President Obama's job approval rating is under 40%. Congress has a job approval rating of 13%. Our economy is circling the drain and all we have is a plan to make a plan - one that we know in advance will either be ridiculous or, if sensible, rejected by Congress. 

Our dynamic political system offers alternatives when we get in this sort of a fix. At the moment, the two most credible challengers to replace President Obama believe that if we pray hard enough we can fix things with magic.

I've predicted for some time that the citizens of the U.S. will stage a bloodless coup, in effect, as soon as we realize that our broken government isn't going to fix itself. The Internet gives us the option of forming a meta-government that simply tells the government-in-name what to do. We would still need politicians to press the buttons, but someone needs to tell them which buttons to press. And it looks as if that's about to happen.

The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, just went public asking other CEOs to stop donating to political parties until the government comes up with a reasonable budget. That's a step short of telling the government which specific button to push. But the idea that citizens can organize outside of traditional political parties and effectively steer the government is radical, and likely to evolve. We've always had activism on particular issues, but this feels different. Issue activism is like a teenager begging his parents to stay up late. Schultz' idea to stop contributing to politicians is more like a parent telling a toddler to go stand in the corner. It's the difference between asking and telling.

As for Schultz' idea to not donate to politicians, count me in. And someday, if a credible economist comes up with a sensible budget plan that most other economists like, I'll join my fellow citizens in jamming that budget down the throats of our useless government. The days of waiting for the government to fix itself are behind us.

I would go so far as to say that donating to a politician or political party in this environment is as close as an ordinary citizen can come to treason. Political contributions broke the government, and a government that stays broken will doom the country. Political donations made perfect sense when the system was working. That time has passed. It's time to try something different. We can start with Howard Schultz idea to stop donating to politicians.
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Aug 22, 2011
Like any attempt to set up a cartel, its the people outside the cartel who will benefit the most, IE this is dead in the water because no company's shareholders will tolerate it. It telling that Starbucks chairman is saying this, as their business model probably depends very little on Government interference with competitors. If Seattle's Best starts donating to someone sitting on the commerce committee that investigates monopolistic practice, watch how fast Schultz will start buying pull on K-street.
Aug 22, 2011
How is it that a government becomes 'useless' soon after you have voted it into power? Its like the value of a product is reduced by half the very moment that I pay for it and take it home.
Except when it is pure Gold.

welcome to: ======= http://www.discountsgolfonline.com =======
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 21, 2011
Sorry scott, but minus one if you were alluding to Ron Paul's faith, because he has outwardly expressed that his faith is a personal issue to him, and he doesn't get into politics in order to create a theocracy. He simply doesn't care about most of those "religion" issues.
Aug 21, 2011
Let us suppose I go for your proposal. Then let us suppose that I am intelligent, well-meaning, patriotic, and willing to sacrifice for the common good. I am asked what I think should be done about some crisis-de-jour. Where do I get the data, the information, the wise guidance, the educational background, to form a sound opinion? From the t.v.? the newspapers? the internet? my friends at church? my local politicians? Hmmm. No better than the current chaos! Why not just flip a coin?
Aug 20, 2011
Of course, all of the references to donating to politicians caused an ad to be displayed urging me to donate to a politician (even though the post suggested not doing that).
Aug 19, 2011
Add in shorter terms (e.g. 1 year) and term limits (e.g. no more than 3 consecutive terms), and we would be more likely to be able to force representatives & senators into action by withholding political contributions.
Aug 19, 2011
I just noticed that Mark Cuban has similar frustrations about our political system and blogged about it on the same day you did, Scott.

+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 18, 2011
Scott & Dear Readers;

I have seen too many comments regarding the fact that the grandpa box users are draining the social security system. Once these oldsters get placed into an old age home, their rent is being paid by social security. That is not the complete picture. Before social security will make payments to an old age home, the old age home has the right to take all of the oldster's assets; including home, bank account, car, etc. until there is nothing. The old age home also has the rights of a 5 year lookback. So if aunt Sophie gave you $ 50,000 two years before she was placed into the home, YOU OWE THAT TO THE HOME. ONLY after the assets have been drained will social security pay the rent. The only protection of those assets is a will and whatever other documents go into estate planning. Even with that, the old age home is still entitled to 50% of those protected assets. It sounds incredulous. But, if you do not believe me, check out the federal and state elder care laws.

Thars gold in them thar oldsters. No wonder that old age homes have sprung up like mushrooms. So my solution to the social security drain is to tax the heck out of any assets that the old age home is entitled to. Also outlaw any PACS supporting the old age homes so laws do not get passed that rob the elderly. I hope that this enlightens your readers in a relatively unappreciated quirk in our nation's financial and governance system.

-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 18, 2011

How is it that a government becomes 'useless' soon after you have voted it into power? Its like the value of a product is reduced by half the very moment that I pay for it and take it home.

Except when it is pure Gold.

Howard Schultz and his coffee-shop announcements are no different from Donald Trump and his casino adventures.

Don't read too much into that except perhaps that a certain section of the American society is asking for relief.

Aug 17, 2011
One question: After the bloodless coup would we set up a system where more money goes from the earners to the less-well-off, or would we set up a system in which earners get to keep more of their own money?

Until that question is answered, we can have 100 coups and still wind up in the same place we are today.
Aug 17, 2011
Good points! It's linked and discussed here:
Aug 17, 2011
It seems that your observational skills are serving your education well Grasshopper.
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 17, 2011
Like the old way of referring to MicroSoft with a "$" substituted for the "S," as soon as you make some stupid, phonetically-similar way of spelling "Fox News," you've immediately outed yourself a loony with no credible argument to contribute to the discussion.
Aug 17, 2011
It's been apparent for a couple of years that the Republicans in Congress will do everything they can to keep the economy from getting better while a Democrat is in the White House. Have you noticed a big decrease in their fund raising?
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 17, 2011
"At the moment, the two most credible challengers to replace President Obama believe that if we pray hard enough we can fix things with magic."

Not to get too nitpicky here... But I doubt they actually believe prayer begotten magic will actually fix things. They simply understand that they need to spend a disproportionate amount of their time on this area. Unfortunately the irrational logic of their followers allow a 'consious vote' stance: i.e. As long as the candidate (heavily) supports their belief system, the rest will "work itself out". They vote on the single most important issue (in their opinion) - religion. Since a conservative athiests (however qualified to perform the job) is extremely unlikely to be chosen for president. The candidates go out of their way to point to their religious ties, knowing it's what their voting base requires to punch the button next to their name.

Aug 17, 2011
We need to look a little deeper. Contributions and Lobbies are in place to help big businesses. While we argue over what the problems are we need to look at how we got here. It didn't happen in the short term but over the past 50 years or so. In our consumer based society we have one real big influence over the government; WHAT WE BUY.

Big business runs the government. We need to support companies that are willing to make positive changes through our buying power. Let's take a look at the top ten companies on the DOW and NASDAQ and ask their CEO's what they are doing for us, their customers.

The real question is are we willing to change our purchases of products and services to have this influence. Are we really willing to even acknowledge this fact in the first place?
Aug 17, 2011
Check out what's happening in India right now. Google Anna Hazare: http://www.google.co.in/search?ie=UTF-8&q=anna hazare
Aug 17, 2011

Let me play the Devil's advocate for the time being. I am wondering if it is naive to assume that one can curb corruption by putting laws against it. Corruption (political) is so fundamental to human nature that enforcing its open presence only makes is go underground and then grow invisibly.

I think that that's much worse and more difficult to combat in a longer run. You can always defeat the evil that is visible or at least point it out clearly.
Aug 16, 2011
How about this:

Eliminate or limit the tax deduction for political donations. Right now any one (including a giant corporation) can make a donation to either party (or both) and get a 100% tax deduction. In effect they get a tax break for bribery.

So either by eliminating the tax deduction, or perhaps setting the deduction limit to $20 per person, per year, we could discourage this form of bribery.

This doesn't outlaw political donations. The Supreme Court has already ruled that bribery (donations) are a form of speech which is protected. It simply removes the tax benefit.

So if a person wants to donate $10,000 to the DNC, they can do so, and claim a $20 deduction.
And if Goldman Sachs wants to donate $5 million to both parties, they can, but now they'll have to explain to their shareholders why their giving their money away.

If such a law existed, I'd expect major political donations to dry up within a few weeks.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 16, 2011
I want to thank you and Howard Schultz for not donating to the political system. It makes it so much easier for those that continue to contribute to drive their agenda through the legislative process. </sarcasm>

Do you honestly think that the folks who run ALEC are going to heed Schultz's call?
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