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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Michigan Proposal 1 And The Republican Norquistian "Bleak House" Definition Of Government

Charles Dicken's  Bleak House

First, the proposed amendment to Michigan's constitution failed catastrophically at the polls, those voting "no" being just under 80% of the voters.
The election process cost the State $10 million dollars, and this is in addition to the salaries of the pseudo-legislators who could not face up to making difficult decisions. The legislature is controlled  by Republicans, and Republicans have been exhibiting signs of "chickening out" now that they have control in many areas.

One of the problems they face is that Republicans have followed the brainy political philosopher Grover Norquist and narrowly defined Conservatism as the process by which the government
(1) does not raise any taxes, and 
(2) makes every effort to lower taxes, while 
(3) not reducing public services in such a way that 
(4) they are voted out of office.

They are discovering that it is hard to provide public services without the money to do so.
This calls into question whether they were as awake and studious in Economics 101 as they were in the campus meetings of the Young Republicans while swotting away at whatever colleges they attended.

The US Congress faces the same problem with the ACA, or as they call it, ObamaCare.
While national Republicans have sworn to repeal ObamaCare, the fly in the non-medicinal ointment is the fact that millions of folks have gotten a taste of Health Care, and now have decided they like it.
There is no going back to square one, which for the Republicans is Repeal Without Replacement. Now they actually have to "fix" the ACA, which ACA they have spent years publicly vowing to repeal.
If they do not do this properly, they run the risk of # 4 above.

Second, the narrow definition of government is a modern day abomination.
It was born in insipid brains deficient of imagination and range.

To define the role of government solely according to the four points above, which is essentially what we have in modern Republicanism, is an affront to anyone who has defined Conservatism along the lines of Edmund Burke instead of along the lines of Dinesh DeSouza.

Government should play the role of actively providing an environment in which enterprise and business may flourish and do so legally and morally.

To do this requires money.

To deny taxes for benefits necessary to society is base anarchy which denies the very communal basis of society. In essence, the Norquistian sense of government  -  which is an offspring of the Californian Howard Jarvis anti-tax crusade  -  is a logical contradiction which purports to better society by destroying society, and thus returning to a truly rugged individualism.

However, the Republicans are not foolish enough to embrace a logical contradiction. No. But they are base enough to attempt to disguise their perfidy.

The Government gifted tax cuts to businesses in Michigan, which have resulted in the State not having funding for roads and the Legislature's inability to find funding in any clear and simple way, probably are less than the monetary benefits to business that would flow from Government attention to the   Definition  above in dealing with real concerns, such as that describe below:

Lansing State Journal
Travis Stoliker: Patent system needs upadating
What if a patent troll had stopped Henry Ford from building cars? Well in the early 1900s, the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM), which supported patent attorney George B. Selden, tried to do just that.

“Patent troll” is a term used for entities that do not develop or sell new technologies or products but exist solely to buy patents and use them to sue or threaten operating businesses.


Even into the 2000s, patent trolls were relatively few in number and they generally targeted multi-billion dollar businesses in pursuit of lottery ticket-sized damages. While they still do that, now they also target businesses of every size throughout the economy. While in 2006, patent trolls were responsible for 19 percent of patent litigation in the U.S., they now account for 67 percent of the cases. More than half of the businesses they target are small or non-tech businesses.

The growth in patent troll suits has been fueled by a flood of low-quality — overly broad, vague and overlapping — business method and Internet patents, many of which claim ownership over commonly used features of the Web. For example, patent trolls have sued small hotels and coffee shops for offering free Wi-Fi to their customers.

If sued by a patent troll, a small to medium-sized business has little choice but to settle out of court; taking on the troll through years of costly litigation just does not make business sense. However, settlements can equally devastating to small and medium sized companies, as the average settlement is $1.33 million. This type of patent troll harassment has huge economic consequences for America’s innovative businesses.

Since 1990, patent lawsuits have cost investors more than $500 billion — funds that could otherwise be used for innovation. Apple and Google, for example, now spend more on patent lawsuits and patent purchases than on research and development.

The patent system, once thought to protect inventors, now risks sapping U.S. innovation: patent trolls, often armed with portfolios of thousands of patents, engage in large-scale licensing (read: shakedown) campaigns aimed at America’s most promising, though still financially vulnerable, innovators. What’s more, trolls operate in the shadows, obfuscating their corporate structures and extent of ownership through the use of thousands of shell companies.

In 2014 alone, trolls sued 2,072 companies in 2,791 separate cases. It is not uncommon for trolls to target companies more than once. Recently, Apple was ordered to pay a settlement of more than $532 million. Days after the ruling, the troll was again suing Apple for devices that were released after the original filing.

Patent trolls are using America’s outdated patent system to exploit low-quality patents and skyrocketing court costs to make a financial return on their patent portfolios, while at the same time contributing little or nothing to technology transfer or innovation. Unless steps are taken to even the playing field and enable innovators of all sizes to get back to work, the patent troll problem threatens to derail innovation and economic growth in the United States.
 I added emphasis in areas that reflect the true decline and fall of enterprise, creating a Bleak House mentality of stagnation.


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