November 27th, 2016

Moose With Mug

Three-Part Info Dump

A few different things I've left as comments on other people's Facebook posts. Each of them I decided I wanted to preserve on an easier to search platform.

Part I: The Art of Debating While Saying Nothing

Nothing irritates me more than somebody trotting out the hoary, mindless "taxation is theft" argument. It's a juvenile, loaded construct that completely ignores the fact that there are a litany of services that must be provided by the government, either because various industries have proven over the years that they cannot be trusted to do these things, the profit margin is too small for capitalist enterprises to be bothered, or it's simply in the public's best interest and well-being to keep it out of the hands of any kind of business.

Society is, at a fundamental level, a socialistic construct... Why, the two words even derive from the same root word! Thousands of years ago, our ancestors figured out that if we banded together and pooled some of our labors into the public good, then we all would do better than if we continued a Darwinian Battle Royale out in the wilderness. If we just went full-blown, laissez faire libertarian, we'd end up back in a feudal society (or worse) faster than you can say "primae noctis."

Part II: My Problem With the Electoral College

Each state receives a number of electoral votes that equals the combined number of its Senator and Representatives in Congress. However, the formula that originally that determined how many Representatives each state received differs from we we do today. This formula required the increase of representatives in a manner that correlated with the increase of the general US population. According to Article I, section 2, clause 3: "The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every 30,000, but each State shall have at least one representative." Thus, the states were represented in the EC in a roughly proportional manner.

However, once the House hit 435 Representatives, it was decided to freeze the number. While doing so, it was decided that the minimum of Representatives for each state would logically be 1. The problem with this is that when any state's population falls below the threshold for 1/435 of the US population, its Representative actually represents fewer people than any of the Representatives from any state large enough for 2 or 3 Representatives. this problem becomes even more exacerbated when dealing with states such as Texas or California.

This proportionality problem is reflected in the Electoral College today. Yes, it was always there to a degree, by design, but the bias towards rural states over the more urbanized ones in the college has gotten worse over time.

That is the problem I have with the current make up of the Electoral College. If you are going to go by the founders' original intent (an admittedly dicey proposition, especially in light of Time's article on the origins of the EC) then the formula for electors for each state should equal two for each Senator plus a formula that more equitably assigns additional electors based on percentage of US population, as splitting 435 just isn't sufficient when spread out over 50 states and a population of over 300 million. The 2010 census reported 308.7 million people in the US. Clearly, 30,000 is too small by today's standards, as that would require over 100,000 electors. But solely for Electoral College purposes, I think I can get behind a number somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000. That should be sufficient to deal with the rounding problem.

Part III: The Trump-Pence Dilemma

I cannot state just how much I loathe the thought of it; we might in fact be better off with a President Pence. Yes, I am suggesting that if the Republicans can use any reason to invoke the 25th Amendment to impeach Trump as soon as possible, then they should do so. Whether it is literally or behind the scenes, I think that Pence will in fact be doing most of the string-pulling anyway. Based on some of the examples neocon David Frum has presented, Trump may very well be a national security risk -- and this should give the Republicans they leverage they need to impeach. This more than anything else is the reason why I think we are better off with Pence actually in the Oval Office.

Don't get me wrong, all the domestic implications will suck balls. But, at least there will be an adult in the chair.