Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Destroying the Fabric of Democracy

"Wait til you see what I did with NC-12!"
When Mrs. Powel asked Benjamin Franklin at the end of the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787 what sort of government they had created, he replied: A republic, if you can keep it.” 
democratic republic he meant. A democratic republic literally means Public Thing of The People from its Latin and Greek derivations.  
It does not mean Public Thing Run By A Few People.” 
America is a representative democracy where free people get to elect representatives who then go to Washington, D.C., and state and local assemblies to vote on our collective behalf. 
The founders wanted to create a connection — a fabric of democracy, if you will — between all voters and all elected representatives. All of them. Not just a few. 
Had the founders wanted to delegate representational redistricting and reapportionment duties to a few select people, they would have put it in Article II or III of the Constitution, not Article I which outlines legislative powers, not executive or judicial powers. 
Voters used to have the assurance that the person they voted for in the first election of each decade to represent them in Washington or Raleigh would be the same person, if repeatedly elected, they could vote for during the next four elections before the next census. 
That went by the wayside in North Carolina in 1981 when new districts were drawn under the Voting Rights Act by Democratic majorities in the NCGA. Congressional maps that would make Picasso proud were drawn to protect Democrat incumbents and allow minorities a better chance to get elected in one of those Democrat districts. 
Gerrymandering in North Carolina did not start with Republicans in 2011. In 1980, Democrats held nine of the 11 Congressional seats in North Carolina. The only reason they didnt have 11 Democrats in Congress was because they packed as many Republicans as possible in the 9th and 10th districts to get them out of the other nine districts to protect Democrat majorities. 
Starting in the 1980sRepublicans litigated to redraw more fair and balanced congressional districts which continued through 2010. North Carolina produced dozens of new congressional maps during that time. 
Since 2011, Democrats have run to the courts to demand multiple congressional map redrawings. If the NCGA does not produce a new map that the three Superior Court judges on the special panel approve by Dec. 15, then there is the possibility that the courts will appoint a special master to draw the districts 
Superior Court judges are not elected statewide. Most need less than 50,000 votes, or about 0.5% of the states population, to get elected. Many are appointed to fill an open seat by the governor. Three people in the state might get to choose what is right and fair in redistricting rather than the legislative body that was elected by the entire state. Appointing a special master reduces the massive responsibility of redistricting into the hands of just one person, not the 170 elected representatives and senators in the NCGA. 
Voters need time to get to know their elected representatives. They might need help on passports and visas or getting their Social Security checks straightened out. They need to see the voting history of their representative over time. They might even get to shake his or her hand along the way. 
Repeated legislative redistricting and map reconfigurations leads to voter disengagement and disenfranchisement from their elected representatives. Many people have no idea who their elected representatives are anyway; repeated redrawing of districts confuses them even further. 
No wonder so many people are disenchanted with politics. Many stay at home as a result and dont vote anymore. 
Court-mandated redistricting in 2019 based on 2010 census data is a peak of absurdity. Do it in 2021 based on 2020 census data. 
It is time for both sides to stop the weaponization in the courts over our political redistricting process. Go back to the days of constitutional integrity: take a decennial census, redraw the lines and be done with it until the next census is taken. 
Our democratic republic, and Ben Franklin, will thank us for it. 
(first published in North State Journal 11.13.19)

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Niagara Falls Economics

Far-left Democrats scoff at the term trickle-down economics.” To them, it is simply incomprehensible that capitalism benefits anyone other than rich people at the top. 

The term comes from humorist Will Rogers, not Ronald Reagan. During the Great Depression in 1932Rogers joked about the failed policies of President Herbert Hoover: The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickled down. Put it uphill and let it go and it will reach the driest little spot.  

Critics of President Reagans tax cuts in 1981 seized upon the phrase to deride the supply-side economics of his policies which were designed to get the U.S. out of the worst recession since the 1930s, which it did. The phrase has remained a derogatory favorite of liberals ever since. 

If trickle-down economics is not the appropriate way to describe how wealth is distributed in a free market economy, what is? Can wealth trickle up the economic ladder if there is not a lot of individual wealth at the bottom to begin with? 

No one ever goes to a poor person to ask for a loan to start a business or get a job. No money, no economic formation, no growth. 

How about calling it “trickle-around economics?” “Trickle-out economics,” perhaps? 

One friend suggests Niagara Falls economics. He might have a point. 

The waterfall of wealth that cascades from the success of any successful entrepreneur, especially those among the magnitude of Bill Gates starting Microsoft, goes overwhelmingly to employees, shareholders and the consuming public. One hundred percent of the wealth generated does not go solely to the individual with the idea who took the risk to start the business at any level of endeavor. 

Bill Gates is estimated to be worth more than $100 billion according to press reports. However, it is only 10% of the total market value of Microsoft. Microsoft has a stock market value of more than $1 trillion. Of that, $900 billion in Microsoft stock value is owned by millions of shareholders either directly or through mutual funds in their personal IRAs and 401(k) retirement plans.  

It is like a reverse tithe. 90% to others; 10% for me. 

Close to all of Microsoft shareholders had absolutely nothing to do with the success of Microsoft that increased their net worth other than deciding to invest in Microsoft.  

How great is that? Americans can literally get wealthy doing nothing but investing in others who do all the hard work and assume all personal risk. 

Microsofts annual revenues are $125 billion with a net income of around $50 billion. During his role as CEO, Gates may have earned $10 million in salary. Every other dollar earned by Microsoft would have gone to pay employee salary and benefits such as health care and retirement plans; vendors for services rendered, lawyers and accountants, distribute profits as dividends to shareholders, and, yes, pay taxes to state and federal governments to fund programs many people depend on such as Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. 

99.99992% of all annual revenue flowing into Microsoft would have gone out to tens of thousands of people not named Bill Gates. 

How great is that? Had Bill Gates never been born like George Bailey in Its a Wonderful Life, Microsoft might not have been invented in America but rather in India or Japan, and the wealth generated would have flowed through the economy there, not here. 

Successful businesspeople are better than having Michael Jordan, LeBron James or Zion Williamson on your basketball team. Not only do they help you win in life with better products and services, you get to share in the wealth they create — unlike basketball players, who keep all the big salaries to themselves. 

Niagara Falls economics works for all of us. Anyone who has run a lemonade stand understands the basic concepts of a lot of people benefiting from one persons personal dreams and investment. Dont let the socialists ruin it for everyone. 

(first published in North State Journal 11/6.19)

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