Archive for January, 2010

I just received the following e-mail from my father, which I assume is circulating around the underbelly of the Internet. (I have edited it lightly, mostly by removing repetitions of the line about “Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. I got the point the first time, thanks.)

Subject: This makes sense to me!

I think we should print this off and send it to our congressmen…..over and over again until they “get it”!!!

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!

Congressional Reform Act of 2010

  1. Term Limits: 12 years only, one of the possible options below.
    1. Two Six year Senate terms
    2. Six Two year House terms
    3. One Six year Senate term and three Two Year House terms
  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 & 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.
  4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan just as all Americans.
  5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
  6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
  7. Congress and the President must equally abide in all laws they impose on the American people. Signing statements will not be used nor honored.
  8. All contracts with past and present congressmen are void effective 1/1/11. 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.

If you agree with the above, pass it on to all in your address list. If not, just delete.

I thought that, as a list of proposed solutions to the problems afflicting our government, this largely misses the point.  Herewith, my response.

That stuff feeds an emotional desire for vengence, but doesn’t really address the fundamental problem.

The Founding Fathers envisioned a government whose sole function was the protection of the individual rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness; the purpose of the Constitution was to establish such a government, with powers limited to those necessary and proper to the fulfillment of that end.  Our government has thrown off those restrictions, arrogating effectively unlimited power to itself.  Our leaders are contemptuous of the very idea that the Constitution limits their power — you may or may not have noticed the derision with which House Speaker Pelosi dismissed a question regarding the constitutional authority enabling a government takeover of the health care system.  (She said that “wasn’t a serious question” and refused to answer it.)

Unsurprisingly, the power we have allowed our government to amass attracts unsavory people, whose personalities are marred by narcissism and power-lust.  Is it surprising that such people fasten themselves to jobs that give them the power they lust for, refuse to give them up, and proceed to act as rulers while treating the American people as serfs?

As long as you have a pot of honey, you will have flies attracted to it.  You can’t stop the process by putting a lid on the pot — you have to get rid of the honey.  Restore the limitations on the government’s power.  A Congress that has no authority beyond protecting the individual rights of the people would be a Congress with no ability to dispense favors to favored constituents or special interests.  Such a government would not need multi-trillion dollar budgets, and would not be in a position to bail out the connected or punish the productive when they refuse to abase themselves.

It is widely acknowledged today that our government is thoroughly corrupt — but what does that really mean?  A government action is corrupt when it directs government power and resources to an inappropriate end.  But since the proper end of government is the protection of individual rights, this means that any government action not directed to that end is inherently corrupt — and that is 90%+ of what the government does today.  Corruption is the norm, not the exception, and the problem is not structural, but functional — specifically, that our government officials have lost their understanding of what their proper function *is*.

If we wish to reclaim our government and halt the ongoing theft of the liberties envisioned for us by the Founders, this is the issue we must push.  We must insist that our Congressmen understand the purpose of their jobs, and we must replace those who reject that purpose with new Congressmen who do.  This job starts by finding such candidates and supporting them in the upcoming primaries, wherever possible.  I suggest contacting your local Tea Party organization as a good starting place.