My good friend and high school classmate Gordie Stuart is far to right of me, but I think his idea of putting Congress on notice cuts across party lines. His guest commentary suggests putting members of Congress on Social Security, 401ks, no pay when out of office and into the same healthcare system as other Americans. Term limits, too. The official proposal is below his commentary. Let us know what you think and follow me on Twitter.
by Gordon Stuart
So many people have sent me the article below on “How to Fix Congress”, I feel compelled to seriously express my thoughts and gather yours. I’m sure you’ve read the article too and I hope you respond. I don’t know who originally came up with the suggestions in the article, but, I do concur with most of them. This email was forwarded to me as: “An idea whose time has come”. In my opinion, it is beyond time. Our Government’s spending is out of control, entitlements are destroying our country, we continue struggling with being the “world’s policeman” and we still concern ourselves about being “politically correct”, while our freedoms dwindle and handouts increase a little more each day. What happened to Common Sense? All this should have been nipped at the start and we should never have arrived at this point. So, what about “fixing Congress”?
Well, there may someday be an elected Representative of the United States who will step up to the plate and initiate legislation along the lines suggested below. However, I don’t hold much hope that will happen and I hold even less hope such legislation would ever pass unless there was some great incentive. Maybe I am too cynical, but I think there is just too much greed and corruption among our elected Government officials to get this type of legislation passed without some incentive.
Some of you may respond by saying we can bring about these changes through our election process. Certainly, one would hope that would be enough incentive. Unfortunately, that hasn’t affected very much in the past and history repeats itself. Whether we continue to elect the same old people like Frank Lautenberg in NJ or elect new people, we’ve honestly seen little change in the way our Government conducts itself. All our elected officials always seem to fall into the “Washington Beltway Trap” shortly after being elected and common sense is put on the “back burner”. Whether you are Republican, Democrat or Independent, there is probably only 1 or 2 of you who would disagree with that statement.
I listened to a person last week say our elected officials, government employees, Wall Street bankers and corporate CEO’s are responsible for our current fiscal crisis. That is true, but he didn’t like it when I responded by saying: “in fact, we are all responsible”! After all, we (the people) let it happen. The proposed legislation in “How to Fix Congress” addresses nothing more than taxation without representation. It doesn’t address military operations, corporate greed or even corruption within our government. It just addresses taxation without representation and in fact, we are being taxed without representation. What is worse: these are our “employees” whom we are allowing to dictate terms and conditions to us and we should do something about it or hold ourselves accountable. If you disagree; stop reading right here. If you agree: what do you think we should do? My fiancée’s son has a bumper sticker that says: “STOP BITCHIN’, START REVOLUTION”. I think that is a good solution!
I’m not proposing an outright revolution to overthrow our Government. That would cause too much chaos and put us in even more trouble. However, I would like to see a tax revolt because I think it is outrageous to allow our elected officials to enact laws that don’t apply to them and it is wrong to allow them to give themselves pay raises, lavish pension plans and premium health care while the “backbone” of working America paying for it all settles for something far less. Furthermore, since they are “playing in a different stadium” they’ve had no incentive to improve “the turf” in ours.
To say we can bring these changes about through our election process is a joke! We can’t wait for the election process and it isn’t effective correcting these issues anyway. We may get one or two people to introduce such a bill. However, without some “incentive” to get the other Congressmen and Senators to vote for it, the measure would never pass. So, what would be enough incentive? This may be naïve, but, I think if a large enough percentage of the population said: “I’ve had it” and threatened to refuse paying their taxes (unless the suggested, common sense measures are passed) it may work.
Our current population in the United States is a little over 300 million people. If just 10-30 million people (less than 10% of our population) said: “I’m not paying my Federal Income Tax unless you pass these measures”, what would the government do? Would they throw everybody in jail? No, because there isn’t enough room. Would they put liens on our property, garnish wages or put holds on our bank accounts? I don’t think so! Those actions would exacerbate the situation and cause even more revolt- possibly an outright revolution. I think, under those pressured circumstances, our government officials would do what is right. Few will “bite the hand that feeds them”. They’d change things quickly and I’m willing to take that chance.
How about you? What do you think? I look forward to hearing your insightful response. With best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2010…