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Monday, December 04, 2006

We Need A Third Party

I had a great lunch time conversation today with Bruno of WKRS, 1220 AM, The Voice of Lake County (Il) who's on 10am-12pm weekdays, (Click here to listen live) .

Bruno also writes a good blog, Extreme Wisdom, where he discusses many of the same issues he hits on his radio show.

One of the points of our conversation today was the need for a third political party, that has a chance of winning seats in elections.

Sorry Greens and Libertarians, but that party doesn't belong to either of you. All one needs to do is read your party platforms to realize that you have a limited appeal, too limited to win elections.

Oh sure, the Libertarians are all gaga about being "king makers" in Missouri and Montana, by siphoning enough conservative votes to get Jon Tester and Claire McCaskill elected, but they still hold the same number of seats they did before the election, ZERO. The term they should be using is "spoiler", which is closer to the role they played this year.

I'll give the Green's this, at least in 2000 they realized that Nader ended up getting a guy much farther from their principles elected, the Libertarians don't even have that much common sense this year.

I believe a third party, from the center or slightly right of it is a very viable option in the near future. The party would have to stick to some principles, and ignore some things that neither the Democrats or Republicans are willing to, and IMHO, be willing to call BS on a lot of stuff that happens in this country.

Some of the principles?

Smaller government to start. Require a bottom up justification of every government position and direct support contract positions. Anyone who's worked in government knows that there are jobs that don't need to exist and only do because of patronage, or the influence of contractors and public sector unions. Those jobs need to be eliminated, using an outside source to grade the value of the positions is the first place to start.

Fiscal responsibility, which is something lacking at all levels of government. Require growth in ALL programs to be limited to inflation plus the growth of the population served.

Government Pension Reform. As a state issue it's become huge in Illinois, now that Bobbie Steele's pension has doubled due to four months on the job as Cook County Board President. In fact, she'll receive 80% of the salary of the President, $136,000 when she retires. I suggest a pension based on years of service and highest salary received for over 12 months, with a two term minimum time on the job before receiving anything.

The people of Illinois don't realize that Steele isn't the only person who gets to sweeten the pot on pensions. Teachers have been doing it for years by collecting bonus payments, and converting unused sick time to salary in the last year they work, having those numbers added to their pensions also. That needs to stop, also.

At a federal level, pensions need to be reformed for elected officials and political appointees, they should be put in the same retirement system as civil service employees, or use the retirement programs they've foisted on the military over the years. I can't see anyone in the Senate taking the Redux Plan for their retirement.

Education, the current system is failing, by any standard, and probably can't be fixed. The US education system needs to be revamped from the bottom up. A back to basics approach is necessary, with reading, writing and arithmatic as the basics for K-6, with diverging paths at the middle and high school levels. Both college prep work and vocational skills need to be offered and taught in high school. Whether some groups like to hear it or not, all students aren't cut out for college, or want to attend it. Our current high school model puts those students on the back of the educational bus, usually giving them no skills for their future, then wondering why they fail in life.

Some principles that might upset the folks on the far right and left?

Abortion, it's not going away anytime soon, and probably shouldn't be made illegal anyway. So why make a lot of political noise over it. Instead, leave the laws as they sit today, and find something more worthwhile to spend time arguing about.

Religion, we don't have an official one, and we don't outlaw any, that's as far as the government should be involved with it. Religious groups should be allowed to compete for government contracts to provide services, along with any other group. No contract should be open only to religious groups however.

Taxes, they should only be able to be raised with a three fifths majority vote of the body that wishes to raise them, at any government level. User fees, registration fees, etc, should be covered by this same law.

These are just a few of my (wandering) ideas on the types of issues a third party should be looking at when coming together. Post your ideas in the comments, though I'm likely to heckle some of them.

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Blogger Praguetwin said...

How about a party that is socially liberal and fiscally conservative?

Sign me up!!!

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds good to me! What about the illegal immigration issue? I'm tending more toward a practical solution--amnesty and then move on to enforcing the existing laws--rather than a "fair" one--spend a zillion dollars getting rid of peeps who have been here for ages because we can't reward them yada yada and what about the people who did it right bla bla.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

PT, go ahead and start it, but you'll find it's hard to balance fiscal conservatism with social liberalism, due to the costs involved with the social programs.

Paula, I don't like the amnesty idea myself, mostly because it's never done anything but encourage more illegal immigrants. In Reagan gave 6 million amnesty in the 1980's, and then were were going to enforce the laws and not have the problem. Now, 20ish years later, we have 13 more wanting a spot in the country for free.

As opposed to amnesty if they have a job I say we give them a 24 month work visa, charge them the taxes, then, if they can find a sponsor let them work towards naturalization.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

what I meant was fiscal conservatism with a base social system but without all the invation on my lifestyle.

3:26 PM  

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