Barack Obama Works For Me

Mr. Josack Jobama

The other day I finally re-opened my favorite web browser and I noticed that some prankster had changed my home page to JoshJonesIsYourNewBicycle.com!

I was of course outraged, and since nobody spoke up, I had no choice but to have the entire admin staff TERMINATED!

Just a few days later, as the issues mounted, I re-started my browser again and, I assume due to the perspective lent by time, realized it was nothing more than a jest in good fun!

In fact, I was touched. And so, I immediately re-hired everybody (but at only 60% of their previous salaries so they knew not to pull that crap again)… only to find out that what I thought was such a kind and creative tribute to their illustrious leader was nothing more than a crude knock-off of BarackObamaIsYourNewBicycle.com!

Once again ENRAGED, I had no choice but to fire EVERYBODY. This time I got the entire support team, marketing, HR.. not even our gourmet chefs, fighter jet pilots, or doggie masseuses were safe. I even may have killed a few of the weaker employees.

I’ve finally got some solitude, and it got me to thinking about this whole Barack Obama thing.

To tell you the truth, I can’t get behind Obama. Let me tell you why.

My parents would probably make a better president and secretary of state.

Why?

You see that picture at the top? That’s Senator Obama’s actual name plaque from the actual Senate. Back in 2005 my dad had to testify before some senators about something or other, and I went along for fun. And before you ask, yes, that is how I roll.

One of the four Senators in the room was Mr. Obama, who was already semi-famous after his speech at the DNC in 2004. And, to be truthful, he actually seemed the most intelligent and educated on the issues of the four… but I still can’t get behind him.

Why Not?

Well, after the hearing was over, I took that picture with his name plate, and was THIS (yes, THIS) close to stealing it! Wouldn’t that have been 100% SWEET to put on my desk? But at the last moment, I wussed out.

I knew that thing was already worth a couple of bucks on eBay, or at least would make a cool momento to pass down to my grandchildren or bury on a deserted island… but man, if he becomes PRESIDENT? The first BLACK PRESIDENT?

It would just kill me.

So, that is why I hope he doesn’t win.

But the truth is, as I alluded to in the last newsletter, I can’t understand anybody voting for any politician they don’t personally know.

Possible VP?

It is so hard to judge the true character of anybody, even people you’ve been friends or colleagues with for years… HOW could anybody feel comfortable voting for any politician whose entire career is based on projecting an “electable” persona? And that is any politician.

That is why I truly do like propositions. Unlike people, a proposition can’t back-pedal, change its mind, break campaign promises, cheat on its wife, pander to special interests or give in to the freaking UN. A proposition is simply a self-contained law, and before you cast your vote on it, you can do all the real research on it you want!

After a new proposition has been approved, nobody’s allowed to say “I know the law says 5,500 new slots, but now we need an extra 10,000 to stay the course.” (Not without putting it up to another direct public vote at least.)

Not to mention, even if your vote on a proposition ends up “losing”, at least you know that greater than 50% of your fellow voters “won.” Whereas a politician might often do things that are in nobody’s interest but their own.

Proposition Paradise!

So, what if every government decision were, like California’s propositions, put up to a direct public vote? Back in 1789, this would have been technically impossible, and a representitive democracy was the only feasible solution.

But the same is not the case in 2008. We’ve got the Internets now!

What if we kept everything the same about the current government, except that instead of the congressmen doing the final voting on laws, it was always put to the public directly in the form of propositions? Sort of a Government 2.0.

Or, as wikipedia puts it, a direct democracy!

Reading that article, the arguments against direct democracy are pretty weak. Let me debunk them now:

* Scale: The Internet make it easy.
* Practicality and efficiency: Again, thanks Internet! Plus, there should still be just one election per year. Everything would be voted on at once, making it more efficient and less of a burden on the voting populace. The fact that laws can’t be changed more than once a year is just gravy!
* Demagoguery: Please… if we can’t trust our public to vote intelligently, perhaps we’d all be better off in the Irans?
* Complexity: Haven’t you read The Wisdom of Crowds? The masses in aggregate are not fools and they do understand the issues when they affect them.
* Voter apathy: Again, people are apathetic only when the issues do not affect them; and if they feel the issues do not affect them, why does it matter whether they vote? If they did, they’d just vote randomly and cancel each other out anyways.
* Self-interest: I believe a thing it’s been proved time and again that the best way to make rational decisions is by acting in your own self-interest. I mean, that’s why we’re voting, right? To see if a proposed law would be in the majority’s best self-interest. Nobody should ever, ever, ever vote for something that would hurt them just because they think it will help society “as a whole”! Don’t worry, if it’s going to help more people that it hurts, it will win regardless of your measly vote.
* Suboptimality: Well gee, it’s also “sub-optimal” to have a competitive marketplace. It’s “sub-optimal” to have random mutations. It’s “sub-optimal” to buy an index mutual fund. There will be a lot of fumbling in the dark to be sure, but like natural selection, the “optimal” laws will bubble to the top eventually, and the “sub-optimal” ones will be voted the way of the dodo. And with a direct democracy, that will only happen faster.
* Manipulation by timing and framing: Again, all the voting would just be done on the first Tuesday in November each year!

Our founding fathers were also against the idea mostly due to the “Tyranny of the majority”… but as long as we still have the bill of rights and the Judicial branch everybody’s personal freedoms would stay intact.

Especially Interesting

Another bonus of a true direct democracy would be the end of special interests. Special interests exist whenever there is something that benefits a few people a lot while hurting everybody else a tiny bit. Those who stand to gain fight nooth and tail to keep the advantage, whereas there’s no single individual who feels enough pain to bother standing up to them. It’s thanks to this that industry subsidies, trade barriers, and real estate agents exist.

If every law was put to a vote of every citizen, say goodbye to subsidies, tariffs, and monopolies! I know I don’t give a damn if corn farmers have to compete harder as long as it means cheaper food for me. Now, I’m not going to go writing my congressman about it, but if it ever came up on a ballot that’d be a big fat NO vote.

And you’d vote against the law that’d show up every year requiring the state provide each DreamHost CEO a new SUPERCAR every month (so they could get to the data center quicker in the case of a power outage). Unfortunately, I think it’d be tough for me to get greater than 50% of you behind such a measure, no matter how much I plaster this blog with posts extolling the many virtues of such a proposed legislation.

Cooler Times

Could It Work?

Yes. And how do I know? Because it has. And I’m not just talking about the DreamHost suggestions system either.

Switzerland has had the most direct democracy on the planet for over 160 years, and it’s the most competitive economy in the world, has a 3.1% unemployment rate, and hasn’t been in a war since 1815! Things are different when the people deciding whether to fight are the same people who would be fighting.

To Barack

So, Mr. Obama, if you really want to “bring real change to Washington,” why not (if/once elected) put every decision you ever come across up on whitehouse.gov, along with what you see the pros and cons to be. Send login info out to every single US citizen (you can include them in those mailed social security updates), and allow We, The People to at least be your guide. You know, radical transparency and all that.

Think of the clout you’d have with congress if every one of your decisions, proposals, and policies was backed by a direct “mandate from the people”! Not to mention, it seems like you should never have less than a 50% popular approval rating!

People say you don’t have much experience. So why not ask for advice? It’s worked out decent for us.

Remember Barack, you are not running for King of America. You are simply interviewing for a job. And that job is to provide guidance and support to us taxpayers, your direct supervisor.

Of course in the end, who knows if all this would make for a better presidency.

But at least it wouldn’t be any worse.