Some questions regarding government

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by David Baranyi, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. David Baranyi

    David Baranyi Stunt Coordinator

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    I have some government questions that need answer. Please answer them the best as you can. Please no politics please.

    a) I often hear this term when referring to government, but what does the phrase "rule of law" mean?

    b) * Deleted *

    c) What is a difference between a republic and a democracy? (No politics please)
     
  2. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    a) I believe "rule of law" implies that the culture and infrastructure exists whereby no one can blatantly defy the law and expect to get away with it. For example, while North Korea has laws, I highly doubt the Kim Jong Il and his family would ever be arrested for anything. When I worked in international business, it was understood that in some countries, you could not rely on contracts to be enforced by the legal system. You had to make sure you bribed the right people just to make sure your opponent didn't get the upper hand.

    b) Proposition 13 was passed in about 1977. It severely reduced property taxes throughout California. IIRC, it was widely hailed as a populist tax revolt. I think it made everyone believe that you could do astounding things with Propositions under the California constitution. I'll avoid any further political commentary.

    c) Not sure on this one.
     
  3. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    Did Prop 13 actually reduce taxes? I thought it just kept them from going up as fast as they had been; at least that's what similar measures have done in other states. We have one that caps how much your property taxes can go up each year, but when you sell, the property gets reassessed closer to the current market value. The point of passing it was that there were many senior citizens who had been in their homes 20-30 years & were no longer able to pay the increasing taxes every year. The fact that the house value had gone way up while they owned it meant nothing to those who wanted to continue living there.

    Oh, a republic is what the US is, or any other free country I can think of. It means the people vote for representatives who pass the laws. A true democracy would mean everyone voting on every issue, which would be unworkable unless the population is very small. I don't know of any modern countries that are true democracies- maybe someone else does, but I doubt there are any.
     
  4. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    Both from Hyperdictionary:

    Democracy:

    [n] the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group
    [n] the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives
    [n] a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them

    http://hyperdictionary.com/dictionary/democracy

    Republic:
    [n] a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
    [n] a form of government whose head of state is not a monarch; "the head of state in a republic is usually a president"

    http://hyperdictionary.com/dictionary/Republic

    Some interesting differences...
     
  5. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    Chris you are right - what you described is prop 13. When it was passed it did roll back propety values a few years as well.

    Prior to prop 13 not only were property taxes higher but also tax appraisers would often require you to 'invite' them into your house for an appraisal. A very blatant invasion of privacy and borderline illegal search (but since they were inspecting and not searching it was allowed) If you had the courage to say 'NO' to them they would come back with a ridiculously high appraisal. It was blackmail.

    Prop 13 ended the need for that to be done. Some in CA thought it was horrible since it substantially reduced tax incomes. They called it a tax cut for the elderly since you could have two homes right next door to each other with very differnt tax bills. (A house that a young family just bought with a tax based on the current value of the house right next door to a house owned by a couple who has been there 20 years with their tax level locked in)

    My opinion is that is perfectly fair. If someone wants to live in a house 20 years they should not be threatened with losing their home just because property values increased beyond their ability to pay the taxes. Not to mention tax abuse, high taxes and government waste - but that soapbox would likely end in a political shoutmatch.
     
  6. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    My comments on Rule of Law: Under Monarchies, which were quite popular prior to this "American Revolution thing" in the late 1700's, the King/Queen and their underlings ruled basically by whim. Their opinions were forced on the population.

    Extortion and abuse in this system was rampant (as shown by the example above). In addition, these abuses were considered law, so there was no way to complain about it. This is considered the "rule of Man".

    The Magna Carter of 1215 set the stage to limit the Rule of Man by allowing the state-sponsored church the freedom to run itself with little interference from the Monarchy. While it did not help the commoners much, it was a victory for the principle that a Monarcy does not wield supreme power. (watch Monte Python's Holy Grail for a good explanation of the ludicrous foundation of some monarchies - it's also in someone's forum sig - quite funny)

    A few hundred years later, along comes the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution which clearly state the US Government must be formed from an elected body. Their are also limits on government power outlined in the Bill or Rights. The Constitution is considered "The Law", and hence the "Rule of Law" that the "Rule of Man" can never usurp(supposedly).
     
  7. Nathan*W

    Nathan*W Screenwriter

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    In a democracy, majority rules via a direct election.

    In a representative republic (like the U.S.), people are elected who are supposed to to abide the will of those they represent, but can also dissagree and vote on their own. Majority frequently doesn't rule, and there is no national direct election.
     
  8. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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  9. Nathan*W

    Nathan*W Screenwriter

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  10. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    That seems redundant. What is a republic if not representative?
     
  11. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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    Regarding California Proposition 13, what other have said about it is correct.
     
  12. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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  13. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    > It should not have covered apartment buildings or commercial properties.

    Does it really cover those? I think our version only includes your homestead, which is defined as your primary residence. If you live in an apartment in a building you own, you could probably declare the apartment as your homestead, but not the other units. Ditto for a duplex.

    I know for sure ours doesn't cover income property that you own to rent to others.
     
  14. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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  15. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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  16. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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