Monday, August 1, 2011

Congressional Reform...

Our friend Vera S. passed this along:
Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & 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. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen 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.
This is one of many variations of Constitutional Amendments running around, all the result of the current anger the public (including me!) feels toward their Senators and Representatives.  Some elements of this proposal I'd happily support; others (like 6) are more problematic – there are good reasons why the founding fathers decided that Congressmen needed protection from some law enforcement.


I think that such attempts to mandate the behavior of Congresscritters are largely missing the point.  Basically these are an attempt to get back to the “citizen government” that we like to believe is what our founding fathers intended.  But the truth is that we've drifted toward our current situation because of the Congresscritters we've elected, not because of the lack of any laws to control them.  The solution is actually simple, and does not require a Constitutional Amendment: we just have to elect the right people.  The Tea Party's successes in the debt-ceiling debate demonstrate quite graphically the power of the vote.  It's remarkable what they've achieved, despite being a tiny minority.

Imagine what they could achieve if they had the majority!

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