James Williamson guest blog: Dear Santa, this is what I wish for during the 2012 election cycle . . .

Editor’s note:  James Williamson is one of my (DJW’s) younger brothers.  He is an Ohio native currently residing in Nevada.


Election season is over.  The campaigns for 2012 have not begun yet.  That means we are at a point at which the field is wide open for the next cycle and we can dream up any scenario we like.  So, in my letter to Santa this year, I’d like to ask for a few things for 2012 (because it will need to start in motion now for it to come to fruition by then).

Dear Santa,

There are so many things that I would like to ask for but I’ll try to keep the list short in hopes that I will get at least one wish.

1.    Sovereign fiscal sanity. I’d like to see it spread to the whole world but if that can’t be done then at least bring it to the US.  Nothing leads to poorer decisions than desperation, which is where the major governments of the world are headed right now.

2.    More incumbents retiring or getting defeated. While it was gratifying to see a bumper crop of new freshmen in the US Congress this year, I hope that we get even more next time.  Part of the difficulty that we have with solving our current problems with government is that the people that helped create them are the ones in charge of fixing them.  We need fresh blood and fresh thought . . . and lots of it.

3.    The death of professional lobbyists. OK, so this is probably never going to happen, but remember I called it a wish list.  One of the problems that we have today (as the Buckeye RINO has pointed out before) is that Congress no longer writes its own legislation and often doesn’t even know all the details of the legislation when they vote on it.  The actual text of most legislation is written by lobbyists or, more commonly, clients of the lobbyists.

4.    A requirement to identify who writes all text included in legislation. If we could identify who is writing the actual text of the legislation, then maybe judges could use a similar philosophy with statutory law that is used in tort law:  In case sof ambiguity, the decision will generally favor the one who did no draft of the contract (or, in this case, legislation).  Maybe that would deter corporations from getting involved in the bill writing process and our lazy representatives and senators would have a reason to do something besides take sides, bicker, and make closed-door deals when creating new legislation.

5.    A simplified tax code. I work for a retired colonel who is very intelligent and quite successful.  Once we were talking about taxes and he mentioned that when he does his taxes with an electronic filing system he will watch the tax meter and react when the number goes up or down.  It reminded me of playing pinball or gambling.  What is wrong with our tax code?  Why does it have to be so complex that even people with Ph.D.’s can’t figure out their tax liability until the IRS instructions for filing a return are published?  Corporations can afford to hire people to dedicate themselves full time to try to figure this out, but most individuals can’t, so the government strategy is to take too much and then refund back what they aren’t entitled to by law.  Would you like to pay your utility bills this way?  I read a recent article that suggests that the government can only get about 19% of GDP no matter what they do.  This is because higher taxes stifle economic growth.  So if 19% of GDP is the magic number, then why don’t we just set it there (or preferably lower) and stop all the games of cat and mouse with deductions and credits?  (OK this discussion could go on for another hundred pages so I’m going to cut it off here.)

6.    A balanced Congress. Congress always makes bad moves when one party thinks they can act with impunity in the spirit of “getting things done”.  I think the cases of Congress not doing anything are better than Congress doing something poorly.  I’m not terribly concerned about the final outcome (although, with the Tea Party Movement successes being within the Republican party, I do tend to favor them) as long as one party needs the support of the other to get legislation passed.

7.    An independent White House. Probably too much to hope for, but I really wish we could have a president that doesn’t belong to either the Democratic or Republican party.  In theory, that would keep him party-neutral and not give one party or the other the advantage in Congress by having the president on “their side”.  A third party candidate would work, but I don’t see them having any more luck getting elected than an independent.

8.    More power returned to the states. Despite what detractors say about the nation’s founders, i.e. that the founders wanted, above all, a strong federal government (their reasoning is that the Constitution created a stronger government than the Articles of Confederation that existed previously) the founders also wanted strong state governments and strong protections for individuals.  It’s about balance.  The citizenry, the municipalities, the states, and the federal government all have their respective responsibilities and limits.  One of the reasons US Senators were selected by the states before the enactment of the 17th Amendment was to maintain the balance of power between the states and the federal government.  For some reason, we have forgotten that and have trodden the 10th Amendment under foot.  Can someone remind our government that the people (not the the federal government) are sovereign?  Can the states remind the federal government why we had a revolution in the first place?  Do they remember why we rebelled against king George?  Apparently not.

Well Santa, there are probably a lot of good girls and boys with much simpler wish lists this year but why ask for toys when they just wear out, break, or get tiresome?  Why not ask for something more meaningful than mindless entertainment or pleasure?  Is that asking too much?


James Williamson

P.S.   I wouldn’t want you to think that I am an ingrate. I am thankful for for my Christmas gifts from previous years: Thankful we have our independence from Britain;  thankful we have religious freedom;  thankful we have a strong military that protects us from foreign aggressors . . .  I could continue the list but I think you can fill in the rest.

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