Tag Archives: change.org

Oy, my liberal friends… oy.

Being more liberal than most, I think I can get away with complaining about my fellow liberals for just a minute or two.

Change.org has been running a competition to generate 10 ideas to present to the Obama administration this Friday at the National Press Club.  Over 7,000 ideas were submitted by anybody who wanted to submit them.

Through November and December over 250,000 votes were cast on the site and the top three ideas in each of 30 categories made it to “the final round”.  Since January 5, voting has been open among just these finalists.

Here’s my complaint.

  • The top idea (and the fourth top idea) so far, by a pretty wide margin, is legalizing pot.
  • The third most popular idea, I assume because there’s an organized lobby with e-mail lists and whatnot far beyond what you would ever think, is a proposal to make it easier for small, crafty toy makers like you see in art fairs to avoid new toy safety regulations that are coming out.  WTF?
  • The fifth most popular idea is to “make the grid green within 10 years.”  Nothing about how to do this.   That’s it.  Just “make the grid green within 10 years.”
  • The sixth most popular idea, apparently bubbling up from the fans of ideas one and four, is to “Appoint Secretary of Peace in Department of Peace and Non-Violence”.  You can’t make this stuff up.
  • Health care reform, a noble idea indeed, is sitting in two slots: number 2 and number 9.

I mean, I agree that pot should be legalized, the drug war ended, those convicted of crimes that never should have been crimes should be pardoned and they or their estates should be given reparations.  I don’t think it is the single most important thing that should be on our national agenda.

The idea of making the grid green is obviously a good one, on everybody’s mind, but that’s all it says about it!  That’s not an idea.  There’s not a single suggestion of anything we might do to get there.  Had I known people would vote in such numbers for something like that I would have entered one to “Give each American a check for $20,000” and I bet I would have beaten even the pot guy!

Anyway, it’s been a fun exercise and a lot of great ideas have indeed surfaced.  It’s a bit of a shame that half the ones presented at the National Press Club will be duplicates, limited to a tiny special interest group, pies in the sky, and/or will confirm the media’s impression of liberals as latte sipping, granola eating, pot smoking former hippies.

And not to leave off a pitch, you should click over there and vote for adjusting our trade policies so they don’t create unfair economic advantages for countries that don’t care at all about the environment, worker safety, living wages, etc.  You can vote for up to 10 ideas so, while you’re at it… find 9 other good ones to support.

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Filed under economy, Politics

You have an opportunity to place an important vote but you only have one day to do it!

Change.org has solicited ideas to present to the Obama administration on a variety of subjects.  My idea for Fair Trade (my own definition of it) is currently in 1st place and gaining ground, but if you agree with it, it needs your vote.

Here’s where you vote: http://www.change.org/ideas/view/replace_free_trade_with_fair_trade

And here’s why:

My definition of Fair Trade may be a little different from the common one.

To me, trade is fair when nations gain competitive advantage based on quality, productivity, innovation, etc.  Trade is not fair when nations gain competitive advantage by despoiling their environments, enslaving their workers, employing child labor, putting workers into unreasonably dangerous or depraved conditions, opting to not have or not enforce safety regulations and consumer protections, etc.

When we have to compete against nations that don’t care about their environment, their children, their workers, their investors, their consumers, etc.; nations that will do anything to gain competitive advantage, we end up in a global race to the bottom… we race every nation in the world to minimize the costs associated with protecting the environment, keeping workers safe and whole, providing living wages, educating people, making sure there isn’t melamine in the milk, etc.

We shouldn’t be wanting that, while we should always still be welcoming competition based on quality, productivity, innovation, efficiency, etc.

To balance things, there should be a global index that allows all nations to be compared to each other on various dimensions and tariffs should be put in place to compensate for cost advantages achieved by “unfair” or predatory competition.

If you think this through, this would maintain incentives to compete with healthy competition and penalize unhealthy competition.  Economies that implemented and enforced the best worker protections, environmental protections, investor protections, consumer protections, education systems, healthcare systems, etc. would benefit economically because there would be no tarrifs on their exports and lots of tarrifs on their imports.

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Filed under economy, Politics