Worst. Referendum. Ever.

Who wouldn't trust that smile?

Who wouldn’t trust that smile?

Ohio voters will decide today whether to approve Issue 3, an amendment to their state constitution, via referendum, which would legalize marijuana in the state. Sounds great right?

Get ready to vomit on your keyboard.

Along with legalization, Issue 3 would create a marijuana monopoly owned by the investment consortium that sponsored and funded the effort. That’s right kids; a company was formed for the sole purpose of changing Ohio law in a way that would net the company millions of dollars through a legislative monopoly. And they even have their own adorable mascot, Buddie.

Here’s how democracy works now. A political consultant with experience on referendums hatched a brilliant money-making venture. He formed a consortium. Members could buy in for $2m. They raised about $40m. The money would fund a political campaign to legalize marijuana in Ohio and create a monopoly on its cultivation and distribution. The investors in the consortium would own the resulting monopoly.

Capitalism meets Democracy in a bar and slips her a roofie. He bans her from getting an abortion, and out comes something magical. It’s the School House Rock Episode rejected by censors.

A ludicrously simple step could have prevented this hostage taking exercise. Federal authorities could recognize the ridiculousness of our long, bloody campaign to crack down on cultural subversion by jazz musicians, hippies, and snow boarders. With one move by Congress, we could move marijuana out of the FDA’s Schedule 1, a position it shares at the highest level of danger with heroin. It could continue to be regulated at some level, perhaps available only through pharmacies, but we could stop treating it like nuclear waste.

Or we could wait for political opportunists to make the most possible money off the situation, before eventually succumbing to the inevitable. Looks like we are leaning toward the latter.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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87 comments on “Worst. Referendum. Ever.
  1. duncancairncross says:

    See this article
    You would have been better accepting the initiative and then working to increase the number of growers


  2. flypusher says:

    “With one move by Congress, we could move marijuana out of the FDA’s Schedule 1, a position it shares at the highest level of danger with heroin. ”

    But that would take valuable time away from more voting to repeal the ACA!!!

  3. flypusher says:

    Been browsing the various commentary about this measure in the wilds of the internet. No claims of being scientific here, but I’ve seen a whole lot of comments expressing the sentiment ” Yeah I want legal pot, but not under these terms that get a monopoly to just a few rich people.” I’ve got to admit, that’s pretty damn brazen when you put the very word “monopoly” right there in the measure. Did they think all the potheads would miss that one?

    FWIW, I would have voted “no” for that same reason. I’m fine with legalization, but not on those terms.

  4. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    To my overly confident liberal comrades and to Lifer, I think I’d like to see a few election cycles go my way before raising the death knell of the the GOP.

    A tea party GOP candidate wins the Kentucky governor. Sure, it is Kentucky, but the margin of victory was greater than expected.

    Despite big attempts by the Democrats in Virginia, the state legislature did not budge in terms of the GOP majority.

    No pot in Ohio, and it seems that a whole slew of Houston men really want transgendered women to utilize restrooms with them.

    Sure, these were off-off-year elections, and sure, these are state and local issues, but to folks talking about a “huge shift in the electorate” to the more liberal side of the equation, I would suggest our pudding needs a bit more proof.

    I do not believe that the electorate as a whole is significantly more liberal than four or eight years ago. I do not think millennials are significantly more liberal (at least not White millennials) than other generations. They might be less blatantly racist and a touch more open to things, but their other views are not significantly different from previous generations.

    In my opinion, the GOP is focusing on the wrong issues to attract them, but if Rubio (or if Jeb? salvages his campaign) pitches more centrist positions in the general election (which the certainly will), I think we are looking at a very close election.

    I believe Lifer has a good grasp on the political side of the equation, and the folks at 538 tend to be much more historical data driven, but if you would like a quick glance at the discussion by a group of rather smart folks regarding the relatively even outlook for the GOP and Democrats going into the 2016 election, hit the link below.


    I guess there are “election fundamentals” and trends that the 538 folks are going to pay a lot of attention to, and those things tend to point to the GOP next year. Lifer is taking a view of “political fundamentals” and reaching a different conclusion. They greatly disagree on the Blue Wall theory.

    I think that many of these “fundamentals” are not so fundamental and can shift from one election to the next and from one candidate to the next. Granted, there is no Reagan emerging from the GOP candidates this year, and Hillary is no Dukakis, but Hillary is going to have a hard ceiling for her upside and old, cranky people really, really like to go out and vote.

    Let’s just say, I’m not planning Hillary’s inauguration just yet.

    • Anse says:

      Once in a while you see somebody speculate that the GOP is dying…I don’t go that far. But nobody should be pondering the death of the Democratic Party, either. There is no doubt, though, that the GOP is going through some serious convulsions. They’re keeping it together well enough for now. But what do we make of these GOP victories? Is the Virginia Republican comparable to the New York Republican? Are either similar to the Alabama Republican? I think the party is actually very divided. In a lot of ways it’s a unified party in name only.

      • 1mime says:

        Anse, I used to think it made a predictive difference if a Republican was a moderate. That they would be more rational, logical in their actions. What I have come to accept is that it really doesn’t matter anymore. Not with this Congress, and not with this GOP constituency. There are too many aberrant factors and a constituency who demands actions devoid of any basis in fact and is rooted in an ideology I just can’t fathom. Voters from AL and VA may see specific policies differently, however, the constraints of the GOP process still reflect a voting outcome predicated upon their common ideology. Extending this line of thought, is it likely that VA Republicans and AL Republicans would vote differently for Congressional elections than the Presidential election? Even if the GOP nominee is a Trump or a Cruz? Yes.

        It’s difficult to accept this scenario when one is involved, informed and consistently votes, but that is what we have and will have until the disaffected electorate finally begin voting. It is obvious to me that this change we’ve been hoping for within the Republican Party is simply not happening because their constituency – young and old alike – do not want it to change.

    • 1mime says:

      Homer, I had just sent an email to my CO friend with essentially the same thought when I read your post. Liberals may “think” the hard right has so damaged the Republican Party that the nation is trending “blue’, but yesterday’s elections are showing a very different outcome. We cannot ignore what is happening just because we don’t agree with it or like it, or because our favorite sources tell us it is so. As you noted, it could be “who” is voting in off-year races, but we need to read the tea leaves more closely. We (Liberals/Progressives) hope that the insanity we’ve been witnessing converts to a rout of hard right conservatives won’t make it so. For that matter, what does this say about the chances that a “Cruz” actually does reflect mainstream voters’ views such as the list provided by Objv? Can you even begin to contemplate a President Cruz?

      This is where America is right now and we have to recognize it and deal with it. Hoping the Blue Wall saves us is futile. For what it’s worth, I agree about Hillary as well. If she is the Dem nominee, I will vote for her, but I am so sorry that Joe Biden didn’t run. This well may have been his best opening and America’s best shot to restore balance in our country.

      Thanks for the sobering, deeply thoughtful comments. They reflect my own views and concerns. The 538 link is disquieting, to say the least. GOTV is never going to be more important.

      • n1cholas says:

        Take a look at the actual voter turnout. 2014 had Senate and House elections.

        2015 is pure local/state elections. For most people, that leads to the response of “Gross”, as they stay home to catch re-runs of Survivor.

        The problem isn’t that the Republican party is popular, outside of bigots. Because it’s not.

        Bevin won in Kentucky…with a whopping 28% of voter turnout. The South Will Rise Again!!!

        The real problem: The BothSidesDoIt™ BigLie that the “liberal media” (owned by some of the largest corporations) trot out time and time again. The only thing better than being the face of a broken, corrupt government, is saying that the entire government is broken and corrupt, and then paying your favorite kabuki actor to pass the laws you want passed while you sit behind the scences.

        Oligarchs, fascists, and aristocrats like nothing more than low voter turnout. Especially in local/state races that they can buy for pennies on the dollar as compared to, for example, “Election Year” races that actually garner attention.

      • 1mime says:

        And, the problem is, n1ch, Dem voters are all too accommodating with low turn out….it does get better when the CEO is on the ballot, but we liberals hurt ourselves by not GOTV. (

    • vikinghou says:

      After yesterday’s electoral results around the country, I think I’m more inclined to agree with you. The anger of the American voter has never been more evident. And anger leads, as we all know, to bad choices. Plus, as you say, old cranky people are reliable voters. Here in Houston, only 27% of registered voters bothered to go to the polls. It seems most people are willing to allow others to make choices for them.

  5. Anse says:

    I know supporters of legalization are by and large ready to accept many compromises for this privilege; it’s what we’ve had to offer up to get us closer to nationwide legalization. But now I think we’ve come far enough that we can go ahead and say that so much of the regulatory oversight we’ve come to accept is really overblown and unnecessary. Of course this thing in Ohio is so bizarre that it doesn’t even really belong in that conversation; how they thought this would be a good idea is a mystery, and I hope it doesn’t set back the trend toward greater acceptance of legal pot.

    Americans are really terrible at governing in a sensible way. We have, on the one side, liberals who are sometimes prone to going overboard, but then we have conservatives who, in an apparent attempt to undermine these progressive measures, go bananas with it and throw so many monkey wrenches into the effort that it becomes virtually impossible to pull off effectively, thereby “proving” some point about Big Government or the evils of the issue at hand.

    My God, just legalize it. Just do it. Make it legal to grow, sell, and possess. We’ve overcomplicated it. We’re too hung up on nailing stoned drivers when maybe we ought to ponder the fact that if a driver is not visibly impaired and driving poorly, it shouldn’t matter if he’s had anything to smoke that day (or drink, for that matter).

    The Dutch have not fully legalized pot, and I think they ought to. But they are pretty good at just leaving people alone about it. Don’t make such a fuss. A week in Amsterdam will dispel any worries about it among reasonable people. Get away from the Red Light District and marijuana just fades into the background. It’s all over the city, but only in that one aggressively touristy area is it in-your-face. The Dutch have learned to live with it and it’s not a big hairy deal. I wish Americans could.

  6. Doug says:

    8th grade health class is a little fuzzy, but I think if you take LSD your friends will look like Buddie and then you’ll scream and jump out of a window to your death.

  7. 1mime says:

    I’m proud of the voters in Jefferson County, CO. In today’s referendum, voters gave the TP school board members their walking papers. The effort was broad-based, with parents, community and school teacher unions united in their commitment, and, they succeeded.


  8. Griffin says:

    Rubio backs away (runs away?) from a fully refundable tax credit/basic income and in the process abandons his only good idea, if he even had it in the first place.


  9. Dude!. Buddie shouldn’t be all ripped; he should be a hairy, unkempt couch potato with the munchies! 😉

    Seriously, why is it that we just can’t seem to grok the intersection of personal freedom and personal/public responsibility? If you want to get blitzed out of your mind within the confines of your own home, knock your lights out. Who cares? If, on the other hand, you want to get blitzed out of your mind and then take a spin in your automobile, at that point the people’s instrument (i.e. our government) has in interest in your public conduct.

    If you want to have effective governance it’s really very simple: don’t waste time attempting to regulate inanimate objects or private affairs; that’s a fool’s errand. Instead, outlaw unacceptable public conduct (i.e. behavior that demonstrably endangers or harms your neighbors). Don’t outlaw drugs or alcohol; outlaw driving while intoxicated. Don’t outlaw guns; outlaw murder and armed robbery.

    Inanimate objects do not commit crimes. Inanimate objects may be used responsibly or irresponsibly. Used responsibly, an inanimate object may do great good, or at least to do no harm. Used irresponsibly, or with evil intent, that same object may instigate great harm. But in either case, it is the behavior and choices of the individual that determines the outcome.

    Similarly, government has no business interfering with consensual private transactions or relations between individuals. Texas’ struck-down sodomy statutes, prohibitions on prostitution, gambling, and the like, are fundamentally unenforceable and therefore pointless. (And the same would go for universal background checks, should such nonsense ever be passed into law.) The passage and attempted enforcement of such laws lessens, cheapens and enervates our governing institutions.

    We don’t need more laws; we don’t need more government, and we sure as heck don’t need the crony capitalism that is the inevitable bedfellow of Leviathan government. Rather, we need to remember the purpose of the law, and the purpose of government, and above all else, why both must be strictly limited.

    • 1mime says:

      Hello, Tracy, long time no see.

      “government has no business interfering with consensual private transactions or relations between individuals”

      Then, I assume people should be able to marry who they want? Have or not have children?

      • Sir Magpie de Crow says:

        Two steps forward, 18 steps backward and then a drunken tumble from a cliff…
        In this week’s epically awful episode “It came from New Jersey!”

        Here are juicy and rotten highlights from a campaign in “turd-moil”:

        “In a race upended by a controversial book written a decade ago by one of the Republican challengers, Democrats are holding onto their seats in north Jersey’s 38th District in the state Assembly.”


        “The New Jersey Republican who temporarily quit his campaign for an Assembly seat after a rant-filled book he wrote surfaced has lost.”

        “Anthony Cappola and another Republican, Mark DiPisa, lost to incumbent Democratic Assemblymen Tim Eustace and Joe Lagana. DiPisa and the GOP criticized Cappola’s candidacy after the book Cappola wrote more than a decade ago came to light. It included rants against gays, Asians and breast-feeding moms.”

        From early October 2015


        “A Republican candidate has dropped out of a closely watched state Assembly race with only a month until Election Day after it came to light that 12 years ago he wrote a book filled with rants and slurs against gays, women, blacks, Asian, Muslims, and more.”

        Has anyone learned from the Todd Akin effect? Or perhaps Richard Murdock’s meditations on God inspired pregnancies from sexual assault? Or even Trump’s frequent xenophobic brain burps?

        I hate to have to say this over and over again in a vain attempt to educate many GOP candidates and voters but I guess I’ll repeat it one more time.

        If you insult (or vilify) rape victims, gays, women, blacks, asians, latinos, muslims, the non-religious and… breast feeding moms (wtf!) you probably are going to lose important elections.

      • Yes, 1mime; you assume correctly.

    • Griffin says:

      I agree with your “big picture” sentiment but I’m not sure the efficiency of how well something is enforced is a a good argument for or against it. For instance it’s estimated that only one in five hundred drunk drivers are actually caught making it, on paper, an almost pointless law, but most of the power for it is as a deterrent to others who may engage in drunk driving but choose not to take the chance to get caught.

      Also what would you consider the line between “private affairs” and “public conduct”? Most people are fine with legalizing pot but most aren’t ok with an unconditional legalization of crack cocaine because it might be a detriment to society as a whole if there are more people addicted to hard drugs that cause them serious health problems and make them more likely to engage in crimes. Should that be a consequence we’re willing to live with?

      “Inanimate objects may be used responsibly or irresponsibly. Used responsibly, an inanimate object may do great good, or at least to do no harm”

      Sure but some objects are capable of causing much more harm than, say, a butter knife. Such as a grenade launcher, an RPG, fully automatic rifles loaded with armor piercing bullets in a drum magazine, etc.

      • johngalt says:

        “…most aren’t ok with an unconditional legalization of crack cocaine because it might be a detriment to society as a whole if there are more people addicted to hard drugs that cause them serious health problems and make them more likely to engage in crimes. Should that be a consequence we’re willing to live with?”

        Yes. It should. The war on drugs has been an epic failure. Crack cocaine is a prime example – idiotic sentencing laws sent people off to jail for far longer terms than for possession of powder coke. Surely it was merely coincidence that crack users tended to be poor and black and coke users tended to be better-off and white.

        Drug addiction is a public health matter and should be treated as such. Find users and offer them every bit of help possible. If users commit crimes to pay for their habits, put them in secure residential treatment programs. Offer clean needles and supervised places to shoot up. Is this expensive? Yes, of course, but it would be a fraction of what we spend now on wasting lives through the criminal justice system. It is embarrassing that a nation that claims to have freedom encoded in its DNA locks up more people than any other country on earth.

      • Griffin says:

        I agree with you but you seem to be arguing for it to be regulated and for users to be monitored/engaged. I was talking about “unconditional” legalization, as in you would just legalize it and just have a hands off policy where anyone can smoke crack in their house and the government does nothing. Technically that it is the most libertarian solution to it and it would blur the line between the private and public sphere, and I was giving a hypothetical to see where we would draw the line.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Griffin – Whatever I choose to in my own house is none of your goddam business.

      • johngalt says:

        Of course I am, Griffin. We regulate all manner of intoxicants – alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs. Why would we not continue to regulate currently-illegal drugs? Ironically, a good regimen and it would probably be harder for teen-agers to get their hands of pot than it is today. Which says volumes about our insane drug laws.

      • Griffin says:

        John I still agree with you. I was just asking Tracy where he would draw the line.

        fifty- Again most the time I agree with you but that seems like one of those absolutist sentiments that is easy enough to express but get complicated when introduced to the real world. Can you have dog fighting on your property then? Can you make pipe bombs in your basement out of household materials? Is there literally nothing someone can do on their “property” that would be cause for alarm? If not then obviously there is a blurry line between “private” and “public” concerns and we’re just talking about how we would decide where it is.

      • 1mime says:

        A case is before the TX Supreme Court on home schooling. Grandparents of 9 children raised concerns with the school district that the children (all of whom were being home-schooled) were being inadequately educated. Turns out there are 300K children being home-schooled in TX, which is approximately one-sixth of all home schooled children in the U.S. As this is TX, there is a paucity of rules to govern home schooling, and very little oversight. It will be an interesting to see how the TX S.C. rules on this. The parents of the kids maintain that they know best and that they have no legal obligation to meet basic educational standards nor divulge lesson plans. Individual rights can get dicey.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Griffin – Dog fighting is illegal as it offends the moral ethos of our people. So is child abuse, for the same reason. We do not have the ‘right’ to inflict harm and suffering, whether on our ‘property’ or not. These things are not at issue.

        What is at issue here is what an adult or adults can do to or with themselves. You are smart enough to know where any restriction of this leads, and I needn’t mention gay rights, and all of that.

        If I want to make an explosive device in my basement from household materials, fine. Use it in a public space, and endanger anyone else, and go to jail. But consider trying to enforce a law against making it in the first place. (Yes – I know it exists.) What are you going to do? Ban all possible ingredients and materials? Put cameras in every basement? Guess that would stymie basement meth labs as well, eh?

        Our freedom of action – pretty much any action – entails some finite, and irreducible risk that a nut-ball will take advantage, break the law, and hurt someone. That’s just the way it is. It’s the price we pay for freedom. The price we’d pay for some vain attempt at absolute security would be much, much higher. We’re paying that horrific price with the cultural destruction – not to mention the financial consequences – of this ‘war on drugs’, right now.

        It’s insanity, pure and simple.

      • Griffin says:

        But you said we shouldn’t be concerned with what we do on our property, so nobody’s “moral ethos” should enter into it. If one person is fine with dog fighting then restricting them is an admission that you are willing to enforce your/the majoritys morality on someone’s private property. A dog is not a person, so how much value its life has can radically change between individuals/cultures, yet we still have a general concensus on banning it. Similarly a majority of people do not think unregulated crack should be allowed to be used even on private property because while someone’s high on it they are far more likely to harm themselves or others. You forcing people to accept a neighbor doing that would often cause people to lose a sense of security and have to plan around it, which would lead to a poorer quality of life and is a lost of a kind of “freedom” in and of itself.

        Likewise if people know someone’s making pipebombs in their basement for unknown reasons without any sort of permit most people don’t have to wait for them to actually use said pipebombs on the general populace before wanting the police to step in. That’s putting ideology before common sense and the safety of actual human beings.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Griffin – I stated and clarified my position regarding property, and clearly specified activities without victims. If that’s still unclear to you, well I can’t help ya.

        For your other ideas, here’s whatcha do : Deputise all the neighborhood kids. Send them out at night to peek in the neighborhood’s basement windows, and have them report back on suspicious activities. On yeah – and make sure their uniforms include brown shirts so they won’t be readily seen.

      • Griffin says:

        “I don’t think people should be allowed to build pipebombs in their house without a permit”


        Well it’s good to see Godwins law eventually applies to the comments section of every website.

      • fiftyohm says:

        On puleeze.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Oh. Sorry.

      • Griffin you post several questions; I’ll try to hit ’em each.

        DWI is an action which endangers citizens out and about in public; it’s public conduct, not a private affair. Thus laws against DWI are valid, no matter how difficult to enforce.

        The line separating private and public affairs is always murky; witness the confusion over forced participation in gay weddings by small business owners. With respect to drugs, we’ve pretty much determined that it’s pretty dang difficult to OD on Mary Jane. Opiates, on the other hand, can kill you dead in short order. We don’t allow individuals to sell, for instance, plutonium to others for the purposes of ingestion; that’s a direct and rapidly fatal harm to the individual who buys that product and ingests it. Cocaine and heroin aren’t quite as deadly as plutonium, but they are way more dangerous than marijuana. So it’s a bit murky when it comes to hard drugs. (My personal feeling is that drug abuse is a direct outcome poor judgement, and that’s not something that the law can fix. So I’m inclined to let the chips fall where they may, and legalize all drugs. But I can certainly appreciate the position of those who don’t hold with that idea.)

        With respect to arms (and this is a distinction Chris can’t seem to grok, either, with all his impassioned yammerings regarding his desire to plant a minefield in his front yard), western civilization has *always* defined personal “arms” to be those weapons an individual carries on his person, and deploys directly against another individual (presumably an aggressor). Weapons of *indiscriminate* destruction, including, but not limited to, grenade launchers, RPGs, fully automatic rifles, and, yes, land mines, do not qualify as personal “arms” under the definition employed by the 2nd Amendment. We settled all this with the National Firearms Act of 1934, and frankly, that’s where we should draw the line. Pretty much all gun control legislation since then has been remarkably nonproductive, while at the same time abusive of liberty.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Tracy – At the heart of it, some things should not be prohibited by law “on principle”, without regard for the ‘social effects”. I think this is the gist of your comment, and one with which I whole-heartedly agree.

      • Yes, that’s pretty much it. There are practices prevalent in society which I find morally abhorrent, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s OK to impose my will (or the majority’s will) on those who hew to a morality somewhat different than mine. It’s worth noting that a great many on both right and left have significant difficulty with this simple concept.

    • flypusher says:

      Looks like we have a supermajority here- the gov’t trying to protect adults from themselves is a waste of time.

      But how about we ditch that in a way that doesn’t deliberately create cartels. Ohio should try again next year, with a better referendum.

      • fiftyohm says:

        I think running with scissors should be illegal. Look at the social and human toll of these accidents! Such legislation would be for the common good!

        And the next step is banning scissors with pointy ends. (When was the last time you used those points, anyway? Think about it.) But let’s get the running thing banned first. As a start.

  10. Crogged says:

    Well, I’m sure they reached the most impacted voters by putting absentee ballots on pizza delivery boxes and Taco Bell/Doritos bags. Is there another initiative to get advertising into their Constitution, The First, Fourth and Five Amendments brought to you by Bigass Gas Company?

  11. Rob Ambrose says:

    Way off topic, but just wanted to post this look at Canada’s new PM Justin Trudeau. Can you imagine ANY American politician (let alone the top one) calling himself a feminist? Or making being pro choice a prerequisite in his cabinet?

    Not to mention, Trudeau ran ON deficits. The NDP and Cons ran on balancing the budget, while Trudeau ran on running modest deficits to fund huge infrastructure investment.

    Just thought it was an interesting contrast to politics in the US. Considering Canada is far closer to the rest of the developed world with regards to politics/social issues then the US, its no wonder everyone else thinks America is crazy.


    • 1mime says:

      Well, if everyone else in the world thinks America is crazy, it is, right?

    • fiftyohm says:

      Calling ones self a ‘feminist’ is simple pandering, and “running ON deficits” is simply stupid.

      • 1mime says:

        So is running on shipping 12 million undocumented immigrants back, defunding PP, and not approving the debt ceiling, and………jeez, I said I was practicing brevity !

      • fiftyohm says:

        Many things qualify as stupid.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I agree with the first point. Not the latter though.

        Defecits are not an inherent evil, anymore then using a credit card.

        Of course, like using a CC it CAN lead to lots of trouble if used correctly.

        There are times when running a deficit makes sense. In Canada’s case, they can afford it since the relatively heavily regulated banking sector (and thus the country) left the country in much better shape then most other Western countries, and has a very healthy sent to GDP.

        Its also teetering on the brink of recession due to collapse in oil prices and (like America) has a serious need of broad infrastructure spending.

        Deficits don’t always make sense. But it does for Canada right now to invest in the country. What DOESNT make sense given the current economic climate is balancing the budget at all costs.

        Debt isn’t always bad. A mortgage is a good example of good debt. Trudeau ran and won on defecits because it makes a lot of sense for Canada right now. Its good debt.

      • EJ says:

        There’s a general principle which says that one should run a deficit during a recession (to pump money into the economy and to penalise over-saving) and run a surplus during a boom (to rein in speculation and penalise over-spending.) The case to the contrary has often been made but is usually only persuasive to people who are more interested in the return on their investments than on the country as a whole.

      • fiftyohm says:

        RobA – Thank you for the thoughtful reply.

        Living here leaves me with the question of just what you think this country’s infrastructure is so in need of. The roads are generally better. The bridges well maintained. The grid is probably in better shape then south of the border. Just what, specifically, are you talking about?

      • fiftyohm says:

        EJ – A country with a crappy ROI is not one in which either of us would want to live for !ong, would we?

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, as I appreciate EJ’s statement, he was talking about economic cycles…spend during recessions, tighten during strong periods. IOW, being flexible with monetary policy depending upon economic conditions. What is lacking in this concept?

      • fiftyohm says:

        The current “cycle” in Canada is not all that bad. There is no ‘crisis’ here. There is no justification for deficit spending. Liberals have a very low threshold for pulling that cord.

      • moslerfan says:

        “running ON deficits is simply stupid.”

        Not at all. And not because deficits don’t matter. Deficits have consequences.

        When a government like Canada or the US spends, it pays dollars to soldiers, bureaucrats, highway builders, Medicare providers, Social Security recipients and so on. When the government taxes, it takes dollars away from those same soldiers, bureaucrats, etc. A deficit means that the government pays more to the soldiers, bureaucrats etc. than it takes away in taxes. As a direct result of the deficit, the soldiers, bureaucrats etc. (the private sector as a whole) have more dollars in their pockets than they did before. And since transactions in the private sector never create dollars (just move them from buyers’ pockets to sellers’ pockets), that is the only way the private sector can obtain additional dollars to support a growing economy.

        These deficit-generated dollars represent additional purchasing power in the economy. Of course, if there is an excess of purchasing power, inflation could result. That would mean the deficit is too large. On the other hand, if there is not enough purchasing power in the economy, some goods and services offered for sale might go unsold. Labor hours would be cut and workers laid off. The social costs of unemployment are well known, of course, but economically, unemployment also constitutes a wasted opportunity to create wealth ­­ wealth that could benefit both us and our children and grandchildren. Unemployment is a sign that the deficit is too small.

        I don’t follow Canada’s economic situation and don’t have an opinion on it, but if their unemployment is a bigger problem than their inflation, that’s a sign that their economy lacks sufficient purchasing power, and they need a bigger deficit.

      • fiftyohm says:

        mosler – Nobody “needs” deficits. And Canada’s unemployment rate is about where it was in 2001 or so. To get lower then that, you have to look back to 1976. Unemployment here is not any sort of a valid reason for deficit spending – even by your reasoning.

        Yes – the looney is in the tank for now. That’s mostly because of low oil prices. That raises the cost of living for all Canadians. Deficit spending is going to nothing but depress the currency, making matters even worse. Again, there is no crisis here. There is no reason to pull the emergency cord, no matter how politically expedient it might be.

      • moslerfan says:

        A 20 second Google search shows Canadian unemployment at 6.8% and inflation at 1%. If those numbers are correct, that’s a lot of people subjected to financial distress, and a lot of people who would like to be productive but aren’t. If you aren’t worried about inflation, why leave those people hanging when broad-based tax cuts, for example, could lift employment?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mosler – Did your 20 second Googling look at history? Do you believe that Canada is having an unemployment crisis? Do you think, based on your research, deficit spending is required to remedy the current situation?

      • moslerfan says:

        Definitions of crisis could vary, but 6.8 seems too high. And yes, I believe that additional government spending would hire some of those folks, or broadly lower taxes would increase private spending and take up some of the slack. Either way of raising the deficit would work.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mosler – Well, I’ll agree on one thing: “Definitions of crisis could vary”. If one can define an ‘unemployment crisis’ as basically the minimum level, (within a few tenths of a point), we’ve seen over the last 40 years or so, then you can define anything as anything.

  12. Griffin says:

    The far-right reaction to legalizing marijuana is beyond bizarre. Check out this World Net Daily piece on legalized marijuana in Colorado:http://www.wnd.com/2013/03/marijuana-another-gift-of-the-left-to-our-youth/

    If they were like the blanket prohibitionists it would be more intellectually consistant (e.g. ban alcohol, tobacco, etc.) but when you listen to 90% of these guys discuss legal drugs they usually talk about how they like to have drinks with friends and laugh about times they got drunk or how they enjoy a “good cigar” once in a while, but then they lose their shit over a substance that isn’t really much different/worse. Unless they’re taking money from the alcohol industry (which most of them are not) their reactions are frankly baffling.

    • Griffin says:

      BTW I’m not talking about this referndum which is obviously problemtic for other reasons anyone could have a problem with. But one of the reasons we’re in this pickle is because these pundits/politicians have such odd views on banning this one specific substance.

      • Hi
        I’m not sure that the proposal is as bad as Chris makes out
        First it’s NOT a monopoly – there are 10 companies that would be suppliers
        Second I think it is relatively easy for the legislature to add additional companies to the market

        The idea that a product that a lot of people are scared of should be initially supplied by a small number of tightly controlled companies is a good one
        As is the idea that additional companies can only join after going through the legislature

        The idea is definitely NOT silly – as always the devil is in the details

      • goplifer says:

        Since they structured the proposal as an amendment to the state’s constitution it will be very difficult for anyone to change its terms. Basically, to break open that consortium of 10 investors, all of whom are collaborating rather than competing (a cartel of sorts), would require another constitutional amendment. Difficult.

      • 1mime says:

        Ohio marijuana referendum handily defeated. Gop holds in VA and KY.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Lol. Well, if Channel 4 news went to the local high school and some students anecdotally reported higher marijuana use among their peers, that good enough for me. Certainly no need for any follow up study to get any, ya know, actual data.

      Not to mention, this guy is an abject moron. He’d rather his child smoke cigarettes knowing how addictive they are and the immense cost, both financially and health wise, of a lifetime of smoking, then a non addictive substance like weed? What a fool.

      Weed is like any other relatively benign substance (such as alcohol) in that of course heavy use can become a negative. But done responsibly in moderation, it can be a very positive substance that enriches the users life.

      And of the two, alcohol is far, far more likely to abuse to point of adversely affecting quality of life, as well as having much more devastating effects if it gets tobthat point.

      • Griffin says:

        Yeah this guy is Dennis Prager, he’s one of the five main hosts for Salem Radio Network, which is probably the second largest right-wing radio outlet behind Clear Channel. For reference they seem to be somewhere inbetween Fox News and Ann Coulter in terms of how hardline they are.

        I’d be very curious to hear Lifer’s evaluation of the individual outlets and pundits. I know he wrote a more general outline of right-wing punditry but outlets like Fox/Salem/etc. seem to be different in terms of their importance, funtion, extremeness, and “ideas” and I wonder which he considers the worst of the worst and how often he listens to them to get an idea of where the modern Republican base is. Every now and then I try to watch Fox News just to see what talking points some of my friends/family members are concerned about at the moment.

  13. Scott says:

    Two points, being here in Ohio, they didn’t think it was necessary to block amendments when gambling was legalized by the same means and I would rather have it legal and change it down the road then not.

  14. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    It seems that Ohio has another initiative on the ballot, the Ohio Initiated Monopolies Amendment, meant to protect “the initiative process from being used for personal economic benefit.”

    If that initiative passes, it would create a new amendment to the state’s constitution barring the creation of oligopolies like the pot growers group.

    The proposal Issue two doesn’t mention marijuana specifically, but it was created specifically to block the passage of the marijuana initiative on the grounds that the state shouldn’t allow these investors to write laws specifically designed to make them wealthier.

    If this initiative passes, it seems to essentially nullify the marijuana initiative.

  15. vikinghou says:

    The odd thing is that, in addition to Issue 3, there’s Issue 2. Issue 2 basically invalidates the monopoly aspect of Issue 3. So voters there should vote YES on both to keep “Big Pot” at bay.


    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Viking…I would say that “great minds think alike” since I posted essentially the same thing, but it could easily be “it takes both of us together to make one decent brain”, but either way, good for folks in Ohio to try to block this. The question is whether the voters will understand it.

  16. Justin says:

    Yes this is bs. But over here in CT under our recent mmj law we only allow 3-4 growers. How is this any less of a monopoly? I think this country would benefit much more from having public referendums on many issues but it seems the only means of this happening when it does happen is not based on public support but only when there’s a large amount of money and profit to be made involved for a very few. But yet to get what they want they still need the public to vote in their favor. The fact remains that marijuana should have been rescheduled long ago, like back in the 60’s.

  17. EJ says:

    Chris – rohypnol’s nickname is normally spelled “roofie”, not “rufi.” Unless y’all are weird in Chicago in which case ignore me.

  18. fiftyohm says:

    It’s interesting how Kasich has managed to be simultaneously dead right and dead wrong on this issue.

  19. 1mime says:

    You really don’t need to go all the way to OH, Lifer. Here’s a little “home cooking”, TX style.

    Headline – Monday, Nov. 2, Houston Chronicle. “7 Hold Fate of 1B in Bonds”. “A few months ago, a cabinet maker and his wife were recruited to move into a manufactured home parked on a dirt road that was plowed into the woods on the west side of Conroe in Montgomery County.
    Daniel and Deborah Spiecher are now the only residents of a newly created municipal utility district, or MUD, carved from 82 acres of land there. They are also the only ones eligible to vote Tuesday on $500 million in proposed bonds to develop that tract.
    In fact, they are among just seven voters who will decide the fate this week of $1.07 billion in bonds for roads, water, sewer and recreational facilities in three such districts that were recently formed in this fast-growing county north of Houston. The debt will be repaid with taxes imposed on future residents and businesses. While some believe the MUDs provide a means to bring about high-end development in an orderly way, critics say they are out of control, with developers manipulating the democratic process to essentially take on the roles of cities and borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to make public improvements.
    Montgomery County resident Adrian Heath decries the lack of transparency and citizen input into what critics call “rent-a-voter” MUD elections. Heath notes that the billion-dollar MUD proposals make the contentious, countywide election over a $280 million road bond package look like “kid stuff.”
    Yet an attorney representing one of the developers for the three MUDs refers to these initial seven voters as “urban pioneers.”

    ONE BILLION DOLLAR BOND ISSUE. What’s the difference, Lifer? Talk about disenfranchisement!

  20. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Wow…on some level, you have to respect that kind of game.

    I hate to quote Anchorman because it does not normally speak well of me that I laughed out loud several times during the movie, but this posting immediately rang this quote in my head.

    Ron Burgundy talking to his dog:
    What? You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole… wheel of cheese? How’d you do that? Heck, I’m not even mad; that’s amazing.

    The consortium in Ohio is brilliantly amazing. Sure, likely evil and another happy example of the rich getting richer, but that is some serious game.

    • 1mime says:

      Sorry Homer, this is too brazen an example of capitalism extortion for me to revel in its brilliance. It does, however, peel another layer off Kasich’ pitch for decency and fairness, as boldly asserted at the debate.

  21. stephen says:

    This is crony capitalism at it’s worst. Adam Smith warn that capitalism would self destruct with out regulation of the market place. The roaches are getting bold and coming out in broad daylight. During the last Gilded Age Republicans led the reform effort. This time it seems like Republican leaders are the lap dogs of wealthy patrons and corporations. I already knew of this. But I wonder if the crazy uncle was told about this on Fox news.

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