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Why I Think the U.S. Needs a [Parliamentary System With Proportional Representation]

124

Posts

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Well you can't legislate assholes away, but I agree with that for the most part, Ross. I don't want it to come out like I think Voter Education, done and done is all we need to do and I fear I may have trod on that ground.

    I'd say better education in general would be helpful. And getting rid of Fox News, but I don't know how we do that one.

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  • AtomikaAtomika technology is your dickfist Registered User regular
    Well you can't legislate assholes away, but I agree with that for the most part, Ross. I don't want it to come out like I think Voter Education, done and done is all we need to do and I fear I may have trod on that ground.

    I'd say better education in general would be helpful. And getting rid of Fox News, but I don't know how we do that one.

    I sadly think the best we can do is to continue to vote in knowledgable legislators and executives that will make sure there's a clear separation between ridiculous moralistic horseshit and what can and can't be writ into law.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Well you can't legislate assholes away, but I agree with that for the most part, Ross. I don't want it to come out like I think Voter Education, done and done is all we need to do and I fear I may have trod on that ground.

    I'd say better education in general would be helpful. And getting rid of Fox News, but I don't know how we do that one.

    I sadly think the best we can do is to continue to vote in knowledgable legislators and executives that will make sure there's a clear separation between ridiculous moralistic horseshit and what can and can't be writ into law.

    You're probably right on that point. It is getting harder to combat the noise, though. I keep going back to gas prices because the US has crazy low gas prices, we have increased our oil production and lessened our need for foreign oil, and gas prices are only now returning to where they were when the recession hit. But does that stop the media and the uninformed voter from thinking that Obama is hiding behind the pump funneling their gas money to welfare queens.

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  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Of course another problem is that a lot of those uninformed voters are that way on purpose.

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    I think what is needed is a system that is designed to maximize access to government, while still maintaining single (or two party coalition) governance. Mega coalitions are disasters.

    So, it's multiple reforms.

    Reform 1 -> Public finance for ALL elected positions. You can spend donations or your own money equal to the amount of public finance you get.
    Reform 2 -> To run for office, you must collect signatures equal to 0.1% of the total votes which were cast in the previous electionor 100 signatures (whichever is more) . This effort does not recieve public financing, and you can only spend your own money, or up to $10K of another individuals money.
    Reform 3 -> Preferential voting for all positions
    Reform 4 -> The party in last place is eliminated and all their votes are reassigned. Independant is viewed as a party. So, all the independants rise and fall together. (which isn't ideal, but I can't think of a smarter way to allow them)

    So, you get lots of candidates, but you have a strong filter against too much chaos in parliament.

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
  • AtomikaAtomika technology is your dickfist Registered User regular
    Of course another problem is that a lot of those uninformed voters are that way on purpose.

    Well, exactly.

    My dad is a prime example; very intelligent small business owner with two college degrees, yet still laughs at people for buying Priuses while simultaneously railing against Obama for making gas "$10/gal."

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    What I mean by "how simple it is" is that it is very easy to find out how your Congresscritter/Senator/President voted or stood on an issue. It is also fairly simple to track down their actions in committee. Using that an educated voter can easily come to a conclusion. That's all I meant. It's also exactly how it would work in a Parliamentary system, the only difference being that the majority would have fewer checks and balances on their power.

    It isn't very easy, though. It's easy (well, relatively easy) to find voting records, but voting records don't tell us that much and in lots of circumstances they can mislead (famously in the case of john kerry, for example.) Voting records don't really measure what influence Ms. Snowe (for example) had on the content of the stimulus legislation, they just tell us whether she voted for it or not.

    Now, in fairness this would also be true in a parliamentary system. The difference in a parliamentary system is that there is a majority government setting policy which can be held accountable as a whole, as opposed to the piecemeal approach we use in the U.S. Voters are forced to try to understand the minutia of the legislative process because when we just look at the results, responsibility is obscured.

    This is probably why the current republicans (for example) feel so comfortable being relentlessly obstructionist; they know that it's pretty hard for voters to figure out precisely if/how they're being assholes, and that congressional failures are likely to be blamed on the majority and the president.

    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Well I mean, I admit I might be a bit of a CSPAN nerd, but the voting records are really only part of the record. There's testimony and speeches and you can always get updates from your Congresscritters. It might not be as easy as getting the latest sports scores or finding out how Survivor went, but it isn't impossible for people who pay attention.

    I mean, you can also look at the constitution and the law that tells us what parts of the government are responsible for what.

    I don't know, I'm just not a big fan of letting one party just have sweeping control of government without checks and balances. I think that the Republicans are being unnecessarily obstructionist, but it's also biting them in the ass. Look at the polling on their dickery about the payroll taxes and Keystone, they did not come out well.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    An issue with Parliamentary Systems that has sort of been touched on is Coalitions.

    Coalition governments are not necessarily good. Look at Israel for a shinning example.

    Coalition can just as easily be a major party throwing some occasional red meat to a heinous fringe party as it can be some sort of compromise of major political parties.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Gosling wrote: »
    I could say the same thing about any governmental body. Any job you make will be put at risk of being filled by a motherfucker, and they will be as much of a motherfucker as the job permits. Motherfucker-B-Gone has not been invented yet.

    The House has assholes in it all the time. In fact, it's pretty much designed to be more asshole-intensive than the Senate. The Presidency has them too- Andrew Jackson, LBJ, Warren Harding. And those places are more inclined to give the asshole ability to not just obstruct the other guy's stuff, but to ram through their own assholish agendas. You might argue that that's even worse. Look what's been going on lately when assholes have been allowed to operate unobstructed. You want to facilitate more of that?

    Obstruction's not the problem. Assholes are the problem.

    Assholes are the problem in any system. You can't build a political system that can protect itself from the very people who form it.

    The idea of "Checks and Balances" is often silly because it doesn't so much prevent assholes as disguise them. Assholes ramming their agendas through is better then the slow creep of assholitude going on unbeknownst to the voting public, because one is big and obvious and gets attention and thus gets more serious pushback.

    Democracy itself is the check against assholes and the only way it works is when the system is simple and transparent.

    And hey, sometimes assholes are gonna get elected. It happens. Cause voters are often assholes too. The people of a democracy get the government they collectively deserve.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    PantsB wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    I don't think 2 and 4 are actual benefits. There's nothing wrong with making people work together when they don't agree on everything (and a coalition government requires that anyway), nor is there a problem with politicians not being beholden to the party.

    Pretty much this.
    Divided government is not a bad thing when compared to absolutist governments. Checks and balances are good for government. Indeed, one of the biggest problems from a theoretical standpoint of the Westminster style of government is that majority power is unchecked. Requiring consensus can sometimes slow governmental action... but that's a feature not a bug. In times of crisis where immediate action was needed, the US has never had a problem truly unifying sufficiently to meet those demands. When it is not, having asshats for a minority slowing things down might be inconvenient but it works. The system of government in the United States has been approaching truly democratic* for longer than any country in the world, and has produced one of the most power, prosperous and stable states in human hsitory.

    You just had this problem. Like a year ago. And like 3 years ago.

    The problem with your reasoning here is that times of crisis are, really, the ONLY time government needs to act decisively and yet "checks and balances" work to make government slowest at these points.

    As Belgium can amply demonstrate, when the shit isn't hitting the fan, a country barely NEEDS a legislature. A 1st world democracy is on auto-pilot for the majority of the time.

    And the parts where it aren't are generally hugely fucked up. (see - the debt ceiling)

    Don't hate the game... hate the players. I strongly dislike conservative politics. I frankly think its closer to evil in its current form than honest disagreement. And the only reason its not running the United States right now is because we have checks and balances. The US comes up with some dumb policies, yeah. That's not because of a bicameral legislature or the Senate, its because of asshole Legislators. The White House has had fools and bastards, but its not because they were independent from Congress. There's a lot of support for barbaric, ignorant, and irrational politicians, but that's not the fault of First Past the Post voting, that's the fault of the voters.

    No, the reason it's not running your country is that they got voted out in 2008. And then voted back in in 2010 anyway.

    These "checks and balances" didn't stop shit during the Bush years. Or even during the Clinton years, the other Bush years, the Reagan years, etc.

    It's silly to say "Don't hate the game, hate the players" when the game is implicitly designed to create those players.

  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Nitpick: universal male suffrage amongst the states took several decades to turn up after the American Revolution; even so the Senate and Presidency tended to be strongly dominated by state machines until the 20th. It was not, in practice, very different from the popularization of power in the United Kingdom, particularly after the Civil War settled the particularly prickly questions.

    I think it is fairly trivial to make a case that separation of powers surviving this long in the United States was a combination of it not actually being very universal prior to the 20th and thereafter repeatedly being lucky - there is no inevitable logic to why the convenient Progressive realignment occurred when it did - or enthusiastically making drastic changes to the power of the Supreme Court or the President whenever events proved irresolvable otherwise.

    ronya on
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  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    An issue with Parliamentary Systems that has sort of been touched on is Coalitions.

    Coalition governments are not necessarily good. Look at Israel for a shinning example.

    Coalition can just as easily be a major party throwing some occasional red meat to a heinous fringe party as it can be some sort of compromise of major political parties.

    Nitpick: that's a feature of proportional representation, not parliamentary democracy. You can easily have a parliamentary system in a first past the post, two-party state like the US has.

  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    shryke wrote: »
    PantsB wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    I don't think 2 and 4 are actual benefits. There's nothing wrong with making people work together when they don't agree on everything (and a coalition government requires that anyway), nor is there a problem with politicians not being beholden to the party.

    Pretty much this.
    Divided government is not a bad thing when compared to absolutist governments. Checks and balances are good for government. Indeed, one of the biggest problems from a theoretical standpoint of the Westminster style of government is that majority power is unchecked. Requiring consensus can sometimes slow governmental action... but that's a feature not a bug. In times of crisis where immediate action was needed, the US has never had a problem truly unifying sufficiently to meet those demands. When it is not, having asshats for a minority slowing things down might be inconvenient but it works. The system of government in the United States has been approaching truly democratic* for longer than any country in the world, and has produced one of the most power, prosperous and stable states in human hsitory.

    You just had this problem. Like a year ago. And like 3 years ago.

    The problem with your reasoning here is that times of crisis are, really, the ONLY time government needs to act decisively and yet "checks and balances" work to make government slowest at these points.

    As Belgium can amply demonstrate, when the shit isn't hitting the fan, a country barely NEEDS a legislature. A 1st world democracy is on auto-pilot for the majority of the time.

    And the parts where it aren't are generally hugely fucked up. (see - the debt ceiling)
    Not really. When the US really needed unity at the time of its most partisan bickering (08 elections when the economy really shit the bed), the two parties worked together to bail out the banks and Detroit (despite neither side wanting to). Obama got a stimulus package, if not the one he wanted. And then they went back to being at war with each other. The "at war with each other" is a product of a shitty GOP and shitty voters, not a shitty system. The GOP controls the House, the reason they have to tantrum is because the system doesn't give them the absolute control a Parliamentary system does. In a Parliamentary system, John Boehner would now be Prime Minister.

    The idea that a first world country "barely NEEDS a legislature" when the shit isn't hitting the fan is frankly laughable. The shit is always hitting the fan. The EU isn't a country but if it was, it would not exactly be the measure by which one could set the standard on appropriate and effective governing. Even with the shitty obstructionism the US is facing, the US is recovering significantly faster than the EU nations.
    shryke wrote: »
    Don't hate the game... hate the players. I strongly dislike conservative politics. I frankly think its closer to evil in its current form than honest disagreement. And the only reason its not running the United States right now is because we have checks and balances. The US comes up with some dumb policies, yeah. That's not because of a bicameral legislature or the Senate, its because of asshole Legislators. The White House has had fools and bastards, but its not because they were independent from Congress. There's a lot of support for barbaric, ignorant, and irrational politicians, but that's not the fault of First Past the Post voting, that's the fault of the voters.

    No, the reason it's not running your country is that they got voted out in 2008. And then voted back in in 2010 anyway.

    These "checks and balances" didn't stop shit during the Bush years. Or even during the Clinton years, the other Bush years, the Reagan years, etc.

    It's silly to say "Don't hate the game, hate the players" when the game is implicitly designed to create those players.

    That's what you don't get. Those checks and balances did stop shit during the Bush years. The Parliamentary system would have given Bush far more power and leeway than he enjoyed even with the national unity after 9/11. In a Parliamentary system, the majority is only stopped by what they think can get away with. In the US system, they have to achieve a majority in the House, 60+ in the Senate and the White House in order to have complete control over the agenda. Even then the minority can hold hearings, legal challenges limit governmental actions and every two years you have the potential to lose 1/3 of the Senate and 100% of the House (while allowing for the rest of government not to be eternally running for office).

    Government should never be designed with the idea that the people will always select all the best people. Any system will produce good results with honorable and qualified people. The theoretical benevolent dictator can produce good results if he's highly skilled.

    Government must be designed to protect against when they elect the wrong people. That's why the US is designed with checks and balances and with a Constitution that guarantees individual rights and limits governmental power. So when you get Nixon or Bush you can limit the damage, even if it means Kennedy or Obama can't rule by fiat.

    PantsB on
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    QEDMF xbl: PantsB G+
  • chrisnlchrisnl Registered User regular
    In a parliamentary system, if a single party manages to get a majority of the representation, does the opposition have any real power? If not, that sounds like it could be a significant downside to the system.

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    chrisnl wrote: »
    In a parliamentary system, if a single party manages to get a majority of the representation, does the opposition have any real power? If not, that sounds like it could be a significant downside to the system.

    It depends on the majority, with a slim majority the bills passed will lose some party support and require out of party support. With a massive majority, the opposition is there to persuade and reason with the other party. How well it works really depends on the tradition in the country, in the UK for a long time it worked really well since both parties had a strong hatred of ideological decision making and so the oportunity to question the primeminister directly and to be involved on committees was a real power. In addition the house of lords (despite being unelected and composed mainly of old farts) does an excellent job in reining in the excesses of any given party. Effectively a parliamentary system requires a second house which is above everything and only really exists to make sure you can't do anything too crazy in one term.

    "That is cool" - Abraham Lincoln
  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    Republicans started their all-out war on Democrats the day Obama was sworn in. Note the vote on the stimulus: Arlen Specter and the Maine jackasses does not make it bipartisan.

  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    Government by Batman?

    Maybe instead of watering the tree of liberty with blood, we should try battarangs, gas grenades and bat bolas? It'd actually be hilarious if every ten or twenty years batman rounded up members of congress/supreme court/executive found to be corrupt. Of course first we'd need a near omniscient Batman to find them and not get the wrong guys...we need to design some sort of omniscient...sky net...of computers, and perhaps some sort of cyborg humanoid that can pass for a man...What could go wrong?! ;D

    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    It isn't my place to assign blame on Olympia Snowe, I'm not a Maine voter. I can say I wouldn't vote for her for a number of reasons were I living in Maine and she was up for an election. There's more than enough blame to go around on ACA, it's not a zero sum game. If that's not good enough I guess you can keep waiting.

    this is a cop out. If responsibility for legislation were so easy to understand/assign in the U.S. system, "who is responsible for the stimulus package" would be an easy question to answer. But it manifestly isn't.

    I'm not saying parliaments are perfect. I'm saying they do a better job of interpreting voter preference as policy than the U.S. system does.

    In 2012 the idea that we need to design systems of government to deliberately subvert the popular will ought to be a dead one.

    It really isn't a cop out. Olympia Snowe isn't Grand Moff of the Senate, sure she was a hold out and one of the reasons that we got a nerfed law, but so is every other Republican and or Democrat who wouldn't sign on to single payer. There are 535 voting members of the United States Congress, guy.

    A lot of blame can be put on Obama for kicking the can over to Capitol Hill and not demanding a stronger bill, it can go to the senate leaders on both sides, it can go to blue dogs who tried to appeal to their home voters, a super majority of the blame can go on the Republicans. That's what that means.

    If that's a cop out, I guess call reality Paul Blart.

    Then again, from my seat it looks like things worked perfectly in Snowe's case. She sold out the right and her own supporters, was staring down the barrel of a primary election, and quit the Senate rather than face the electoral consequences of the terrible law she helped pass.

  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    Uh, Snowe's been pretty far left for virtually the entirety of her career in the Senate. She didn't sell anyone out. Also, I don't recall any polls showing her coming within 10 points of losing the primary.

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Atomic, I am calling bullshit on "80% of the GOP voting base wants to criminalize homosexuality".

    Citation, and some fucking definition of terms, or stop it.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    enc0re wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    An issue with Parliamentary Systems that has sort of been touched on is Coalitions.

    Coalition governments are not necessarily good. Look at Israel for a shinning example.

    Coalition can just as easily be a major party throwing some occasional red meat to a heinous fringe party as it can be some sort of compromise of major political parties.

    Nitpick: that's a feature of proportional representation, not parliamentary democracy. You can easily have a parliamentary system in a first past the post, two-party state like the US has.

    And you can easily have the same situation as I describe in a parliamentary democracy.

  • HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
    Am I mischaracterising the overall sentiment as being: "The current system is okay because divided government is a good thing more often than a bad one, and in the end it's really just the people in power (and the electorate that put them there) that is to blame for dysfunction, and not the system per se" ...?

  • HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
    Out of curiosity, what do you guys think a parliamentary-style multi-party setup in the US might look like? Would we just revert to a 2+1 system as seen in the UK? (It's worth noting that, iirc, the UK has FPTP voting for parliamentarians, which probably limits the number of viable parties.) Or would the various voting blocs that now comprise both the DNC and RNC separate out and form single-issue or narrow interest parties?

    I guess this is living in an idealized, perfectly rationalistic world, but I feel like the elements would sort of disassociate themselves, as their own interests don't necessarily always intersect. For instance, there seems to be a tension in the DNC over this Keystone XL pipeline; labor seems to be for it, and environmentalists opposed to it. In a competitive multiparty system, from what I can tell, neither group would have to care about how the other came down on this kind of issue.

  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    I see no reason to suspect that switching to a parliamentary system in the US would give rise to a third party. As far as I'm concerned, it's a freak accident that the UK has three parties in a FPTP system.

  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    An issue with Parliamentary Systems that has sort of been touched on is Coalitions.

    Coalition governments are not necessarily good. Look at Israel for a shinning example.

    Coalition can just as easily be a major party throwing some occasional red meat to a heinous fringe party as it can be some sort of compromise of major political parties.

    Sure, they are not a universal good, but they are not a universal bad either. There are plenty of stable coalition government democracies, so I do not think you can establish a rule here

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    Hamurabi's OP is confusing people by connecting parliamentary systems with PR. They are completely separate - for example the UK has a parliament but also FPTP.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    PantsB wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    PantsB wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    I don't think 2 and 4 are actual benefits. There's nothing wrong with making people work together when they don't agree on everything (and a coalition government requires that anyway), nor is there a problem with politicians not being beholden to the party.

    Pretty much this.
    Divided government is not a bad thing when compared to absolutist governments. Checks and balances are good for government. Indeed, one of the biggest problems from a theoretical standpoint of the Westminster style of government is that majority power is unchecked. Requiring consensus can sometimes slow governmental action... but that's a feature not a bug. In times of crisis where immediate action was needed, the US has never had a problem truly unifying sufficiently to meet those demands. When it is not, having asshats for a minority slowing things down might be inconvenient but it works. The system of government in the United States has been approaching truly democratic* for longer than any country in the world, and has produced one of the most power, prosperous and stable states in human hsitory.

    You just had this problem. Like a year ago. And like 3 years ago.

    The problem with your reasoning here is that times of crisis are, really, the ONLY time government needs to act decisively and yet "checks and balances" work to make government slowest at these points.

    As Belgium can amply demonstrate, when the shit isn't hitting the fan, a country barely NEEDS a legislature. A 1st world democracy is on auto-pilot for the majority of the time.

    And the parts where it aren't are generally hugely fucked up. (see - the debt ceiling)
    Not really. When the US really needed unity at the time of its most partisan bickering (08 elections when the economy really shit the bed), the two parties worked together to bail out the banks and Detroit (despite neither side wanting to). Obama got a stimulus package, if not the one he wanted. And then they went back to being at war with each other. The "at war with each other" is a product of a shitty GOP and shitty voters, not a shitty system. The GOP controls the House, the reason they have to tantrum is because the system doesn't give them the absolute control a Parliamentary system does. In a Parliamentary system, John Boehner would now be Prime Minister.

    Um, you may wanna recheck those votes on the stimulus PantsB. It was a virtually completely partisan affair.

    And hey, remember TARP? You know, the thing in some ways even more important to pass then the stimulus to keep the economy from collapsing? Do you remember how it didn't fucking pass on the first vote? And then basically the entire market freaked the fuck out and the Senate hurredly played some political judo to save everyones asses?

    When the US needed decisive action, it needed to resort to legislative chicanery and trickery to get anything done. Your "checks and balances" did nothing but almost fuck you.

    Oh, but let's keep going. Next world crisis: Debt Ceiling

    Yup, the US legislature isn't just not very capable of responding to a crisis, it actually manufactures them just so it can not respond to crises more often!

    The idea that a first world country "barely NEEDS a legislature" when the shit isn't hitting the fan is frankly laughable. The shit is always hitting the fan. The EU isn't a country but if it was, it would not exactly be the measure by which one could set the standard on appropriate and effective governing. Even with the shitty obstructionism the US is facing, the US is recovering significantly faster than the EU nations.

    Again, Belgium. They were without a sitting legislature for over 500 days. Almost 2 fucking years. They didn't collapse into anarchy. The country pretty much rolled on.

    Government bureaucracy fucking runs itself most of the time. In fact, as anyone who works in the US federal government will tell you, anything that actually depends on the legislature doing something is the worst shit. I know someone who works in the VA and they are continually fucked over by Congress' fickleness.

    The Legislature changes the system, but the system itself is fairly self-sustaining.


    shryke wrote: »
    Don't hate the game... hate the players. I strongly dislike conservative politics. I frankly think its closer to evil in its current form than honest disagreement. And the only reason its not running the United States right now is because we have checks and balances. The US comes up with some dumb policies, yeah. That's not because of a bicameral legislature or the Senate, its because of asshole Legislators. The White House has had fools and bastards, but its not because they were independent from Congress. There's a lot of support for barbaric, ignorant, and irrational politicians, but that's not the fault of First Past the Post voting, that's the fault of the voters.

    No, the reason it's not running your country is that they got voted out in 2008. And then voted back in in 2010 anyway.

    These "checks and balances" didn't stop shit during the Bush years. Or even during the Clinton years, the other Bush years, the Reagan years, etc.

    It's silly to say "Don't hate the game, hate the players" when the game is implicitly designed to create those players.

    That's what you don't get. Those checks and balances did stop shit during the Bush years. The Parliamentary system would have given Bush far more power and leeway than he enjoyed even with the national unity after 9/11. In a Parliamentary system, the majority is only stopped by what they think can get away with. In the US system, they have to achieve a majority in the House, 60+ in the Senate and the White House in order to have complete control over the agenda. Even then the minority can hold hearings, legal challenges limit governmental actions and every two years you have the potential to lose 1/3 of the Senate and 100% of the House (while allowing for the rest of government not to be eternally running for office).

    Government should never be designed with the idea that the people will always select all the best people. Any system will produce good results with honorable and qualified people. The theoretical benevolent dictator can produce good results if he's highly skilled.

    Government must be designed to protect against when they elect the wrong people. That's why the US is designed with checks and balances and with a Constitution that guarantees individual rights and limits governmental power. So when you get Nixon or Bush you can limit the damage, even if it means Kennedy or Obama can't rule by fiat.

    And none of those did shit. Your vaunted "checks and balances" didn't stop GWB from trampling over civil liberties, invading a country for no reason, bankrupting the country or helping to collapse the world economy, despite your vain attempts to claim the contrary. It didn't stop Nixon, it didn't stop Reagan, it didn't stop Bush the First, it didn't stop Clinton and I could go on and on.

    In fact, the big fight Bush lost was against a program popular with everyone. It was the voters backlash against SS privatization that stopped that, not some bullshit legislative rules.


    Like basically the entirety of the US Senate, legislative shackles have done a piss-poor job of stopping nasty government action and have mostly served to quietly kill political initiatives. They also make the government opaque and hard to understand, causing the very basis of the democratic process, the people judging and evaluating their own government, to start failing.

    The most effective check on the government remains the people themselves.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Kalkino wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    An issue with Parliamentary Systems that has sort of been touched on is Coalitions.

    Coalition governments are not necessarily good. Look at Israel for a shinning example.

    Coalition can just as easily be a major party throwing some occasional red meat to a heinous fringe party as it can be some sort of compromise of major political parties.

    Sure, they are not a universal good, but they are not a universal bad either. There are plenty of stable coalition government democracies, so I do not think you can establish a rule here

    Oh totally. I was just responding to the implication I got from the OP that a parliaments ability to have the executive reflect the make-up of the legislature leads to outcomes more in line with the voting public.

    The ruling coalition in a parliament is, in fact, rarely formed from the 2 largest parties in there.

  • HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Hamurabi's OP is confusing people by connecting parliamentary systems with PR. They are completely separate - for example the UK has a parliament but also FPTP.

    I specifically said "a parliamentary system with PR," which isn't linking the two ideas; the UK has a parliamentary system with (iirc) FPTP voting for PMs, and the U.S. has a fully FPTP system with some isolated instances of PR (ie. primaries, states that allocate their delegates proportionally in presidential races).

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Hamurabi's OP is confusing people by connecting parliamentary systems with PR. They are completely separate - for example the UK has a parliament but also FPTP.

    I specifically said "a parliamentary system with PR," which isn't linking the two ideas; the UK has a parliamentary system with (iirc) FPTP voting for PMs, and the U.S. has a fully FPTP system with some isolated instances of PR (ie. primaries, states that allocate their delegates proportionally in presidential races).

    I know, and this thread is full of people confusing the two.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    It should be beyond clear to anybody paying attention that in our current financial crisis, 'checks and balances' have had the effect of hamstringing government response. They have throughout our history primarily served as a mechanism to impede the popular will, not stop the machinations of the wealthy/powerful. Why then do we think they're so great, aside from the fact that we're repeatedly told that during our secondary education?

    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    It should be beyond clear to anybody paying attention that in our current financial crisis, 'checks and balances' have had the effect of hamstringing government response. They have throughout our history primarily served as a mechanism to impede the popular will, not stop the machinations of the wealthy/powerful. Why then do we think they're so great, aside from the fact that we're repeatedly told that during our secondary education?

    And who should be taking control to fix the problem? President Obama? Too bad if we were a parliament we would have a Republican controlled government and we'd be going through the same crap Europe and the UK are going through.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    It should be beyond clear to anybody paying attention that in our current financial crisis, 'checks and balances' have had the effect of hamstringing government response. They have throughout our history primarily served as a mechanism to impede the popular will, not stop the machinations of the wealthy/powerful. Why then do we think they're so great, aside from the fact that we're repeatedly told that during our secondary education?

    And who should be taking control to fix the problem? President Obama? Too bad if we were a parliament we would have a Republican controlled government and we'd be going through the same crap Europe and the UK are going through.

    Then we get the government we vote for. It's also pretty hard to look at the current content of the U.S. government and conclude a parliamentary system would look like this based on its contents; Obama did win the last presidential election with a fairly large majority, after all.

    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    It should be beyond clear to anybody paying attention that in our current financial crisis, 'checks and balances' have had the effect of hamstringing government response. They have throughout our history primarily served as a mechanism to impede the popular will, not stop the machinations of the wealthy/powerful. Why then do we think they're so great, aside from the fact that we're repeatedly told that during our secondary education?

    And who should be taking control to fix the problem? President Obama? Too bad if we were a parliament we would have a Republican controlled government and we'd be going through the same crap Europe and the UK are going through.

    Except we would have had considerably more Democratic outcomes from '06-'10 which may well have changed public perception and prevented the Republican wave of 2010. Hypotheticals are fun!

    Herbert Hoover got 40% of the vote in 1932. Friendly reminder.
    Warren 2020
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    It should be beyond clear to anybody paying attention that in our current financial crisis, 'checks and balances' have had the effect of hamstringing government response. They have throughout our history primarily served as a mechanism to impede the popular will, not stop the machinations of the wealthy/powerful. Why then do we think they're so great, aside from the fact that we're repeatedly told that during our secondary education?

    And who should be taking control to fix the problem? President Obama? Too bad if we were a parliament we would have a Republican controlled government and we'd be going through the same crap Europe and the UK are going through.

    Except we would have had considerably more Democratic outcomes from '06-'10 which may well have changed public perception and prevented the Republican wave of 2010. Hypotheticals are fun!

    I mean yes, they are fun, but also fairly meaningless. IF we're going to talk about NOW then we need to talk about how the world would be with the government set up we have now. The Democrats also aren't much better on economics pre-recession or even now really.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Well, there would be some kind of sunset provisions for the current Congress to expire and the parliamentary system would be enacted after new elections in like, 2020.

    Herbert Hoover got 40% of the vote in 1932. Friendly reminder.
    Warren 2020
  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    The rhetoric around this would be fun to watch. It would be all "DESTROYING AMERICA" and "NOT WHAT THE FOUNDING FATHERS INTENDED" with a side order of "parliament? Like those socialist countries in Europe?"

    Phyphor on
    Magic Box
    Academician Prokhor "Phyphor" Zakharov, Chief Scientist of China, Provost of the University of Planet - SE++ Megagame
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Well, there would be some kind of sunset provisions for the current Congress to expire and the parliamentary system would be enacted after new elections in like, 2020.

    Well that's a separate issue about implementation. What I'm saying is would you want the Tea Party to have sole control over the US government without the Senate and the Obama Administration stopping their shit? This is why I find checks and balances important.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Presidentialism elsewhere tends to have such a poor record that one always wonders how the United States got away with it. Recall that the alleged benefit of separation of powers, namely divided government, has elsewhere tended to destroy the legitimacy of the system of government itself.

    But again, until the early 20th both the Senate and the Presidency were dominated by state politicking, and after this period until the Nixon scandals the Presidency was essentially dominant. The particular system of government in its modern balance only really dates to the 1970s. The federal government as a system is expected to carry its own democratic legitimacy independent of institutions at the state or lower levels and it seems to have spent the four decades losing it, and of course there have already been more than one serious attempts to hold the system of government itself hostage for the benefit of the party then in control of Congress or the Presidency, saved only by one side blinking first.

    The cheery optimism that this system is necessarily and obviously stable seems.... dubious. This doesn't imply the future is necessarily sci-fi dystopia; rather more probably, there will be some change at some point and thereafter we'll sit around agreeing that it was obviously inevitable. Recall that not terribly long ago this forum was seriously discussing proposed measures that would have, say, effectively removed the ability of a divided Congress to set the budget agenda, thus effectively simulating the budget dynamics of an FPTP parliamentary system anyway (under the 'jumbo platinum coin' etc. plans, the President would always get his way on the budget unless Congress fought back by supermajority, rather like a parliamentary majority government that only collapses when it does something so egregious that partisanship cannot stop the legislature turning against it).

    ronya on
    aRkpc.gif
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