywood that NBC slashed the budget for the “The Tonight Show” in an effort to keep the long-running program profitable. As part of the cuts, host Jay Leno agreed to take a 50 percent pay cut, enabling the network to cut the show’s $100 million budget by 20 percent. Don’t feel too sorry for the veteran star, however. He’ll still be raking in about $15 million a year.

–Chip Wood

Chip Wood

is the geopolitical editor of PersonalLiberty.com. He is the founder of Soundview Publications, in Atlanta, where he was also the host of an award-winning radio talk show for many years. He was the publisher of several bestselling books, including Crisis Investing by Doug Casey, None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham and The War on Gold by Anthony Sutton. Chip is well known on the investment conference circuit where he has served as Master of Ceremonies for FreedomFest, The New Orleans Investment Conference, Sovereign Society, and The Atlanta Investment Conference.

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  • GALT

    Once upon a time, meat used to be packaged ( beef ) with a USDA grade. ( select, choice, prime, etc. ) Not only have I not seen this in ages, but apparently cows have undergone
    some interesting physical changes……for example, they seem to have developed a “flap”,
    somewhere? Anyone have a clue what is going on here?

    As for political parties, they should simply be banned…….and by this I mean that for
    all legal ( lawful ) purposes……..no candidate can be listed on any ballot with a party
    affiliation attached……….nor can any campaign literature bearing the candidates name
    contain a party affiliation……….nor can any government be used to fund any party
    activity including primaries……….which shall be general in every sense, the purpose
    of which is simply to narrow the field of candidates to the appropriate number, determined by the rules of the state, district, county, city, town, etc.

    The effects of this would present a number of ‘problems’ for the current system and eliminate or make extremely difficult and expensive the current tactics now used to
    keep control of various districts……….but the major effect would be an economic
    boon for the currently unemployed, because while the “parties” would still exist,
    they could never be sure they ever have control of anything……and that includes
    individuals who seek to buy elections………and even on the day of the elections,
    they could never be sure what a voter would do once he enters the voting booth.

    We know the system is “corrupted”……..and that money is power ( and speech ),
    but there is no reason why the process of corruption, or the attempt, be made easy
    or CHEAP……….they have the money to try…….let’s make’m spend it.

    • Wumingren

      The problem with your plan is that the parties, driven underground, would operate with a slate of candidates, resulting in two “Democrats” emerging from the Primary Election to have a run-off vote in the General Election. This is because I am outnumbered 2:1 by Democrats where I live, and sure as heck, there would never be an honest choice of candidates ever again.

      • GALT

        Actually it is not a problem……….and you are making assumptions……

        1.) Only the candidate is prohibited from identifying a party affiliation, in his campaign
        and on the ballot.

        2.) The parties still exist, they can endorse whoever they like, just as any newspaper
        can…….and they can run primaries if they like, but the process must be open.

        3.) The final ballot and the number of candidates on it would be determined by
        a process which is decided by requirements of the office at whatever level is relevant, state, county, local, etc. ( six, eight, ten……..) this could be determined by referendum.

        4.) All candidates must reveal all donations.

        5.) Ballot position is determined by lottery.

        While this description is not complete it should make the intent clarified…..to make the process much more EXPENSIVE to actually buy a candidate……or an election.

        Of course, for you……..this might not be desirable because you seem to like
        the present system………so you will just have to do a little more work to
        identify who you actually want to vote for……….

      • Wumingren

        Now who’s making assumptions? You were fine with your response until you gratuitously threw in your last sentence. I didn’t say I liked the current system; I was expressing my conern over how the new system would be corrupted to benefit the powers that be, especially in areas that are “owned” by one party or the other.

        As for doing the work to find out who to vote for, I do that every election for all the candidates, but especially for the judicial candidates. What makes that difficult is they are supposed to be non partisan, so you can’t easily get the information you seek. Worse, you have to call the candidates at work or at home, and they are very difficult to reach.

        Nonetheless, when I vote for a judicial candidate, I do so knowing who I’m voting for, unlike the vast majority of citizens, from whom I’ve heard the following remarks:

        “Wow! Did you see all those judges up for election? I didn’t know who to vote for!”

        “Yeah. I never know who to vote for either. I just pick the ones whose names are easiest to pronounce.”

        “Really? Ha! I always vote for the ones that sound the funniest!”

      • GALT

        My apologies, but I was simply working with the information available and I did use
        the phrase “might not be desirable”, because you seem to indicate that voting “democratic” or being outnumbered by them was a problem, and adopting this alternative
        would not make them readily identifiable on the ballot.

        In so far as judges are concerned, from what I can see regarding the “information”
        you are seeking, these alterations would not alter anything in any negative way, so you would be no worse off…….

        This system has a single purpose, which is to make the process of attempted “corruption”
        more EXPENSIVE and less certain of a successful result. For the voter, as you so aptly describe, they will no longer be able to vote a straight party line……which at a minimum
        will require them to actually “research” who their candidates are or MIGHT BE, since all
        manner of mischief is possible……..which presents a number of obstacles to the current
        system machinery that is in place now……..and those obstacles will be present each and every election……….voters will by necessity be required to become more informed,
        which should increase the “information” available to them from any number of sources,
        and always present the problem of the uninformed voter as a potential wild card in every
        election……..

        Finally, there is one additional benefit which becomes available within this system,
        because despite the fact that much is said about corruption, as far as voters are concerned, this does not seem to apply to their particular “corrupt” politician. (party designate) Since most voters are actually dissatisfied with the “results” of what they
        are getting……..voting against the person in office becomes a viable approach for prospective voters, since identifying who to vote against requires the least amount
        of effort……….

      • Wumingren

        Interesting concept, Galt. It occurs to me that with the system you propose, the less informed voters might be encouraged to stay home on election day. It might be too much work for them if they can’t go vote a straight ticket. At first, they might be doing the “name game” I mentioned earlier regarding judicial votes, but perhaps they would just start to think it was all futility.

        There is a movement, of sorts, to have the “Incumbent” identifier removed from ballots as well. This is good and bad. The good is that those possessing the metality of keeping the status quo, those afraid of change, would no longer have an easy approach for voting. The bad is that those wishing to “throw the bums out!” would also no longer have an easy handle on the process. Still, as much as I’d like to see the majority of the bums tossed out, there are a few good liberty-minded folks that could accidentally get tossed out along with the rotten bums.

        Bottom line, voters need to be informed and vote for individuals for their character, not their party or incumbency status. An informed electorate was something the Founders had assumed, which is why I think the original voting laws restricted the vote to those with something to lose. Now, absolute ninnies, and even illegal aliens, are allowed to cast votes. My wife, a naturalized citizen from Taiwan, knows more about the American political system than the vast majority of common folk who were born and raised here. I worked with her on her studies for the citizenship test, and she did a stellar job during the exam. I wonder what would happen if every American were required to pass the citizenship exam prior to being allowed to vote. That alone might bring integrity and wisdom back into the election process.

      • GALT

        There have been numerous, although mostly informal survey’s done, which attempted comparisons regarding the “citizenship tests” with your every day “natural born” types, with less than stellar results, but this is deceptive since they were “unscientific” and the test itself is not very difficult………so I am pretty sure that if they were exposed to the information, as are the people who take the tests …..the results would even out.

        This much akin to other comparisons which compare “tests” from earlier times, and include
        math questions and word problems using different weight and measurement systems, which are no longer relevant today…….and most people tend to discard that which has no relevant application even if they at some point, have been exposed to it.

        This appears to be related to how we learn and why and the “educational system” was
        never designed for the purpose of maximizing the potential of the individual with regards to either critical thinking or systemic analysis …….but rather for regimentation and functionality, based on memory and regurgitation……….which produces a homogenized
        result that yields an individual who is in thrall to the specialized insects ( certified experts )
        rather than an adaptive one, whose confidence is such that any “mystery” can be penetrated and therefor no area of claimed expertise is held or can maintain an aura
        of “undue reverence”.

        This hierarchical system has made the journey with us for 200, 000 years of more of
        biological genetic adaptation which served us well as hunter gatherers, but began to and continues to fail us in the framework of civilization……and now that we are essentially in
        hyperdrive with regard to ‘empirical understanding’ of things that are critical to our continuation…….we are stuck with a model which benefits these hierarchies whose
        primary interest is to maintain their status regardless of the consequences to the whole even if the end result is complete system collapse. ( this is not something new, for it has happened throughout history, but always localized and over longer time frames )

    • http://alsina846.wordpress.com millie

      To Galt,
      you think you know it all, fact is you talk too much about nothing

      • GALT

        Very good millie, 16 words instead of 3…….you still seem to be striving to express something which is not quite coming through……..if what you are reading is causing you distress the best solution would be to just skip reading what I write…….

  • dan

    since the press has been completely corrupted and politicized …
    but then we would still have the bribery and influence of the lobby

    we’d get better results and fewer pathological liars if we held a lottery rather than an election

  • Dean cabral

    I think each party should pay their part, not tax payers I also think they should pay for they campaign expense.

    • Dhip

      Right on Dean. They, and I mean both…. they find all kinds of ways of extracting dollars for their uses. No tax dollars for political parties, too easy for corruption and lack of discretion, particularly when it comes to amount of dollars. They can buy their own noisemakers and balloons, as well as drinks, caviar, lobster, etc. Right on Dean.

  • Hedgehog

    How about no political parties, period? Make everyone run as an independent. I’d love to see that happen here in Canada. Right now we have to assume that every member of a particular party is an enemy. It would be better to go by their individual record.

  • Dexter60

    Political parties are not a problem, we could have dozens or more than hundred — for years I was a party of one.
    Corruption comes from lawmakers who pass laws for their sole benefit, selective law enforcement and the traitors of many stripes: Therefore — No taxpayer money should be used by anyone to gain or hold office; Contributions to candidates should, as the tax laws clearly require, be declared as personal income of the recipient with identified origin; Any office holder gross violation of the oath of office be charged with the crimes as appropriate, removed from office and banned from access to any of the peoples businesss at any level. The ‘government’ must be forced to comply with Constitution that gives it all reasonable authority — i.e.- restore the Republic.

  • Gladys Lippy

    The president and first lady should pay for their vacations like the normal citizen does. Also congressmen and senitors should pay for flights home not use military like Nancy., why is it always the normal citizen that gets stuck with these bills. Being a senator or congressman should be an honor not a way to become millionairs. They are to represent the citizens, but forget that the moment they enter Washington.

  • Chester

    The ONLY problem with putting the funding of all campaigns totally in PRIVATE hands is that not only would you have to be a billionaire in your own right to run for any major office, but you would absolutely HAVE to have a number of other billionaires backing you. Guess what that means. No one other than a Romney, or a Soros, or a Gates would be ABLE to run. It is nearly that bad now, but a candidate CAN get some help from the political funds available from the treasury now, assuming you agree to the requirements to access them. I don’t know of any candidates recently who did, including Obama.

  • SJJolly

    The rational for using public money for the two major parties nominating convention is that they choose the candidates for the national election. Which has become several decades obsolete. If the parties want to hold a big whoop-de-doo over their coronation of a POTUS candidate already selected by the primary elections, they should pay the entire expense of it.

    • Wumingren

      No taxpayer funds should ever be used for political campaigns. And incumbents should not be allowed to mix both business and campaign activities on a single trip. If any campaigning is done by an incumbent, then there must not be any official business connected with it; otherwise, they will claim all expenses as official business expenses, getting the campaign expenses covered by taxpayers.

  • auhunter

    I agree with most of the responses here. If you want to run for office and your party agrees to sponsor you, then you, your party, and any of your contributors pay for it. Why should any of my tax money go toward Obama’s campaign when I’m not going to vote for the guy. Also delete the use of Lobby Group funds. Just because I happen to be a member of a union, doesn’t mean I support their choice, maybe I’m in favor of the other guy, maybe I don’t even support the union, I had to join just to get a job.

  • Lawrence

    YOU MEAN THE TAX PAYER PAID THE BILL FOR THOSE CONVENTION FARCES?

  • David Cook

    The taxpayers should not have to pay for two huge Congressional Conventions that are really just a big drunken party for 4 days and an excuss for Government workers to have a free vacation at the taxpayers expense. We have got to stop this rediculess spending that is bringing this country to it’s knees. This country is in more trouble that any of us think it is. If we are not solvent and I mean right now, this country we be wiped off the map by the countries in the middle east and we are not doing anything about it. If Obama gets reelected, you might as well put a gun to your head and go quickly because your not going to want to be around to see what’s going to happen.

  • Strighttothepoint 2012

    Outlaw the super packs would be a god starter!!1Each canidate should have equal amounts of money.and all parties(even ind.)should be included in the debates!!!

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