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Parliamentary or Presidential System

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TheInterpreter
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#1

Posted 29 December 2011 - 04:48 AM

I have been studying comparative government at university and I've found our studies of the United States very intriguing. I've only been in the class for a few weeks now. However, my preliminary thoughts are in favour of the parliamentary system.

In the states, all goes to pot when the Congress have divided government. Now for example, the Democratic Party own the Senate, and the Republican Party own the House of Representatives. That means there is no way to pass any legislation. In our government, at least each party has its chance to put through everything it wants when it has the majority. There, the whole government gets a spanner thrown into it when there is divided government every two years.

So what is your pick? Or maybe you have a different choice altogether?

3niX
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#2

Posted 29 December 2011 - 10:52 AM

Well...

Im more in favour of a parliamentary system because it can be more flexible and the power can be divided more evenly.

sivispacem
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#3

Posted 29 December 2011 - 11:34 AM

Both have their merits. I prefer the inherent legislating ability of a parliamentary system, but like the degree of political oversight provided by a multi-tiered presidential system. Then again, it's possible to have these attributes in either system given a well-though-out bicameral legislative approach or an electoral system where the presidential figure is elected alongside one chamber of the legislative branch, or an entirely elected executive. Though, if I'm honest, speaking of the US system as a "presidential system" is a little confusing, as the primary role of a presidential figure is to act as a head of state rather than the "primes inter pares" (first amongst equals) law-making position of a prime ministerial figure, so they aren't really that directly comparable in that sense.

Icarus
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#4

Posted 29 December 2011 - 12:27 PM

QUOTE (TheInterpreter @ Wednesday, Dec 28 2011, 21:48)
In the states, all goes to pot when the Congress have divided government. Now for example, the Democratic Party own the Senate, and the Republican Party own the House of Representatives. That means there is no way to pass any legislation.

Canada also has a parliamentary system (bicameral legislature divided into the House of Commons, the lower house and the Senate, the upper house), but it can run into problems where one house is of one political stripe and the other is of another.

In Canada, Senators are not elected; rather, they are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister. Basically, when a Senator retires (mandatory retirement at age 75), the current PM can put someone of his/her political stripe in the Senate without any actual accountability to the electorate. For example, the exact scenario in my first sentence arose back in 1990. The current Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, who was a Progressive Conservative, brought in a bill to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and since he held a majority in the House of Commons, this was no problem to pass the bill there through the mandatory three readings and the committee stage. However, the Senate was dominated by the Liberals, because prior to Mulroney (whose term started in 1984), the Liberals were in power since 1963 (with a nine month break in 1979-80 as Joe Clark had won a minority government, but lost a motion of non-confidence and Pierre Trudeau re-took his position as PM in February 1980) and hence, Pearson (Liberal PM from 1963-68) and Trudeau (PM from 1968-79, 1980-84) were able to give the Senate a Liberal majority.

When the bill for the GST made its way to the Senate, the Liberals decided to stage a filibuster and they refused to pass the tax. Now they just held a majority, but Mulroney found a little-known clause in the Constitution that allowed him to ask the Queen to appoint eight emergency senators to help break the deadlock. This gave him a slight majority in favour of the PCs and allowed the tax to pass with no problem. Although the problem was "resolved" (depending on how you view it), the parliamentary system in Canada can have a deadlock.

Right now, the Senate has a Conservative majority and the current PM's term ends October 2015 and in that time, there are twelve retirements and six of them are non-Conservative, so Stephen Harper (the PM) will be able to add six more Conservative senators to his already majority. So if the next election in October 2015 brings in a new government, say from the Liberals or the NDP, the House of Commons will either be Liberal or NDP, but the Senate will still be Conservative, which can have some interesting effects. We'll have to wait and see what happens; it's still quite some time away.

As to what I prefer, I much like the parliamentary system (to an extent) in Canada, as there is some form of checks-and-balances. However, there are some flaws as I've just described.

illspirit
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#5

Posted 29 December 2011 - 05:39 PM

QUOTE (TheInterpreter @ Thursday, Dec 29 2011, 00:48)
In the states, all goes to pot when the Congress have divided government. Now for example, the Democratic Party own the Senate, and the Republican Party own the House of Representatives. That means there is no way to pass any legislation.

This was supposed to be a feature, not a bug. Originally, the Federal government wasn't really supposed to do much beside coining money, foreign policy, and killing pirates. Legislative roadblocks like the easily gridlocked bicameral system were put in place precisely to try to keep the majority from steamrolling the minority during fleeting moments of electoral ascendency. Before the 17th Amendment, when Senators represented State governments rather than some ostensibly popular party, it was even easier for small States to say no to the more populated ones. Especially when there were only 26 Senators rather than 100.

While from an originalist perspective this hasn't scaled well with growth in population and the number of States, plus the aforementioned amendment kind of breaking the whole thing, comparing effectiveness in terms of raw legislative output is still apples and oranges. In a way that might only be amusing to me, the more our government tries to shoehorn popular square pegs into legally round holes, the more it undermines its own legitimacy in the eyes of the very voters who asked for it.

Irviding
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#6

Posted 29 December 2011 - 06:35 PM Edited by Irviding, 29 December 2011 - 06:39 PM.

I agree with illspirit. Except ill, remember that those intentions for the government to do no more than those few things didn't even last the first five years. Hamilton for example took steps to further unify thr country under the central government and got us on a strong economic footing with the First bank, tariffs, etc.

Gridlock is a good thing in my view. YOu can't really compare it with the UK or the commonwealth dominions systems because it is different. Here, just because there is unified government (all chambers plus presidency are one party) doesn't mean the ruling party can pass anything. In the UK/commonwealth, parliament members are expected to vote with the party, and if they don't, they don't get to run for election next cycle and are relegated to nothing by thr leaders. In the US, congressmen ho against their leaders all the time. In 09/10 the healthcare bill was not some ultra liberal system. It's a watered down piece of sh*t because the leaders couldn't get the conservative democrats in line. They are accountable to their district, not to their party leaders. If the same ideological wing is in control (last time was the New deal democrats and the civil rights movement/great society (even then they were only together on domestic policy, those same democrats were diametrically opposed to vietnam) then perhaps you might see sweeping new laws and changes. Gridlock is just not that bad imo. It protects the minority and stops one party from shoving its beliefs down the throats of the other.

To pass sweeping legislation, YOI need a compromise. However with these tea party f*ckfaces in the house now, the trend of compromise has really dropped to nothing. Compare now with the 90s and tell me it's not just the tea party causing people to come out and demand for a UK style government.

illspirit
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#7

Posted 30 December 2011 - 07:41 PM

QUOTE (Irviding @ Thursday, Dec 29 2011, 14:35)
I agree with illspirit. Except ill, remember that those intentions for the government to do no more than those few things didn't even last the first five years. Hamilton for example took steps to further unify thr country under the central government and got us on a strong economic footing with the First bank, tariffs, etc.

Sure. They started trying to find ways around the document, not only a few years later, but before the ink was dry. Even anti-federalists like Jefferson went on to do constitutionally silly things like buying Louisiana and such. That said, if not for the existence of fuzzy limits and the fierce debate over them during the creation of the bank, it could have possibly been permanent rather than having a somewhat experimental ten year charter.

Tariffs, on the other hand, like them or not, did at least fall under Section 8 powers to levy imposts and duties.

QUOTE (Irviding @ Thursday, Dec 29 2011, 14:35)
To pass sweeping legislation, YOI need a compromise. However with these tea party f*ckfaces in the house now, the trend of compromise has really dropped to nothing. Compare now with the 90s and tell me it's not just the tea party causing people to come out and demand for a UK style government.

Hehehe, and to think, some of us on the anarcho-capitalist "right" view the tea party as our very own Useful Idiots (or is that useless?) since they compromise too much, and often just flat-out contradict themselves because they have no idea what they're being rallied against. See also: those 'keep government hands of my medicare' signs.

As such, if you think it's hard to compromise with what are effectively just mushy speed bumps, good luck arguing with the brick wall just past them. tounge.gif

ETA- And speaking of the '10 healthcare law, it's probably worth pointing out that the mandate part which caused most of the anger was originally thought up by so-called conservatives in the first place as a "market based" alternative lol.gif to a more universal system. But this goes back to the people not liking what they asked for thing from my previous post.

Irviding
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#8

Posted 30 December 2011 - 08:08 PM

I sort of agree with how Hamilton and Jefferson interpreted the constitution though. I mean you can't just run the country off the words in the document exactly. I agree with Jefferson using the treaty power (I am 99 percent sure that's what he used to buy Louisiana from Napoleon after he took Spain over). The President can make treaties, so why not use that power to add more land to the country? It was done again with the British when we ceded some territory to British Canada and they gave some to us in return. Same with Gadsden Purchase, when we got Spanish Florida, it goes on and on. If it weren't for the elastic clause and the steps Hamilton took, we'd probably never have succeeded as a country to become powerful and overtake the British Empire as early as we did.

I'm sorry but the Tea Party people in the house right now are complete and total f*cking idiots. Boehner almost had a great deal with the President to cut 4 trillion with 3:1 spending to tax increases, but those jackasses in his caucus f*cked the entire thing up. They have no respect for the President whatsoever and it's disgusting.

Tariffs clearly are constitutional, but that's not what a lot of the Southern states (SC especially with f*cking Calhoun) felt when they tried to nullify them on the grounds they were not constitutional. My point was people back then tried to argue that they were unconstitutional.

leaflinks
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#9

Posted 02 January 2012 - 04:38 PM

As an English republican, I would prefer a parliamentary republic.

urbanfire
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#10

Posted 26 January 2012 - 12:52 PM

QUOTE (illspirit @ Friday, Dec 30 2011, 19:41)

Sure. They started trying to find ways around the document, not only a few years later, but before the ink was dry. Even anti-federalists like Jefferson went on to do constitutionally silly things like buying Louisiana and such. That said, if not for the existence of fuzzy limits and the fierce debate over them during the creation of the bank, it could have possibly been permanent rather than having a somewhat experimental ten year charter.

Tariffs, on the other hand, like them or not, did at least fall under Section 8 powers to levy imposts and duties.

QUOTE (Irviding @ Thursday, Dec 29 2011, 14:35)
To pass sweeping legislation, YOI need a compromise. However with these tea party f*ckfaces in the house now, the trend of compromise has really dropped to nothing. Compare now with the 90s and tell me it's not just the tea party causing people to come out and demand for a UK style government.

Hehehe, and to think, some of us on the anarcho-capitalist "right" view the tea party as our very own Useful Idiots (or is that useless?) since they compromise too much, and often just flat-out contradict themselves because they have no idea what they're being rallied against. See also: those 'keep government hands of my medicare' signs.

As such, if you think it's hard to compromise with what are effectively just mushy speed bumps, good luck arguing with the brick wall just past them. tounge.gif

ETA- And speaking of the '10 healthcare law, it's probably worth pointing out that the mandate part which caused most of the anger was originally thought up by so-called conservatives in the first place as a "market based" alternative lol.gif to a more universal system. But this goes back to the people not liking what they asked for thing from my previous post.

Yeh I know its off topic, but I'm just really curious. How on earth did you join this forums in 1976? Was internet even around back then???

Irviding
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#11

Posted 26 January 2012 - 03:12 PM

You can edit your join date in the ACP smile.gif




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