Originally Posted Fall of 2007 (Has not changed Much by 2021)
I try not to dwell on politics; it seems more volatile than religion. Yet here I am watching the next upcoming election process with all the candidates running ads on local TV and promising great success for themselves (primarily) and us (maybe). As a result I have jotted down some political ideas. Jesus also briefly discussed politics, “Render under Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto GOD the things that are GOD’S.”
When one discusses religious questions, one often ends up talking moral questions, and then one ends up discussing political questions about reacting to the moral answers. I come from a family that discussed politics often and in depth.
Over 35 years ago my father predicted the state of America today while watching unionized labor go on strike (‘do not bite the hand that feeds you’) and then watching the growth of foreign manufacturing to minimize the impact of rising labor costs on the corporate bottom line and the profits as distributed to stock holders. I do not believe that even my father would have been bold enough to predict the extent to which Americas corporations and stockholders have been willing to sell their corporate souls to the devil of greed and profit. That jeopardizing our own American standard of living and the future of our children and grand children to be able to buy a gas guzzling SUV or the latest electronic gadget is just a cost of doing ‘business’. All of this corporate intercontinental outsourcing being made possible by the weakest link in the American system, the American legislative monarchy.
Of course we have a 2 party representative government that seems to become more stagnant from one year to the next, but true to their American heritage they all seem to agree on getting raises and free benefits but can never agree on helping the needy, the poor, or even to provide health care to those who have lost their jobs because they thought it was in Americas best interest to promote a global rape of foreign labor at the expense of jobs for our own people. I believe our system suffers from some basic fundamental problems.
How, I ask, can we have representative government in a country where the representative of a legislative district makes 100% to 500% more income than their constituents? What is representative about someone making $185,000 per year with enough perks and tax breaks to almost double the true spend ability of that income, making monetary decisions for an electorate that makes $22,000 – $25,000 per year, or substantially less if your a single parent feeding and clothing children. If they are sick, what insurance? Most of the legislative decision making has favored profiteering at these peoples expense, not protecting their employment. Sounds a lot like a hybrid slavery based upon minimum wage paychecks vs profits for stockholders and the board of directors. While the bosses and key stockholders pocket millions, the employees on whose backs they have risen to the top struggle to make ends meet in substandard housing and handouts from the bishops storehouse. Even those who have appeared to do well are now struggling to make ends meet.
latest surge of unprecedented economic growth was based upon working man wages and benefits that could afford upgraded housing, better education opportunity and healthcare research to find the cures. This has been replaced by layoffs and pay cuts.
Now we find the toll of all the layoffs and closings and businesses being sold for paper money coming back to haunt us while our corporations are feeding the coffers of Chinese entrepreneurs. If they are not paying independents, our major corporations foreign divisions have buried their tax burden in overseas operations in countries that would never have had the opportunity to garner our business had our duly elected legislative officials not managed to pool their resources to open up these manufacturing market places to build their own private portfolios.
There is nothing representative about a representative making 200% more than their average constituent deciding what kind of a pay cut their electorate can take, be it in the form of a tax increase, or a job layoff, or a raise in the healthcare charges, or an increase in state taxes to fund the “tax cut” from the federal legislature.
To perhaps make a more representative government (would that ever be possible in our graft pervaded perk preferred legislative environment) I would propose a few fold system of dramatic changes in the federal legislative structure (none that will be instituted in our lifetime):
- Representative Pay: Under this plan the legislative representative could only make the average wage of the constituents from the district which he represented. A House of Representatives legislator from a poor district may find themselves living on $12-18,000 per year. A representative from the wealthier communities may make $200,000 or more.
This would result in many more Representatives making a lot less than they do now. Imagine them making decisions about trading American jobs to foreign employment which will reduce the average wage in their district and thereby, cut their own pay in the process rather than the current system which rewards their portfolio for eliminating American based payroll from the corporate ROI.
2. Housing is always an issue with legislators who travel away from home: so housing would be provided in a secure congressional housing complex to those who would opt to stay there. No special laundry services or food services, simple one or two bedroom apartments with kitchens and laundry facilities to live in during their time in . Should they wish to opt out (those from wealthier districts who may wish to live in better housing) they are free to procure whatever housing they wish, non-deductible and non-reimbursed. Their constituents have to pay taxes on their housing and so should they, their constituents have to struggle if they wish vacation houses, and they shouldn’t have any more perks than the people they represent.
3. Congress works a 40 hour week, federal holidays, no work breaks beyond the 2 week vacations most of their constituents get. I don’t get privilege and neither should they, there is nothing representative about them having any better a life than their lowest ‘working for a paycheck’ constituent. If they are fortunate enough to get reelected let them get 3 weeks vacation after 10 years and 4 years after 15 and 5 after 20 years of service ( it would encourage voting in favor of their local districts not for the perks).
Then, when they get close to retirement, we can vote them out of office and they can lose their retirement and benefits right along with their jobs like so many close to retirement Americans have. I hate to even hear about how much money we spend as a nation supporting ex legislators who move right into the private sector making as much or more than they did as a congressperson and retiring with a government pension and a private pension. I will be lucky to see any kind of pension for a lifetime of hard work as will many, if not most, of my peers.
4. First to fight: You want to go to war, go to it. I think congress people should be the first to hit the battlefield if that is such an easy solution to our problems. This may encourage them to discover more peaceable solutions to the problems that their own policies and preferences have caused.
Think about where would be today if we would have had legislators with backbone who would have mandated 60 mph speed limits and 50 mpg transportation minimums on all vehicles 30 years ago during the great gas crisis of 1977.
Today we would not need the oil sitting under to sustain our SUV’s and 5000 sq ft homes. There would have been no need to fabricate an Al Qaeda or design a war to protect our own interests. If we would have had legislators who could relate to the $200-300.00 monthly heating or cooling bill of their constituents, perhaps they would have funded wind and solar research and construction 30 years ago rather than the token amount to satisfy a campaign inquiry while beefing up on stock in Texas oil and Amoco, which are now owned by British Petroleum and probably soon to be purchased by China who is flush with the capital that used to go to American workers.
Now, as I sit and watch the AMERICAN gravy train eroding to overseas, I am saddened to see congress people talk the talk and vote themselves a raise. I see the Democrats blame Republicans and Republicans blame Democrats while all fly first class and drive gas guzzling SUV’s and live in 5000 sq ft homes or larger in gated communities. Like most of us can do that? The reward of their ‘perkiness’ looms before us as a dark cloud that covers the horizon; home foreclosures, credit imbalance, runaway debt and inflation that is beyond numerical comprehension to the average American beyond $3.00 milk and $4.00 cereal.
The new mantra will return to “buddy can you spare a dime” while Congress dines in style. The downside of the American Perkiness Legislative Coalition will be a depression in that the rest of the world will review cautiously, because we will no longer be in a position to sustain the world economy. We have acquiesced that position to those we felt we were taking advantage of for our own personal gain. The reality is that we have invested in these nations to grow our own corporate profits away from the prying eyes of our own regulatory agencies. In the meantime we have merely created a world that does not respect a country that generates a consistently declining income within its own boundaries. This new scenario makes it difficult for to pay off the bills of procuring the products of the manufacturing capacity of the new third world.
We are soon to reach the point of diminishing returns. The nations that we have jointly invested in to supply what we used to enjoy supplying as a nation of resource. These other nations are becoming the world giants of production while we mothball factories or convert them into condominiums, that soon won’t have enough people who can afford to live there.
Paper money did not keep solvent, paper money did not keep solvent in 1929, manufacturing rebuilt , employment rebuilt , and manufacturing is rebuilding , not war. The European Common Market is outpacing our growth while we send our jobs overseas to their benefit. They are also starting to view with much more skepticism than they have in the past. The dollar is sinking behind our foreign competitors for the world’s cash.
Only manufacturing within our own boundaries, utilizing our own resources within our own country, employing our own people, for the sake of those people, will we have a hope of recapturing our strength which lies within ourselves as a family of immigrants creating a new bond of freedom and respect for the needs of one another, not just a select few.
My father was right, “do not bite the hand that feeds you”. Our legislators need to put that on our money, on the walls of the halls of Congress and over the doors of their offices so that they do not forget the true strength of America. Hopefully they will recognize this before the cloud consumes us. The cloud is not too far away.