This post is adapted from “Election 2020: Liberty Is at Stake“. I have recast it as a set of 17 betting propositions, which I have in fact offered to a correspondent who is blind to the danger of a Biden victory because he is a “conservative” collabo — and a Trump-hater to boot. To make the bet more interesting, I revised the terms on 10/07/20.
UPDATE (10/11/20): My collabo correspondent has yet to respond to my betting propositions. Like a lot of never-Trumpers, he is cutting off his head to spite his body.
If Biden wins the upcoming presidential election and if Democrats control both the Senate and House from January 2021 to January 2023, I will bet any amount up to $xxxx against your bet of one-half of my bet on the initiation of at least 6 of the 17 items listed below. (My parenthetical comments in the various items are asides, not conditions to be met in deciding the outcome of this bet.) My specific bet is that from January 3, 2021, through January 3, 2023, at least 6 listed actions will be initiated by a presidential executive order, a draft regulation, a legislative proposal from the White House, or a draft bill under consideration by a committee of Congress. Further actions – including but not limited to disapproval of a final regulation, presidential veto of a law, judicial rejection of an enacted law – aren’t relevant here. Initiation of an action, as described above, is what counts in the context of this bet.
Additionally or alternatively:
If Biden wins the upcoming presidential election and if Democrats control both the Senate and House from January 2021 to January 2023, I will bet any amount up to $xxxx against your equal bet on the initiation of at least 9 of the 17 items listed below. (My parenthetical comments in the various items are asides, not conditions to be met in deciding the outcome of this bet.) My specific bet is that from January 3, 2021, through January 3, 2023, at least 9 listed actions will be initiated by a presidential executive order, a draft regulation, a legislative proposal from the White House, or a draft bill under consideration by a committee of Congress. Further actions – including but not limited to disapproval of a final regulation, presidential veto of a law, judicial rejection of an enacted law – aren’t relevant here. Initiation of an action, as described above, is what counts in the context of this bet.
Here are the actions that I am offering to bet on:
1. Abolition of the Senate filibuster.
2. An increase of at least two seats on the U.S. Supreme Court (USSC), though there may be some vacancies to be filled.
3. Adoption of an interstate compact by states controlling a total of at least 270 electoral votes, committing each member state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who compiles the most popular votes nationwide, regardless of the outcome of the popular vote in each state that is a party to the compact. (This may seem unnecessary if Biden wins, but it will be a bit of insurance against the possibility of a Republican victor in a future election.)
4. Statehood for either the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico, or for both of them. (Each would then have two senators and a requisite number of representatives with full voting privileges in their respective bodies. All of them will be Democrats, of course.)
5. Empowerment of the executive branch to do at least three of the following things:
a. Regulate personal and business activity (in new ways) with the expressed aim of reducing CO2 emissions.
b. Commit at least $500 billion in new obligational authority for research into and/or funding of methods of reducing and mitigating CO2 emissions.
c. Issue new kinds of tax rebates and credits to persons/households and businesses that spend money on any item on a list of programs/technologies that are supposed to reduce CO2 emissions.
d. Impose tax penalties on persons/households and businesses for their failure to spend money on any item in the list mentioned above (shades of the Obamacare tax penalty).
e. Impose penalties on persons/households and businesses for failing to adhere to prescribed caps on CO2 emissions.
f. Establish a cap-and-trade program for CO2 emissions (to soften the blow of the previous item). (Needless to say, the overall effect of such initiatives would deal a devastating blow to economic activity – meaning massive job losses and lower real incomes for large swaths of the populace.)
6. Authorization for an agency or agencies of the federal government to define and penalize written or spoken utterances that the agency or agencies declare unprotected by the First Amendment. (This can be accomplished by cynically adopting the supportable position that the First Amendment protects only political speech. The purported aim would be to curb so-called hate speech, but when censorship is in full swing — which would take only a few years — it will be illegal to criticize or question, even by implication, such things as illegal immigration, same-sex marriage, transgenderism, anthropogenic global warming, the confiscation of firearms, or the policies of the federal government. Violations will be enforced by fines and prison sentences — the latter sometimes called “sensitivity training”, “citizenship education”, or some other euphemistic term. Candidates for public office will be prime targets of the enforcers, which will suppress open discussion of such matters.)
7. Imposition of requirements for organizations of all kinds — businesses, universities, charitable organizations, clubs, and even churches — to favor anyone who isn’t a straight, white male of European descent. (The “protections” will be enacted, upheld, and enforced vigorously by federal agencies, regardless of their adverse economic and social effects.)
8. Effective nullification of the Second Amendment through orders/regulations/legislation, to enable gun confiscation (though there will be exemptions for private security services used by favored elites).
9. Use of law-enforcement agencies to enforce “hate speech” bans, mandates for reverse discrimination, and gun-confiscation edicts. (These things will happen regardless of the consequences; e.g., a rising crime rate, greater violence against whites and Asians, and flight from the cities and near-in suburbs. The latter will be futile, anyway, because suburban and exurban police departments will also be co-opted.)
10. Criminalization of “sexual misconduct”, as it is defined by the alleged victim, de facto if not de jure. (Investigations and prosecutions will be selective, and aimed mainly at straight, white males of European descent and dissidents who openly criticize this and other measures listed here.)
11. Parallel treatment for the “crimes” of racism, anti-Islamism, nativism, and genderism. (This will be in addition to the measures discussed in #7.)
12. Centralization in the federal government of complete control of all health care and health-care related products and services, such as drug research, accompanied by “Medicare and Medicaid for All” mandates. (Private health care will be forbidden or strictly limited, though — Soviet-style — there will be exceptions for high officials and other favored persons. Drug research – and medical research, generally – will dwindle in quality and quantity. There will be fewer doctors and nurses who are willing to work in a regimented system. The resulting health-care catastrophe that befalls most of the populace will be shrugged off as necessary to ensure equality of treatment, while ignoring the special treatment accorded favored elites.)
13. Revitalization of the regulatory regime (which already imposes a deadweight loss of 10 percent of GDP). A quantitative measure of revitalization is an increase in the number of new rules published annually in the Federal Register by at least 10 percent above the average for 2017-2020.
14. Proposals for at least least two of the following tax-related initiatives:
a. Rescind the tax-rate cuts enacted during Trump’s administration.
b. Increase marginal tax rates for the top 2 or 3 income brackets.
c. Impose new taxes on wealth.
15. Dramatic enlargement of domestic welfare programs. Specifically, in addition to the creation of “Medicare and Medicaid for All” programs, there would be a “fix” for Social Security that mandates the payment of full benefits in the future, regardless of the status of the Social Security Trust Fund (which will probably be abolished). (Initiatives discussed in #5, #7, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, and #15 would suppress investment in business formation and expansion, and would disincentivize professional education and training, not to mention work itself. All of that would combine to push the real rate of economic growth toward a negative value.)
16. Reduction of the defense budget by at least 25 percent, in constant dollars, by 2031 or sooner. (Eventually, the armed forces will be maintained mainly for the purpose of suppressing domestic uprisings. Russia and China will emerge as superpowers, but won’t threaten the U.S. militarily as long as the U.S. government acquiesces in their increasing dominance and plays by their economic rules.)
17. Legalization of all immigration from south of the border, and the granting of citizenship to new immigrants and the illegals who came before them. (The right to vote, of course, is the right that Democrats most dearly want to bestow because most of the newly-minted citizens can be counted on to vote for Democrats. The permanent Democrat majority will ensure permanent Democrat control of the White House and both houses of Congress.)
* * *
I don’t believe that the Democrats would try to launch all 17 of the initiatives in the next two years, or that every initiative that they do launch will become established in law. But I offer the list because it is a good representation of the initiatives that are strongly favored by radicals in Congress, in elite circles, among large swaths of the populace, and in the streets. The list is in keeping with the direction in which the country is headed and, in many cases, has been headed since the 1930s — despite Reagan and Trump, and with the connivance of Ike, Nixon, the Bushes, and (in some crucial cases) the USSC.
The Constitution’s horizontal and vertical separation of powers, system of checks and balances, and limitations on the power of the federal government have been eroded almost to the point of irrelevance. The next few years, if Democrats control the White House and Congress, will put an end to the pretense (or false hope) of governance in accordance with the Constitution as it was written.
Previous posts in this series: