The following is based on a email that has been zipping around the email word recently. The email laid out some interesting changes some Americans would like to see made to the broken political and governmental processes we currently have in this country.
Before getting into the detail’s of the proposed changes, consider what can be done when ordinary people get passionate and involved in making a better world. According to the email, the 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only three months eight days to be ratified. This was before email, personal computers, smart phones, Twitter, Facebook, and other modern ways to communicate. Furthermore, according to the email, of the twenty seven amendments to the Constitution, seven took one year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.
So, let’s call this movement the “Congressional Reform Act of 2011,” an act that would include the following components:
1. Term Limits. This is consistent with the old adage: “If you are not part of the solution then you must be part of the problem.” Many, many of our politicians have been around for decades. If they have not solved any of our major problems in that time, there is no reason to keep them around in the vain hope that they might eventually figure things out.
2. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
3. Congress (past, present and future) participates in Social Security. All funds 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.
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do. Most Americans no longer have any chance of receiving a traditional pension. Politicians, whose pensions are paid by the very people who no longer can get a pension, should not be entitled to something most Americans can not receive.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3% but only if the voters agree that they are doing a good job. This approach requires that the political class actually be successful in their job before getting rewarded, much like the plight of most working Americans.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people. No argument on this one.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. No argument here either.
8. All contracts with past and present Congressional members are void effective 1/1/11. In agreement but there might be some legal issues here, i.e. can you renege on past agreements? If you can, then great. If not, then at least start with future generations of politicians.
9. Allow only individual Americans to contribute to election campaigns. No corporate donations, no PAC donations, no union donations, no fancy sounding front group donations, just individual Americans exercising their freedom of expression by sending directly to a politician’s campaign fund.
The American people did not make this contract with Congressional members. They made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
Before closing, lets go back to term limits one more time. It is any easy concept to grasp but when you start thinking about what this would actually look like, the permutations can make you crazy. Thus, we would like you to vote on one of the four options when it comes to term limits:
– Option A – Senators get a maximum of twelve years via two six year terms and House members get a maximum of twelve years via six two year terms. Presidents get a maximum of eight years via two four year terms.
– Option B – Senators get a maximum one six year term and House members get a maximum of six years via three two year terms. Presidents get a maximum of eight years via two four year terms.
– Option C – Senators get a maximum of one five year term and House members get a maximum of three years via one three year term. The President gets a maximum of six years via one six year term.
– Option D – term limits are not a good idea, no changes.
It should be pointed out there is a huge benefit of Option C. It is my belief that much of the perversions of the political process occurs when incumbents sell their souls for votes and campaign donations, subjugating the best interest of the country for the best interests of their political careers. If a politician has no chance at re-election, a lot of this problem goes away and they are free to make the right decisions for the country and are not burdened with the need to raise re-election funds. Just a thought.
To vote, please drop a short email with your choice of option A, B, C, or D as your preferred approach along with your home state to the “info” at loathemygovernment . com email address.
The need to be subservient to the political class does not have to be. According to the original email, if each person reading this contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. I do not know if the math is right but the concept of reforming Congress is right. Maybe it is time…