Do I ask too much from them? I only want them to do the jobs they're supposed to do and then go away. I don't push them to paint outside their clearly defined lines and I certainly don't enable them, like some people do, but I'm not going to start naming names and pointing fingers. That won't get us anywhere, will it? What I'm talking about here, among other things, is accountability.
Hey, it's not just me. It's my understanding that Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, went off on Congress and the debt ceiling. He suggested passing a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. That would certainly get their attention. Personally, I favor a term limit of one, figuring that political types seem to do best with as little temptation as possible. Buffett's version is a little less radical and dangles a behavior control, so it has its own merits. The will of We the People would just have choose. I think a lot of people have lost confidence in how influential we can be in deciding how our lives are run. "They" still don't outnumber "we" and can really only push us around as much as we let them.
Honestly, with our access to computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. and the access all that wondrous technology gives us to each other, coordinated public pressure should be coming down on elected paper pushers with the regularity of sunshine. Politicians aren't some exalted class. They're public servants hired to perform administrative tasks that virtually anyone can do. We should make a habit of reminding them just how not special and utterly replaceable they are. They should also be reminded through some common sense policy changes, including:
- No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in officeand receives no pay when they are out of office.
- Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All monies in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system,and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all other Americans do. In fact, just get rid of Social Security and send the money we work for into individual retirement accounts that Congress can't even touch. They've more than proven they can't handle money responsibly. If we're going to put the leash to them, let's not half-ass it.
- Congress will no longer vote themselves pay raises. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
- Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the rest of the American people.
- Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. Maybe that would put the brakes on the creation of an endless stream of unconstitutional "laws".
- All contracts with past and present Congressmen become void effective 1/1/12. The American people haven't made contracts with Congressmen. Congressmen have abused their positions to made "sweetheart deals" for themselves.
Serving in Congress is a public service, never meant to be a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators. Ours should serve their time, then go home and back to work. If each person contacted a minimum of twenty people then it would only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Like old fish, the stink on Congress should make it obvious that it is long past time for us to do something about it.
Any other fixes you'd like to see imposed upon Congress or other elected workers? Share with the class.