The debate between the three candidates for Senator, Lectre Vidius (incumbent Establishment), Henry Gobar (incumbent Socialist), and Madec Austern (Progressive) began on August 7, 2015. It was moderated by Head of the Archive Theodore Crown.
First, each candidate will be able to give an opening statement. Then, five questions were chosen by the audience, five by the moderator, and no candidate had prior knowledge of the questions before the debate went live. Questions will alternate between candidates and you should respond in order of when your name comes up, with most questions allowing two responses from each candidate.
(Unlike in the debate below, you may post here even if the person listed before you has not posted)
Gobar: An open Senator that works with the public is what we need. I may not have been voted in, but I have consistently voted for policies that help the public, from removing my own power to vote for Major Executive to slashing future government incentives that I would be owed. Good luck to Austern and Vidius.
Austern: I joined the triumvirate in search of a place where I could express my ideas, and apply them to help people. I am now presented with the opportunity to do just that, which is why I present myself to you asking for your vote. Together we can achieve great things, if you share this vision look for my name on the ballot and ask yourself if you're ready to join me on this road.
Vidius: First, I want to thank the moderator, Theodore Crown, for putting in the time to moderate and help us out here, I think debates like this are a good way to preserve history and keep candidates accountable for what they say they're going to do. Now look, I'm a straightforward person, you may disagree with me, but with me, what you see is what you get. I believe in small government, free markets, and an elite Triumvirate. I am from the Establishment Party and I've served as your Senator since earlier on this year, I hope I can continue serving as a representative of the people in a way allows for experience, sensible government policies, and doing the right thing. I've made a name for myself as being "that guy" who ruins the fun and always opposes the consensus, but I'm proud of that, because there needs to be the one person who looks at the negative consequences of even the most perfect policies, it keeps our government accountable and our Union strong, and I hope I can continue to make sure we expand within our means for what we need.
1. What do you believe is biggest problem in the Triumvirate economy, and what do you believe can be done to ameliorate or end that problem?Edit
Gobar: First and foremost, the lack of diversity in what products are currently being made is the biggest problem we have in the Triumvirate. As others have said before me, everything we buy is a luxury good- from the papers that will undoubtedly cover this debate to the future politicians recruited from Prime Personnel. We do not need anything.
One way to help ease the current problem is to encourage people to find new things to make and something that people need or will vastly improve someones experience in the Triumvirate, a prime example being Carl Caph's former MIND system. I think a small monetary incentive to new entrepreneurs with new ideas would greatly help bring innovation.
Austern: The biggest problem of our economy is the private sector. The government income is based on it, as well as a lot of individuals', and therefore its development is crucial to ensure a more prosperous future for both the individual and society. Any path that leads to economic growth without taking care of the population problem would only superficially improve the situation, without addressing the core issue. To avoid that, we need to consider the two aspects of the situation.
First, and that is where I agree with senator Goblar, we need to diversify our economy as well as incentive it. The few markets we have are saturated already and thus cannot be expected to host new, successful companies. The reason our private sector has yet to do so is the lack of motivation. It is necessary for us to find a way to encourage business activity otherwise we may very well never see the changes that are needed.
Second, it is absolutely essential to develop our population. The current population has a limited ability to create income for themselves and the government, when this cap is reached the only way forward is to increase the remaining variable: the size of the population itself. Not only that, but we need more recruitment targeted on economy based communities, as those are the ones interested in growing our economy the way it needs to be.
Vidius: It ties back to population and to a lack of products, which is a self-encouraging problem because a big way to get both more people and more products is for more products and more people to exist in the first place, so we're in this loop. The best thing we can do is cut regulation, cut limits, and cut taxes on businesses and on economic growth, allowing for more investment and more production. By increasing the number of businesses a person can own, by reducing barriers to entry, and by making it easier to register and set up a business, we can solve our economic problems.
Gobar: I disagree, cutting regulations and taxes is the opposite of what we want. Cutting taxes will shrink the government revenue even further which will limit incentives and government programs buying from the private sector further shrinking growth. It will also encourage large companies like General Media to horde the profits they make. Cutting regulations is also a silly thing to do, there is very little government oversight as it stands and there is and there are little to no "barriers to entry." Jackson Eden established a publishing company and managed to buy out two rivals within just a few weeks. If anyone wanted to, they could start a rival company to Prime Personnel and be on virtually the same playing field.
Austern: Yes Jackson Eden is incredibly successful, but it doesn't mean it is wrong. His success is rather an example of how the private sector can develop if we help it but without restraining it with unnecessary regulations, a balance has to be found between control and a free market to have safeguard without damaging the private sector.
Vidius: There are barriers to entry everywhere, we limit the number of businesses that can be owned, we make it confusing for how to register businesses, and it's not clear what rules businesses need to comply with. Cutting taxes is necessary if we want business to grow, and the government has other ways to get revenue, for example the most successful source of revenue for the government (ever, aside from printing more money, which we can't do because of inflationary concerns) is the Department of Education which makes a huge profit. If businesses horde profits, so be it, that's their call, but we need to let the markets grow on their own and if we punish businesses for being successful, we will see the opposite effect.
2. What is the best and worst trait of each of your opponents?Edit
Austern: What I think is good about Senator Gobar is he has a liberal mindset, he can work with anyone and he is generally a pragmatic person who wants to get things done. However, Mr. Gobar seems to have flip-flopped on some issues in the past.
Senator Vidius has conviction, he stands by his ideals, which I admire him for, but Senator Vidius is not a nice person. Besides that, he does what serves him only. Can we get a flashback to the moment he tried to force Dr. Stenbach to lower the test scores because the Senator failed his own?
Vidius: Senator Gobar is very motivated and he is very active, always participating and willing to go the extra mile; which is something a lot of our members do not have. However, he is endlessly political and always does what he thinks is most popular, flip-flopping, changing sides, and being so worried to upset anyone that he ends up upsetting a bunch of people.
As for Austern, I don't know him very well, I think his best trait is that he's a new member with new ideas who could bring a lot of that to the Triumvirate. However, I think this innocence and naivety holds him away from reality. I've said it before that I'm a realist: I know what's up, I know what's reasonable, and I'm not afraid to be the one to call people out and say "we can't do this" even if no one else will.
Gobar: Senator Vidius is a person who takes his beliefs very seriously and will fight very hard even if it is an unpopular opinion. When he wants something he knows it and everyone else knows it; he brings that confidence with him. I also believe the Senator is very rash when going into debates and that same confidence I mentioned earlier sometimes translates into arrogance and rudeness when faces with alternate opinions. I also feel the Senator is afraid to go against fellow conservatives, and I frequently feel he is just a free vote for whatever Stenbach votes for.
I don't know much about Austern, but they seem very confident in beginning their political career and seems very willing to share ideas and learn. I don't think Austern is 100 percent ready for the Executive branch and is going into this a little premature.
3. Because Senators don't have any office or responsibilities other than being elected and voting, what else would you give to the Senator positions or make their responsibility if you could?Edit
Vidius: Ideally I'd want to get rid of at least one Senator position and create a totally new Executive position to replace it so that the most overworked Executives have some relief. Right now, I would think that has something to do with naturalization or the economy. Looking at that though, if I had to give more responsibilities to the Senators, it would come to that, adding some rules that Senators can be called on to assist other Executive positions, because it makes me very angry that Senators don't have to do anything while the other 11 Executives are working hard, while we just sit back and watch, abusing our votes.
Austern: The Senatorial role is something that shouldn't change. Those are publicly elected officials within the most secretive branch of the government to ensure they do what is right. Besides them releasing information about the Executive Branch to the public, there isn't much more to be done. They legislate, they argue, and they represent their constituents to the best of their ability by giving a vote.
Gobar: I would certainly like more responsibilities. Perhaps not as other Executives do, but they should be held accountable to the public. Have them be required to publicly release votes on non-confidential matters and possibly transferring the powers of the Caph Act to Senators would be ideal.
Vidius: Austern, the Senators are the most pathetic excuses for Executives since the Head of Risk Analysis position... they do absolutely nothing that any normal Executive does, but the rest of the normal Executives are off working full jobs like managing our diplomacy, keeping us safe, or running a massive archive. Almost all of them have staff under them and are working a lot on the side, outside of their normal Executive duties. Gobar, I think it's funny you want to give the Caph Act responsibilities to Senators seeing as you supported moving it out of the branch and to the Speaker - who doesn't even do it!
Austern: I never pretended that executives don't work hard or that senators are traditional executives, merely that the excellent work done by the branch does not warrant an increase in job functions nor a decrease in numbers. They are there to make sure that the life-time appointees don't work against the people's interest. Increasing their responsibilities would harm that mission, and decreasing their numbers would only render them less effective in their primarily role.
Gobar: I would much rather have responsibilities of the Caph Act given to Senators, I didn't get enough support to do such a transfer. I would much rather have the responsibilities given to someone accountable to the public like Mr. Cannon, but having it given to Senators, whose positions are more commonly at threat, would encourage the legislation to be followed through.
4. What is your stance on the Damian Eldridge case?Edit
Gobar: Before Eldridge arrived at the Triumvirate I was not very knowledgeable about him and initially abstained. After careful consideration I voted against letting Eldridge in when Head of Intelligence Plecrov suggested against it. I still believe he should not be allowed entry into the Triumvirate, and I believe the Executive Branch was legally within its rights to deny him entry as per the constitution.
Vidius: I stand by the official opinion of the Department of Intelligence, the Executive Branch, the Department of Justice, and the JCC: that Eldridge poses too much of a risk to the Triumvirate and his rejection was both justified and reasonable. He should not become a citizen and his denial was totally appropriate.
Austern: Not only is it illegal, it is immoral to refuse a citizen seeking asylum based solely on the fears of some. Damian Eldridge has been looking for a new home for too long, he had pay the price of his government's mistake for too long now. This man came to us looking for a new start and we convicted him before he even broke the law. That is wrong.
Gobar: The Head Of Intelligence Plecrov believes that he is a major security threat, and he worked with Damian Eldridge as well. The constitution specifically states that the Executive Branch has the power to accept or deny someone with a "less than reputable past."
Vidius: I agree with Senator Gobar. The government was justified and there was evidence that he conspired against the Triumvirate before. There was no evidence he sought needed asylum and it was totally legal to deny him.
Austern: Damian Eldridge was a man who came from Desolare to seek a better system and refuge. Theodore Crown, Edward Stenbach, and Lanclot Rice (all three high ranking members of Maine's Majorate during the war) were in favor of letting him in to seek new potential, so doesn't that say something right off the bat? Doesn't it say something that three people intimately involved in the conflict think that this man should be allowed a chance to change? Far too often we value security over liberty. Liberty to secure happiness, to provide a better future, to even sell certain products. We hamper all of those in the name of security, and for a society to value security more than liberty is absurd. One of the best things about the Triumvirate is that it was founded on principle, of Justice and Intelligence and morals. For us to abandon our morals in this situation is ghastly, and it will be remember as the Dredd Scott case of our history. The people who are "champions" of transparency voted to deny this man and then hush all conversation of it. I'm not speaking bad about the certain few, I just think they should own up and not support populism only when it favors themselves.
5. How would you work to lower the government's budget?Edit
Vidius: I'd cut pay to Administrators first, because this would encourage them to find jobs in the private sector as well (like Administrators Ehtya, Durand, and Feld, they don't need their Administrator pay because they make money from their businesses), this is just commonsense. Why do we pay the basic Administrators? I can see the reasons to justify paying the Speaker and Underspeaker a small amount, since they cannot own businesses and have a higher workload, but there is no reason individual Administrators should be paid and we need to encourage them to do more than just be Administrators because they are already active and have a lot of potential.
Austern: I wouldn't cut the budget, it is not time to cut spending but rather use our resources to prepare the triumvirate to welcome and recruit new members. The budget will not be balanced this semester, our resources might as well be used to plant the seed for greater revenue in the future.
Gobar: Besides cutting Government Recruitment Incentives, I think there isn't much more I think we should cut. We should focus on alternate revenue sources for the government, taxes at the current rate don't give us much wiggle room. Departments of Media and Commerce are areas that could be potential revenue streams in the future.
Vidius: For too long have we been spending beyond our means, and at one time it may have been necessary, but it is no longer. We need to adapt, cut pay if we need, and ever since I've been in the Executive Branch, I've contributed to reducing the budget. In 2015-I, I worked with Major Executive Stenbach to bring the budget below 600 tri, then in 2015-II I worked with Underspeaker Brayer to reduce the budget even more. This past July, Brayer and I collaborated to put an end to the more expensive TDN programs. I accept that we're not going to get a balanced budget this year or even the next one, but that's why we need to live as far within our means as we can. No one has suffered due to budget cuts, everyone is doing fine, and like I said - the more pay we cut from people like Administrators, the more incentive they have to contribute to the economy and start a business.
Austern: The problem with that is that it is not necessary to gain money to be active in the triumvirate, cutting their pay isn't connected to the development of the economy, only to less payed government officials. Although it is true that cutting these salaries would lead to a reduced deficit, it won't solve the real issue which is we have an economy that works best with a higher population. The answer to our problem is not to cut the budget but rather invest now to recruit a sufficient amount of private sector citizen for the economy to bloom.
Gobar: I don't have much else to say; I think cutting the waste from useless programs along with expanding government revenue is a good idea. The Department of Media's little "chess event" is an excellent example of this, at the very least it would enable us to divert some funding to alternate areas.
6. Are the powers of the AB sufficient? Are they too strong? Not strong enough?Edit
Gobar: No, the powers are absolutely not sufficient. As most people know, I am an avid supporter of populism in all branches of the government, and the Administration should be the core of that. The Administration should be allowed to submit certain legislation themselves while opening the branch for public viewing on non-confidential matters.
Vidius: They are too strong, I will continue to try and repeal the GREAT USE Act, and I totally oppose populism to the point that I would happily vote to remove the Senator positions even if it meant I was out of the Executive Branch. I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in even if it is not popular and when questions about the Administration or populism come up, that's what happens.
Austern: I disagree with senator Vidius, the power of the Administrative branch are far from over extended. These highly competent men and women are elected by the people to ensure that their voice is heard, and therefore should be able to actively represent them. At the time being, they can only wait around and hope the executive branch will do the right thing. It is way past the point where we need to let the representative of the people craft their own legislation and pass it to the executives for approval through the administrative liaison.
Gobar: I'm not just populist because I want the people to have a say, but populism is also the best way to get people to stay active. Getting people involved with the government is the best course of action to keep the number of people we have up! Allowing the the Administration and opening the branch up for public viewing is part of that. Administrators can already frame legislation themselves, they just need an Executive to table it. I don't see why we can't turn this around and make the process easier for everyone.
Vidius: The system of government we have has worked for generations and it will work for generations more, continuing to throw new changes into it and give a branch of government a new element of power will throw it out of balance, and as Edward Stenbach has become fond of saying, lead to a "slippery slope of populism that will be impossible to recover from." There are enough populists in the Executive Branch as it is, yet the people have elected a majority elitist Administration, which is funny, because it seems like the people prefer elitists and the populists are only able to get elected by the Executive Branch they hate so much. It's very hypocritical.
Austern: It is necessary to get on that path at this time, the government will serve the people's interest all the better, which I believe to be its duty. No matter who takes office next trimester, their voice must be heard.
7. Should Executives be paid?Edit
Austern: While it is not feasible right now, it certainly can be and must be in the future. I think the competitiveness of the Executive Branch takes care of the idea that people will get paid for no work, but we cannot be expected to pay our leaders with such an alarming deficit
Gobar: Sort of. I don't think Executives should be paid anything substantial. Everyone should be rewarded for the work they do, and Executives are some of the hardest-working people in the Triumvirate, but being an Executive is a privilege as much as it is a job.
Vidius: No. First off, we do not have the money to do it, we need to live within our means, and paying Executives (and paying Administrators) is not within our means. Second off, I stand by the traditional conservative elitist idea that there should be no financial reward for power, power itself is enough of a reward.
Austern: Although power is a reward, the executives, as well as the administrators, are sacrificing a lot of time and invest a lot of effort to a greater cause. This is a behavior I think has to be rewarded.
Gobar: They should be paid a little, but I agree with both on this one; it isn't within our means and power is a enough of a reward, but they should be paid a little for the work they do.
Vidius: I have nothing more to say, I just think power is enough of a reward and, that being said, I don't think Administrators should be paid either. We need to remove the pay from Administrators so they are incentivized to do other things (as many of them like Aaron Ehtya, Howard Coleson, Harrison Mearl, and Bradford Durand do) and contribute to the economy.
8. What is a problem you see in the current Majorate that you would hope to fix?Edit
Vidius: Failing to take a stance, the Sessions Majorate has been entirely political in its approach to avoid taking a stance on any controversial issue, and this is not healthy. I also think Sessions is extremely secluded and distant from the rest of the branch and often from the entire Triumvirate. I would like to see him be more communicative with the Executive Branch and with individual Executives and to make it clear what he stands for.
Gobar: I would like to see Major Executive Sessions become more involved with debates and voice his opinion, he remains very careful not to insert himself in hot topics when he sometimes should. I agree with Vidius; he is secluded and distant whereas a Major Executive should be proactive and involved with the Executive Branch.
Austern: We need a stronger, more presidential majorate to embody the unifying figure we need to bring the executives to work together toward a common goal. Rather than avoiding controversy, it should feed of it to lead the executives into doing the right thing.
Vidius: I do not think he needs to be a presidential figure, but I think he needs to be more in touch with the day to day goings on in the branch and be more assertive. The idea of a presidential Majorate is kind of scary.
Gobar: I believe the opposite of Austern. I don't like the idea of a stronger Major Executive position is what we need. Being involved and discussing his point of view is what we need.
Austern: To get involved with issues without the ability to be decisive will not help the government nor the people. Once we have safeguards in place, we need a unifying figure to move the branch away from stalemates and on to doing what they were appointed for.
9. How would you tackle membership and naturalization?Edit
Gobar: We need to expand our horizons beyond posting on The West Wing and relying on Prime Personnel, which is extremely inefficient when it comes to the budget. I personally think whomever is selected as Chief Ambassador should work closely with Rice and branch out to other websites, besides the obvious places like Model House of Commons on Reddit. Voat and Micronations are just two to be named, with Micronations being the big cash cow for us.
We also need to utilize our social media platforms on Reddit while creating a new one on Voat AND use our twitter on a regular basis. All of these activities are best suited for the Department of Media, in my opinion.
Finally, we can not just focus on recruitment but also on user retention. Open the Administration for public viewing to get people involved, have Senators and Administrators communicate with the public to discuss hot issues, encourage public Executive reports, get more people on the IRC, or find a game we can all enjoy even if it is as simple as Cards Against Humanity. Things like this debate drag people in and keep them because there is a vibrant and open community, not one that is shut out shut out.
Austern: The lack of membership is the base of all of our issues, that is why we have to find a way of increasing efficiently our population. Efficiently because we need lasting and active members, not people who join out of curiosity and never get involved. That is why we have to target our recruitment efforts on communities centered on interests found in the triumvirate, such as politics or economics. Once we have captured their attention, it is important to keep it, by which I mean ensuring that new recruits stay around long enough to fully grasp the concept and adhere to it. For this we need to work on a more user friendly interface, where all key information is available, as well as on improving our public image through social media and diplomatic relations.
Vidius: For now, until Prime Personnel has viable competition, we should use private recruiting services as much as possible. They are by far the cheapest and most effective ones (yes, I did say cheapest, they are much cheaper than recruitment incentives put out by the government) and they get the best results. I agree with Gobar that retention is one of the bigger issues, I think by having more things like the chess system and other games, opening up our forums as a place to discuss more than just internal affairs (discuss new movies, video games, life, school, etc.) can help with that too. We need to make the Triumvirate a place that every person likes to be a part of, even if they can't all become powerful politicians immediately. The potential is there, we just need to shape it.
Gobar: I disagree with the notion that we should use services like Prime Personnel. We should wait until they have viable competition, wait for prices to drop and then use them. They produce very high quality individuals, but they are not something we can currently afford. As for everything else, I fully agree with Vidius and Austern.
Austern: Prime personnel is not a viable option for recruitment, the price being too high. What we need is to get recruits through interactions with other communities, which is our government's role, and this can be done without using the private alternative. Therefore this options would cost way less while having the potential of reaching recruits by the dozen rather than one at a time.
Vidius: The only way for Prime Personnel to lower prices is when competition comes in, and competition will come in when they see the immense profits that are to be made in the industry. Right now Prime Personnel makes exactly what they should, probably less, and the results are much better and cheaper in the long run than government recruitment incentives. The government has failed to produce recruits cheaply and sustainably, it's the biggest private sector success of the modern Triumvirate that businesses produce recruits and we get amazing new members from it. Prime Personnel saves the government money in the long run, produces recruits that will stick around and be contributing members to society, and every time we (or anyone else) purchase from them, production goes up.
10. Which historical Triumvirate figure do you believe you most align with?Edit
Austern: I would consider myself ideologically close to Lanclot Rice, but if it is not historic enough, I'll have to say an early, pre majorate Nathan Maine.
Gobar: Stavrok most definitely. We both want the Major Executive position to be weaker, are against elitism and for regulating businesses while offering incentives to stimulate growth.
Vidius: Andrew Mearl, the second Speaker of the Administration. He was a conservative who was willing to stand against the popular opinion, even when he knew it could be unpopular, but in the end it lead to must better and stronger policies and he's been valued as one of the Triumvirate's most important historical figures for how he stood up to the popular sway of the Executive Branch and Major Executive Maine but still was respectful and allowed for a discourse on the issues. The most important thing is that we talk through, debate, and fairly consider what we do as a government, and I like being the person who plays devil's advocate and says "no" when everyone else wants to say yes. It's better there's one of those people than none, and I hope the Triumvirate is better off for it. I'm not another yes man, I'm a man who does what should be done, even if people think I'm an asshole, I'm an asshole for the right reason. I hope by being a no man I can help foster better discourse in the Triumvirate and that we give full consideration to what we need to. I hope I have earned your vote for Senator and know that, with me, it'll never be politics as usual, it'll never be feel good policies, but it will be a fair consideration and accountability on what we do. Thank you.