Comments on: Do we need a referendum on referendums? Wed, 13 Apr 2016 01:13:45 +0000 hourly 1 By: OneOfTheSheep Fri, 09 Mar 2012 23:41:25 +0000 @TobyONottoby,

I would say that if “the figure” in the U.S. (for belonging to a trade union) is “about 13%, I should have also speculated that California had a disproportionate number of unionized employees voting to feather their own nests.

I don’t know about the importance of yodeling and fondue, but I don’t believe it is easy to immigrate to Switzerland and become a Swiss citizen with all associated rights, privileges and associated expenses to the government. In California and much of the U.S. we roll out benefits for even illegal aliens that are unavailable to many of our own citizens in similar circumstance.

Just one of the many ways “our” politicians seek security at the polls at the expense of their lawful constituents.

By: TobyONottoby Fri, 09 Mar 2012 21:32:15 +0000 Or perhaps Swiss democracy succeeds because Switzerland has 4 official languages: German (63.7 %), French (20.4 %), Italian (6.5 %) and Romansh (0.5 %). Or maybe it’s because “Swiss citizens are required to buy universal health insurance from private insurance companies, which in turn are required to accept every applicant.” ( d) Who knows?

By: TobyONottoby Fri, 09 Mar 2012 20:18:22 +0000 Compared to other nations, Switzerland may also benefit from greater amounts of yodeling and fondue. It isn’t fair, but it does set the country apart. Thus, I postulate that the key is cultural, particularly musically and gastronomically.

By: TobyONottoby Fri, 09 Mar 2012 20:07:01 +0000 “In 2004 about 25% of employees in Switzerland belonged to a trade union. This compares with some 29% in the UK, and around 26% in the European Union as a whole. In the US the figure is about 13%.” kers_and_jobs/trade_unions/

Union membership, by state
rank…..state..% members, % rep.d by
6……..CA…..18.4,19.5 iation_by_U.S._state

By: OneOfTheSheep Fri, 09 Mar 2012 19:05:41 +0000 @TobyONottoby,

Your point is unclear, then. I think we’re stuck with humanity as it is. The U.S. Congress has the “lack of approval” it does because there has ceased to be any meaningful connection between those who elect them and what they do.

Switzerland seems to work fine. I lived in California when Howard Jarvis came up with Proposition 13. I worked hard to assure it’s passage. It save me a LOT in taxes over the years.

I’d like to see California’s referendum system throughout America, but neither “party of the politicians” wants people being able to make an end run around their otherwise exclusive powers. It DOES demonstrate how inventive campaigns can make black indistinguishable from white, and that the wording of any given issue on the ballot can decide an issue before the actual vote.

The primary “problem” California has is that it has so many unionized special interests that vote together with the disproportionate number of people receiving money from generous government programs. With so many sucking the public teat, there just isn’t enough milk any more, rich as that economy is. Maybe there’s a lesson there for those willing to learn.

By: TobyONottoby Fri, 09 Mar 2012 16:26:26 +0000 Funny. I don’t feel especially confused. The whole of humanity strikes me as a bit dazed, though. In America, for instance, the US Congress suffers a public approval rating of about 9%, yet every two years, that same public determines the composition of 100% of the House and approximately 1/3 of the Senate. Furthermore, as the author points out, rule-by-referendum has had mixed outcomes. Sometimes you get Switzerland. Sometimes you get California. So, perhaps other factors are more important in determining a society’s success. I’m certain it must come down to alpine geography, massive tunnel projects, advanced cuckoo clockworks, and an obsession with banking.

By: OneOfTheSheep Fri, 09 Mar 2012 02:40:41 +0000 @TobyONottoby,

You are confused. The people who VOTE would be the same. The people who RULE after the VOTERS set the RULES would be on a shorter leash, held by the voters, FORCED to serve “…in good faith and in pursuit of a general good…” or face quick impeachment and replacement.

If “we, the people” direct politicians to keep annual spending within “annual available funds”, they will have to do something they have NEVER had to do. Prioritize. They don’t seem to understand that America, like it’s citizens, can have ANYTHING it wants; but it can’t have EVERYTHING it wants.

New necessary skill. New ball game. Genuine, measurable goals and absolute accountability, for a change.

By: tmc Thu, 08 Mar 2012 23:24:30 +0000 We need only two referendums.
Term limits for Congress and campaign finance reform.
Then we can elect people of good judgment

Without these, nothing at all will change, ever.

By: TobyONottoby Thu, 08 Mar 2012 22:50:20 +0000 The people who would rule by referendum/plebiscite/initiative would be the same people who elect the politicians who legislate and administrate throughout the democracies. If the people in a democracy are dissatisfied with their country’s laws and governance, their first referendums could perhaps be directed toward limiting their own power to create dissatisfying outcomes. Maybe they could start by subjecting themselves to a confidence motion. Suppose they lose that one. Then what? Follow up with a referendum on reducing the extent of rule by referendum? Where are Gilbert and Sullivan when we need them?

By: OneOfTheSheep Thu, 08 Mar 2012 21:39:53 +0000 I would argue to the contrary, that politicians of both major American political parties have long since ceased to serve “…in good faith and in pursuit of a general good…”.

They do NOT “…serve democracy, and thus their voters, best…” when they continually act or do not act, such that the country consistently, without interruption, spends more than “available revenue”. They similarly do NOT when they repeatedly scramble around to pass yet another meaningless increase in the country’s “debt ceiling”, a concept specifically intended to rein in excessive spending which has proven so inconvenient to them as to be ineffective to the purpose intended.

Both parties are guilty of subscribing to a policy best described as “if we spend it, they will pay (somehow)”. America had NEVER retired it’s debt from WW II. It has merely inflated it into insignificance by printing endless dollars with nothing whatsoever behind them.

In 1966 I bought a house priced at $21,600 with a G.I. loan, nothing down. In 1988 I sold that house for $178,000 cash. Did that house really increase in value the $156,400 “profit” the IRS would have assessed had I not reinvested in new property? Of course not. It just took the buyer more dollars “worth less” to buy a USED property!

The 1970 Datsun I bought new for $3600 (plus interest, 3-year contract) would cost over $22,000 in today’s “worth less” dollars, and yet the wage earner buying that car finds the income necessary to pay today’s much higher payments taxed at a higher rate. Actions of “Our” government have intentionally reduced interest available to the “common citizen” on Money Market, CDs, U.S. short term investments, bank accounts such that inflation erodes our principal faster than the effective rate of return, a betrayal of trust to all who would plan to retire above the poverty level.

Back when American politicians had to “make an honest living” and DONATE their time in service to the country if so inclined, few could afford more than a term or two. Since politics has become a “trade”, others can buy influence of a sort that leaves the interests of the common constituency ignored or of a priority so low as to be without meaning. Our politicians vote themselves benefits they know the country can never offer the common citizen, and incredibly see no conflict of interest.

YES! “We, the people” need referendums to FIX THIS! The sooner, the better!