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Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter [pdf] (donaldjtrump.com)
784 points by arzt on Nov 9, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 1281 comments



Some of this sounds great - term limits on congress, a measure to reduce the revolving door effect of government officials going into lobbying.

Some of it sounds ridiculous - for every new federal regulation, 2 existing regulations must be eliminated. How is that considered feasible by any rational person? It might sound great if you don't think too hard about it.

The scariest things for me are the backing out of climate change accords and the opening up of additional shale/gas/etc resources. We really don't need to be heading in that direction, energy-wise.


There's a lot of room to wonder about his trustworthiness given his record as a businessman, but even in this document, he doesn't address campaign finance reform. Congressional term-limits just consolidate power in the moneyed elites--the problems is not just the politicians, it's who corrupted them. If anything, this is a document to passify those moneyed interests who, unlike say Sheldon Adelson, worry about a Trump presidency.

Everything I've seen so far suggests Trump isn't what blue-collar voters ordered for.


Funny, that "if one created, two removed" was a law imposed by a Principal Software Architect to me and my team regarding apps and apis as part of a rationalization program. "If you create this new API, make sure to remove at least two". I have to say, after two years there, that helped a lot to reduce redundancy and complexity. But well, apps and api are not the same of public policies... who knows.


But "aim for simplicity" is a good enough rule by itself, which isn't further enhanced by some "2 for 1" heuristic.

On top of that, "regulation count" is not a natural category, since one regulation can specify an arbitrary number of things. If you replace A) No smoking and B) no littering with C) No smoking or littering, have you changed anything substantive? You have not.

Regulation complexity, of course, is a natural category, but it's hard to measure before the fact and doesn't lend itself to easily-applied "follow for a guaranteed reduction" rules.


The difference is that you operate in a cooperative environment(well, most of the time) within your team. The president operates in an antagonistic environment by default - even if Congress is controlled by the same party, the two sides of government(executive/legislative) are supposed to keep each other in balance.

I otherwise agree that the measure is too simple.


Yes and more specifically Washington DC, the home of the regulators, voted 92% for Hillary. So Trump needs very hard rules that aren't open to interpretation AT ALL to have any chance of them actually working.


> Yes and more specifically Washington DC, the home of the regulators, voted 92% for Hillary.

Washington D.C. may be where regulators work (though some of that is outside the District), but regulators are a very small share of the population. The vote in D.C. has little to do with regulators (it has a lot more to do with race, but even saying it was solely about that would be oversimplifying.)


In my mind, refactoring public policy is going to be like refactoring business processes in enterprise code.

The perception is that all these "horrible" duplications and inefficiencies exist.

The reality is that the duplications are actually slightly different business cases that are are difficult or impossible to generalize (it was easier to copy/mutate) and that seemingly irrelevant code has potentially far reaching and damaging consequences (oh, that was important?)

The essential problem is that we look at these individual lines of code instead of realizing that they grew as part of a dynamic system.

Refactoring code isn't a good analogy.

Try refactoring DNA.

It becomes quite tragic (or hilarious) when teams try to simplify such systems and instead end up breaking lots of business process that was ugly, but worked.

DNA/evolution is orders of magnitude more messy than that, but it gets things done more safely and efficiently than some refactoring efforts I've seen.


nice way to get on a slippery slope towards "eval()".

"Read My Lips: no new APIs!"


I don't get it, doesn't that mean that eventually you have to have tend toward zero api endpoints?


APIs is a weird unit of complexity. Is 1 API more mental overhead than 12 APIs? It's hard to say.


The goal isn't like APIs: to preserve efficacy with a smaller set of tools. The goal is to literally make the government less capable of leading on things like healthcare reform and climate change.

Check who the Trump campaign says is going to be leading the switchover of the EPA. I think I know where most of the slashed regulations are going to come from.


At some point you have to stop cutting. You can't go thus forever.


The US code is 22 million words. [1] is a good visualization of it. I'd wager there are tons of redundancies that could be refactored. That being said, I'd also wager that careful refactoring is not on DJT's mind. More slash-and-burn the parts he doesn't like.

[1] https://twitter.com/harlanyu/status/165184504527462400/photo...


The US Code is law, not regulation, and so is completely irrelevant here. What you want to cite is the Code of Federal Regulations, which is much larger than the U.S. Code.

Of course you provide no reason at all except an unsupported assumption to believe that the size of the completely wrong thing that you cite is an indicator of unnecessary complexity, and the fact that you cite the completely wrong thing is a pretty good sign that you have zero knowledge of the domain from which to form a judgement.


I spoke in generalities. You are absolutely correct. I have no claim to being an expert or even a layman. What I do know is that once a description of any thing exceeds a certain threshold, there are bound to be redundancies. Think of it in terms of codebases for large softwares. The Linux kernel is approaching 20 MLoCs. I'd wager heavily on there being a different architecture delivering the same functionality with less code to describe it. Proving it would be a tremendously hard task, far outweighing any gain from such a bet.


"If this rule needs to be broken, then bring me a proposal for why" is a good addition. The idea should be to swap the default to less-complexity rather than more-complexity. If more is less, then it should be possible to write a succinct justification for it.


Is campaign finance reform really that big an issue, considering Trump just proved it's possible to win an election without any big money or support from special interests?


That's a lie. Trump courted and accepted money from special interests - there was even a Planet Money podcast on it.


Sure he did - but nearly as much as did Clinton. This election absolutely proved that a candidate can't simple "buy" an election


Well the story to me is basically: money plays a gigantic factor and allows you to win elections, because it gives you exposure.

You can beat that moneyed system if you happen to be an eccentric billionaire, who happens to have been a household name for decades, who will say anything, racist, misogynistic, hateful, lies and false promises, to get the exposure to get elected despite not paying for it.

Just about anything else and you need money to get exposure, get on television, get yourself in the spotlight. He just didn't happen to have needed money to get exposure, but that's an exception, in exceptional circumstances, and limits potential candidates to those with exceptional media/wealth backgrounds. That's not a model that makes sense to sustain.


Clinton campaign was the most expensive ever and she still lost[0]

And there is a reason for that: "Hillary Clinton was the candidate of the military industrial complex and international finance capital."[1]

[0] https://www.opensecrets.org/pres16 [1] http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/09/the-rejection-of-wall...


I disagree. I would argue that his campaign proved otherwise.

Promising to never accept special interest money, only to go on to actively seek out and take it a mere months later, proves that it's necessary to win in an election.


He has demonstrated something dangerous. It is dangerous to dispense bigotry from the highest office in the land. It has consequences. It gets people hurt and killed. The consequences are foreseeable.


You're right - he demonstrated one can flaunt bigotry and appeal to our basest emotions to get equal media attention wothout paying for it.

So in my opinion he hasn't demonstrated anything useful.


Adding to your point, he was also hugely successful in the primary despite being massively outspent by Jeb.


According to folks like Lawrence Lessig, campaign finance reform is the only issue that matters.


> "proved it's possible to win an election without any big money"

But he had big money! :)


You can win an election without spending big money. But you do need to charisma, and no amount of money can buy Hillary/Romney/Kerry/Gore charisma.


Trump railed against the system that allowed politicians to be bought. It turns out his solution is to term limit congress. Sounds like treating a symptom not the root cause.


so what, then let's offer solutions and try to get them enacted? why all the armchair bitching on this site as if everyone is an expert just because they write code? what he did is nothing short of monumental and he WANTS to help America. If everyone is so damn smart then get involved and suggest changes. It's not like he's a fucking robot that is going to sit back and count how many marble statues he has in his garden!


Want money out of presidential politics? Make everybody run using only the presidential-campaign fund. You know, that one that you check the box on your tax return to give a couple bucks to?

As for Congress, we also already have a good fix, we just never got around to passing it. Congressional politics are full of money because the districts are too large, on average. The districts are too large because in the 50 states, with 320 million people, we have only 435 voting members in the House of Representatives.

The solution is more Representatives and smaller districts; when you don't have to run a campaign in multiple expensive markets across a broad area, you don't need as much money (and can get to know your constituents better).

And it turns out... there's a constitutional amendment for that.

Way back in 1789 when Congress met for the first time after the Constitution went into effect, they submitted twelve amendments to the states. Ten of them were ratified quickly and became what we know as the Bill of Rights. The other two were not ratified by enough states, and were mostly forgotten.

Today, it's common for Congress to put a time limit on an amendment, saying it has to be ratified within X years or it's dead. But back then they didn't do that. So in 1992 a random university student discovered one of the two "forgotten" amendments and that it was still legislatively "live" -- it would take effect if enough states ratified them. He campaigned hard and got the amendment (which says any increase in salary for members of Congress doesn't take effect until after the next House election) ratified, as the 27th amendment.

The other one is still sitting out there, and would become part of the Constitution if enough states (currently, 27) would ratify it. And it changes the formula for how many Representatives there are, and how they're apportioned. The original text of the Constitution set a cap on the size of the House of Representatives, at one Representative per 30,000 people. The apportionment amendment would raise that to 1 per 50,000, and the version passed by the Senate would require increasing the number of Representatives as the population of the US grows.

So if you want real change in Congress, campaign to get the House of Representatives enlarged. There's even already an amendment available to help you, if you can get it ratified.


I applaud the principle, but I think having 6400 (320M / 50K) members of the House of Representatives may be a little much to get actual work done.


>may be a little much to get actual work done.

Sounds like a good thing then to filter out non-universally good ideas and a great measure to make it harder to buy politicians. Gov needs to do less, not more.


It'll definitely make it harder to buy (a meaningful number of) politicians. It'll also filter out bad ideas, but I'm afraid it'll also filter out the good ones. After all, there is research (which I'm too lazy to look up right now) that shows that as the size of a committee grows, their output tends towards mediocrity. But I dunno, perhaps mediocrity is what we actually want in government? (Not being sarcastic.)


> So in 1992 a random university student discovered one of the two "forgotten" amendments and that it was still legislatively "live" -- it would take effect if enough states ratified them. He campaigned hard and got the amendment (which says any increase in salary for members of Congress doesn't take effect until after the next House election) ratified, as the 27th amendment.

A minor correction to this fascinating story: according to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-seventh_Amendment_to_th...), Gregory Watson, a UT Austin student, discovered it in 1982. The significance of the year 1992 (in this connection) is that that's when it actually became part of the Constitution.


Can you give a link to more information about this?


Google "Congressional Apportionment Amendment". Wikipedia has a decent summary, and several other sites campaign for it to be ratified.


Are you under the impression that campaign finance reform is a new issue brought up minutes ago on this forum, and hasn't been extensively researched with proposals before?


In the spirit of your comment, I'd like to suggest a massive income raise for elected federal officials. The leader of the free world makes something like $400k / year. If we were willing to give them more, it might reduce the temptation to take so much from lobbyists, and perhaps save us a lot of money in the long run. If I'm wrong, it won't cost much in the scheme of things anyway.


https://www.greatagain.gov/

He's actively seeking suggestions on his transition site.

Share your ideas.


Gary Sinise for seretary of Veterans Affairs.


He wants to help white, cis male America. Trump has demonstrated great disdain for anybody who isn't that


Yes, for example one of the first things he talked about in his victory speech was helping out the inner cities. He must not know that there are high populations of black people in those areas.


I understand the sentiment but comments like this detract from the value of this community.


actually I just read the replies and I see quite a few productive ones! just saying...


I don't see how elections themselves aren't term limits. You want to end someone's reign, vote them out. Am I missing something?


You're missing the incumbent bias. It's well known we prefer the devil we know to the one we don't--even if we objectively have good reason to dislike the incumbent.

Which is to say if, after electing someone to office, we immediately 1) forgot we voted for them, and 2) became completely unaware of their continuing existence and actions in office only then would elections be truly a sufficient substitute for term limits. Otherwise, given the choice, enough votes will be cast to keep the incumbent in office just because he/she is familiar. The thinking seems to go something like: well, that's the name I recognize, and hey, the world hasn't come to an end in the past few years, so... why not. Let's just keep 'em. Versus this other person who might do all kinds of things I can't foresee and may not like.


But of course incumbent bias is still dependent on the candidate not being unpopular.

I can see arguments for term limits, particularly in positions where the composition of the electorate means the other major party isn't likely to seriously challenge the governing party's preferred candidate (usually the incumbent) which makes their position very safe indeed.

But anti-corruption isn't one of them. Arguably, from a point of view of anti-corruption, the incumbent needs the special interests a lot less than the new challengers...


Incumbents have an advantage and tend to get reelected. Term limits introduce more outsiders by kicking people out after a while.


Systems that rely on voters being exhaustively educated are brittle and prone to manipulation.

The challenge of term limits is that they hurt effective politicans the most, so it's always got to be a balancing act.


It's a check on direct democracy, which I think is fine in principle. It's the same reason the US has a constitution.


Yes you are; Gerymandering.


Nope.


No. The problem are the corrupt selfserving politicians, and not the ones who corrupt them.

And his program is not only term-limits. mostly going after the criminals and clean up the mess. They should be worried, and are already crying.

Should be doable even with the press witchhunting him and later with the antiliberal nonsense he will come up to please his voter base.


It doesn't stop the flow of money, just requires that it's more fairly distributed throughout the party.


Well let us be honest here. Electing politicians hasn't exactly been doing us that much good. If anything we have learned we cannot accept their word at all.

I am of the opinion that politicians corrupted themselves by selling their ability to shape the laws that govern the country and decide who is punished and who is rewarded.


So then what's your alternative? Would you prefer a system without politicians? What kind of system is that?

We must elect trustworthy politicians, we must make it harder for big money to interfere, and we must have faith in our government. It's hard for me to say right now, given our current president-elect, but it's true. There truly is no good alternative to democracy.


Your comment reminds me of the following famous quote by Winston Churchill.

"Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." -- Speech in the House of Commons (11 November 1947)


Would you prefer a system without politicians?

Yes.

What kind of system is that?

Self-government[1] and/or a stateless society[2].

[1]: https://www.theadvocates.org/

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stateless_society


I'm sorry, but that sounds like the kind of thing an edy 18 year old would say.

There are no examples of 350 million people being governed WITHOUT a government, and for good reasons.


There are no examples of...

There never is, until the first time. If nobody tried to do things that haven't been done before, there would be no progress.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." ~~ George Bernard Shaw

I'm sorry, but that sounds like the kind of thing an edy 18 year old would say.

Please don't do that, this is HN, not Reddit.


> this is HN, not Reddit.

Please don't do that. There's no need to smear other sites. Ending the sentence at "Please don't do that." should suffice.


It has nothing to do with reddit, and everything to do with rose-tinted glasses, since you still haven't given me an example that could serve as an inspiration. Words in a book and italicised quotes are great, but not how the world functions unfortunately. For ezanple, I'd introduce a worldwide carbon tax tomorrow and make preventing further climate change priority number one at the expense of just about everything else. One of my favorite environmental scientists, stephen schneider always used to say that we should never let the perfect get in the way of the good.

As much as we'd like to believe otherwise, virtually ALL progress is incremental. Technological AND societal.


since you still haven't given me an example that could serve as an inspiration

I'm sorry, why should I feel obligated to give you an example? Like I already said once, there are no examples of something that hasn't been done... yet. So your repeated request for something that isn't required strikes me as kinda pointless.


You're thinking of Greg Egan's idea of "Stateless", the illegal biotech'ed island. In that story, the technology and the island defends egalitarian principles and organized 'no-ruler-ship' (anarchy).

I certainly think anarchy could work, if the underlying technological stuffs were the enforcers of equality.

*The book is called "Distress", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distress_(novel)


While any such system would obviously be a radical change from our current system, such systems do exist both conceptually and historically, and it's not just stateless societies. The most obvious example is sortition, whereby officials are selected randomly. Again, applying that everywhere overnight is obviously radical, but the idea is fairly sound. It's how jury duty works in the United States, and it's how Athenian democracy (mostly) worked.


That this is how jury duty works doesn't inspire me with a lot of confidence.

Case in point: A couple of weeks ago, a jury acquitted the Bundys after they'd occupied a federal building and used threat of lethal force to keep federal authorities from evicting them. If you'll pardon my snark, this is what happens when you turn jurisprudence over to a handful of rednecks.

Along very similar lines, modern-day politicians make decisions affecting (in some cases) millions of lives and trillions of Dollars. The issues they decide on are complex, and ideally we'd want lawmakers to really work at their "trade:" To deeply study the issues and consult competent experts. Our current crop of professional career politicians, some of whom are evolution and warming deniers heading up education and environmental/energy committees are spectacularly failing to live up to this expectation, and there's no good reason to believe a selection of people randomly chosen from the population would do better, on average.


This is not unlike how an opposing party will criticize a bill based on its number of typed pages. The thump of a couple of inches of paper on a podium makes for great and reductive theater. It's likewise naïve to consider the number of regulations to be a direct barometer of the goodness or badness of regulation in general. Next we'll see the refactoring of existing regulations into smaller or larger components to affect their numerological residue.

Wanton numerological regulation slashers should be wary of Chesterton's Fence[1].

On the scale of meaningfulness, this idea is somewhere between the Dow Jones Industrial Average and middle school kids playing with margins, spacing, and font size to satisfy a teacher's page-length requirement.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Chesterton%27s_fence


Reducing the number, length and complexity of regulation is a valid goal, and that hasn't changed in thousands of years:

"The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government." - Tacitus


The actual Tacitus quote doesn't really serve your argument. It's "The more corrupt the government, the more numerous the laws." -- you've got it backwards.

Complexity is one thing (although it should be obvious that complex domains often require complex descriptions). But number is arbitrary.

Suppose there exists a set of three distinct regulations regarding ways to safely manufacture a drug, and a dangerous new process is invented for which there is wide consensus that a new regulation is required. Which two of those first three should be discarded? Must every new regulation be weighed in arbitrary relative value against every other possible combination of two regulations in that subject matter area? That department? The country? By reductio ad absurdum, the cut-two-to-add-one rule means that the ultimately correct number of regulations is one. And if it's not one, then there must be some higher "correct" number of regulations at which point the subtraction rule would no longer apply.

Your argument seems to be "whatever that number is, surely it's lower than what we have now". How is that number decided and by whom? Subject matter experts? Voters weighing ballot options written by government officials? Does the number somehow fall or rise to make room for new needs judged important enough? If so, by whom? Is one complex regulation better than ten simple ones? Are ten simple ones more "corrupt" than one complex one?

Unfortunately there's no obvious way to apply a tree-shaking algorithm to the full body of regulations, other than to have humans look at a rule and all agree that the "blue dress on Sundays during harvest" rule can be scrapped. And Chesterton's fence makes many of those judgments risky. So now we're back at politics.


The other thing is that presumably it's easily circumvented by dressing up multiple distinct regulations as a single new regulation.

If you make a habit of making regulations long and multifaceted because scope to pass new ones is limited, it probably becomes easier to bury terrible ideas in amongst things people actually really want to pass.


Because math. <3


Trump's intention to reduce government regulations may mean government under his administration will be less corrupt.


It may also mean the opposite.

There's a lot of big industry rich people who would love less regulation.


There's also probably a lot of big inductry people who love existing regulation mazes, since it blocks any newcomers from their cornered markets.


That I completely agree with, there's a lot of lobbying done to obfuscate regulations and tax code for that reason, and it should be dealt with. I was merely pointing out that it's not just a binary issue, like the proposals in the .pdf suggests.


Yes, this is the real reason for lot of regulations. Big Companies lobby for certain kind of regulations mainly to:

Squeeze the SMB and make it harder for new business to enter and survive in the market.


Reducing the number, length and complexity of regulation is a valid goal

Sure, but the priority order should be: complexity,length,number.

Simply concatenating 50 regulations into one super-regulation is not a win.


> Sure, but the priority order should be: complexity,length,number.

I think that, of these three, reducing complexity is the only one to which we should directly aspire; reducing the length and number of regulations is, I think, helpful only to the extent that it reduces, or at least doesn't increase, complexity.


Completely agreed. That and reducing ambiguity. On the whole Increasing both length and number is perfectly acceptable if doing so reduces complexity and ambiguity.

Much like with code really. Your cleve 2 line function is really clever, but most of the time the easy to read 30 lines and 3 function version if probably better.


I agree. I hope that some version of this process is implemented and that it will change government from how it currently operates: adding layers of regulation upon layers, to a process with iteratively improves regulation--weeding out the out-dated, the irrelevant, the imprecise, the ineffective, and replacing it with improved, timely, precise, relevant, effective regulation. So we end up with a regulatory base which is more comprehendible, manageable, and relevant.


While true - that should be a side effect of good policy and process, not some stupid 2-for-1 rule.


This scheme is vulnerable to the same sort of gerrymandering game we play with districts. It provides no definition or guideline on the size or shape of a (presumably atomic) regulation. It's a meaningless bullet point.


How do you guys deal with re-factoring code? Imagine a codebase that has been largely additive for 100 years.

While the "+1 minus two guideline" has plenty of shortcomings in the long term, there is lots of low hanging fruit now, and it's an important mindset shift.

Guys, don't just add LOC. Refactor, clean it up and make it better. Remove blocks we don't use anymore.


Government is strongly limited by time. There's a hard ceiling on the amount of things that can be proposed, debated, and voted on within a term. Consequently, if there are things in the statute that are no longer used it's often better to simply ignore them than to spend precious time in the house arguing about removing them. It might only take 5 minutes to call the house to order, have someone stand up and say "We don't need a law banning witchcraft any more" and then have a vote where the result is a foregone conclusion, that's 5 minutes that the government isn't doing something useful that will actually impact people's lives.

The repeal of pointless old laws comes up relatively often here in the UK. Some of our laws are really old - the government was talking about repealing some that were passed almost 750 years ago recently http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30334812


>>>Government is strongly limited by time. There's a hard ceiling on the amount of things that can be proposed, debated, and voted on within a term. Consequently, if there are things in the statute that are no longer used it's often better to simply ignore them than to spend precious time in the house arguing about removing them.

That is exactly why all laws should have sunset rules built into them.

We should have listened to Thomas Jefferson who wanted all laws, even the constitution itself to expire every 19 years


It's a really terrible thing to have laws that aren't respected by the people, the government or the courts. It completely undermines the rule of law.


There's an argument to be made that there might be some benefit in government spending a little less time impacting people's lives.

But also, spending that time cleaning up old laws sounds an awful lot like "doing something useful that will actually impact people's lives".


Sounds like a garbage-collection problem. Some algorithms are more efficient than others.


How do you guys deal with re-factoring code?

As a very rough guide. Replacing one big function with two smaller functions is often better than replacing two small functions with one big one.


This is for functions that actually have a meaningful purpose and merit being better understood.


spot on


I think we programmers are ahead here - the general public needs sometime to think this over. The "+1 - 2" rule looks like a good start for opening the discussion.


Then again there were 3,378 new fed regulations totalling 81,611 pages in 2015. It can be counter productive if the new regulations are so voluminous that no one has time to read them.

I ran into problems along those lines in the UK buying some stuff in Spain. Apparently "don't money launder" translates in to a 1 ft high stack of EU regulations that no one understands. I'm not convinced they are hugely better than the three word version.


> Some of it sounds ridiculous - for every new federal regulation, 2 existing regulations must be eliminated. How is that considered feasible by any rational person? It might sound great if you don't think too hard about it.

Canada has a variation on this law.

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/R-4.5/page-1.html#h-...


It may look similar on the surface but Trump's proposal is nothing like the Canadian red tape reduction laws. The latter are focused on reducing the administrative burden of demonstrating regulatory compliance but it does not impact the regulations themselves except as a last resort. The vast majority of the time, compliance can be streamlined to offset the extra cost of new regulations. What Trump wants to do is cut regulations he and his supporters are ideologically opposed to while framing it as his public service meant to benefit small business owners.

Edit: Also note that in the preamble it specifically says "Canadians and small businesses." This law does not impact, for example, environmental or safety regulations for real estate developers or utilities. Trump will almost certainly try to cut EPA regulations but something like the Canadian law would never allow that.


> It may look similar on the surface but Trump's proposal is nothing like the Canadian red tape reduction laws

You're pointing to a proposal (or more succinctly an initiative). Saying it is nothing like an implementation is misleading.


And this law actually started in British Columbia as "repeal 2 for every new regulation". It does seem like it could be useful as a short term policy, if Congress can't find any way to agree on directly repealing unnecessary regulations.


Don't worry, if they can't make up their minds I'm sure plenty of bright, helpful, and well-dressed citizens will come out of the woodwork to advise them as to which regulations aren't needed anymore.


The UK government actually tried this back in 2010 with a website. I think the top rated repeal suggestion was "end paid maternity leave", and eventually the website was quietly closed and never mentioned again.


> It does seem like it could be useful as a short term policy, if Congress can't find any way to agree on directly repealing unnecessary regulations.

Regulations are issued by the executive branch, not Congress (repealing regulations is actually done by issuing regulations specifying the regulations to be repealed, so the process for repeal is the same.)

Also, "a regulation" isn't a well-defined unit.


Well, from reading a few articles, it seems like this has worked pretty well in Canada so far, so I think it's at least worth talking about. Gotta try to look for some positives here.


> Regulations are issued by the executive branch

Sounds like the meaning of the executive's order to 'repeal two for every one new' could be decided within the executive branch, then. And since everyone within the executive branch is responsible to the chief executive … maybe it could even work.


Is that true? Regulatory bodies get their authority from congressional legislation. Can a president unilaterally tell the bureaucracy to stop doing what they are mandated to do by law?


> Can a president unilaterally tell the bureaucracy to stop doing what they are mandated to do by law?

He can certainly try: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/11/20/365519963/...

In the general case, though, a lot of legislation gives the executive wide discretion as to the details of regulations, and so the president can direct his subordinates to change regulations however he wants, within what the law allows.

E.g. with a budget example the Congress might want to subsidise cantaloupe farms, and budget $100,000,000 for cantaloupe farmers, to be allocated 'as the Secretary of Agriculture may direct.' The president would be within his rights to order the Secretary of Agriculture to only allocate that money to cantaloupe farmers with a total net worth of under $1,000,000, or to give no more than $100,000 to any particular cantaloupe farmer, or (possibly — this one's a stretch) to prioritise farmers of the famed Golden Lucy cantaloupe before all others. But he can't direct that the money be spent on rutabaga farmers.

Similarly, if the Congress writes a law which gives the pertinent executive department some latitude, the President may order that department to exercise that latitude however he likes.


It could, my point is that it's not at all clear what the promise even means.


Moronic metric chasing. They'll just make regulations longer and more convoluted so that a single regulation has the same amount of text as 3 or even 4.


I had a variation of that for my household, except it applied 1:1 ratio, and only for shoes. For every new pair of shoes purchased, one old pair had to go out the door.


Who knows how many outdated regulations are still on the books?

It seems the thing to do would be hire interns to start scouring for every "A married woman shall not chop down a birchwood tree on the day of her wedding while wearing her bridal gown" style law.

If this idea persisted for 50 years maybe they'd have to start repealing actual relevant regulations.


> It seems the thing to do would be higher interns to start scouring for every "A married woman shall not chop down a birchwood tree on the day of her wedding while wearing her bridal gown" style law.

Sure, but how many of those exist at a federal level? Those are often city, county and sometimes state regulations.



Some of those can and should be consolidated - but they're not all quite as flippant as you might think. The prohibition of transport of water hyacinth, for example, is because it's a massively bad invasive species: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eichhornia_crassipes#United_St...

Sure, it too should probably be consolidated - perhaps under the Lacey act or the Plant Protection Act or Alien Species Prevention and Enforcement Act. But it's not actually a dumb regulation, just an inefficient expression.

You can probably imagine that the letter carrier uniform one may have been in response to fraud. Same for the false weather reports - it's kind of useful to be able to whack someone on the wrist for publishing a hoax tornado warning.

I'm all for the idea of cleaning up our soup of regulations, but I think it's worth noting that many of them exist for a reason, and it's typically more complex than the famously silly "can't ride a horse in a dress on sunday"-type laws still found on some state books.

Putting my geek hat back on, It'd be cool if we could train an LSTM to de-dup laws... ;) But I guess in the meantime there are interns.


> You can probably imagine that the letter carrier uniform one may have been in response to fraud.

I would expect there to already be a federal law prohibiting fraud.


Sometimes it is comparatively easy to effectively ban a certain kind of fraud attempt, whereas actual success of the attempt would be impossible to prosecute because the victims can only be victims when they not even notice any wrongdoing. Not banning the attempt.

In that case, you have a choice between banning attempts, together with everything that is indistinguishable from an attempt, versus effectively giving fraudsters free reign, despite having a law that technically forbids successful execution of an attempt. Classic legal balancing act: how valuable is the freedom of dressing up as a postman compared to not having to question the authenticity of each and every on of them?


Well now there is one where a judge and/or jury don't have to determine if wearing a letter carrier uniform is fraud or freedom of expression.


> Some of those can and should be consolidated

Some should be state laws.


Given the staffing decisions proposed, they're probably going to be things around health care, business practice, environmental restrictions, and energy reform.

It's very difficult for States to regulate those effectively because without federal funding, they are medium term losses that inhibit growth. One of the reasons the Federal Government gets such a bad rep is because they're the one who needs to take a tough position on this.


Yeah, once AI can do stuff like that, I'll be impressed. Right now it's somewhat useful but the consumer applications are all just lame gimmicks.


These regulations seem completely reasonable. Several are protecting government-related insignia such as the postal uniform, and presumably serve a similar purpose to trademark law. Then you have a ban on transporting an invasive species (water hyacinth), restriction on the mailing of tobacco (often mailed to avoid taxes or tariffs), a ban on unregistered submarines (this isn't some ridiculous idea, drug smugglers have in fact used submarines to avoid border control), a ban on selling traffic signal preemption devices, ...


Some background on the water hyacinth [1]. You might have a point there. Mailing of tobacco? It is already illegal to avoid taxes and tariffs on tobacco. Why ban mailing it as well? Similarly, it is also illegal to smuggle drugs, why does the fact that someone may have done so with a submarine mean that "unregistered submarines" should be banned?


> It is already illegal to avoid taxes and tariffs on tobacco. Why ban mailing it as well?

Likely because proving intent to avoid taxes and tariffs is much harder than proving you've mailed something. I would bet it's a way to get around having complex expensive investigations for what was a common problem. Pass a law, now it's easy. You mailed tobacco? You're guilty. Case closed, problem reduced, taxpayer money saved.


> Likely because proving intent to avoid taxes and tariffs is much harder than proving you've mailed something.

It's hard to prove that you are a criminal, but criminal goes out at night. So every citizen should stay home after 10pm.


I agree with much of your statement here. However, an unintended side-effect is you may end up prohibiting a lot of behavior that isn't the one you originally wanted to address and end up with an extremely broad set of laws that have the potential to be applied arbitrarily.


> However, an unintended side-effect is you may end up prohibiting a lot of behavior that isn't the one you originally wanted to address

Sure, but that's literally the case with every regulation. The point is to use them when the negatives of the behavior will likely outweigh the negatives the regulation might introduce. In a perfect world, there would be no laws, and free markets would work at peak efficiency all the time.

Now, I don't have enough information to argue authoritatively about the efficacy of this law, but based on the actual wording, where it says it's okay to do it for business as long as you've met all state and federal requirements means I think it's likely that for the most part it has little impact on individuals (who need to mail tobacco rarely) and businesses operating legally.


I would guess that it's just much easier to enforce a ban on submarines than a ban on submarines carrying drugs (it would be very easy to jettison drugs from a submarine).


Even if the concept is reasonable, it seems like these specifics should be treated as data and not their own separate law. Just have laws about trademarks, then store all the specific trademarks (including Smokey the Bear, 4-H, etc.) in the trademark registry. Likewise, there should be a law about invasive species, and a database of the actual species that are covered.

The trouble with listing a dozen very specific laws like this and considering them all reasonable is this: what if the list had 1,000 items? 10,000? And with no way to know which are the actual meaty laws (like trademark law) and which are just specific instances of said laws (like Smokey the Bear).


That's basically what the laws are. They are merge requests into the db you're talking about. It's just that there's not a good interface to the law as it stands now.


I clicked on one of these at random (https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1730).

This is a perfectly reasonable law that I would not want to see repealed. Don't you agree that it's bad for people to be allowed to impersonate mail carriers? It would facilitate identity theft through rifling mailboxes, make burglary easier, etc. What's wrong with that law?


Identity theft is illegal. Rifling through mailboxes is illegal. Burglary is illegal. I don't see any particular harm from somebody wearing a postman uniform any more than say someone who wants to dress up as the UPS man. Especially for six months in federal prison.


So, is it okay to impersonate a police officer then? The USPS is a government institution, and how ur government often received and sends instructions and funds from its constituents. I don't want people impersonating mail carriers any more than I want them impersonating a police officer. Mail fraud is real, and abusing the mail for more nefarious means happens. [1][2]

> I don't see any particular harm from somebody wearing a postman uniform any more than say someone who wants to dress up as the UPS man.

You don't generally get official correspondence from the IRS through UPS. I'm fine with protecting the mailcarrier uniform. There are government expectations associated with that uniform.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Kaczynski

2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_anthrax_attacks


First, the statute we are discussing doesn't make it a crime to impersonate a postal carrier. It makes it a crime to "wear[] the uniform [...] prescribed by the Postal Service to be worn by letter carriers". I think we can both agree there is a fundamental difference between someone impersonating a cop (who has wide discretion to order people to stop, detain them, search them or interrogate them) and someone dressing up like a letter carrier.

Second, it is already illegal to forge correspondence correspondence from the IRS. Why make people who, for whatever reason, want to dress up like Cliff Clavin subject to six months in federal prison? Similarly, I agree mail fraud is real and one can abuse the mail for nefarious means, however again mail fraud is illegal and, in respect to your example, mailing anthrax the people is also already illegal.

I suppose the problem I'm trying to highlight here is a tendency for government, at times, to create laws that are, at best, silly, and, more often, harmfully over-broad in short-sighted attempts to stop behavior that is (or can be) readily addressed by existing laws. It can lead to harmful side effects[1][2].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overcharging_(law) [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Swartz


There's a sense in which simplifying laws merely passes the burden to the Executive Branch. It's far easier to prove that a person wore some federal uniform than it is to prove that they pretended to be a federal employee. Just imagine that you're the prosecutor and think about the difference in the amount of work you would have to do for this case. These are resources that can be used elsewhere, and as a citizen, I gladly and enthusiastically forfeit my right to dress as a mailman if it means that it will help reduce cases of fraud.

I do like the idea of simple laws, though, and I hope that a future civilization may flourish under the Golden Rule as its only law.


The ease of the prosecution proving their cases is not a higher priority to me than the feasibility of an average citizens reading and understanding most laws.


As I see it, the government's only job is to protect its citizens, and anything that gets in the way of it doing its job is counterproductive. I agree that a best-informed populace probably must also be the best-protected, but I disagree that the solution is to limit all legislation to the eighth grade level of diction. Free legal aid as a constitutional right seems like a slightly more practical alternative to me.


> I think we can both agree there is a fundamental difference between someone impersonating a cop (who has wide discretion to order people to stop, detain them, search them or interrogate them) and someone dressing up like a letter carrier.

I don't agree on any specific difference between dressing up and impersonating in general, as I'm not sure how you are defining the difference, but to my mind impersonation is likely hard to prove, and if the desire is to stop the behavior, preventing dressing up is a useful way to make sure the law is enforcable.

I do agree there is a difference in importance between impersonating a police officer and impersonating a mail carrier, but in both cases I think the base reason is the same. To keep specific expectations and abilities granted to the individual as a government employee from being abused by others.

> Second, it is already illegal to forge correspondence correspondence from the IRS. Why make people who, for whatever reason, want to dress up like Cliff Clavin subject to six months in federal prison? Similarly, I agree mail fraud is real and one can abuse the mail for nefarious means, however again mail fraud is illegal and, in respect to your example, mailing anthrax the people is also already illegal.

Because if something is routed through the mail system we have a record of it, and information regarding it's origin. If someone dresses up as a mail carrier and puts it in your mailbox, not only is that record lost, but likely nobody around will pay any attention. Some random person putting something in your mailbox may attract attention, if only because those around might think they are trying to steal mail. Which takes us to stealing mail It's harder to steal mail when you have no business in anyone else's mailbox because it's illegal. Neighbors seeing a stranger rifling through a mailbox may be likely to call thge person out or even call the police. Preventing people from impersonating a mail carrier is very useful here.

It's worth noting that other carrier services are legally prevented from using your mailbox. Your mailbox/mail slot is considered federal property. There is thus a chain of custody when things are shipped through USPS, unless someone breaks the law.

> I suppose the problem I'm trying to highlight here is a tendency for government, at times, to create laws that are, at best, silly, and, more often, harmfully over-broad in short-sighted attempts to stop behavior that is (or can be) readily addressed by existing laws. It can lead to harmful side effects.

Sure, those exist. I don't think this is a good case of that.


You're describing a fraudulent behavior which is already covered by criminal laws related to fraud.

If the goal is to aggressively double down on every single possible fraud case, where are the laws prohibiting dressing up as a forest ranger, environmental protection agent, President of the United States and various members of Congress (via those realistic-looking masks they sell before Halloween), USDA inspector, SEC controller, four-star Army general or any other government-related position of authority?


A lot of the "Why is X illegal if doing Z, which itself is X & Y, is also illegal" argument reminds me entirely of the software developer's fallacy in code reduction.

I can easily re-engineer a core business application in a couple weeks. It'll do most of what the existing solution does, will be unit tested, and easily extendable. But, it won't cover all those edge cases we've all forgotten exist and that one exception that's required for client 2 who needs red buttons instead of blue buttons and remember that time we ran into the problem where the year-end report took 3 days to run, and locked up the weekly reports because new years eve landed on a Friday which made Justin stay in the office until 2AM trying to get the database back online?

I'm not a law professor, or a lawyer, or in any way involved in law, but the similarities between a 200+ year old set of rules that govern our society and a legacy application that we can't simply turn off for 6 months why we re-engineer it to be "better, but does exactly the same thing" is frightening. We've got a piss poor track record as software developers being able to take on a massive refactor and not introduce more bugs, what the hell makes us think we can consolidate hundreds of thousands of edge cases in law and not miss a bunch of actually useful things?


While a good point, on a case by case basis there're at least some redundancies that have been accummulated over the decades of lawmaking

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/02/bug-system

"In the U.S., responsibility for food safety is divided among fifteen federal agencies. The most important, in addition to the F.S.I.S., is the Food and Drug Administration, in the Department of Health and Human Services. In theory, the line between these two should be simple: the F.S.I.S. inspects meat and poultry; the F.D.A. covers everything else. In practice, that line is hopelessly blurred. Fish are the province of the F.D.A.—except catfish, which falls under the F.S.I.S. Frozen cheese pizza is regulated by the F.D.A., but frozen pizza with slices of pepperoni is monitored by the F.S.I.S. Bagel dogs are F.D.A.; corn dogs, F.S.I.S. The skin of a link sausage is F.D.A., but the meat inside is F.S.I.S.

“The current structure is there not because it’s what serves the consumer best,” Elisabeth Hagen*, a former head of the F.S.I.S., told me. “It’s there because it’s the way the system has grown up.” Mike Taylor, the highest-ranking food-safety official at the F.D.A., said, “Everybody would agree that if you were starting on a blank piece of paper and designing the food-safety system for the future, from scratch, you wouldn’t design it the way it’s designed right now.”


And yet... when you dig into the history you often find a justified reason why the redundancy exists.

For example, the United States has seven uniformed services with commissioned officers. Can you name them? Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, typically people can get immediately. Given a moment to think, most people also come up with the Coast Guard. But what are the other two?

The Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is the sixth. Which most people kind-of get and realize that's why the Surgeon General wears a vice-admiral's uniform (in fact he is a commissioned vice-admiral -- not of the Navy, of the Public Health Service). They have a commissioned corps because part of their job is being deployed -- often alongside combatant officer corps from other services -- into emergency situations. They were organized for that duty along military lines by the first Surgeon General.

How about the seventh? Oh, that's NOAA. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. You know, the people who do the weather forecasts. They have a commissioned officer corps, and the director is a rear-admiral (again, not of the Navy -- a rear-admiral of NOAA). Why do they have a commissioned corps? Because they've historically rendered assistance to the military in situations where land and coast surveys and weather information were necessary, and commissioning them gave them protection under the laws of war (otherwise, if captured, they could be executed as spies).

Similarly, why is it that certain financial crimes get you investigated by the Secret Service and not the FBI? The Secret Service protects the President, after all, and that has nothing to do with finance. But originally they were chartered for the narrow purpose of fighting counterfeiting, back when Congress was reluctant to authorize a general-purpose federal law-enforcement agency. Then, since they had a good intelligence network across the country as a result of the anti-counterfeiting mission, presidential protection got tacked onto their charter (at that time, Congress didn't want to proliferate federal enforcement agencies). Today, they investigate some types of frauds and other financial crimes because it still falls under their original anti-counterfeiting charter.

You can literally write books about this stuff if you dive into the history of it, and you'll often find that there were good, rational, justifiable reasons for why things were set up the way they were.


You say "and yet..." but it sounds like you're just elaborating on what the GP said. Was that a disagreement?

GP's point was that redundancy has been accumulated over the years. Of course there's usually a rational justifiable reason, but that doesn't mean it's still a valid one.

Really interesting stuff on the uniformed services.


Of course there's usually a rational justifiable reason, but that doesn't mean it's still a valid one.

And yet... consider the Secret Service thing. Congress was reluctant to concentrate federal law-enforcement power in one agency. And the history of the FBI shows that may have been the right idea.


I'm not sure what you're saying. Sometimes it's valid, sometimes it's not -- are we disagreeing or does "and yet..." mean something completely different than what I think it implies?


Typically when people say "that doesn't mean it's still a valid one", what they really mean is "it isn't still valid".


I was speaking in general terms. You gave two very specific (and interesting) examples; among all the examples you can give, plenty of them will "no longer be valid".


And in general terms, when people say things like that, what they want people to read is "all of them are no longer valid".


How in the world can you apply that to everything on the list though? Using the 4-H logo? How is that not just a special case of trademark law? Presumably there isn't US code specifically saying that you can't use the Twitter logo (except for fair use, of course, which is fine).


Which is why DJT's ideas are terrifying. He wants to take a machete to the forest of legislation that is our government, and he has practically no idea why any of these laws were put in place.


Hmm, I don't know how many of those truly are unneeded, at least without context on why they were created in the first place.

There may have been real problems with the Water Hyacinths as an invasive or endangered species, for example. And we certainly don't want to make it legal for people to change traffic signals at will!

I had actually expected to find oodles of needless cruft and "dead code", but I'm starting to think that it might be possible that most regulation is there for a reason... who'd a thunk it!


One reform that most countries could make, would be for laws and regulations to start with a justification, and a test for outcomes that would see the law or regulation automatically become invalid if it can be proven that the outcomes are not met.

Both because it would help with the problem where people don't understand the intent of a law or regulation and so assumes they are stupid, and because it would make passing genuinely stupid laws and regulations harder if you have figure out ways to set out the intent and an "outcome test" in a way that doesn't xpose how bad it is.


Did... you just propose unit testing laws? Brilliant. Do want.


Sort, of, yes. But with the courts as "testers".

A lot of laws would fall due to having been passed due to ignorance.

A lot of others would fail to pass in the first place because legislators would be forced to use legislators laying bare intent to punish based on morality rather than provable benefits to society - it's hard to get people to oppose laws where someone claims massive harm if a law isn't passed; it'd be easier to get people to oppose laws justified by a view of morality they may not share.

And even if they still pass, it provides a much clearer attack surface for people campaiging for a repeal.

But conversely it also provides a strong defense for laws with good purpose that actually work.


The question is more one of costs and benefits. Anyone can argue a regulation is useful in the abstract.

There's a lot of regulation around internet services and people under the age of 13. The primary effect of these rules has been that American internet services ask for your DoB and then ineffectively try to ban you from signing up if you say you're under 13. Do parents really need this?


> https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/46

To me, this sounds like a quarantine law. All countries have these, e.g. it is not allowed to transport certain meat products or other foods across German borders.

> https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1716E

Once again, a "standard" anti-trafficking law.

> https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/39

What? Such things exist? Are these "traffic signal preemption transmitter" devices used in e.g. ambulances?

> https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2285

A ban on "drug subs", commonly used on the southern border these days. Gangs actually manufacture high-sea-worthy subs in the jungle.

> Yes the "repeal two regulations before imposing one" is just a gimmick, but there are an insane number of federal laws and regulations that are, at best, unneeded.

Unfortunately, you picked out the worst examples of "unneeded" laws.


>What? Such things exist? Are these "traffic signal preemption transmitter" devices used in e.g. ambulances?

Yes, they're used at some intersections to forcibly change the light to green. And they're basic IR transmitters so they're ridiculously easy to make.


Ah. I remember long ago reading an article where someone... pranked public transport with changing the direction of a railroad tramway switch - basically, right before the train would lock the switch by passing over a detector, the prankster would switch the switch, and the train had to reverse in order to switch the switch to the correct direction.


That's the kind of "prank" that's likely to kill people. I am at a loss as to how this is a prank. I understand different people have different senses of humor, but is there a context I'm missing in which it's funny?


FYI there was a bad (7 dead) tram accident the other day London


That doesn't seem funny, but I guess I don't know the whole story.


Most of those laws are very useful and are there for a clear reason. Fingers crossed that Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are more thoughtful about which regulations to throw out.


> https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1730

no postal service carrier uniform allowed on Halloween


That's the important question. If the answer is, "not that many", then this would probably lead to gridlock. Not the worst outcome, I guess.


Basically the continuation of the last six years of Congress.


The past few Congresses have done a good job of passing large numbers of resolutions, but the President has not been signing them into law.[1] It seems to me that the 'problem' (if you believe there should be more laws) is a disagreement between branches or obstinancy by the President.

[1] https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/statistics


Congress was, in part, designed for gridlock.


> Not the worst outcome, I guess.

It's both comical and sad that I think you're correct in that assessment, but only because it's been so gridlocked already, that it's just the continuation of what we know and what we know it to be pretty shitty.


It will just lead to lawmakers getting more creative about merging laws together into monstrosities that meets the "quota" without actually achieving any real change and/or that uses the oportunity to expand the reach.


I'd actually be surprised if there were many of those. Regulations are constantly being codified into the Code of Federal Regulations. It's about 175,000 pages. It's printed at about 55 lines per page, which makes it about 10 million lines. About the same size as the Linux kernel. That's big, but it's not "we don't even know what's in here" big.


The information density of federal regulations is much much higher though. It's written in a higher level language and even shells out to precedence to interpret a lot of it.


> I'd actually be surprised if there were many of those.

There are entire books written filled with silly, outdated, or absurd laws and regulations (both federal and state).

Here's just a taste[1]:

> 18 USC §1382 & 32 CFR §636.28(g)(iv) make it a federal crime to ride a moped into Fort Stewart without wearing long trousers.

> 16 USC §551 & 36 CFR §261.16(c) make it a crime to wash a fish at a faucet if it's not a fish-washing faucet, in a national forest.

> 21 USC §461 & 9 CFR §381.171(d) make it a crime to sell "Turkey Ham" as "Ham Turkey" or with the words "Turkey" and "Ham" in different fonts

> 18 USC §1865 & 36 CFR §7.96(b)(3) make it a federal crime to harass a golfer in any national park in Washington, DC.

[1] http://www.freedomworks.org/content/19-ridiculous-federal-cr...


I keep seeing this mistake made over and over again. Regulations are not laws like the above, which are written by the legislature. The vast majority of regulations are written by experts in the relevant fields working for agencies in the executive branch. The legislature grants regulatory agencies jurisdiction and provides general guidance/intent but the most of the specifics are left to the regulatory body to decide.

The job of the SEC, for example, is to provide a framework for the public to safetly invest in and own parts of corporations while providing qualified investors more freedom to invest in riskier ventures. The SEC decides what financial disclosures best fulfill its job requirements and imposes fines on violators. However, the laws that actually punish executives for breaking SEC rules are written by Congress and the courts are the last step that decides whether Congress or the agency are overstepping their bounds.

Regulations as a landscape change much faster than laws and are consolidated all the time so there's a lot less cruft than the rest of our legal code would lead you to believe.


I think that's why they cite both the authorizing statute, which creates criminal penalties for violating regulations, and the regulations themselves.


You're right, I read "USC section ..." and skipped to the description. Should have posted my rant elsewhere in the topic :)

Still though, I think it's helpful to point out that the legal nature of regulations allows them to move faster and reduce internal complexity while the legal code is mostly append only.


I'm just shaking my head at all the Hacker News armchair law professors who fervently believe each and every one of these is critical to the functioning of civilized society.

And that's why we have so much red tape. Apparently there's a type of person who can't abide not having all possible minutia of life legislated.


Shaking my head at nerds who believe that this administration will agree with them on which statutes should be eliminated.


Heh. I'd have thought the armchair law professors are the ones claiming that large portions of US law are mistakes, not the ones saying that things are the way they are for good reason.

Also, I don't think anyone is saying that they're critical to the functioning of civilized society, just that they're not ridiculous and outdated, and that being truthful about the topic of discussion is important in a discussion. We can, and should, debate whether they're needed! But we first need to understand what arguments there are in favor of keeping them.


> 21 USC §461 & 9 CFR §381.171(d) make it a crime to sell "Turkey Ham" as "Ham Turkey" or with the words "Turkey" and "Ham" in different fonts

Here's the law: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/9/381.171

This is one of a large number of sections of the law that define what food products mean, for every food product on the market, and lead to a consistent UX at markets. It's not like someone passed the Turkey Ham Font Sizes Act of 1947 or something.

It's these sorts of laws that prevent people from labeling, e.g., high-fructose corn syrup as "corn sugar". http://corn.org/facts-about-the-cra-petition-on-corn-sugar/

Trump has complained about "the FDA Food Police, which dictate how the federal government expects farmers to produce fruits and vegetables and even dictates the nutritional content of dog food."

So, expect to see corn sugar in your sodas as soon as a new federal regulation gets passed. And something else, as soon as people figure out what "corn sugar" is.


I'm not sure why I'm meant to be alarmed by "corn sugar". Sucrose is extremely unhealthy for you in the quantities consumed in naturally sweetened soda. High fructose corn syrup is "high in fructose" relative to corn syrup, not to sugar, which is itself naturally high in fructose.

More important context for the "ham" law is that the criminal penalty statute they're citing is actually meant to pair with this offenses statute:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/458

... it captures a bunch of other regulations by reference, including labeling laws, but that doesn't mean someone passed a law saying it should be a federal crime to use the wrong font for ham.


It's a euphemism for HFCS, which is a name that consumers have slowly come to recognize, independent of the validity of either the phrases "high-fructose corn syrup" or "corn sugar". Without regulation, there's nothing preventing a euphemism treadmill for products that consumers don't want. (Whether consumers are correct to not want HFCS is tangential, since all I'm arguing is that consistent labeling is a good thing for the law to be enforcing in the general case, but for my own edification - I thought that HFCS was strictly worse than sugar, which is pretty bad; is it equal to / better than sugar?)


HFCS is sugar, except it comes from corn instead of cane.


True. They're both simple sugars. HFCS has a higher fructose/glucose ratio than cane sugar. There are several varieties of HFCS which differ in their fructose percentage. It can be useful to know this distinction as fructose and glucose are metabolized differently.


This is mostly a misconception. Depending on the type of HFCS, it may have slightly more or slightly less fructose than table sugar, which the human body is especially adept at breaking into glucose and fructose.

HFCS is probably not significantly different from table sugar as far as human metabolism goes.


Thanks for pointing that out. The two common forms of HFCS are HFCS-42 (42% fructose) and HFCS-55 (55% fructose); the latter is generally what we find in soda.

The longitudinal nutrition studies in humans necessary to tease out the differences are difficult to perform well. I think it's worthwhile to at least keep in mind that these different sugars do have different effects on the body, especially given the levels of consumption we're seeing in the US.


Table sugar is 50%. HFCS-55 is 55%. This is not a significant difference. There is no evidence that sucrose has a different metabolic impact in humans than HFCS-55 --- any evidence would be surprising, because the human body is a ninja at separating glucose from fructose.

What is dangerous is the suggestion that sucrose is safer than HFCS; it misleads people into believing they are making a healthy choice when they drink sugared soda made with cane sugar. They are not. Sucrose in significant quantities is extraordinarily bad for you, for the same reason HFCS is!


We are in complete agreement that sugar in significant quantities is bad. I also don't see where I'm suggesting that one is worse or better than the other. I've actively worked not to make that suggestion.

The metabolic pathways are different. If you want to argue that this is not a meaningful difference given the evidence we have, that's fine. I can understand that. I clearly stated that doing the kinds of studies that would be able to show such evidence are difficult to do. Do you think this is a fair assessment? I get the impression that you think I'm trying to muddy the waters. That's not the case.


The metabolic pathway for table sugar and HFCS is not significantly different. We have an enzyme specifically designed to liberate the fructose from sucrose, and it acts at the same location --- the small intestine, which is the start of the pathway from your alimentary canal to the liver, where all fructose (whether it came from sucrose or from HFCS) is metabolized.


equivalent to sugar, as far as i understand


> 16 USC §551 & 36 CFR §261.16(c)

That should absolutely still be on the books. You'd have people cleaning fish in bathrooms.


It's also an inaccurate summary:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/36/261.16

"The following are prohibited: (c) Cleaning or washing any personal property, fish, animal, or food, or bathing or washing at a hydrant or water faucet not provided for that purpose."

This is the sort of thing that would just be a normal rule, in a contract or something, in a privately-managed park. For a federal park, it's perfectly reasonable for it to just be a federal law.

You could also imagine a world where it's simply illegal to be in a federal park without signing a contract with the government, which would get these sorts of things out of the CFR, but that seems like it would be worse for the American people at zero benefit. And personally, I'd still call things in those contracts "federal regulations".

You could also imagine a world where national parks become privatized.


I can't tell if you're being sarcastic but in case you're not, the question is not whether it should be forbidden (e.g. by park rules) to "wash a fish at a faucet if it's not a fish-washing faucet, in a national forest" but whether there should be a law that makes such thing a federal crime.


How can something be forbidden in a national forest other than making it a federal crime?


Putting "Do not wash fish in faucet" signs up would probably go a long way. If the problem gets completely out of hand, make it a civil offense that carries a fine.


Here's the thing, though: federal lands are administered directly by the federal government. The only avenues they have for rule-making are Congressional statutes and agency regulations. There is nothing else available to them to achieve the goal of making and enforcing a rule, because that's how they're legally set up.

So to forbid washing fish at a faucet in a national park... you literally do have to make a federal law (or a regulation with the force of federal law).

This is also why they have their own law-enforcement agency (the United States Park Police): Congress was, for a very long time, reluctant to authorize a general federal police force, so many agencies have their own specific police force operating solely within that agency's jurisdiction. It also creates fun inter-jurisdictional issues since the U.S Capitol building has its own separate police force, but the Capitol building is on the National Mall, which is Park Police territory.


According to 16 USC 551, a fine is indeed what you're likely to get for violating this regulation.

The issue here is that the statute authorizing criminal penalties covers a whole range of national park regulations, some of which clearly merit stiff penalties, and some of which are just about washing fish safely.


But is it a "crime" (one that gets you a criminal record) as opposed to something like a parking ticket? This is what I thought we were arguing about but IANAL and might have misunderstood what OP meant.


It's a misdemeanor and gets you a criminal record. But so does a speeding ticket in states like Maryland or Georgia where all moving violations are misdemeaors.


Washington DC's unique status means that federal law governs what would otherwise be a city ordinance any other place in America.


That source uses "federal crime" to make it sound extra scary. These are misdemeanors, like speeding or red light tickets in many states.


Cool. Thanks for the info.

I just assumed that over 250 years some cruft was inevitable.


> How is that considered feasible by any rational person?

It's something that sounds simple and good to someone who not only isn't aware of the details of what it would mean in practice, but also isn't aware of their own inability to understand the details and nuance, or that there are details and nuance. It was a Dunning-Kruger election.


I'm going to introduce a new concept here, the "Dunning-Kruger effect effect": people who talk about the Dunning-Kruger effect usually haven't read or did not understand the Dunning Kruger effect paper and are only putting their ignorance on display [0]. Furthermore they are also ignorant of follow up studies proving that even the original effect was just a statistical artifact [1].

The Dunning-Kruger effect effect is itself an example of Dunning-Kruger effect but given that the Dunning-Kruger effect does not actually exist in general, the Dunning-Kruger effect effect may be the only instance of Dunning-Kruger effect that actually exists.

[0] http://danluu.com/dunning-kruger/ [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11831408


So... meta.


> The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority

High brow smack (condescension) like that and "basket of deplorables" are what America revolted against.

If the liberal left was truly smart, why did they allow the president to run up more national debt than all presidents prior...combined?


Has it become that radical to suggest that smart, well-educated people may in fact see further into the consequences of things (particularly in their areas of expertise, but probably also peripherally), see more cognitive bias, have better critical-thinking skills, remember more mistakes from history, and all around make better long-term decisions?

Why is that even offensive to anyone? Just because of someone's personal insecurity about not having a college degree in anything? I've worked around plenty of people without college degrees (4 year vet, USAF, enlisted), they have nothing to be insecure about... except for uninformed ideas about the world (IMHO).

Is it the subtle "I got this" confident arrogance of the expert? If so, then how is that any worse than a confidence and arrogance NOT based on intelligence/education/experience? (i.e., dunning-kruger)

If the liberal doctor says you have cancer and need an operation and the conservative mechanic says it's just soreness and to take two Advil, are you going to discount the doctor because he is liberal elite, or because he is full of himself and has terrible bedside manner?

If merely getting a college education makes you more liberal (as can be seen in exit polling), does that mean that merely knowing/understanding more things has a liberal bias? Doesn't that mean knowledge itself has a liberal bias? Does that sound like a preposterous conclusion to you? Modus tollens, and all that (not that even using the language of logical discourse is valued at all).

No wonder this "anti-intellectualism spring." Election as proxy-class-war and proxy-culture-war (not to mention proxy-gender-war), that much has been made clear.

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” ― Isaac Asimov (RIP)


Hofstadter's books on American culture and history are gems.

Broadly, the uneducated US population has historically distrusted experts and competence, preferring uneducated populists with charisma. This has generally led to the US having worse outcomes in many many areas. You can review any particular situation you know something at an expert & educated level about; usually that's in mild disarray to poorly done due to this gap between educated understanding and the electorate's choices.

This urge was understood: hence why the original US constitution had no popular vote provision for the President. It is instructive to read the rationale for the electoral college on Wikipedia.

Consequently, I'm a republic fan, but not a Republican.

I would also note that Fox News & descendants have specifically operated in a post-fact pro-opinion mode for years and years, defining the situation and the worldview of much of the uneducated populace. It lacked only a candidate to run on the Fox News/Drudge Report platform.

One could also remark that technology is inherently a political statement, and that the social media of today inherently promotes poor discourse. Elections 2016 rode in on Twitter, and disinformation campaigns flooded Facebook. It's not on Facebook to censor lies, but it's on Facebook to meditate on the modalites of media.

But, as all good nerds know, code has no politics, and politics is dirty, and politicians are liars, and politics doesn't affect them. So it's better to write code and not think about the consequences. (sarcasm, there)

Well folks, it's time to think about consequences, and ponder the events of the post-WW1 era.

Could be wise to not end up on an anti-Trump list assembled from private Facebook groups and demanded by a thin-skinned egotist.

Well, on that note, I'll be zipping my mouth on this one.

pnathan out.


You should read Emmett Rensin's brilliant writing on this subject: http://www.vox.com/2016/4/21/11451378/smug-american-liberali...

He expounds on and develops this idea much more.


Not the GP but I just read it, and I feel like he hit the nail on the head of the smug style. I happen to identify with many of the things he mentioned. It left me at a loss about where to go forward, though.

I hold it close to my core that critical thinking skills go hand-in-hand with a brighter individual and collective future. What do I say to someone who I think is falling into the trap of a logical fallacy that doesn't sound like I know better? If I think someone is misguided, am I supposed to listen to why they feel the way they do, then ask them to consider something not as wrong? What if they hold it true as their own set of Good Facts and are not open to conversation?

Or is the point of the article that maybe I'm objectively wrong about many policies I hold dear? LGBT equality, gender equality, etc, are causes that I'm actually wrong about and I should look at the other side for inspiration, regardless of where their 'Truth' comes from?

I'm deeply saddened that I not only observe and sometimes identify with the smug left, but I also have many conversations with family and friends who I would describe in a similar article with a different bent as the angry, illogical right. What do I do to reach those folks?

I'm also worried that their way of life is actually dying, because it is dying. Their jobs, their biggest source of pride, are disappearing, and attempting to repatriate them will likely result in big business investing in capital (robots) over labor (rural workers).

I want to support a smart policy that helps them get back on their feet. Is thinking that Donald Trump likely won't be able to bring them what they seek a smug liberal policy? If so, am I supposed to feel bad about thinking it, try to convince people about it, shut up about it, or none of the above?

Additionally, I think this is the type of article that appears when both sides live in an echo chamber. Yes, this is an excoriation of the smug left, but the smug left and this article only exists if we live in our own bubbles. The thing nobody knows and everyone wants to figure out is how to break down those barriers.


When you converse with people don't just listen to tell them where they are wrong. That's the biggest issue. You already have an idea what s/he will say, so you just wait for them to finish so you can explain how wrong they are. There are feelings behind those opinions. And don't dare to tell me (or yourself) that smart people think only logically and are unaffected by their feelings. You are, so don't be so quick to dismiss people with different feelings than yours.

Listen, really listen to them and think why do they have this opinion. What feelings are behind it. This is how you have a conversation with a person and not a lecture.


Thanks for your feedback, but I'm still concerned and would appreciate some more.

I think a difference I've seen this election is between verifiable facts and debate-able opinions. I can listen and probe intently until my partners face is blue but, for example, if they believe the world is flat, there's very little middle ground we can get opinion-wise since we fundamentally disagree about the shape of the earth.

I try to be as open as possible to differences in opinions and try my best to accept conflicting evidence to my world view. But, if someone is trying to convince me of something a couple google searches could easily disprove, I end up exasperated by the discussion. What do I do there? Not trust google?

My knee jerk thought is that these folks have been misinformed by people they trust. I want to help fix that, not lecture them. The tactics dont matter as much as the result.


The biggest eye-opener for me was that I shouldn't try to convince people on the spot. Debating political and similar issues is like challenging people. This means that even if at some point they start doubting their position, they will not admit it, they will just raise their shield and double down. Continuing further will just bring resentment. You cannot teach anything to anybody. We have a saying in my country - "You can only take by force, you can't give anything by force".

This lead to rethinking pretty much everything I do. I think it can be summarized in one word - patience. I have to pick my battles carefully. I shouldn't jump to every opportunity to debate. I have to let some things go. I have to identify the good opportunities - where I can say something truly engaging, touching. Most importantly, I have to be brief. No long answers, at most just 1 reply after that. No battles, they can't be won on the spot but perhaps I will make the other party reflect on what I've said later. This means that I have be efficient, leading to thinking about the other people involved, why they have their position and how to bring to their attention that there are other just as credible positions.

A couple of quotes I find worthy:

Plato: "[...]if you talk to any ordinary Spartan, he seems to be stupid, but eventually, like an expert marksman, he shoots in some brief remark that proves you to be only a child".

Epictetus: "Never call yourself a philosopher, nor talk a great deal among the unlearned about theorems, but act conformably to them. Thus, at an entertainment, don't talk how persons ought to eat, but eat as you ought. [...] So that if ever any talk should happen among the unlearned concerning philosophic theorems, be you, for the most part, silent. For there is great danger in immediately throwing out what you have not digested. And, if anyone tells you that you know nothing, and you are not nettled at it, then you may be sure that you have begun your business. For sheep don't throw up the grass to show the shepherds how much they have eaten; but, inwardly digesting their food, they outwardly produce wool and milk".


Thank you, blahi.


I'm with you word for word. And on top of all this self-doubt and soul-searching, I can't help but think that, should the roles have been reversed, we wouldn't be given the same level of credit we're affording to the "angry, illogical right". As long as we're the ones who are trying our best to support all of humanity, I think our heads and hearts are in the right place - Our expression of these ideas could use work.


That's what's already happening for 25 years in my country (Russia). Even worse, liberals are much smaller group (10-20%) than in USA, but they teach everybody how to live with even more condescension.

That's why people like Putin.

So now you taste by yourself what you did to the world with too much left liberalism. Good luck with that and have your own Putin as a result.


What's the alternative? Centrism? Honestly curious.


I think it's conservatism. And by conservatism I mean not something archaic, stupid and with reliance only on tradition, like leftist think... It's motion to the same goals, only slower. People must have freedom. But too much freedom too fast always creates problems.

Each step must not make revolutions and counterrevolutions. Each step mustn't break people's minds. Each step must consider everything (not "goal for goal"). So conservatism is much more complex because you need to consider everything and with this knowledge make hard decisions, not just run to the sun with some hope that everything will be all right, like drug addicts do. For me, leftism and all modern liberalism is infantile and conservatism is for grownups.


This is a fantastic op-ed that I'm glad you brought my attention to, but I'm most of the way through it and I feel like I can almost sum it up as "Ode to the Backfire Effect"

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Backfire_effect

:)

"Trump capturing the nomination will not dispel the smug style; if anything, it will redouble it. Faced with the prospect of an election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the smug will reach a fever pitch: six straight months of a sure thing, an opportunity to mock and scoff and ask, How could anybody vote for this guy? until a morning in November when they ask, What the fuck happened?"

Wow, considering this was written in April, that ended up being remarkably prescient, eh?


Thanks for posting this great read. I think it belongs on the front page of HN, having witnessed HN's hyperbolic reaction to the election this morning.

It does an excellent job of diagnosing the American Left's political and social ills. It left out the most important part: a solution. It never actually validated either ideology nor proposed a solution beyond "make sure to respect and empathize with the other side."

I feel you never actually addressed the veracity of the parent poster's statement, just the tone. It is a valid criticism, to be sure, but I would like more.


I tried submitting it, and I see it may have (recently!) been on the front page!

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12906783


It's getting some great commentary! Thanks!


I immediately thought of this article while reading their post. Both sides like demonizing and trivializing the other, but it's important to remember... these political parties are composed of millions of Americans. Both parties have stupid and genius members. Priorities is the only thing that separates us.


great read. one other thing that is apparent is despite this "we know better" mindset, liberals tend to operate on the emotional level (hence the name calling they resort to immediately as soon as they begin to lose an argument), whereas the republican camp typically appeals to logic.


Interesting - This is opposite my experience. The conservative party on social issues has been almost synonymous with Christian beliefs as long as I've been alive. Many discussions around modern social issues (abortion, same-sex marriage) have boiled down to being called a "sinner", which I consider name calling, and a fundamentally impossible to argue with and actually entirely based on emotion (faith). This is not a situation I have faced with all or even most Republicans, but when I have faced the situation, it was with a Republican.


An argument can be made that abortion is a form of murder without resorting to religious arguments.

Things having to do with sexual behavior are in the realm of irrational "out of the box" so to speak, trying to bring logic into the discussion doesn't bode well for either side and can lead down a long and treacherous path deep into the ontology of human psyche.

Things I'm talking about are "simpler" things like:

- gun control. most discussions with liberal anti-gun opponents end up in 2 basic scenarios: "guns are bad mmmk" or "you must be some kind of a gun-toting redneck"

- illegal immigration. this is a huge can of [il]logical blunders from the liberal side. but essentially boils down to "dis rasist".

- global warming or rather it's anthropological component. normally starts and ends by labeling the opponent "a climate change denier" no matter how adamant one is about trying to convey that this is specifically an anthro component of it that is being discussed.

- then there's the ever present "dis rasist" and "h8r" labels used every time there is a racial component to the issue. these are applied at will. don't like Obamacare (or anything Obama)? - "rasist h8r"; think the dude had a gun and not a book when a [black] cop shot him? - "major league racist"... etc ad nauseum.

there are other liberal sacred cows but these are just some of the ones talked about more often esp lately with the election and all.


An argument can be made that if abortion WAS murder, and prosecutable as murder, then every time an innocent woman had a miscarriage or stillbirth (which happens much more often than you realize), there would have to be a murder investigation (due to the possibility of the mom having induced the abortion somehow).

If the prospect of forcing millions of innocent women already suffering from a miscarriage through a trial (not to mention ALL the added cost and effort) doesn't horrify you, it should.

Secondly, over 50% of fertilized eggs never actually implant into the uterus and get washed out. If nature itself is tossing fully half of the fertilized eggs out, then a few more won't make much of an ethical difference.


>> Secondly, over 50% of fertilized eggs never actually implant into the uterus and get washed out. If nature itself is tossing fully half of the fertilized eggs out, then a few more won't make much of an ethical difference.

you saying there's no difference between a fertilized egg and the fetus 2 hrs before childbirth?


I see your point, but, based on your portrayal of your opponents, you appear to be arguing primarily on the internet. Or are you seeing similar short-sighted arguments in person with friends, strangers, family?


To be honest lately its to the point where liberals (or rather their media hate machine) painted themselves a picture of a "big bad republican" which takes any discussion down that path pretty quickly in any setting.


I'm sorry, I wasn't clear - You've had in person arguments with self-proclaimed liberals (strangers, friends, or otherwise) that all resulted in calling you names rather than continuing a civil discussion? And you have additionally not seen self-proclaimed republicans do similar?

I'm making the distinction of in-person discussions only because I do think sweeping negative statements have been made on both sides incessantly for years, but nowhere nearly as toxic or shameless as from the safety of anonymity. If that's the major source of "seeing both sides" for the public majority, seeing venomous Tweets and dismissive Facebook posts, it's no wonder that we're dealing with such a schism of understanding and fundamental respect.


In person arguments tend to be more civil, no doubt, although that also depends on the settings.

Liberal crowds tend to be passive-aggressive in general ("give us our safe space you fn bigots or we'll burn something" :) ) so these in person discussions also only work in "private" settings.

Observing this as we speak - "stupid rural whites ("hicks" from the article we're discussing) are to blame for trump's victory" type vibe in the lib news + street protests.


Right. I think we can agree here that fewer actual /discussions/ take place in support of shouting matches and veiled spite. I don't think that is constructive for anyone and, in my opinion, this is a technique cultivated by the fringes of the political spectrum made popular as well as easier than ever before.

If opinions are voiced in a respectful manner with the goal of achieving an understanding between those who think differently rather than a victory then the responses you receive are absolutely unacceptable, at least to me. I do hope you'll understand how someone can be wary to unquestionably validate generalizations about anyone, including liberals, without being provided much insight to the specific statements or situations that have preceded them. I personally respond well to self-reflection, as I find it important to keep mental context for my own emotions and motivations. From our conversation, allow me to offer some: I don't make the negative statements you've experienced but I have not dismayed them, not seeing them as equal to pain evoked from other derogatory statements like ethnic/gay slurs. Part of this is because my experience includes those derogatory statements coming from the mouths of those rural Americans so there is some "logical" motivation behind the statements being thrown back in their direction. Respect was not received, respect is not provided, and now here we are, worse off than before. Now aware of this, I will not enable a platform for those comments to be made regardless of the situation.


>>> I do hope you'll understand how someone can be wary to unquestionably validate generalizations about anyone, including liberals, without being provided much insight to the specific statements or situations that have preceded them.

Sure. But, as an example, one would have to be [intellectually?] dishonest to turn a blind eye to rampant namecalling and smear campaign tactics "the left" has employed during the elections. Don't think you need to go as deep as to analyze specific situations to see that.


The notion that a college education bestows upon the recipient liberal viewpoints is absolute rubbish. Various universities have different rates of liberalism/conservatism; major programs within universities also have great disparities.

This also fails to address the survivor's bias that perhaps those who actually can enter college may already be predisposed to liberalism due to locality and family circumstances.

To abuse the old HN gripe, correlation doesn't imply causation.


> The notion that a college education bestows upon the recipient liberal viewpoints is absolute rubbish.

Do you have evidence to support that? Because here is mine: Exit polling for the most recent election:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/08/us/politics/el...

Scroll down to the "Education" and especially the "Education by Race (white)" sections.

Peripherally (I call it that because of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religiosity_and_intelligence), look at the "Religion" section, protestant christians vs. "none".


You have somewhat established correlation. Great!

You haven't answered the actual point of my argument, which is "college degrees don't necessarily bestow liberal viewpoints."


Here, only a few minutes' reading, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb:

Intellectual Yet Idiot (IYI)

https://medium.com/@nntaleb/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211...

(not aimed at you)


Oh wow. Mr. Taleb sure knows how to put meat on the bone.

My most salient criticism is the slam against GMO's... I've done my own homework there and I haven't found solid evidence that there is something systematically wrong with all GMO's.


Unless you read his paper. http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/pp2.pdf


Nassim Taleb is like his own Markov chain text generator now


I think you are over-generalizing the Dunning-Kruger effect in your strawman argument. Moreover, you might want to consider that its not intellectualism -v- anti-intellectualism but psuedo-intellectualism -v- anti-psuedo-intellectualism behind the Trump win. There is a difference.


Can you clarify what you mean by "pseudo-intellectualism -v- anti-pseudo-intellectualism"?


If the hallmark of an intellectual is respect for reason, honesty, integrity and the facts then clearly BOTH sides of the political aisle are lacking in these character traits. The "Right" and Reps make no pretense to be advocates of reason since they are the religious party based on faith. The "Left" postures as the reasonable, respectable and intellectual alternative to the Right and yet they feel compelled to shut down any opposition with ad hom, smears, political correctness and, since the govt controls virtually all the scientific research, cutting off your funding if you don't toe the line. The trick is then to say "see, even science supports our positions" and to use that to advance political goals with a rigged system. This is what Ayn Rand called "The Establishing of an Establishment" in her book "Philosophy: Who Needs It" which you should read if your question is honest.

That said, I think there is certainly some anti-intellectualism on the Right and behind Trump's success (no surprise). However, I don't think the nation is awash in irrationality, racism, misogyny, etc (though that is the Left's scary, dishonest spin) and the election was, at least partly, a repudiation of the Left's posturing as the intellectual, reasonable alternative.


I have to say I pretty much agree with most of what you said here.

I am a person who tries very hard to be centrist with the hope of getting closer to some "universal truths" (my Facebook page is practically a monument to political moderation) and this is the most difficult time I've had in years of trying to do this.


Could you give some more background for the scientific research chilling effect you describe? I have heard this idea of climate research science refusing to accept alternate positions, but I haven't seen it substantiated.

I would characterize the political alignment of government employees to be as diverse as the nation's. "The government" as a liberal-partisan force seems a bit inaccurate given that the House and Senate have had Republican majorities since 2012. That said, my exposure with U.S. government employees is limited to Defense/IC; I won't discount a bias --liberal or otherwise-- in NSF or other grants programs.


Two that come to mind are nicotine and marijuana research. To be clear both sides of the political spectrum try to rig or block scientific research for political goals, so neither one has a monopoly on that, which is why I am opposed to ANY govt funding of science. Its not a proper function of govt.

The LEOs blocked research into marijuana use for pain, nauseousness, etc. for decades because they don't want to admit that they dedicated their lives to a pointless "war" on drugs and they still heavily influence what gets studied today.

The anti-tobacco scare-mongering is beyond belief. Researchers admit that nicotine is not the "most addictive drug in the world" per the propaganda, they can't even get rats addicted to it in isolation. It turns out it is nicotine plus chemicals in tobacco smoke that make smoking addictive and the cognitive and physiological benefits of nicotine are just starting to be known. The big problem here is that if research legitimizes nicotine use (even as a pill or whatever) it can threaten the cigarette taxes that many states depend on so it is opposed which is a pretty cynical way to fund your govt in my book. The "second hand smoke" hysteria is statistical non-sense pushed by the anti-tobacco zealots.

I think the climate research is politically tainted as well but I won't go into that.


> why I am opposed to ANY govt funding of science. Its not a proper function of govt.

So who should fund science? Industry? They won't fund any science. They will fund research into engineering and technology. But they won't fund basic science. Furthermore expecting industry funded research to be unbiased is like expecting turkeys to vote for a second Christmas.


How did this property of MAOIs being the addictive component of cigarette smoking become known?

(probably government-funded research)

I see your point about bias being present in grants distribution, but there is no better way that is apparent. Too liberal, and you waste money on useless research. Too conservative, and you stifle important research that has no immediately marketable use. Scientific grant administration is difficult. As to government employees being in charge of grant distribution, who else should perform this function? Where else would the funding come from? The U.S. is a world leader in scientific research due to its generous (in comparison) funding.


I don't expect you to agree-with or understand this, now or in the near future but perhaps he/she was thinking along these valid lines:

"The Intellectual Yet Idiot" from "Skin in the Game" by Nassim Taleb

https://medium.com/@nntaleb/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211...


I think this is a good think piece about humbly accepting criticism about widely-held beliefs and not blindly believing in academic authority. Although Taleb's characterization of the IYI seems to be as broad as a horoscope, this is his tongue-in-cheek writing style.

I think the point you're making is that credentialed individuals shouldn't be blindly trusted; on the other hand, those that say that all experts are clueless are falling for the very same fallacy decried by Taleb.

That said, I appreciate your posting of this link; it was a good read (I'm not being snarky).


Perhaps you can compare it to intellectualism by considering the difference between offering up your humble opinion, and offering up your humble opinion as an objective truth.


This is true, statistically. But on the level of one person you can't make such predicaments. Software developer or rocket engineer with all their complex knowledge sometimes isn't more successful (and happy) in life than some smart businessman. Knowledge is just a part of whole thing (to be ideal ruler of the USA). May be it is 1/5.

So why people make so much hype about this 20%? Because they don't have much perspective and freedom in their mind to understand that. They just have very simple filters and Trump's lack of knowledge hits them. And now they can condescend to him and feel good.

But what about other 80%?


What do you suggest the other 80% is?

I happen to agree with you in concept, although I'd put knowledge closer to 30% (guesstimate).

In my line of work I would say that knowledge is a third of what I need, and the rest is a mix of patience, ability to learn things I don't know, humility and ability to work well with others.

Are these the traits you would look for or something else?

And how would you rank Trump on these? (or yours, if you have others)


Yes, like this. I don't exactly know how to express this in English. In Russian I would say that this is "good pseekheeka" which means combination of man's abilities (like in RPG).

So, it is emotional intelligence, persistence, will, ability to make friends, charisma, luck, fearlessness, high motivation, sensitivity, humility, ironic perception of the world, ability to resolve conflicts, ability to make boundaries, healthy aggression, ability to cope with your own aggression and aggression of others, ability to cope with doubts, deep understanding of other people, ability to learn things, ability to understand, ability not to divide everything to black and white, ability to break patterns in mind, lack of mind problems... etc.

You also not only need to know many complex things. You need to know unique things, and this things must create something like 3D network in mind. They must be linked with each other. The quality of this network and quality and uniqueness of facts are 100 times more important then amount of facts.

So if some liberal know many things like "LGBT is good", "aggression is bad", "people are equal" and usually they just repeat that over and over, this is nothing. They can read books, but reading by itself doesn't create links and facts that they read aren't unique. This is just something like propaganda but more subtle. They install kernel of left liberalism in their mind and that kernel controls them. They don't have ability to control it. They don't even understand that it's exist.

So if we look at this like points in RPG, I rank Trump higher than Clinton. He understands people much better so he has better emotional intelligence and many other things. He is good showman and this means that he has many social abilities. He is funny. He is businessman so he is very adequate in life. He has healthy aggression and this is good. He is more fearless. He doesn't fear to look stupid. He doesn't have much shame and I thinks it's healthy. He has charisma. He has healthy family.


Thank you for writing this


The problem is that liberals sneer at other people regardless of their actual qualifications or education. No on here has presented evidence that they are more educated or qualified than Trump, and yet they are taking it for granted that Trump's view is the view of the uneducated. That is the problem.

As to the wider point that more educated people are more liberal, there is plenty of evidence that liberal views are forced on people in the education system. That doesn't mean people are liberal because they are smart. If all universities were Christian, as they once were, that wouldn't prove that Christians were smarter.


Very well put.

For all the reasons people do/claim to vote for Trump because of, the "he says what's on his mind, he's anti-PC" always stood out the most, when things like this come up.

* Bringing facts to the conversation isn't acceptable.

* Calling Trump out for the things he actually says and does isn't acceptable.

* Insulting Trump by calling him an insecure man-child isn't acceptable, because he'll sue.

Trump was a buffoon 2, 10 and 20 years ago, and he is a buffoon now. That he somehow magically got elected doesn't actually change that, and it amazes me what we're all willing to forget, and how fast.

Merit doesn't actually matter anymore. We'll rather elect a misogynistic, racist, incompetent, inexperienced ill-tempered man than the qualified, boring, moderate woman.

Sorry for hijacking and possibly ruining your eloquent post, but all this honestly baffles me.


> why did they allow the president to run up more national debt than all presidents prior...combined

This isn't true even on the face of it; it went up from ~10 trillion to ~18 trillion. And aside from that; the national debt exploded due to the economic collapse that happened months before Obama was sworn in. The accusation is wrong on the facts and disingenuous.


Yeah, I agree but unfortunately anyone who says that usually isn't going to be swayed in the face of objective fact. People act like the 2008 crash just happened spontaneously because Obama was elected, ignoring the shit show of the prior decade.


Yes the prior decade, starting in 1998 when Bill Clinton signed legislation that opened the financial doors which allowed the housing crisis to start. Bush didn't close that door and so it built momentum but it would not have been possible if Bill had not signed that legislation in the first place.


And the debt was increased by actions like bailing out the auto industry, saving 800,000 jobs. All those workers then voted for Trump.


That actually didn't increase the debt. Most of those loans were repaid.

The money to the banks, I'm not so sure.

Don't forget Obama was handed two active wars that he had to fund. They were spending billions per day on military operations. He wound them down as fast as he could but it still took years.


That costed less than $10 billion in the end... you have several additional trillions to account for.


It's closer to ~20 trillion now, right?


>High brow smack (condescension) like that and "basket of deplorables" are what America revolted against.

Actually, the majority of Americans agreed with Hillary Clinton. She won the popular vote by over a million votes. We just use an outdated system built to appease slaveholders that does not necessarily represent the bulk will of the people. Trump won on a technicality of our (antiquated and frankly awful) system, not on a mandate.

>If the liberal left was truly smart, why did they allow the president to run up more national debt than all presidents prior...combined?

The president doesn't make the budget or handle the accounting of the US. Congress does. Guess who controls Congress? Hint, not the liberal left.


> Actually, the majority of Americans agreed with Hillary Clinton. She won the popular vote by over a million votes. We just use an outdated system built to appease slaveholders that does not necessarily represent the bulk will of the people. Trump won on a technicality of our (antiquated and frankly awful) system, not on a mandate.

While I agree that the electoral college is not the best system, we can't really know what the results would have been if the popular vote determined the presidency. Campaigns are optimized based on the electoral college and each would have been run differently on a different system. Also, voter turnout may have been different because you no longer have partisan strongholds which may discourage voting.


Not only that don't forget there's 4 million Americans who live in the US territories. They are American but don't get to vote for president because they don't live in a state or (since the 70s) DC. That's more than the population of Connecticut, for example.


> Actually, the majority of Americans agreed with Hillary Clinton

A plurality did, not a majority.

But still more than went with any individual alternative.

> Trump won on a technicality of our (antiquated and frankly awful) system, not on a mandate.

It's not so much antiquated as evil; it's designed specifically to magnify the power of voters in states with people counted for assigning representation that don't vote (primarily to secure slavery, but its continued to reward other forms of disenfranchisement since.)


"A plurality did, not a majority."

Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to look up the difference :)


A plurality is also called a simple majority.


That's definitely not true, unless in some special context.


I'm not sure about English, but "simple majority" and "absolute majority" are commonly used to refer to a plurality and >50% respectively in German.

Wikipedia [0] also recognizes this meaning.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_majority


The Wikipedia article indicates that simple majority may refer to majority, plurality, FPTP, or super majority, indicating no preference as to which might might be the most commonly understood.


A "simple majority" means 50%+, not a mere plurality (its the same as just a "majority", it's generally used to contrast with a supermajority.)


> We just use an outdated system built to appease slaveholders that does not necessarily represent the bulk will of the people.

It may have been built with slave/free state "fairness" in mind, but even today the mechanism serves to level out the tyranny of the majority, from the states' perspective.


I fail to see how a tyranny of the minority is better than a tyranny of the majority. The current winner-take-all system must provide one or the other.


I fail to see how it is a tyranny of the minority. US is a federation after all.


A state doesn't have a "perspective". A state is just a line drawn around a collection of people. Mathematically, a majority of states have excess power in proportion to its population. From a state's imagined perspective, it's a tyranny of the majority.


The country is mostly red. Even though Clinton got 200k more votes I'm sure you can see why the the electoral system is in place.

I like to add there is still 4 million votes that are being counted. Projection even from CNN is that Trump wins the popular vote.

[0] https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/geographic-lands... [1] http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-10/trumps-geographic-l...


Every source I can find has her winning by around 200k. When you are talking about 120M votes that is rather insignificant.


When it's the difference in winning the majority and still losing the election, it is significant.


FWIW, technically it's a plurality, not a majority. To win a majority, you need to win over 50%.


Earlier projections I saw said a million, but you are right thanks.


Why do you assume that the poster you're replying to is a liberal (or at least a Hillary-supporter) just because they are against Trump / Trump-supporters. You're complaining about people making condescending assumptions, while making your own.


You beat me to it. Indeed, it was a Dunning-Kruger election but not in the way that the OP meant it.

Also, following on your second point, if the Dems are so smart how could they not see that Clinton was a fatally flawed candidate. We'll never know but I think its likely Sanders would have won versus Trump.


> how could they not see that Clinton was a fatally flawed candidate

All of the people positions of power in the DNC were pro-Hillary. That's why they were blinded. Their mind was made up before the election cycle even started.


> > how could they not see that Clinton was a fatally flawed candidate

> All of the people positions of power in the DNC were pro-Hillary. That's why they were blinded.

Running a campaign vs running a country is very different, no doubt. But many will make a case there. She has dropped the ball on the election, besides other list of things vs someone won against all odds (CNN projecting less than 1% odds of winning).

The interesting thing is much as people like to say Trump is stupid, anti-intellectual, just a TV personality, somehow he had intuition to poll in the right states at the right time, to understand what people want and respond do. All that while the both the Republicans, and Democrats, the media, the DOJ and POTUS where against him.

Taking everything away and just comparing based on those things, it is possible to draw some conclusions perhaps.


Or it was just a toss up and be got lucky.


Getting it to the tossup point was a massive mistake. How many voters did the Democrats lose due to their own underhanded infighting in the primaries?


And they overtly and covertly pushed that barrow, even in the face of their supposed neutrality.


I actually think it's unlikely for Sanders, but Biden likely would have won, if he had run. Many many many people saw this coming and begged him to enter the race. Biden has a bond with the blue-collar workers who fled to Trump, he has a compelling life story and is free of any clintonian scandals.


>how could they not see that Clinton was a fatally flawed candidate

Interesting theory when she got more votes.


> If the liberal left was truly smart, why did they allow the president to run up more national debt than all presidents prior...combined?

Because the prez doesn't actually get a say. Congress sets the budget and the prez is obligated to pay it. If the taxes that congress sets aren't enough to cover it, the prez has to borrow the money. Given that Congress has been controlled by the Republicans for the past... 6?... years, you're barking at the wrong crowd.

Congress is in a sweet spot here, where they can blame the president for the huge debt that is congress's doing.


Oh man really? They just voted for the obviously bad candidate out of spite because mean Leftist Boogeymen were being condescending on the internet? It turns out after all that Trump supporters didn't have any legs to stand on, or any ideologies, or wishes, they were just like "you know what everyone, I'm tired of being called X, let's revolt" and that's why? Man, that's almost like the ultimate self-discredit of the movement.


Because at the current interest rate, the government actually makes money from taking out loans after inflation is accounted for.


Here's Nate Silver today trying to explain trump:

> America hasn’t put its demons — including racism, anti-Semitism and misogyny — behind it. White people still make up the vast majority of the electorate, particularly when considering their share of the Electoral College, and their votes usually determine the winner.

By intentionally continuing to attempt to associate support for trump with a litany of unacceptable -isms that are the guilty burden of being white (men), he exposed the attitude that people are revolting against.


I think this is misleading. Certainly he's evidence of those things, but I don't think he won because of it.

His message appealed to people in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Yes, it's pretty sad that people were willing to vote for him despite the racism, sexism, and general demeanor. Did many really vote for that, or did they vote to get out of NAFTA and introduce protectionism under the idea that they might get some of their former glory back. They hear MAGA and think back to when Detroit had the highest average income in the country. When Flint didn't have poison in the water. It's about you first, others second. It's a powerful message, one that people who don't support trump seemed to fail to recognize under all the absolutely horrible awful things constantly coming at us.

Compare that to Hillary basically saying "meh, they'll vote for me". How much extra effort would it have taken to keep those 3 states democrat.


Why do you think Hillary didn't campaign in swing states?


Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan have been democrat in 5-6 straight elections.


Arrogance?


So you're saying that it's perfectly normal for a non-racist person to support a candidate who openly argued for deporting huge swaths of honest workers and enforce by law racial and religious discrimination?


Unless we manage to create a parallel universe where the 11-15 million illegal immigrants are Canadian instead of Mexican, to test against, I don't think you can definitively state that support for enforcement of immigration law constitutes racism.

I don't think a person who's construction job was taken away by an under-the-table worker really cares what color the other person's skin is, the milk and bread he can't afford now leaves the same hole in his pantry.

Same thing for software development offshoring - is it racist for those out-of-work Disney engineers to want their jobs back?


The problem with this argument as stated is that it has a hard time accounting for the millions of Hispanic voters who voted for Trump... unless you think they are actually self-hating anti-Hispanic racists or something. (Yes, I know more hispanics voted for Clinton than for Trump, but the split was nowhere close to 100-0. It wasn't even close to the 88-12 or so that African-American voters split for Clinton.)


The Hispanic population is still overwhelmingly Catholic[0]. There will always be sway when abortion is on the table.

[0] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/08/upshot/even-as-hispanics-l...


Sure. And there are other reasons they might have voted for Trump too. I'm just saying that clearly people can vote for him without endorsing his position on some particular issue, even one that cuts very close to them.

The parent of my comment was saying that this was abnormal, whereas it is (sadly, perhaps?) quite common in voting.


Right, I was supporting your argument by providing one historically consistent potential reason for endorsement from that segment of the population.


One other thing: Trump got about the same fraction of the Latino vote as Romney in 2012 and McCain in 2008, to within exit poll survey error. The actual cited number for him is between those for McCain and Romney. See http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/hillary-clin...

So apparently he's no more abnormal than McCain and Romney were, to those voters. Or at least they felt their other options this time were a lot worse. Or something. It's hard to draw a hard conclusion from the numbers here.


I'm saying that if you believe you can so trivially comprehend and dismiss the emotional state of tens of millions of people who until today you possibly didn't even want to admit exist, you're fooling yourself badly.


To add on, part of the galvanizing force that created the political block (those tens of millions) was they don't like GP's exact attitude!

People really, really, really, don't like it when you deny or trivialize their experience. I think it was the final straw that led to the Trump victory.


Whatever the emotional state, in the end they supported the candidate openly espousing racist and misogynist opinions, and is on the record saying he sexually assaults women. Maybe the people who voted for him aren't themselves racists and misogynists, but they sure as hell didn't think that stuff was important enough not to vote for him.


> is on the record saying he sexually assaults women

This is a good thing to touch on, because it very handily demonstrates an area where differing opinions became a crux upon which the election turned. Trump was "on the record" joking around in a manner that, despite Clintonian assertion otherwise, is not at all uncommon, amongst men and women. It is, also despite assertion, not universally accepted that offensive words are equivalent to harmful actions. For instance, although I did not vote for Trump, I will never accept this precept as valid.

The racism and sexism are sort of victims of their own overuse. I've said, unto exhaustion, that fighting sexism with sexism and racism with racism is equivalent to fighting a fire with fuel, but political beliefs state that racism against whites and sexism against males is justified and therefore non-existent, so it gets deployed rampantly. This election is one obvious result.


> The racism and sexism are sort of victims of their own overuse.

Or possibly there's just a lot of it around.


They didn't. He won. Deal with it.


A content-free comment.


Today we learned that racists and sexists are rebelling against ... being disliked for being racist and sexist.

Yes, I supposed we could fix that by not complaining about them being racist and sexist.


That's exactly the railing against "political correctness" that got so much attention. "Not PC" is code for "freedom to believe and say hateful things about other groups of people."


Do you truthfully believe that you can trivialize and dismiss something you seemingly don't understand and be correct at the same time? That doesn't speak well for the strength of logic underlying your opinions.

No attempt at political correctness will ever impact the freedom to believe anything at all, hateful, loving, or totally rational. That freedom is fundamental to being human. It is not granted by any organization and cannot be revoked using any known mechanism, no matter what your opinion on those thoughts.

We don't need code to believe and express that we are free to say hateful things. Even those on the left believe they are free to say hateful things about people on the right. They've simply fooled themselves into believing that feeling justified about that hate means that they aren't being hateful.

Here's a spoiler alert for being human: everyone feels that exact same justification. It is literally meaningless.


No, you've missed the lesson entirely in your zeal to appear clever and correct. That's fine, I'm sure you won't enjoy the trump presidency so the punishment is sort of built-in


Nate Silver has been wrong in everything he has predicted about Trump.

Again its not about ism although they play a part. Its about establishment vs anti-establishment. Hillary Clinton was the candidate of international finance and military complex.


It appears many people are embracing these unacceptable-isms. How is it then bad to call them our on it?


"Calling people out" is not a technique to help people grow. It's ridiculing them after applying a label from a distance.

The more people insist it was racists and sexists behind the vote, the more they miss the point. Part of the Trump vote was reacting sharply to the labeling + ridicule technique.

There are other options. Learn more about why they feel the way they do, understand them. These are (most of our) countrymen, fellow humans at the very least.

Education, understanding, compassion. Not ridicule.


No, it was a result of desperate people willing to vote for a guy who said "I'll bring back jobs from overseas" and when asked how his response was "I'll tell companies they can't send jobs overseas.

The fact that the average American knows so little about the political process that they think the president can just tell a corporation where they have to employ people makes my head hurt. Badly.

The message of this election was: just lie to people. Even if there's no factual basis in our known reality to back up your statements, if you tell them what they want to hear they'll believe it. And that's really, really sad. I feel for the people who have lots manufacturing jobs, but the way out of that hole isn't voting for a guy who's going to remove any social safety net you previously had available...


Calling racism racism is NOT labeling and ridicule. It's observation, and there's a big difference. I'm not saying everyone who voted for him is racist, but a lot of them are and frankly it's absurd to say we shouldn't address racism for what it is. If calling out someone for clearly being racist is labeling then I think we need to hash out the definitions of these words.


The point that seems to missed here is that it doesn't matter if you feel or even are justified in your beliefs, because literally everyone feels justified in their beliefs too. Turning it into a name-calling contest is emotionally satisfying to an extent, but that's part of why today we have president elect trump, so is the satisfaction worth it?


Two-thirds of Republicans still believe Obama was born outside the US. What possible justification do they have for that belief? Let's stack up our beliefs and see whose match more closely with "facts."


Here is a possible source for your claim(since you didn't provide one) - http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2015/PPP_Release_Nati...

The poll states that 44% of the queried republicans said "No" to the question.

I've never believed that these polls offer wisdom into the mindset of people - they're too reductive and simplistic.


Here's another from this year. http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2016/05/gop-quickly-...

13% think Obama is a Christian. 77% are not sure if he was born in the US.

I agree the "mindset of the people" is more complex than this, and such a belief about Obama may not be the main driver of their voting behavior.

But they are being truthful about saying they believe what they believe, right? They either believe it or they don't. In my eyes this kind of mass susceptibility to conspiracy theories is a huge sociological phenomenon that should be explored.


Your argument is orthogonal to my point, so I don't really have a response to it. Also I'm not sure if you're calling me out, or some set of abstract Republicans, but I'm not really here to do battle in any case, so I don't have any beliefs for the stack.


>Education, understanding, compassion. Not ridicule.

How much did they try to understand Obama voters? Not at all. We got 8 years of racist attacks, "you lie!", and scorched earth tactics. I appreciate your invitation to be magnanimous but I'm not feeling it yet.


They didn't try at all. Unfortunately, someone has to do it. I'm still working up the strength, too.


It should not be a surprise if they're embracing it if they've been tarred with it for decades.

This is a cycle.


The overt reasoning of the most prominent Southern Democratic legislators was that the civil rights focus of the greater Democratic party was the primary reason for their flight into the American Independent and Republican parties.

I assert that it is probably no longer a factor for the majority of Republican voters.

I think this is the source of the narrative, rightly or wrongly. I don't see any evidence it had anything to do with the Reagan or Bush presidencies.

In my lifetime I didn't see the uptick in overt white supremacy until President Obama took office. I think it is a combination of cyclical liberal excuses and some legitimate labelling.


It appears to be the accepted narrative, but it's the explanation coming from people who were caught completely flat-footed. What's the evidence that the narrative isn't a bunch of overwrought bullshit?



It's not as crazy as it sounds. Studies show that Government has a "liberal bias". That even during Republican administrations, more liberal policies are passed than conservative ones: http://www.vox.com/2014/9/19/6532489/chart-policymaking-has-...

The reason is because it's much much harder to repeal laws than to add new ones, so they tend to increase over time. Regulation bloats.


Like technical debt. We are long overdue for a good refactoring push.


And for all the jokes about testing in production, that's literally all we can do.


Well if we had a sane government, we could try rolling out new policies to randomly selected regions and cities first. We could use prediction markets to predict the effects of policies before implementing them.


To some extent we do this. For example, we rolled out "legal recreational marijuana" to a few states several years ago, then watched what happened. In this election we rolled it out to a few more states and will see what happens.

Not random selection, of course, but better than nothing.


Good to know I live in one of the staging states, at least I get the beta features sooner.


50-80 years ago you banned drugs everywhere. That what USA intention. Now you doing opposite and are so happy with it.

Now you like LGBT, in 50 years you will kill them.

Same with many things.

The problem is that you do all this things to the world. And poor world must bend to your changing mind.

USA, keep this mind-changing insanity to yourself, ok?


> 50-80 years ago you banned drugs everywhere.

Just so we're clear, 50-80 years ago I wasn't alive. ;)

But if you insist on doing things this way, you could make this sort of case about all sorts of countries:

"50-80 years ago, you were killing Jews in Europe; now you're not and are so happy about it." Well, except not everyone is happy, of course.

"50-80 years ago, you Japanese were enslaving people in countries around yours, now you're not and are so happy about it."

"25 years ago, you Swiss wouldn't let your women vote in elections in your canton, now you do and are so happy about." See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appenzell_Innerrhoden#Women.27...

> Now you doing opposite and are so happy with it.

I dunno about _happy_. There are a bunch of people not happy with marijuana legalization, and a bunch more who are not terribly happy with it but are even less happy with the state of things.

Just like there were people who were not happy to end alcohol prohibition, but were even less happy with the state of things when prohibition was in effect.

> Now you like LGBT, in 50 years you will kill them.

Just like the Swiss will repeal women's suffrage and various countries in Europe will go back to murdering Jews, right?

Or perhaps, just possibly, that might not happen? Maybe?

> The problem is that you do all this things to the world.

Really? How, exactly, is "the world" affected by the legality or not of marijuana in the US? There's some interaction with our immediate neighbors due to attempts to eliminate smuggling operations, but other than that, what is this doing to "the world"?


All this countries don't rule the world. You are THE ruler. You must be much much much more aware of what you do with each step (let's for a minute ignore that you don't really care).

>Really? How, exactly, is "the world" affected by the legality or not of marijuana in the US?

It's simple. CA accepts -> other states accept because they look after CA & NY & TX -> UK accepts because in such things they look after USA -> EU accepts because in such things they do what USA & UK do -> Russia accepts because in such things they do what EU do (yes, it is true).

5-10 years for each step.


> UK accepts because in such things they look after USA

I really fail to see how this is the "fault" of the US. This is literally one of the first things children are taught: "if all your friends went and jumped off a tall building, that doesn't mean _you_ have to", etc.

In practice, different places may want different approaches for legalization or not of such things, because of cultural or demographic differences. And that's perfectly OK, though may cause friction at borders.


>- term limits on congress, a measure to reduce the revolving door effect of government officials going into lobbying.

Terms limit worsen the revolving door, because the reps focus more on their next job than actually legislating. They become incredibly short term sighted.

The real fix would be to outright ban gerrymandering and force the officials to have to represent a mixture of political views.


California tried term limits. They didnt work. Turns out you need to have actual political skills to do politics.


It'll mean unelected officials and lobbyists hold all the clout.


And yet if you ask most Americans what "actual political skills" are, they'll likely say venality, corruption and malice, which leads us to having elected a president primarily on the basis of his incompetence.


Good point. Also, the cult of personality or celebrity. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as an ineffectual governor, demonstrated that you need more than just celebrity to get things done.


> Some of it sounds ridiculous - for every new federal regulation, 2 existing regulations must be eliminated. How is that considered feasible by any rational person? It might sound great if you don't think too hard about it.

IMO this is the best thing in there. The burden of complex legislation is incredible, and there are tens of thousands of pages that could be simplified and/or removed entirely. It'd be a very long time before we ran out of stuff to prune and the benefits of doing this would be enormous.

It's hard to overstate the benefits of individuals being able to actually comprehend the legal areas in which they operate.


I agree that regulations should be simpler, but this sounds like a bad way to achieve that.

Are "regulations" strictly countable? It sounds like trying to minimize the number of lines (or characters) in a code base. Fewer lines (or characters) doesn't mean it will be more readable.


It's a nebulous definition as far as I can tell. For what it's worth, I don't deal with these in any sort of legal capacity, but my day job does involve a lot of work with federal legislation and regulations--I'm just not entirely sure where legal terms might differ from my office's colloquial terms.

You can view the text of proposed and implemented regulations in the Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/ particularly under the Proposed Rules and Rules listings.

A rule will add to/amend/repeal some part of the Code of Federal Regulations. This can be anything from clarifying a few words or fixing drafting issues to implementing major regulatory changes.

It doesn't seem clear to me what this proposal would impact--does a minor amendment to an existing paragraph require a repeal of existing regulations? Would it need to meet some threshold of increasing regulatory burden--how would that be determined? What if it decreased burden?

You can look through daily issues and see that they tend to just be handling the daily business of the government. Today's includes changes to fishing zones (restoring access to an area that had been overfished a few years ago), adding more airworthiness checks to certain aircraft parts, reducing restrictions on certain tires for trailers, and adding restrictions against financial institutions processing transactions involving North Korea.

Would each of those need to repeal two prior regulations to take effect? What would quantify a previous regulation? And would they all be able to?


It also sounds trivial to game.

So we want to add new regulation A. We have removed regulation B and C. Purely by coincidence the new regulation A is roughly the same length as A, B and C combined. But its one regulation.


Take it seriously but not literally. Seriously.


When people leave Congress they invariably go into lobbying. Term limits has to have some small effect on increasing this because you'll necessarily cycle more people through Congress, and they'll know less. If we are to have lobbyists ( and I think we must ) then let us have knowledgeable ones.

The Gingrich Revolution was founded on term limits, and yet here we are.

"Additional shale/gas" makes no sense at least now because of market conditions. There's an untold huge level of zero-coupon debt hanging because of the last shale revolution. It does nothing to help use market discipline to wean us off hydrocarbons, but it might still be the "bridge fuel" even green people were touting ten years ago.

Myself, I think there was epistemic closure against any hydrocarbon activity in the chattering classes a few years back. This will make the compromises necessary to navigate emerging alt. technology more difficult.


The tariff stuff freaks me out - it's a total idealogical paradigm shift.

Re the point of reducing regulation, Larry page actually recommended a variation of this to the president of South Korea to reduce legal complexity of its government:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2014/07...

"Reducing complexity, in fact, was a theme throughout the talk. Page recounted how when he was trying to simplify things at Google, he suggested the company take all of its rules and regulations and keep them at an easy-to-digest 50 pages. He even suggested a similar idea to the president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye. "I said, 'Hey, why don't you just limit your laws and regulations to some set of pages? And when you add a page, you have to take one away.' She actually wrote this down. She's great."


Larry Page is not a pubic policy expert. He's a CS grad school drop out that got lucky.

This is as stupid as having the president of South Korea say, "You should keep the code to Google to a page and half. It would make it easier to understand."

Seriously, this makes no sense beyond claptrap. Why 50 pages? Why not 1? Why not 5 million? Why an arbitrary limit at all? The whole idea hinges on the idea that somehow this is obvious and an intrinsic good. It's not. It's not even a metric worth optimizing for, because it has zero concern about actual societal effects.


We should just throw out any regulations that don't spark joy.


Okay, this was the first time I laughed today. Thank you.


That was one of the hardest things about this election. I really like some of Trump's policies and promises.

And some of them are frightening. Frightening enough to make me want to steer clear, but the DNC did not put forward a candidate that made me feel any better. Calling for a Manhattan project to defeat encryption? Yikes.

America lost this election long before November, I'm sure of that.


I guess you haven't been paying attention. Many people don't believe in Global Warming, or at the very least don't want to even slightly impact the economy. The Democrats weren't going to hold office forever, and neither will the Republicans.

The best thing for everyone would be for market-based solutions that have clear advantages. Solar, wind, electric cars, nuclear, etc.

Republicans, for example, will put solar on their homes and drive electric cars if there are obvious advantages.


    > Many people don't believe in Global Warming
I spent a lot of time reading the "Ask Trump Supporters" Reddit this cycle. Climate Change was one issue where almost all of them broke with their candidate, which was pretty interesting to me.


That's good to hear. I've spent a lot of time explaining to people that global warming is real. I even created a wordpress site so I can point people to a "faq"

https://2cco2.wordpress.com

Just read the comments of any Wall Street Journal article on solar, coal, or even Elon Musk. People don't want electric car rebates or carbon credits.


You should then remove the entries in your blog that just contain the text of deniers like

https://2cco2.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/eric-copt-global-warm...

I don't understand that you even made such entries.


It's only there because Eric Copt kept copying and pasting that in articles to prove his "point". I realize that it's meaningless garbage.


But now that stuff is the whole blog entry on your blog, appearing like you're behind that.


Good point. Thanks.


Surely you don't think reddit is a representative demographic for the american society...


Agreed. Positioning is everything. If rather than saying people's cars are causing global warming, they said how about we get off our reliance of foreign energy as a matter of security and by the way it's better for the environment and energy will get cheaper, there would be more buy in. But they can't help themselves because they can't get over their disdain for skeptics. They have an agenda and it's a religion for most.

I don't hear anything about the sun when climate change is brought up and it's over 99% of the mass of the solar system. Then you have people talking about feeling how warm it is when we are talking about small changes.

If it was 82 outside and you polled people, you'd get all kinds of results. But suddenly anthro climate pushers are super sensitive thermometers. They talk about weather events when you try to have a climate discussion all the time.

Questioning is science, especially when you can't prove it like the speed of light.


Completely ignorant position.

Market based solutions only work if the market is fair i.e. all players are subject to the same conditions. The problem is (a) fossil fuels have large subsidies all up/down the chain and (b) fossil fuels do not have a surcharge for their impact on the environment.


Fossil fuels aren't going to get that surcharge under the Republicans.

You have to play the hand you're dealt, or whine about it, telling everyone how ignorant they are. In another decade, when the Democrats take Presidency or the Senate, maybe you'll get some offsetting charges. Of course, we'll have lost a decade and the problem will be much worse, if no forward progress is made.

Solar hasn't gotten cheap enough that some people really want it: https://www.wired.com/2016/03/las-vegas-utilities-really-don...


Ironic that you are complaining about me whining but in fact you are the one putting your hands up and saying "nothing we can do about the government, best to just leave it to the market". I am more optimistic that change is possible.

There are still numerous opportunities for people to convince Republicans to start believing in climate change and making the energy market fair and equitable to allow renewable technologies to compete. Look at what is happening with solar panels when their subsidies are removed. It's not pretty.


I didn't say that nothing could be done. However, we need to understand that it's going to be even more difficult:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/solar-stocks-tank-and-lead-...

Furthermore, we need cheap clean energy everywhere in the world. Fossil fuels are not going away fast enough.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_India

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_China


Markets are created by states. Why the indirect route?


Well, there are many truly crazy and stupid regulations already on the books, plus you could do this by simply empowering the Federal Oversight Committee (which does this anyway) to just do more removals. So that one actually has a relatively simple path to achieve it.


I suggested dropping a law for every new law on here a year or so back and it was surprisingly popular

Here's the link: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9740748


Well, at least that's steady state. If you wanted to keep the current statutes you could make sure to fold them into the new law after reviewing them. That sounds like a same way to force review of older laws to some extent, if you accept that review of older laws won't result in endless arguing. At least there should be real information about the impact the prior law had, positive and negative.


2-for-1 need not be a law, just executive guidance around what Trump will or will not veto. If it doesn't take two substantive--to him--pieces of regulation off the table for each one proposed, he'll send it back for more cutting.


Critics still can't get their head around "taking it seriously but not literally".


> Some of this sounds great - term limits on congress, a measure to reduce the revolving door effect of government officials going into lobbying.

Term limits for State congressional representatives seems not to have accomplished that though: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2015/01/16/states-sho...


>Some of it sounds ridiculous - for every new federal

>regulation, 2 existing regulations must be eliminated. How is

>that considered feasible by any rational person? It might

>sound great if you don't think too hard about it.

I think that's the reason Trump becomes president of the US. It may sound ridiculous to you but he is 100% correct with that point. Everybody knows that there are too many government regulations, people across the whole political spectrum agree on that.

And although I'm from Germany, I can tell you rules that can be removed. For instance rules that require you to own a gun in certain counties, there are other actually ridiculous rules. There are YouTube videos about that and as a matter of fact these rules are not enforced.

We need to relax our constrained thinking to start modernizing outdated structures. It's sad that Donald Trump must do this job.


Nobody agrees on thet, except in the very narrow definition of everyone knowing at least one regulation they'd personally abolish (the lefty choosing marijuana, the right "all of them")

I've investigated the same complaint for EU law and all you can find is bizarre propaganda making ridiculous claims in bad faith – they make the regs sound absurd, but you can find out the real purpose within half a minute of googling.

Famous example: requiring Cucumbers (bananas etc.) to conform to a certain shape, including curvature for different quality grades. Reasoning: the retail industry wanted it (they couldn't agree on a common standard), it helps trade by establishing standard grades. It's also been repealed as a result of the populist pressure, but by then everyone had been using it and they just continued.


Yeah the cucumbers are an excellent example and within the EU, or at least Germany the most ridiculed one. People here don't care that much about the curvature. In fact imperfect vegetables are considered more organic by many people. On the other hand cucumbers with not so good curvature get thrown away, increasing food prices.

The thing is this: most laws were invented with good intentions and reasoning behind. But that doesn't mean they thought well enough about them.


Nobody has ever promoted removing all regulations, not even Republicans.


Being that specific is harmful to parties. Better to just always say there are "too many" and stop there.


>Everybody knows that there are too many government regulations, people across the whole political spectrum agree on that

But they don't agree on which ones should be removed. It's why "everybody knows" Congress is terrible but they keep getting re-elected. It's because everyone likes their representatives but hate all the others.


>But they don't agree on which ones should be removed.

So they might want to start a program for that. Or they could start with one type of laws.

>It's why "everybody knows" Congress is terrible but they

>keep getting re-elected.

What would be the alternative? No Congress? ;) I mean it's there and it should certainly be improved.

> It's because everyone likes their representatives but hate all the others.

It seems so in the US, but in Europe there is also a trend towards this highly polarized direction. I hope people would take things easier and maybe try to understand the other politicians as well. For instance one could watch both CNN and Fownews. ;)


Some of these ideas are, I think, able to stand on their own merit. In particular, the revolving door has been identified in a bipartisan fashion to be a real problem.

I defer to actual political experts to discuss the proposed solution and its nuances.


Term limits are an awful idea. They limit my ability to vote for the candidate of my choice while providing no benefit. Term limits already exist for many political offices and in no case have they resulted in any tangible changes in political behavior.


Term limits won't do a damn thing to curtail lobbying. Lobbyists love having lots of fresh blood just looking to make a quick buck flooding the legislature.

The limits create a constantly revolving legislature that is easier to manipulate and will in general do a poorer job. If he really cared, we'd see something on campaign finance reform; but alas, he doesn't actually want to get money out of politics.


On the other hand, people who can't run for reelection have no reason to spend all their time raising money.


they raise money for their party. Candidates who aren't up for reelection still spend a lot of time fundraising for members of their party.


In my view, term limits will have no practical effect on the influence of money on politics, so long as the parties can preserve their control of congressional seats through gerrymandering. Money will always find a way to speak louder than voters, so long as voters are suppressed.

I love my party, but in my district, my party's primary is the only election with a meaningful impact on anything. And my party has this district, in order to keep us from ever gaining a majority of our state's legislative caucus.

To drain the swamp, restore democracy. Any effort to decrease voter participation is inherently corrupting. Make it easier to vote. Make sure everybody's vote is counted equally. Of course, "counted equally" should be a matter of debate. Get rid of gerrymandering. Get rid of the electoral college.


Why is that scary? Do you know how many of these laws are absolutely useless in present day?


No. Do you?


Good question, I think it's here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/federal


I agree the ones trying to stop lobbyist are very good. However, I'm sick to my stomach about the Climate Change ones.


> term limits on congress

Wouldn't pass in a million years. Why would congress pass such a law against themselves? And as a constitutional amendment, it would require a 2/3rds majority.


Trump has made that a key part of his platform. He took that to the electorate and has been given a mandate - presidency, senate, house.

Any Republican member of congress who goes against that is going against a core part of his platform.

Many fervent Trump supporters, including a number of influential ones on social media have stated that any elected Republican that doesn't support Trump's platform will see a challenge from a pro-Trump candidate in the 2018 mid-terms. It will likely be the end of them if they don't go along with it.

I can't imagine many Democratic voters will be happy if their representatives vote against an anti-corruption measure. Especially considering DNC corruptions and cronyism essentially cost them the election.

Trump is the social media president. I'm confident he'll be able to get support for this from the electorate.


As a non-American, this is possibly a stupid question but why are limited terms on congress a good thing? My assumption was that those who wish to progress in government can benefit from lengthier terms in the legistlative branch to gain experience. Doesn't imposing a limit (or at least one shorter than several election cycles more than the executive branch) reduce the amount of experience that one can gain before potentially looking to move on and up?


> As a non-American, this is possibly a stupid question but why are limited terms on congress a good thing?

Term limits are one of those things that Americans always expect to be good before they are implemented, but never actually are more satisfied with the affected institution after they are implemented. They attack a boogeyman (the "career politician" that is supposedly worse than the neophyte politician) that many politicians attack at the start of their careers (and many later, trying to construct themsleves.as outsiders) so often that people have internalized the idea that experience is a negative trait in governing.


That one popped out at me too - 1 in 2 out?? It's not like decluttering a house - these are the fundamental building blocks of society...


Well I'm sure there's still a lot of opportunities to combine and simplify existing regulations. You wouldn't be able to do it forever but I don't think we'll run out this term.


No offense, but the overwhelming majority of them are not (IMO).


I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of federal regulations but I seriously doubt that anyone posting here does either. Trump's policy is based on the idea (taken as a truism) that the majority of existing federal regulations are bad and should go away. That seems like a pretty bold statement for anyone to make that would be almost impossible to substantiate.

If these statements were made by incredibly scholarly policy wonks who love nothing more than to learn about the government and think about how it could be improved, that'd be one thing (it'd still be a very suspect statement though). However, I can't imagine that this came from any place more scholarly than people assuming that none of this stuff could possibly exist for any good reason. If they want to get rid of specific regulations, they should just get rid of what regulations they think are unnecessary.

The policy also assumes that any new regulation would be equally unnecessary. It would turn any attempt to add a regulation into a political battle to not only add the regulation, but also a political battle to get rid of two others. This could cause needed regulations to not get passed because some vested interest has the political power to defend the two preexisting regulations. So it neither helps necessary regulations get adopted, nor does it help to get rid of unnecessary regulations. Again, if they think there are so many pointless regulations, just get rid of them. No need to bundle everything together like this.


Yup, agreed. Thanks for your thoughts.


Fair enough. But then shouldn't the process me "Lets sit down and look at these, and take out the ones that are just not applicable nowadays?". This tit-for-tat style bargaining usually just ends up with both sides compromising or making rash decisions which may end up with the baby being thrown out with the bath water...


>"Lets sit down and look at these, and take out the ones that are just not applicable nowadays?"

That's corruption, or the Establishment, or something.


That is indeed a danger, agreed.


For a "law and order" candidate it's also curious to propose removing laws. Of course, in his mind the necessary laws are those that constrain personal behavior (drugs, vice, abortion). The laws to repeal will be those that "cost jobs" by protecting worker safety, consumers, or the environment.


I don't get the appeal of term limits on Congress.

Why would you vote for an amateur politician instead of a professional career politician?

Aren't career politicians better than amateur politicians? If a politician is doing a good job, why would you artificially limit their term?

The branch of government with the highest approval rate is the Judicial branch, where Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life.


The appeal is that it would make being a career politician impossible and that term-limited congress would therefore act out of interest for their constituents rather than themselves. But you're right that it would also prevent good politicians from staying.

Another proposal which could have a similar effect would be to drastically increase the number of representatives so that each one represents a smaller number of people (say 50,000). Having many more reps would reduces the individual power and influence of any one rep in particular and could dissuade them from acting in their own best interest.


The appeal is that it would make being a career politician impossible

The assumption, and I'm not saying that it's necessarily wrong, is that "career politician" is undesirable. How about getting rid of "career software developers"? Get rid of those entrenched JavaScript devs that are only interested in feathering their own nests. "Career doctors"? The medical profession is really just a business, and it should be treated like one. Next time you break a limb, seek out an MBA instead.

Point is, the more I've been involved in politics (including running for office) the more I realize that you're not just going to march in on the first day and get stuff done. Kind of like that first day with that new codebase, eh? Now, I don't know that one out to be "Congress critter for life", but you don't just waltz in an go "my constituents want $THIS" and expect it to just happen. So a little experience might go further than electing the "outsider" who isn't "beholden to special interests".


I agree that career politicians aren't inherently bad and was more just stating plain reasoning to the parent's question.

"Career politicians" and term limits are an easy thing to point to that don't actually deal with the problem which in my mind has more to do with each individual representative carrying too much importance because there are so few of them. Also one person cannot reasonably represent the views of 1M constituents.


In complete agreement; well stated. Since the Constitution was written, the population has increased, what, a couple of orders of magnitude? And yet the same 435 reps?



Most companies avoid having the same person do the same job for a long time. Fresh blood sees things differently and might re-try something that failed in the past. Don't forget that generally speaking a congressman doesn't usually start his political career in congress.


Term limits mean just as people really figure out how it works and how to get things done, they're gone.


> therefore act out of interest for their constituents rather than themselves.

I don't see how that follows. Wouldn't the limit encourage a congressional rep to cravenly maximize whatever personal benefits they can once they're in their final term? They don't need to fear re-election.


The other appeal (aside from what has already been stated) is that it would eliminate the problem of Congressmen obsessing about the next election as soon as they arrive. Lots of problems in our government are due to legislators wanting to avoid accountability, avoid having to take a position, or kicking the can down the road. But imagine if you only have two years and then go home! You'd be willing to really do something.


The Supreme Court has a really straightforward framework for their job though. They are judges not politicians.


In a perfect society, yes. But we are not a perfect society and the judges on the court have quite clear biases in many cases.


Rational? Just an excuse to eliminate logical and valid and societal positive regulations. Nobody is saying that the regulations will be from the same bill or law.

We will exactly be heading in the wrong directions. One regulations for rich Republicans and remove 2 regulations protecting poor minorities.


>for every new federal regulation, 2 existing regulations must be eliminated.

It's easy to game. Now every new regulation is as big as two old regulations.


You can see he has never held elected office

Its going to require an amendment to the constitution (which takes decades) and from experience a newbie MP Congress man etc will need one entire cycle to get to grips with the system and become effective.

Having inexperienced elected representatives just gives more power to the executive - which is not what I think Trump wanted.


One could argue that in the long run, this will lead to a simplification of the legislative process.


And this is a good thing how? there are technical reforms that could be a good thing ie no unrelated amendments to motions (bills) which would stop pork being added to unrelated bills.


You can find enough to pass nearly 10 via the first hit on Google.

http://www.freedomworks.org/content/19-ridiculous-federal-cr...


> Some of it sounds ridiculous - for every new federal regulation, 2 existing regulations must be eliminated.

Doesn't sound that ridiculous to me, we have to find a way to eliminate useless/ridiculous regulations because they just pile on...


It's quite feasible, because it is very difficult to distinguish 'a regulation' from 'many regulations'.

Sadly, that quickly leads to huge compendiums of regulations covering a lot rather than neatly organized reasonably scoped regulations.


I think the idea is that his stance is not introducing new federal laws.

It probably could have been worded plainly instead of adding a conditional. Federal laws should be considered in their own right, not in comparison towards other federal laws.


> for every new federal regulation, 2 existing regulations must be eliminated

I'd read this more as a position and statement of intent than a concrete plan. The devil will be in the spirit of the execution, not the letter.


Sure, he'll pursue it and it'll fail. He only has 100 days to spend his political capital attempting this, along with everything else he's trying.


And yet if the rule were "for every new javascript framework, 2 existing frameworks must be eliminated" HN would be cheering.


Yeah its going to get intersting when California is constently 128-135*... during february


Behind every regulation is a body. Or 3 of them.


>How is that considered feasible by any rational person? It might sound great if you don't think too hard about it.

Very "rational" non-arguments. You must have thought hard about it to come up with those.


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