Politicians don’t care about solutions; all they care about is if your check clears Part 1

by Tim Imholt | February 12th, 2014

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Politicians don’t care about solutions; all they care about is if your check clears Part 1

By Tim Imholt

Until recently I was recently a declared can­di­date (now thank­fully back to pri­vate cit­i­zen) for the US Con­gress. It gave me a chance to dis­cuss pri­vately, candidate-​to-​candidate many top­ics with vot­ers, party offi­cials, and sit­ting politi­cians (from both par­ties) var­i­ous top­ics that are fac­ing our coun­try today. I also dove into poten­tial solu­tions to a vari­ety of those top­ics with those same people.

Vot­ers care about solutions.

Vot­ers care about character.

Vot­ers care about the future of the country.

The famous actor Matt Damon once said it per­fectly in an inter­view with Play­boy Mag­a­zine and I will now rephrase his statement.

Politi­cians don’t care about any­thing being dif­fer­ent than it is today; they care about the next elec­tion cycle and their cam­paign funds.

In short, politi­cians care if your check clears. More impor­tantly, the major­ity of them care about how to get more of your money through either taxes or cam­paign dona­tions than they do about solv­ing problems.

What makes me say this?

Sev­eral times, ok every time with one excep­tion, when I sat with an elected offi­cial to dis­cuss a solu­tion to a prob­lem the same thing would hap­pen. They would lis­ten, there would be a meet­ing, there would be a fol­low up and ulti­mately I would be told, we know that would solve it but we can’t do that.

Why would they not want a solu­tion? Well, because solv­ing a prob­lem, espe­cially doing so fast, would limit their abil­ity to yell about that prob­lem on the cam­paign trail. It would limit access to peo­ple who care about that prob­lem and their cam­paign dona­tions. They had much bet­ter ways (more polit­i­cally cor­rect) of phras­ing the sit­u­a­tion but this was the crux of their argument.

Solv­ing a prob­lem too quickly means they have noth­ing to argue against.

Who can run a cam­paign if you aren’t against something?

Well I thought we were about solv­ing prob­lems through the laws of the coun­try put forth in the Con­sti­tu­tions (Fed­eral and the var­i­ous States).

Let’s look at one such problem.

There are a flux of ques­tions sur­round­ing the polar­iz­ing sub­ject of same-​sex mar­riage in this coun­try. How is mar­riage defined? Is mar­riage a reli­gious sacra­ment or is it a tax fil­ing sta­tus? Is a civil union the same thing as a mar­riage? Should mar­riage be resolved by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment or han­dled at the state level? These are all impor­tant ques­tions up for discussion.

But what if there was a dif­fer­ent way to approach this issue?

My expe­ri­ences as a pro­fes­sional sci­en­tist have taught me how to dis­cover res­o­lu­tions by focus­ing on the ori­gins of a prob­lem rather than imple­ment­ing a “quick fix” solu­tion. By under­stand­ing the fun­da­men­tal issues at hand, we can work to find a more ele­gant and last­ing solu­tion to the problem.

After research­ing a vari­ety of views and opin­ions on same-​sex mar­riage, I decided to seek a voice on the mat­ter. My aunt has been involved with the same women for nearly half a cen­tury, and I was curi­ous to get her per­spec­tive. I asked her if there was dif­fer­ence whether or not the gov­ern­ment rec­og­nized her com­mit­ment, and if so why? I had never thought twice about the government’s opin­ion on my mar­riage, so her insight was quite valuable.

Her response what quite blunt (and always with a smile), and she told me her rea­sons why it mat­ters. The first and pos­si­bly most impor­tant rea­son was the defin­ing of same-​sex cou­ples as second-​class cit­i­zens. By adding pro­vi­sions that a same-​sex mar­riage is not equal to those of a different-​sex mar­riage, a two-​tier social sys­tem is cre­ated and is clearly in vio­la­tion of basic human equality.

Her next exam­ple involved a state of emer­gency. There have been many cases where a spouse is unable to visit his/​her sig­nif­i­cant other because of a hos­pi­tal pol­icy lim­it­ing vis­i­ta­tion rights to imme­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers only. By cur­rent law, she wouldn’t meet the require­ments of imme­di­ate fam­ily to her spouse. In case of an emer­gency she could only sit in the wait­ing room despite their sub­stan­tial tenure together. AND if there was a deci­sion to be made involv­ing life sup­port or treat­ment plans, my aunt would have no legal opin­ion on the mat­ter. Ridicu­lous to think that you could spend your whole life with some­one, and not be involved in these crit­i­cal decisions.

The third issue is equally bad. When my father passed away, my mother inher­ited the estate with­out hav­ing to pay an inher­i­tance tax. They were mar­ried. They spent a life­time together build­ing what they had, and that makes sense. Why is it, then, that if my aunt’s spouse passes away, my aunt won’t have that lux­ury? That makes no sense.

So how do we solve this prob­lem? Some peo­ple say these mar­riages are not the same as my het­ero­sex­ual mar­riage because their reli­gion says so. I respect that opin­ion, but sep­a­ra­tion of church and state should pre­side over the mat­ter. I think the answer become sim­ple and obvious.

We get the fed­eral (and state) gov­ern­ments out of the mar­riage def­i­n­i­tion busi­ness. On my fed­eral (and state) tax form it asks if I am sin­gle, mar­ried, or head of house­hold. Why is that? This should be simplified.

There should be two options: DEPEN­DENT and HEAD OF HOUSE­HOLD.

Some ques­tions arise.

What about deduc­tion dif­fer­ences? Well, tax codes change all the time. Why not change this one to work as well. Rearrange the deduc­tions for head of house­hold with 3 depen­dents to be the same as mar­ried with 3 depen­dents. Per­haps we change the deduc­tions from hav­ing a spe­cial cat­e­gory for mar­ried to an increased deduc­tion for depen­dents. No muss, no fuss and we are done.

We also need to fig­ure out what to do about inher­i­tance taxes. Again, the answer presents itself, if you are part of that house­hold; there are zero inher­i­tance taxes. Cou­ples who built a house­hold together should not have to have that chopped in half when one mem­ber of the cou­ple passes away.

What to do about hos­pi­tals? Well…we just passed a sweep­ing health­care law that right now isn’t ter­ri­bly pop­u­lar, so let’s amend it to enforce this pol­icy nation­wide. Alter­na­tively some new, sim­ple, 1 page bill could be passed that says this must be allowed. Part­ner­ships are part­ner­ships after all.

I know through var­i­ous advanced work involv­ing legal doc­u­ments for med­ical pur­poses much of this can be solved…But should we put Amer­i­can cit­i­zens through that trou­ble? I don’t think we should.

There is one other issue I would like to state as plainly as can be for the record. I do not want the gov­ern­ment in this issue at all. That states, means, or oth­er­wise implies, that the gov­ern­ment can not force the var­i­ous reli­gions to marry some­one. The reli­gions must decide, the pas­tors, the min­is­ters, priests, and jus­tice of the peace, must decide for them­selves what cou­ples they feel com­fort­able marrying.

Why should this be allowed? Allow peo­ple to make up their own mind? Sim­ply, that is they way it works now. We wouldn’t want, or even con­done a Catholic Priest con­duct­ing a Jew­ish Wed­ding (offered merely as an exam­ple and I can name 10 more examples).

I dis­cussed this topic with sit­ting politi­cians of both major polit­i­cal par­ties. No one could con­vey a coun­try argu­ment to the via­bil­ity of this solu­tion. Every­one agreed it would work and give both sides of the argu­ment what they want, need or desire. I have spo­ken to vot­ers of both extremes (Lib­eral and Con­ser­v­a­tive) and got­ten largely the same response. So why is this not mov­ing forward?

Sim­ple, fol­low the money. How much money is raised by peo­ple on both sides of this topic. No solu­tion will be seen with­out either extreme pres­sure or tak­ing the money out of pol­i­tics. My guess is, we won’t see this prob­lem go away any­time soon.

Some­where some­one will be upset with me bring­ing up this topic as an exam­ple. There will be other posts in the near future involv­ing other solu­tions I pro­posed on a vari­ety of top­ics, and in some cases, far more bizarre state­ments from rel­a­tively famous (infa­mous?) politicians.

Tim­o­thy Imholt PhD

Physi­cist by train­ing, Engi­neer by pay­check, fic­tion writer for fun, and co-​author of the crit­i­cally acclaimed For­est of Assas­sins avail­able now on Ama­zon.


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Wednes­day is here and DaTip­Jar con­tin­ues its per­fect dis­play of inertia.

Over the last 48 hours while plenty of peo­ple have vis­ited the site none have deigned to hit DaTip­Jar leav­ing my weekly total at $51.11

But while that brings an impend­ing sense of doom to my finances less than a month from CPAC I know that a mere 12 read­ers kick­ing in $25 will turn this week from dis­as­ter to sucess.

[olimome­ter id=2]

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By Tim Imholt

Until recently I was recently a declared candidate (now thankfully back to private citizen) for the US Congress.  It gave me a chance to discuss privately, candidate-to-candidate many topics with voters, party officials, and sitting politicians (from both parties) various topics that are facing our country today.  I also dove into potential solutions to a variety of those topics with those same people.

Voters care about solutions.

Voters care about character.

Voters care about the future of the country.

The famous actor Matt Damon once said it perfectly in an interview with Playboy Magazine and I will now rephrase his statement.

Politicians don’t care about anything being different than it is today; they care about the next election cycle and their campaign funds.

In short, politicians care if your check clears.  More importantly, the majority of them care about how to get more of your money through either taxes or campaign donations than they do about solving problems.

What makes me say this?

Several times, ok every time with one exception, when I sat with an elected official to discuss a solution to a problem the same thing would happen.  They would listen, there would be a meeting, there would be a follow up and ultimately I would be told, we know that would solve it but we can’t do that.

Why would they not want a solution?  Well, because solving a problem, especially doing so fast, would limit their ability to yell about that problem on the campaign trail.  It would limit access to people who care about that problem and their campaign donations.  They had much better ways (more politically correct) of phrasing the situation but this was the crux of their argument.

Solving a problem too quickly means they have nothing to argue against.

Who can run a campaign if you aren’t against something?

Well I thought we were about solving problems through the laws of the country put forth in the Constitutions (Federal and the various States).

Let’s look at one such problem.

There are a flux of questions surrounding the polarizing subject of same-sex marriage in this country. How is marriage defined? Is marriage a religious sacrament or is it a tax filing status? Is a civil union the same thing as a marriage? Should marriage be resolved by the federal government or handled at the state level? These are all important questions up for discussion.

But what if there was a different way to approach this issue?

My experiences as a professional scientist have taught me how to discover resolutions by focusing on the origins of a problem rather than implementing a “quick fix” solution. By understanding the fundamental issues at hand, we can work to find a more elegant and lasting solution to the problem.

After researching a variety of views and opinions on same-sex marriage, I decided to seek a voice on the matter. My aunt has been involved with the same women for nearly half a century, and I was curious to get her perspective. I asked her if there was difference whether or not the government recognized her commitment, and if so why? I had never thought twice about the government’s opinion on my marriage, so her insight was quite valuable.

Her response what quite blunt (and always with a smile), and she told me her reasons why it matters. The first and possibly most important reason was the defining of same-sex couples as second-class citizens. By adding provisions that a same-sex marriage is not equal to those of a different-sex marriage, a two-tier social system is created and is clearly in violation of basic human equality.

Her next example involved a state of emergency. There have been many cases where a spouse is unable to visit his/her significant other because of a hospital policy limiting visitation rights to immediate family members only. By current law, she wouldn’t meet the requirements of immediate family to her spouse. In case of an emergency she could only sit in the waiting room despite their substantial tenure together. AND if there was a decision to be made involving life support or treatment plans, my aunt would have no legal opinion on the matter. Ridiculous to think that you could spend your whole life with someone, and not be involved in these critical decisions.

The third issue is equally bad. When my father passed away, my mother inherited the estate without having to pay an inheritance tax.  They were married.  They spent a lifetime together building what they had, and that makes sense.  Why is it, then, that if my aunt’s spouse passes away, my aunt won’t have that luxury?  That makes no sense.

So how do we solve this problem?  Some people say these marriages are not the same as my heterosexual marriage because their religion says so. I respect that opinion, but separation of church and state should preside over the matter.  I think the answer become simple and obvious.

We get the federal (and state) governments out of the marriage definition business.  On my federal (and state) tax form it asks if I am single, married, or head of household.  Why is that?  This should be simplified.

There should be two options: DEPENDENT and HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD.

Some questions arise.

What about deduction differences?  Well, tax codes change all the time.  Why not change this one to work as well.  Rearrange the deductions for head of household with 3 dependents to be the same as married with 3 dependents.  Perhaps we change the deductions from having a special category for married to an increased deduction for dependents.  No muss, no fuss and we are done.

We also need to figure out what to do about inheritance taxes.  Again, the answer presents itself, if you are part of that household; there are zero inheritance taxes.  Couples who built a household together should not have to have that chopped in half when one member of the couple passes away.

What to do about hospitals?  Well…we just passed a sweeping healthcare law that right now isn’t terribly popular, so let’s amend it to enforce this policy nationwide.  Alternatively some new, simple, 1 page bill could be passed that says this must be allowed.  Partnerships are partnerships after all.

I know through various advanced work involving legal documents for medical purposes much of this can be solved…But should we put American citizens through that trouble?  I don’t think we should.

There is one other issue I would like to state as plainly as can be for the record.  I do not want the government in this issue at all.  That states, means, or otherwise implies, that the government can not force the various religions to marry someone.  The religions must decide, the pastors, the ministers, priests, and justice of the peace, must decide for themselves what couples they feel comfortable marrying.

Why should this be allowed?  Allow people to make up their own mind?  Simply, that is they way it works now.  We wouldn’t want, or even condone a Catholic Priest conducting a Jewish Wedding (offered merely as an example and I can name 10 more examples).

I discussed this topic with sitting politicians of both major political parties. No one could convey a country argument to the viability of this solution.  Everyone agreed it would work and give both sides of the argument what they want, need or desire.  I have spoken to voters of both extremes (Liberal and Conservative) and gotten largely the same response.  So why is this not moving forward?

Simple, follow the money.  How much money is raised by people on both sides of this topic.  No solution will be seen without either extreme pressure or taking the money out of politics.  My guess is, we won’t see this problem go away anytime soon.

Somewhere someone will be upset with me bringing up this topic as an example.  There will be other posts in the near future involving other solutions I proposed on a variety of topics, and in some cases, far more bizarre statements from relatively famous (infamous?) politicians.

Timothy Imholt PhD

Physicist by training, Engineer by paycheck, fiction writer for fun, and co-author of the critically acclaimed Forest of Assassins available now on Amazon.


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