Skip Navigation

Biggest issue with American policy

Travel Forums Off Topic Biggest issue with American policy

1. Posted by TKolb325 (Full Member 197 posts) 10y

Since "constructive criticism" of America seems to be a popular topic here, I figure, why not point out our favorite American policy that we love to hate. Maybe this thread is too negative, so if it is, moderators, feel free to delete this thread, I won't be mad. But if not, lets hear a few suggestions. Let's all try to be as diplomatic and respectful with our replies. Think carefully before you post.(http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=17655)

I'll start. The lobbying system. Why is it that no one else realizes that this is a legal, blatant way to bribe congressmen to vote the way a corporation wants them to.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051220/ap_on_go_co/delay_living_on_donors

Sure there are "rules" that regulate what the money is used for, but they are easily bendable, and usually are. I think if you suck the money incentive from politics, it would help ease the level of corruption.

Anyone like to comment, add to, or suggest a different issue?

2. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 10y

Personally I don't like the presidential elections system. It's too undemocratic for a democratic country. I'd prefer a tally of the total votes and the winner gets the office, not this highly debatable states system where you win a whole state in one go with just a few votes one way or the other. It means that the entire policy making process is focused on pleasing the big "important" states.

Also let it be known that I am heavily critical of several Norwegian/Dutch policies, so my point of view in these matters is far from just being focused on one country.

From a business point of view for example, I really admire the US and the opportunities it offers for businesses.... in that regard, European legislation can really stink (France, Italy, Germany etc.) and the people end up paying the price for it in high unemployment rates etc...

3. Posted by TKolb325 (Full Member 197 posts) 10y

I agree. When Bush first took office, he did not win the popular vote, but only won by the electoral college. An outdated, archaic, system, that in the end, doesn't give the people what they want. We have the technology now to count every vote, and now do not need the electoral college. But I doubt that we will get rid of such a system, since it is the only reason our president is where he is today.

4. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 10y

My, my, my... I'm not even sure where to begin with this one. But I promise non-aggressive as possible. ;)

I agree with both Travis and Sam on the two separate issues - the lobbiists and the Electoral College. Neither represent the population for which they were originally designed.

Lobbying - It actually was a good idea in the beginning - a way for small interest groups to gain governmental attention. Sadly, it has become a list of "who's who" in big business and money is thrown at the politicians like buckets of martinis. Who's not going to go for that?! Even the most honest and forthright political figure becomes a challenge - who can influence them with money and perks first. It's no longer a means for small interest recognition, but rather a game of big one-upsmanship.

I don't think that "sucking the monetary incentives from politics" will "help level the corruption". Someone will always find new and inventive ways to work around the system. My first thought - limit the type/size of business and monetary support that can be used for the lobbying process. But, my second thought - large corporations would just set up dummy companies small enough to fall within the regulations. It's a no win situation... (Being a member of AARP, I appreciate that they are one of the largest lobbying groups in Washington. But, I'm also angry with them for flip-flopping on the new Medicare Drug Plan - which is a joke! Sorry, that's off the subject.)

The Electoral System - Originally, the purpose of the College of Electors was to have the most knowledgeable and informed individuals from each state of the Union cast their votes for the president assuming that they voted solely on the basis of merit.
This mode of electing a President made sense originally. There was a small population of citizens, communications were limited and the nation had just been established. But, by today's standards, it is just an archiac system. "One man - one vote" should mean something ("man" = person). I honestly believe the Electoral College should be disbanded and, like Sam said, the one with the most toys (votes) wins. We have a horrible turn-out rate for elections. Maybe if people knew their vote truly counted - they might take the time to show up.

Okay, I'm done.

Source for text in italics.

[ Edit: Fixed spelling ]

5. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 10y

Isa, my turn on the soap box.
The Electoral College had its place in the founding of our country and served its pupose for 200 years. It will no be easy to abolish. Hillary Clinton stood by the EC, even after the problems in the 2000 election. It would take 2/3 majority in both the House & Senate, and then 3/4 of state legislatures to ratify a change in the EC. This is not going to happen. Like it or not the EC is here to stay. The ERA never could be enough states to ratify, small states will not dump the EC either.

Voter Turnout;
It is a shame less than 50& of American choose their leaders. Perhaps changing the day of election would help. Sunday is election day in many countries and they get a better turnout the the US. I think it is worth trying.

My pet peeve;
Most of the posters on the TP have opinions about the US and its leaders. Neagtive, for the most part. Why do we not read anything about the direction Vladimir Putin is taking Russia? Anyone who embraces democracy and human rights cannot be pleased with Putin's leadership. He has taken Russia back towards less freedom than under Gorbachev. Chechnya was taken by force so it would not become independent. Russia allowed other former republics to leave the old USSR, not Chechnya. Thousands of lives were lost on both sides and it is still ongoing. The terror attacks in Russia are the direct result of occupying Chechnya. Since it is not on the nightly news it no longer matters? I think most TP posters tilt at very specific windmills. Now I relinquish the soap box.

6. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 10y

Quoting vegasmike6

My pet peeve;
Most of the posters on the TP have opinions about the US and its leaders. Neagtive, for the most part. Why do we not read anything about the direction Vladimir Putin is taking Russia? Anyone who embraces democracy and human rights cannot be pleased with Putin's leadership. He has taken Russia back towards less freedom than under Gorbachev. Chechnya was taken by force so it would not become independent. Russia allowed other former republics to leave the old USSR, not Chechnya. Thousands of lives were lost on both sides and it is still ongoing. The terror attacks in Russia are the direct result of occupying Chechnya. Since it is not on the nightly news it no longer matters? I think most TP posters tilt at very specific windmills. Now I relinquish the soap box.

TP is an english site which limits what types of opinions and discussions take place I would guess. For instance, I learned not too long ago that Iranians are avid political bloggers. I would love to listen in on some of those talks. But alas, I can't read Iranian. :(

Great post by the way !!!

7. Posted by beerman (Respected Member 1631 posts) 10y

Quoting Sam I Am

Also let it be known that I am heavily critical of several Norwegian/Dutch policies

Damn, I thought I was the only one.....
And while we're on the subject of Norwegian/Dutch policies....I keed, I keed....

To me, the biggst problem with all politics is greed. No one will admit to it, but politicians tend to be very greedy people. They all want to show their constituents that "they're working hard" for them, but they work so many "backroom deals" with their fellow politicians (and lobbyists), that the constituents are rarely heard. OK, greed and dishonesty. Honesty is a quality that has been missing from politics for far too long. How can politician accept hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and remain independent? They can't. Lobbyists know this. The latest example was a Congressman from California who received a Rolls-Royce, vacations, etc, from a military lobbyist. At his press conference, he even cried. I'm thinking maybe a little jail time would make him cry real tears.

It is impossible to get anything accomplished in politics without connections and money. There are too many different factions vying to be heard, and too much money floating around.

I'm a bit of a pessimist in this area though. I don't think politicians will ever change, nor will they ever truly represent the people who elected them.

PS: Did you know that US Senators receive their salaries for life? It was voted into law literally in the middle of the night many years ago during a late roll call vote.

Ahh, politics. Three-Card Monty in a business suit.....

PPS: I agree with Travis....let's keep it civil.

8. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 10y

Quoting Q_Zhang

TP is an english site which limits what types of opinions and discussions take place I would guess. For instance, I learned not too long ago that Iranians are avid political bloggers. I would love to listen in on some of those talks. But alas, I can't read Iranian. :(

Great post by the way !!!

I have to agree with Q on this one. In the time I have been a member, the majority of the politically based discussions have been started by Americans, Canadians or Brits, with an occasional Aussie thrown in for good measure. Because of this, most of the members who respond are also from these nations and the comments are going have take on a particular slant.

It would be great to see members from other countries also start threads about their political views and beliefs. Such discussions would definitely enlighten us and broaden our knowledge of political workings abroad. Until that time, interested members will post in the threads they are most comfortable discussing.

As far as the Electoral College - you're right, Mike, it won't be going away for some time to come - if ever. Personally, I just believe it is a system that has long outlived it's usefullness. I also believe it helped to create a much larger group of apathetic voters after the 2000 elections. People who actually took the time to vote and thought it "counted" came to realize the power of the EC.

9. Posted by AlexT (Respected Member 245 posts) 10y

I tend toagree with what vegasmike said regarding low voter turn-out. Whilst scheduling of the election days plays a significant role, I think it is also the result of non-compulsory voting. I do recognise that a system of compulsory voting is somewhat contradictory in terms of the notion of democracy but I also believe that the issue deserves some sort of further investigation. I suppose my point is that if a democratic system of government is supposed to give the people power then perhaps it is a necessary way to get ordinary Americans more involved in politics. Having never been to the USA I obviously have little or no frame of reference here but from an outsiders point of view, it seems that if everyone voted, perhaps more could be done for the disadvantaged and perhaps Congress, the Senate, etc would be more representative of the population as a whole...

I think i'll leave it there but will add that I do like the idea of the 2 term limit for presidents... I think something that could be looked into here but I wont get started on Aussie politics because my criticisms of that would go on for weeks...

10. Posted by SeeTheSky (Respected Member 558 posts) 10y

im going to stay out of this one guys... many of you know how i feel, and those of you who know me know that it is damn near impossible for me to take a informed unemotional politically correct stance on this crap, so....
enjoy a fine discussion, all! im sitting this one out.