Bill4DogCatcher to launch his own political party. All dogs in the neighborhood invited. Cats also welcome … maybe.

As DogCatcher in a good neighborhood, I don’t always have a lot of critters to be chasing down.

Now if I were in your neighborhood I would be concerned.

That’s the way politics works. My stuff is OK but you have problems.

Since dogs aren’t good at observing boundaries it often seems that your problems become mine, and mine yours.

Have tried TEA. Have tried coffee. Have met a lot of good people. Haven’t met a lot of other dog catchers.

So I was thinking: what if there was a group for fiscally conservative, socially liberal and pragmatic people. Centrists. Whether they lean right or lean left matters less than they all believe that we are one people of different hues all in this together. What if?

We could be a party. We could be an advocacy group called a party. We could be a philosophical grouping of people that became a party. We could just have a party and draw straws as to who does what next.

My line of thought is to form something called a party and to work out the details when we have a second member. We would endorse candidates in 2012 and look to run candidates and/or endorse candidates in 2014.

We do not even have to be an exclusive party. Whether now or in the future, if a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent fits the bill then we could endorse them and they can remain whatever they are, or want to be. Let’s not reinvent the wheel. Let’s get people of 80% likemindedness together where they have a political home without having to lean left or right.

(And it is amazing how some have managed to avoid tipping over the edges of known reality.)


The BIG Question

I posed the question on Facebook: Who is for starting the LDP – Libertarian Democratic Party?

Don’t worry about the name too much. We can fix that. Suggestions welcome.

All the good names are taken: Beer Party, Coffee Party, Tea Party, Fizzy Cola Party.

My thoughts about the LDP – Libertarian Democratic Party.

Libertarian – there needs to be a solid focus on both freedom of the individual and on personal responsibility. I do believe in minimal government, but that requires that people and institutions be responsible for their actions. With freedom comes responsibility. Let’s talk and focus on that. Let’s also recognize that Americans come in different colors and often prefer to hold hands with different people than you or I might choose. Let’s balance budgets, build roads, foster great schools and not focus on excluding people because of their preference for strawberry ice cream with lime over just vanilla or chocolate.

Democratic – this word makes some people crazy. My thoughts here are that it needs to be understood that we are open and working for all Americans. You could be conservative. You could be liberal. You could be permanently undecided. You could be so independent that your vote changes 4 times between your car and the voting booth. The question though is whether you are willing to work for the greater good of all Americans.


George asks …

Over the last year or so while exploring I met George. George is one tough guy.

You know the two cranky guys up in the balcony in the Muppets? George can out-critique the both of them.

Just as Pinocchio had Jiminy Cricket to keep him on the straight and narrow, I have George.

Not that I am Pinocchio but hopefully you get the drift of where I am going with this … George keeps me honest in a grumpy 24/7 reviewer-in-the-balcony kind of way. He never seems to run out of tomatoes and slightly aged eggs.

So George read my Facebook entry and asked:

I suppose if you are serious about running for office, you must first decide at what level. If it is to be at the federal level, how do you plan to:

A. Solve the debt problem?
B. Create jobs?
C. End the wars?
D. Fix Social Security and Medicare?

Next question–if you do run for office at any level–what are you going to do on the second day you are in office?

A. Start working on getting reelected?
B. Start working on the problems as you perceive them?
C. Go on some lobbyist sponsored trip/cruise/flight to see ???

If you don’t have answers to these questions–why bother?

George is dependable like that. He has questions and he already doesn’t like the answers … even before he gets them.

I like George … we all need Georges in our lives.


Dear George and Readers:

Assuming that people elect you to fulfill some level of promises made during the campaign I would start to work on those promises.

As for the four issues that were raised by George:

Federal Debt and Deficits

How to solve the debt problem — the shortterm fix is to slow or halt the growth of the debt. The U.S. paid out approximately $436 billion just in interest payments during 2010. Should our credit rating be downgraded to AA then the interest rate on our borrowing would probably rise to 3-4% and the interest paid out could almost double … we are only paying 1-2% now with our AAA rating.

>> How to slow: require that all expenditures have a funding source.

There are two major challenges here: war expenses and entitlements. It would probably be fruitless to insist that the black hole known as national defense actually be paid for but it we should try. Almost half of 2010’s deficit spending — $840 billion — went just to discretionary spending for defense and security. Add the regular defense budget to that and about 1/10th of American GDP went just to funding war in 2010.

The second major challenge is entitlement spending. Medicare is beyond broke on the financial side of the house, with an estimated $38 trillion never collected for the trust fund but which will be needed over the next 20 years. Put another way, to rescue medicare as we know it will require about 1/7th of annual U.S. GDP for 20 years. Medicare needs triage: it needs to become means tested, higher copays, and the basic medicare tax needs to be raised.

>> Whatever we can do make it more efficient just goes without saying as medicare is not a program full of pork.

On the debt in the longer term, we need to raise taxes by 5-7% and rescind the Bush tax cuts. The 5-7% tax increase should be sunset provisioned so that the tax goes away automatically once the debt can be serviced via other measures such a increased revenues or when it falls below a certain level.

Jobs Creation

How to create jobs — this is a tricky question for me. I believe that we are undergoing a permanent realignment of how people work and that the very definition of ‘work’ and ‘career’ is changing. The skills are changing too.

>> I firmly believe that we are in a period where new jobs in raw numbers will be almost non-existent between now and 2024. Jobs for junior professionals will begin to open up in 2016-2017. Maybe. Our market will not reach equilibrium until we begin to reach the end of the Boomer generation leaving the work force.

Creating jobs — my immediate focus would be on getting credit markets to provide low cost loans to small businesses. Small business finds credit hard to come by, yet small business has created 2 out of 3 jobs since 2007.

I would also focus on infrastructure and education as a way to create jobs.

Infrastructure — very high speed internet needs to be everywhere. It must be so common that no one evens thinks about having access to it. The Internet is a huge enabler and cost reducer for business.

Physical infrastructure also needs attention. I believe that states, counties and cities should take the lead in this. Rather than block grants I believe that very low cost loans need to be made to these more local governments to fund specific projects.

Education — There is no good reason that a college degree should be so expensive. We can not dictate to schools what they should charge for a quality education, but we should encourage certain behavior via funding low cost education loans for students that attend schools with high graduation rates for those skills that are in demand within communities.

Ending the Wars & War in General

The wars — Thomas Jefferson said that the best way to prevent most wars from happening is to ask people to pay for them as they occur.

>> Jefferson “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

Short of a declared war, and short of our ability to pay for it, we should pay for defense in full, just like all other parts of the federal budget should be paid for via balanced budgets.

We do not need credit card wars except with threat is imminent and we have not had time to prepare.

I would also encourage the greater use of special forces, remote and standoff attack capabilities such as drone warfare and drone overwatch, and I would grow the capabilities of our human intelligence elements on the ground.

I am not an isolationist. We should be very proactive in the world and I would like to see our forces prepositioned and stationed around the world as much as possible. This is good not only for having a highly experience force but also for developing an understanding of the world.

We need to stop reacting. We need greater cultural awareness and relationships with other countries. The world needs to know that we are not going to become isolationists due to our overreach in both Iraq and in Afghanistan.

Social Security and Medicare

>> Medicare I’ve addressed as part of national debt.

>> Social Security — there are issues but they are not insurmountable. Social Security is now an American institution and absolutely essential to the prosperity of the country as a whole — we cannot return to the days when retirement often meant a lowered quality of life for many Americans, perhaps 1 in 3.

To stabilize Social Security, I would support:

— raising the retirement age to 69, or unchanged for those that are disabled and prevented from working before age 69.

— means testing for two levels of benefits. Social Security survived its 1937 Supreme Court challenge because the Roosevelt Administration argued that it was not an insurance program. It was to be a tax that provided assistance to those that needed it — that was the argument.

We can probably make sure that those need it actually get it by means testing.

I would also consider capping the annual payout so that it matched available trust funds. For example, if someone were scheduled to receive $1750 per month and the trust funds fully supported that with no red ink projected then $1750 would be the check received.

However, if trust fund were low and the trust only supported $1600 then the payment would be lowered to $1600.

This would be adjusted monthly.

This approach could be seen as ‘not keeping the promise’. Payout according to funds availability is much better than the program collapsing due to lack of funding.

People need to feel the effect of their economic decisions. If the trust fund is running low and Americans support higher taxes or alternative funding methods then good, else the budget must be balanced.

… as for what I am really going to do on my second day in office, the questions that George gave me were:

A. Start working on getting reelected?
B. Start working on the problems as you perceive them?
C. Go on some lobbyist sponsored trip/cruise/flight to see ???

My answers, having been a DogCatcher for awhile:

A — Day 2 is always the first day of your next campaign.

B — Yes, start working on problem solving … and learning the ropes of how things work once the door is closed. As someone that is independent minded it will take a while to gain the trust and the shared insight of those that are reelected incumbents and that control the real processes at work.

C — =^) … with my luck and junior status a junket for me would probably be to watch potatoes grow in Idaho as I move up the agricultural committee foodchain.


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5 responses to “Bill4DogCatcher to launch his own political party. All dogs in the neighborhood invited. Cats also welcome … maybe.

  1. Bill,

    Good luck! If you do decide to declare and run for office, I will support you. Our world view is, while not identical, very consistent on the “big stuff”. I’ve decided to remain a “party of one”.

    I’ve tried political groups over the past couple of years and have found they just don’t suit me. They are either formed by someone who wishes to build support for some preconceived philosophy or idea or quickly taken over by others for the same reason. This isn’t necessarily a criticism, it’s an observation (and probably not always correct… it’s just my experience). These groups suit some people. They are not for me.

    I’ll continue to be a “party of one” seeking to exchange information with people of all political persuasions who are willing to discuss and disagree without making it “personal” (as you and I do regularly). I don’t desire to sign up to develop a group philosophy… I already have a personal philosophy. I am not interested in building a platform… I’d rather evaluate the platforms presented by candidates (with a bit of due diligence to see if their platform reflects their past actions). I have no desire to convert anyone to my way of thinking or to be the subject of the conversion efforts of others. I have encountered intolerance for ideas with whom others disagree or don’t understand and have no interest in becoming the target of such intolerance again.

    Everything that I know and believe is based upon what I have learned as of this moment. I continue to evolve as I assimilate new information. If presented with compelling information, I could completely and radically change what I believe (just as new information proved that the Earth is not flat or that it is not the center of the Universe). My greatest pleasure is finding out that I’m wrong about something… because that is truly personal and intellectual growth. I am a Libertarian because, frankly, it comes with the fewest rules and the least baggage. It’s a label. I have found most other labels whether they be left or right, coffee or tea, liberal or conservative, come with complex rulesets, expectations, perhaps a touch of religious doctrine mixed in with public policy, and little tolerance for other ideas. They are more about people who need reinforcement to convince themselves that their live makes sense, that what they believe is correct, or perhaps to validate a lifetime of personal action and decisions.

    The fact that I have spent a good part of my life overseas, occasionally in “bad neighborhoods,” and usually with people who have radically different views of the world, how it should be organized, and why we are here has convinced me that most of our personal beliefs are merely accidents of birth, circumstance, and our environment. (Show of hands… how many people changed religions when they got married? ..Political parties?) I long for the day when people can “step out of” the framework in which they were born, perhaps reconsider spending a lifetime confirming it, and stop devoting so much time to compelling others to be part of it.

    To those who look for an organized political party, I give Bill Golden my highest recommendation. We have spent long hours on my front porch and a few other places discussing a range of issues. He has changed my mind about a few things… and I believe that perhaps I have changed his once or twice. I will watch this group with great interest. Should Bill decide to run for anything, I will support him… not necessarily because I agree with everything he perhaps puts forward in an agenda… but because I have found him to be an honorable man.

    At the end of the day, I would rather see an honorable man in public office with whom I might disagree occasionally than the alternative.

    Good luck… and let me know if you are still interested in Coffee with a “Party of one” occasionally. That offer is open to any one of like mind who believes that they might want do engage in conversations where they might learn, inform, or just enjoy a good cup of coffee. My front porch is generally available… and my coffee gets good reviews.


  2. George S. Harris

    Billy–earlier on FB, we talked about Medicare–this AMA report talks about $17 billion lost through erroneous claim filing. This, I presume, is the extra cost of refiling claims.

    And this does not take into account any cost of fraud! Who knows how much mistakes are costing us? Probably double what the AMA report shows.

  3. George S. Harris

    BTW–CBS news says it is actually much higher–perhaps as much as $60 Billion a year! Yoiks!

  4. Bill,

    Assuming this turns out to be a smaller group devoted to discussing… well… the things we discuss on my front porch, “I’m in”. I like the “ten things” idea you offered as that offers an objective mathematical framework for evaluating candidates. The “trick” will be getting a group to agree on “ten things”. I think the level of the “ten things” might be the key; however, two high level will be worthless (“spend less money”) while too low level will flush out differences that may not be reconcilable (depending on the diversity of the group). That being said, I will remain an advocate of smaller Government.

    Since we are going to be a diverse group, I would suggest that perhaps its members should share their philosophy of Government early. It helps to understand whether a person leans left, right, center… brings religious doctrine with them… and why. Most of us arrived at our current beliefs because of life’s journey… and perhaps hearing the journey of others might cause all of us to reflect. I’m always looking for that, “The Earth isn’t flat” moment.

    For the record, I’m a Libertarian. Since you are also, Bill… I don’t need to go beyond the fact that I’m a fiscally conservative, socially tolerant, small Government free market capitalist who doesn’t like to be told what to think, do or say.

    Since you are, in fact, a fellow Libertarian Bill… I assume that your platform will be biased towards these things. While diverse thought is always a good idea, at the end of the day I assume you want to be surrounded by people who sill support your philosophy of Government and (should you elect to do so) your run for public office.

    While the math is interesting, the philosophy of what Government should and shouldn’t do (the philosophical issues) is (IMHO) more important. I will continue to discuss things the Government shouldn’t do and how to downsize those things the Government does now that it should have never started. Let me share my view of Social Security to give you a flavor of the application of my philosophy to Government.

    I recognize that Government needs to take care of “the least among us”; however, benefits have now evolved into lifestyle subsides for people who don’t need them. I have issues that the Federal Government should be in this business; however, “that boat’s sailed” and I am not interested in fighting losing battles. To me, the issue that a Libertarian may tackle is “scope”. I believe that Social Security should “downsize” considerably over the coming years because we can’t afford it and the Government shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing retirement for all. I’m for “means testing”. The means testing should be “ruthless” to ensure that Social Security benefits go to only those who have no other source of financial security in their old age. When I see someone over 60 enjoying retirement in a Golf course community or with a couple of cars in the driveway, I think these folks shouldn’t be subsidized by the Federal Government. I do believe that we need to keep our promise to folks who have paid for and included their investment in retirement planning; however, we need to phase out these wholesale lifestyle subsides over time.

    I also believe that people who already get one (or more) checks from the Federal Government should not qualify for Social Security (yes, I include military retirees in this group). This is just an example of a lifestyle subside that allows someone who already have a source of income to live in a larger house, perhaps have a second car, a longer vacation, etc. One check… and live within your means. Likewise, folks who have worked for companies that offer a retirement plan should be expected to participate in that plan. I’m a fan of 401k’s because they are portable in today’s mobile labor market. People who chose not to plan for their retirement should not expect the Government to “pick up the slack” when they retire. The issue of contributions (or honoring our promise to folks currently in the pipeline while phasing out benefits for folks who don’t need them) is a math problem.

    A few other issues I look forward to exploring:

    1. Government’s involvement in military action that does not address a clear and present danger to the homeland. Bring our troops home. As you know, I’m a big fan of “special operations” and the application of technology to seeking out and killing our enemies. The Bin Laden execution “made me proud”. That should be our future model… find those who would harm them and kill them. There are actually two executive orders that cover who we may assassinate (which makes the task a bit more “complicated”)… perhaps these need to be revisited.
    2. Downsizing the Federal Government considerably to fulfill its constitutional mandate of providing for defense, state, justice, and revenue (and those enumerated services like the Postal Service… which should be downsized). I have no interest in “tilting at windmills”. Large Government Agencies are here to stay; however, some are more vulnerable than others. HUD, for example, has proven to be a disaster and a waste of “our money”. It should go. The EPA provides some useful services; however, its bloated and could be cut in half. There are more examples.
    3. I object to religious doctrine being implemented as public policy. That is my biggest issue with the Tea Party. I found a lot that I agree with (like the previous two bullets); however, my approach is more moderate (that “windmill” thing). When Tea Party Candidates bring issues such as “right to life” or “gay rights” into their platform, they have gone beyond my Libertarian (I assume our Libertarian) tolerance level. That being said, since we are usually in the position of choosing “who offends us the least” I may vote for a Tea Party Candidate as a compromise. I’ve found the incumbent President to be a bit too fond of war… and the blood of Young Americans wasted for no good reason offends me above all else.

    My Libertarian theme song is the Rolling Stone’s “You can’t always get what you want”. I’m happy turning the ship of state a degree at a time to get it in the right direction. It appears I’m not alone.

    I look forward to our first “face to face” meeting as a group and offer my front porch as a venue…. actually it already is the venue… just expanded a bit.


    • Al,

      Thanks for the comprehensive overview and the logic behind it.

      I look forward to our smaller group get togethers as a special committee. It helps to have an intimate few put their minds together.

      My objective for the LDP, or whatever it ends up being called, is to move toward activism and recognition as quickly as possible.

      To be successful it needs to truly be centrist — folks focused on the best solution for the greater good. That means bridging the divide by actively involving left and right with a libertarian bent.

      Just as you are not fond of ‘democratic’ in the group name there are quite a few that do not like ‘libertarian’ in the name — and yet I believe them to be 80% libertarian.

      I am trying to avoid the meandering of the Coffee Party and the rhetorical chaos of the Tea Party. I would be happy with having just 100 or more group members by the year’s end — if they are all devoted to activism.

      I’ve tried creating groups in the past, without success: Jefferson Conservatives, a Prince William Tea Party group. While the core of the ideas are the same something is different this time. I purposely avoided any partisan identification while also embracing two words not often heard together: libertarian + democratic. This combo appears to have clicked.

      Even more interesting is that these words clicked among many of the same exact people that I’ve tried to attract in the past.

      We must reach out to libertarians that don’t know that they are. We must reach out to people on their own terms and in their own language. I’m amazed at how many people are essentially libertarian in philosophy but want nothing to do with libertarians.

      In the minds of most people, libertarians align with the rightwingers that believe that ‘just say no’ is the answer to everything.

      You and I know that is not the case. And folks like David Spencer and Bill Corzine are not like that. But if we want change we need a small Army … and this time I’m determined to be more successful at raising that army … if not, then the time after next.

      Cheers and next week is slow for me if you are up for coffee on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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