Skip to main content

Are you a Republican or are you a Democrat? I Hope Not. (Part 1)

"No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems.  They are trying to solve their own problems -- of which getting elected and re-elected are No. 1 and No. 2.  Whatever is No. 3 is far behind". 

Thomas Sowell, Economist

Are you tired of all the divisiveness that exists in the current political climate? A divisiveness that has leaked out into many other areas of life: talk radio, churches, the media, dinner parties, etc. Are you tired of the mounting national debt we are adding to every day? See if you agree with what I believe to be a major cause of both the divisiveness and the increasing national debt. 

Let's start with the divisiveness by first pointing out what is NOT causing it. 

It is not caused by the natural disagreements that occur about particular policies. We disagree about all kinds of things, but they don't usually cause a national splintering. 

And it is not caused by our politicians, as individuals. The vast majority of them want what is best for our country. Thinking about the presidents during my lifetime, I believe this is true of all of them. So the divisiveness is not caused by politicians who are evil, or who want to secretly do harm to the United States. 

Also, it is not caused by us non-politicians, as individuals, because most of us want what is best for our country. 

So what is the main cause of the current political divisiveness? I believe it is due to the fact that we have only two major political parties. Here's why. 

The parties are built around getting elected. This seems rather obvious and rational. If you don't get elected, you can't do nearly as much political good as someone who did get elected. But there are a number of unfortunate sides to this. For example, many politicians from one party will tend to denigrate or even lie about politicians of the other party, hoping that this will improve their chances of getting elected. These attacks upon each other leak out to the rest of us who frequently parrot them thus creating divisiveness. For instance, former Republican Senator Bob Dole, an honorable man, once told President Bill Clinton that the opposition's job is not making deals but "making the president fail, so he could be replaced as quickly as possible." This type of political posturing is clearly not in the best interest of the country, but are the result of political parties doing whatever they can to get elected. 

Furthermore, take any topic related to the government such as; what should we do to combat terrorism? Or what should we do to improve the health of our citizens? There are not two sides to any of these issues – there are many ways to look at them, and many possible solutions to them. But because there are only two major political parties, the parties eventually have to come up with a position on each such question. Since the voters then have to choose between one of two policies, a divisiveness results. Usually, they will defend whatever policy their political party came up with, even if they might agree with some aspects of the other parties' position. 

So why does having two dominant parties result in a large national debt? 

Once again, it has to do with the fact that the political parties are built around getting elected.  Thus, many candidates and politicians tell people what they think will get them elected, rather than telling them what policies they think are best for the country. Most of us are naturally lazy, and would love to get a 'free lunch', especially if no tax increase is involved, or if the 'rich' will be paying for it (which never seems to happen, but it sounds good). So candidates like making political promises that putatively give us a free lunch or two. 

Thus, both major political parties commit us to a fraud; a fraud that we are so used to it doesn't even seem fraudulent anymore. And that fraud is deficit spending. In the federal government, there is no Constitutional mandate to have a balanced budget. So rather than having the courage to say that if we want a certain new program, or we want to increase spending on a program, we'll have to either cut spending somewhere else, or raise taxes, both Republicans and Democrats increase spending without usually doing either. But the piper must always be paid. 

This deficit spending will cost us in numerous ways. For instance, in 2009 the national debt is around $12 trillion. Since the US has about 110 million households, this comes out to each household's portion of the debt to be $110,000. No, you don't need new glasses, the arithmetic is correct. One way this affects us is that for the 2009 fiscal year, we paid $383 billion in interest on the national debt, about $3,500 per household. This is the 4th highest expenditure in the US budget. 

And the current administration expects to add $9 trillion more over the next decade. So by around 2020, the US national debt will be about $21 trillion. Then, each household's portion of the debt will be $200,000, and the interest on that will be $6,700 per household. Is this sound fiscal policy? No, it is fraud, and we and our children will pay for it.  And both of the major political parties have contributed to this.

Are there political candidates who ran for the presidency who actually said what they think is best for the country and did not tailor their messages to get more votes? Yes. Without giving names, it is safe to say that none of them became our president. I don't think that a candidate for the presidency can get elected if he or she says what they truly believe. 

What are some possible solutions? You'll have to wait for part 2 to find out.

Tim Farage is a Senior Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Dallas. You are welcome to comment upon this blog entry and/or to contact him at


Jeff said…

I've often thought the same thing, but I have no idea how to change things. I hope part 2 has some good suggestions.

Jeff said…

Maybe we can make political parties illegal. What do you think?

Tim Farage said…

I've addressed this in part 2. Basically, the first ammendment to the Constitution would prevent such a law - since any group of people can get together or organize for any reason (as long as it's not violent). But, there is no Constitutional reason why the government has to recognize political parties. Therefore, one of my suggestions in part 2 was that ballots do not contain the party affiliation of any of the candidates.


Popular posts from this blog

Is it possible to program benevolence into an AI?

Benevolence is really an emotion, just as are anger, enjoyment, and other emotions. 
We have no idea as to how to program a computer (or AI which is a computer program possibly controlling some hardware) to have feelings. We have no idea as to how to program a computer to be self-aware or to care about anything.
There is a debate about this. Some computer scientists think that we’ll eventually be able to program AI’s to have feelings and be self-aware and some computer scientists don’t think so.
And if they do become self-aware, would that be bad? More than a few scientists think so.
Stephen Hawking, for example, has stated: “I think the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is equally concerned: "I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. First, the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few deca…

Save us from Leftists

By definition, Leftists want the government to control much of their money and lives. Governments are run by politicians, which have a favorability rating around 15–20%. Who wants them to control the economy or our lives?

If you do, look around at the numerous countries that have tried this. They invariably get corrupt and their people become poor.

I’m not against programs that give money to parents to educate their children as they see fit. I’m also not against programs that give money to each of us to provide for medical expenses. But this money should go to all equally so that we have ‘equal rights before the law’.

If structured properly, these programs don’t allow Congress to control our lives because parents would be able to choose the school for their children.

And adults could choose their doctors and hospitals for them and their children.

Leftists such as United States Senator Elizabeth Warren, “Unveiled a proposal (in February 2019) outlining the Universal Child Care and Earl…

Will mankind survive overpopulation, resource shortage and climate change?

I’m going to reduce the anxiety in your life. Here’s how: Overpopulation is not a problemWe’re not running out of resources“Climate Change” may be disruptive, and it may even be better for humanity Let’s take these one at a time. Overpopulation In 2017 world population is about 7.5 billion. Here is a UN graph of the projected population until 2100:

So it seems Earth’s population will top out this century between 9 to 10 billion people. Modern countries can easily feed, provide clothing and housing, etc., to its citizens. Developing countries have a problem because their governments are corrupt and don’t allow its citizens freedom, especially free markets. As countries modernize they get richer. Notice the growth of China, for instance, because its government has been allowing free enterprise. Natural Resources Reports of running out of natural resources have appeared for decades and maybe a century ago. Instead we’re finding more and more natural resources. Fracking has allowe…