puntiglio.com

December 5, 2011

FTW!!! (For The Win)

Filed under: Observations — Tags: , , , , , , — sbj @ 5:58 pm

This morning on the radio I heard that the results of one of the congressional public opinion polls showed that the notion of a communist takeover was more popular than our current elected legislature (I’m not making this up… they really said that).

Wow…

Moving on… one of the refrains I have heard time and time again recently is the well thought out and solutions based answer of “throw the bums out!”

bums

Well, I agree… kind of anyway… although I think my target is a completely different group of “bums.”

So hear it is, without delay… step 1 in my (at least) 1 step plan for “fixing” our country’s political system.

Fire each and every member of the media who has used the word “win” or “lose” (or any derivative word of those words) regarding a political action (special exemption for election results) at any point in their career. No severance if they used it in reference to the governing actions (or inaction’s) of a particular political party (i.e. “passing this legislation is a real win for the ******’s”).

Governance is not a sport or a competition. It is the process of setting the rules, climate, and societal norms under which we live as a nation. It should not be decided on a scoreboard, but rather through thoughtful deliberations by people whose primary concern is the best interests of the nation they serve. How can this be accomplished when the actions of elected officials are constantly being graded out as wins and losses… not for the people they serve, mind you, but for the political party with which they are affiliated.

Describing the governing process as a series of victories and setbacks is divisive at best, grossly negligent at worse, and should not be tolerated from those entrusted to keep the public informed of the goings on in Washington (or state capitals, or counties, or cities, etc.). The only “team” anyone involved in government should be playing for is The United States of America; and the only wins and losses recorded and acknowledged, should be for the nation as a whole.

As for all of those newly out of work political reporters… ESPN must have like 37 channels by now right? Seems right up their alley…

December 28, 2009

Caveat Emptor???

Filed under: Observations — Tags: , , — sbj @ 9:39 pm

I received an email today, along with a solicitation of my opinion about it.  I guess it’s going around (it’s the first I have seen of it)… it is about reforming Congress.  Here is the email… with my thoughts to follow:

Congressional Reform Act of 2009

1. Term Limits: 12 years only, one of the possible options below.

A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

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

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security:
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund moves to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, Congress participates with the American people.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, server your term(s), then go home and back to work.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan just as all Americans..

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

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

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

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

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

7. Congress must equally abide in all laws they impose on the American people..

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

8. All contracts with past and present congressmen are void effective 1/1/10.

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, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

I understand and, to some degree agree with, the frustration that leads to this type of “reform.”  This is a clever way to parody the system and call for meaningful change :)

Having said that, in my opinion, there is not much meaningful positive change in the suggestion.  In fact, as I understand it, it would be damaging to the system.

I’ll start with the repeated premise that serving is not intended to be a career.  I would submit that the founding fathers absolutely intended for it, in many cases, to be a calling.  I am quite certain they were aware, upon shaping the constitution, of the value of experienced elder statesmen in national government.

Six years is just about enough time to have a pretty good idea what you are doing on the hill; and then, you’d be gone.  I don’t think I would be comfortable with decisions on major issues being made by a legislature who’s most senior members had been there half a decade and/or were lame-duck legislators.

Term limits, even for the president, were not implemented by the founding fathers (keep in mind that presidential term limits never existed until the great depression and the American people rallied around the guy who pulled us out of it) because they knew that the system of checks and balances, and the freedom of the electorate to choose their representation was the best tool for creating both an accountable government and the experienced elder statesmen that any nation needs to exist in the world of global politics.

In fact, the **ONLY** term limits initially established for a major branch of the federal government were those of the supreme court justices… making the supreme court a lifetime appointment.

So you see, from my perspective, the fundamental premise of this email is wrong… which seriously cuts the legs out of its suggestions.

Having said all of *THAT*…

I think if frank, objective (i.e. not clouded by frustration based on current satisfaction with the people doing the job right now) conversations could take place, interesting legislation could be written on points 3, 7, and possibly 8 (although I doubt it on #8… it seems to my uneducated – legally – mind that we would be treading on constitutionally forbidden Ex Post Facto Laws here; not to mention that essentially, through their agents, their elected representatives, the American people did make those contracts… I’m pretty sure that’s how Representative Democracy works :) ).

Most of the other issues (health care, retirement, etc.) are necessary (in their current form) because without them the transitory nature of the job would preclude quality people from giving up large chunks of their life, usually in the prime of their earning years, in order to serve in a legislative capacity.

When it comes to legislating the laws of the country, setting our national budget, and deciding whether we should or should not go to war (etc.), I think the last thing I would want is a bunch of people that the phrase “you get what you pay for” applies to.

Powered by WordPress