Some headlines


Friday, April 17, 2015

Reality check on government bonds

My understanding is that the primary way governments raise revenue for government services is with taxes, but also there is the issue in our modern world of government bonds.

One way bonds can be convenient for a government is if there is a sudden need for revenue, but it's not feasible to rapidly raise taxes on its population, so instead it issues bonds--letting its citizens loan it money, temporarily.

So what if some of those citizens loan the government money for continuing operations on a longterm basis, yet receive services?

Imagine some situation where the government instead, say, rose taxes by $1 trillion US instead of issuing bonds, then it would take that money directly from its people, where in a progressive tax system that means the wealthy would pay the bulk and just lose that money.

Money paid for taxes is just gone. When you pay your taxes, just say bye-bye to that money.

Instead, let's say the wealthy loan the government that $1 trillion US, and get the services anyway, so now they didn't lose the money! The government owes them for services it provided to its citizens, including them.

So the government still provided the services! In one case they just taxed people to pay for them, while in the other some people got to loan the money in, meaning they can get it back!

See how that works? If it were taxed, they'd just lose the money, though they would also get government services in return. But if instead, they have a government run deficits, they can get it back!

Understand why the wealthy might prefer such a system?

But can it work forever? No. The government is providing services! Those cost money, which have to come in taxes, so it's deferring the costs to later generations, or the government will default down the line.

That means the total national debt rises. But guess who get most of the interest payments?

The wealthy who own the bulk of it. For instance most of the US debt is owned by Americans, so don't get distracted by which foreign power owns a chunk of it. Most of it is owned by American citizens.

That money is owed to them where to pay it the government needs to tax, where presumably they would pay the bulk of it, to get the money owed, yup, to them!  Unless they can live to a ripe old age and die first, of course.

However, if you're some wealthy person who has your taxes cut down by a huge level, do you necessarily care who has to pay for services you received along with others?

I'm not wealthy, so I don't know if they consider that or not.

But, if money is your focus, I wonder if you'd care who has to finally pay for those government services you loaned money to the government to have, versus being taxed for them.

Government services have ballooned under this system. It's not clear to me, if it's fixable, as I see it as a problem. Conceivably we could balance budgets, and run surpluses until national debts are eliminated, but I'm not seeing evidence of a movement in that direction around the world.

Like, our politicians seem remarkably uninterested in making that happen, despite talking about it quite a bit, but um, anyone notice how many of them are rich?

James Harris

Money, trust, and politics

It surprised me recently to realize it had only been about three and a half years since putting up publicly my own ideas for a political party. Seems longer. And it is fascinating to contemplate how quickly the creative excitement faded after talking to just a few people.

Turned out I gained #1 in web search--which has sense faded--rather quickly, which means I had a conversation starter and actually remember just one conversation in an Irish bar where it's so much fun to talk politics! And was talking with a nice Irish couple, as yup, plenty of Irish hanging out there, and we were mentioning things a political party should have. And I was so excited as we kind of mutually came to the same conclusions, and then I mentioned my search. They could do it on their smartphone. They did. And I got smiles.

Of course later I'm like, wait a minute, what if? What if I DID come up with a new political party which went on to become the dominant party in the United States of America?

Was one of my favorite hangouts, now closed. Picture from 2008.

With money in politics a big deal, I can gleefully state years later there's no money thrown my way. Core Middle Party is an idea of mine, without an infrastructure, and NO money whatsoever. But of course money is a big deal so I figured it out, and came to the conclusion that our monetary system depends on and benefits from limited social trust.

Money means you only have to trust that person in a transaction, so much.

Money lets you get a lot done without the deep social trust had between close friends, family, and close community.

So money enables modern civilization. Without it, we'd all need to live in small villages.

But limited social trust only goes so far. That person you pay is only obligated to the limits of the contract, which may be stated, written, or implied.

Which is why we don't like bought politicians.

Whether we, the people, like it or not, the people have to have deep trust in political leaders who are trusted with leading the nation in its defense against all enemies foreign or domestic. They can literally agree to the sending of our young people to die on missions necessary for our defense as a nation.

There must be a deep social trust for modern society to function.

But if a politician is actually money-focused then he can be bought by the highest bidder. All you need is enough money.

Turns out you can see if money is corrupting your politics easily: politicians get rich.

Thought it was hard? Why?

Have you seen many people just fall into wealth without doing anything for it?


It doesn't work that way. People don't just make you rich for the fun of it, in general. And people don't just happen to get rich by accident.

And you know? Our modern society rewards money-focused people who can give so much in their pursuit of riches.

So you can say that modern society needs money-focused people.

We just don't need them in politics.

Yeah, some people get vast wealth forced upon them, but I think that's a small club.

Usually, you have to try to make money to get money. Believe me, I know.

Politicians dedicated to public service don't have time or inclination to get wealthy.

Yes, it can happen anyway. You can get lucky, like winning the lottery. Or have a great investment firm, but it's not like it would be important to you, you know? After all, what could it possibly represent that is better than community? Service?

The best of us, get what they aim to achieve. Your focus determines your direction.

And if you are community focused, there your most proud accomplishments will be found.

Someday I wonder if I'll face hard questions about money. But regardless have calmed down a lot about many things. Like the best thing about my story of the Irish couple was that we were chatting along easily enough about politics and agreeing.

Consensus is a wonderful thing, as it's not really about my ideas after all. I very deliberately went in search of our best American ideas. And maybe the best thing isn't whether or not those lead to a new political party or not, but that we remember.

Our politics will be ok, eventually. After all, it's not like you can hide when money is your focus, and plenty of people want better.

It doesn't take many conversations to figure out the politics that people want from their best selves either.

So I know I'm not alone.

James Harris

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Link to original Core Middle Party PDF

Back October 2011, I put up a post with my own ideas for a political party that I decided to call Core Middle Party.

And I have decided to put up a link to the original PDF that I created of it soon thereafter, which goes to my Google Drive.

It's interesting as I was debating with myself if I should update it somehow, but it's easier just to share the original though some things have changed as I am no longer registered as a Democrat, but am an Independent--should that really be capitalized? Oh well, will leave it that way.

Am happy though that I think I covered the bases rather well, and will admit that I use the original to help me figure out positions on things. And I decided back then not to edit the original any further so it's what I typed up that day exactly.

You know? With over 3 years distance I'm getting that weird thing where I can detach myself from it a bit, which is making me value it more.

Will there ever be a working Core Middle Party with other members? Right now it's just an idea I had where I don't know of anyone else that wants to lay claim to being part of it, but I'm kind of keeping that light burning you might say.

For me though it already is my identification, so I like to think of myself as a Core Middler. Officially though as that's not recognized I'm just an independent voter.

James Harris