About Ivan W. Parkins
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In This Issue:
¨ The Democrats are to Blame for Financial Mess
¨ Our Unrepresentative House
¨ Reprint on the dominance of the House of Representatives by liberal Democrats
¨ Truth marches on! Or does it?
EQUAL PARTISAN BLAME FOR THE FINANCIAL CRISIS
By Ivan W. Parkins
The partisan makeup of Congresses since FDR demonstrates why equal partisan responsibility for our financial crisis is unlikely to be true.
Congress, especially the House of Representatives, by terms of the Constitution and in practice, plays a major role in our national finances. For the past eighty years
Democrats have held majorities in the House of Representatives 80% of the time. Also, the sizes of Democratic majorities have exceeded greatly the sizes of the few Republican majorities. The Republicans’ best was the 57 votes in the 80th Congress following the off-year election as Harry Truman was finishing the term that he inherited from FDR.
Most Republican majorities since have been less than half that large. And 57 votes is well below the average advantage that Democrats have had.
In 1952 President Eisenhower won and got a House majority of 10 votes. He lost that in the 1954 off-year. And no Republican President saw a Republican majority in the House for the next forty years. Nixon’s record setting popular plurality of 1972 was accompanied by large Democrat majorities in both Houses of Congress. Democrat Carter’s slim win in 1976 was accompanied by a 149 vote Democrat majority in the House. That majority was larger than any enjoyed by a Republican President, ever, and larger than the total of all the six Republican wins since then. Presidents Reagan and G.H.W.Bush won three successive elections, all by margins larger than Carter’s, but enjoyed during their twelve years at the helm no Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Newt Gingrich’s “revolution” brought in small Republican majorities that lasted for twelve years and produced balanced budgets in four of them, the only such budgets since LBJ bequeathed one to Nixon.
OUR UNREPRESENTATIVE HOUSE
By Ivan W. Parkins
By most polling and election participation figures, our House of Representatives, the branch of our government that the Framers of the Constitution designed to be especially close to the people, is now the least popular of the several branches. Why?
One of the things that struck me as most unrealistic when I began to study our government seriously was the idea that one person could represent, in any kind of intimate or personal way, the interests and needs of hundreds of thousands. That was the early 1950s, and congressional districts contained, on average, well over three hundred thousand persons, about ten times as many as were allotted 160 years earlier.
Population growth is only part of the problem. Most states in 1790 thought that only adult white males should vote, and not all of them. Since many Americans were not white, about half were women, and the median age was a little less than 16 years, only a very few thousands could qualify to vote in most districts. And, the Representative could have personal contacts with a substantial portion of them. Now, this nation’s population is about twice what it was sixty years ago. Our Representatives have in their districts tens of thousands more constituents than there are minutes in a year, and most are eligible to vote. That year is one of 365 days, each 24 hours long, not a common working year of 1800-2000 hours.
My long-term solution to the situation is to disassemble the Representatives and to increase their numbers greatly. They should vote electronically from offices in their districts. That will limit severely their participation in the petty activities of Washington’s Beltway, but it could leave them with a decisive vote on major policies. Any such change is for years, perhaps decades, in the future.
Meanwhile, there are two things that we can do. We can turn out and vote for people who are less the favorites of the “old mainstream media.” Also, we can keep in mind that while the job of Representative is almost impossible for anyone to do well, it is especially frustrating and discouraging to those who have been in the minority nearly all of the time, and unable to remember being part of a comfortably large majority.
One additional note to the above.
Contrary to the clear intent of our Constitution, the House of Representatives is, as measured by opinion polls and the participations of eligible voters, the least popular branch of our federal government. At least one major reason for that has nothing to do with the partisanship or performances of our Representatives.
The following article
Is a reprint from 2008 which Illustrates the
Media’s and liberal
Democrat’s role on this
OUR MOST LIBERAL
AND GENEROUS CRISIS?
By Ivan W. Parkins
A large part of Senator Obama’s campaign is above reproach; it is not aimed at any real person. The President Bush that we all know is mainly a media construction. Like most recent Presidents late in their terms, the present occupant of the White House has a very poor media image.
Media images are one large part of the present credit crisis. That began long ago when “more sensitive” politicians, mainly liberal Democrats, began pressuring banks to lend to persons who had poor credit ratings. Years of rising housing prices, especially in more crowded areas, made almost any loan based upon current value a safe loan, and stimulated such things as ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages). Coincidentally, about one half a trillion dollars ($500,000,000,000) of ARMs were scheduled for readjustment in the first half of 2008.
Meanwhile, primary lenders traded their mortgages to larger banks for more cash to lend. The larger banks and financial institutions packaged various loans into “derivatives” and sold those widely. Groups such as ACORN encouraged and aided people, who had previously been unable to qualify, to obtain mortgages. And with all of that our TVs carried numerous ads to “Buy this house and flip it.”
Recently, some economic slowdown and declines of home prices in local areas, plus demands of regulators regarding the capital of lending institutions, initiated a collapse of that house-of-cards, and major problems for the World’s economies followed.
It is a crisis in which the foolish or guilty are almost as numerous as the victims. If special culprits are to be singled out, politicians who promoted the easier lending rules, who encouraged unlikely individuals to seek loans, and who promoted the lending excesses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are prime candidates. They include former President Clinton, Finance Committee Chairmen Dodd and Frank, and former ACORN Trainer Obama, none of them a friend of either the real or the media-image Bush.
Can such people now buy the White House? If so, to whom will they flip it?
PARTISANSHIP AND BUDGETS
By Ivan W. Parkins
If you doubt that, for about 80% of the time that even our oldest citizens remember, Democrats have dominated the House of Representatives, or that their majorities in the House have been, on average about 4 times larger than Republican majorities of that period, please check some of the many available records.
So, how does a President, when he is faced with a large opposition party majority in the House, accomplish the things that he believes he must do? He accepts compromises, and that with modern day Democrats usually means spending, and taxes, for things that the Republican President opposes at least in the present budget year. That has been the fate of every recent Republican President throughout much, or all, of his administration.
One of the first things that Congress did after forcing President Nixon out was to vote itself a larger role in the process of budgeting—and taxation.
President Ford, advised by his medical experts that a very dangerous flu season was coming, approved expenditures and legal protections to assure adequate flu vaccine. In order to get that, he had to approve a bill that also included a larger expenditure for job training which he had recently vetoed.
President G.H.W. Bush, trying to counter Saddam Hussein’s seizure of Kuwait, was faced with Democrat resistance, not only to war, but to enacting the annual budget without substantial increases of social spending and taxes. Bush gave up his “no new taxes” pledge, won the Gulf War, and lost his chance to be reelected.
Representation of at least, some people, arose from medieval traditions, especially England’s. Kings, in need of more money looked for ways to raise taxes with less public resistance. They granted, to at least some of their more prosperous subjects, a voice in taxation issues.
Our Constitution goes considerably farther. It provides for a House of Representatives first among the several branches. And it further requires that “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; . . .” The Constitution also provides, and practice has enlarged, roles of the other branches. But, in evaluating how our political parties have managed finances in recent times, it is important to take notice of which party has held majorities in the House and how large those majorities were over what periods of time. Most people will, I believe find, as I have recently, that partisan advantages of Democrats in the makeup of the House of Representatives have been even larger than I had noticed.
The last House majority of Republicans as large as 100 votes was the one that greeted Herbert Hoover following his election in 1928. FDR’s first five House majorities were: 194, 219, 246, 93, and 105. The next best Republican majority in the House was the one of the 80th Congress, 57 votes. It was lambasted and ended by Truman in the elections of 1948. Eisenhower entered office with a House Republican majority of 10 votes; he was the last Republican President to hold any House majority until 2000. In his last two years Eisenhower faced a Democrat majority of 130 in the House. But let’s get beyond the Great Depression, New Deal, and World War II, and the period of their aftermaths
About half a century ago President Kennedy entered office, along with a House of Representatives in which the Democrats had an 89 vote majority. That majority was just about the average of those the Democrats have enjoyed for 38 of the following 50 years. In that period Democrats had six House majorities of 100 or more. Meanwhile, during the Clinton and Bush Administrations there were 12 years of Republican majorities in the House, but they averaged only about 20 votes. The net result, if we make a combination of years and sizes of majorities, is to give Democrats in the House an advantage of about fourteen to one over Republicans in shaping the nation’s budgets during the past half century.
Shouldn’t the above conditions count in assessing the comparative spending habits of Democrat and Republican Administrations? All of the above is very much a matter of public record. Too little of it has been given much notice by our “old mainstream
A New Truth !
Or A New Truth?
By Ivan W. Parkins
IWParkins from Polinfodissed: 10/25/07
On the Inside