This is a new world’s record for me – two blogs in two days.
But I promise this one will be short. I saw a link about it somewhere (see below) and saved it in my Reading list in Safari. Then I saw something about it on TV. It’s an old story, but I think it underscores for us all that our Congress is fundamentally broken and has been for some time.
As the story goes, Senator Orrin Hatch (Republican, Utah), speaking at an event for technology companies, made the following statement:
“If you want to get involved in business, you should get involved in politics.”
His advice, in a nutshell, was for companies to hire some lobbyists and spend some money on political campaigns or expect Washington to make your business life miserable.
What would you call this? Words like extortion and blackmail come to my mind.
Now, you might be thinking something like, “Big Deal – it’s always been that way. They all do it.” That may be true (with the possible exception of Representative Ron Paul – I hear that lobbyists don’t even try to see him), but as I thought about it, I really started to get worried.
This means they are all for sale. Every member of our Congress is for sale (except maybe for a few of the new guys who haven’t been there long enough to really get in the swing of things). No matter what they say; not matter how loud they trumpet their righteous indignation; nearly every one of them is in someone’s back pocket.
Many of us have the attitude that nothing really bad will happen because they will not let things go too far down the path of destruction. They’ll come to their senses and do the right thing. It’s becoming clear to me that, when the chips are down, our legislators will all vote their own pocketbook – no matter what the issue, not matter the consequences.
So what’s the solution? I’ve heard a few things that make some sense. Things like making it illegal to lobby (probably not feasible) and putting politicians’ money in a blind trust while they are in office. I doubt either of these would work very well.
I’m thinking that the real solution is to limit their terms and eliminate any long-term special privileges that they get as a member of the Congress. They get the same retirement, tax liabilities, and healthcare that the rest of us get. The original reason for all the special privileges was that we didn’t want a former member of Congress to be caught living in poverty. From my point of view, that’s probably as unlikely as anything I know – If a man or woman has enough guts and drive to get into Congress, well, I think they’ll do just fine after they leave office.
I think if we don’t figure out how to fix this, we are in deep trouble. Why? Because, at the end of the day, some people with deep pockets own our government. People like Microsoft, big banks, George Soros, and lots more. Really, it’s anyone with enough money and a political agenda. So that means every vote in Congress is actually not a vote for the constituents, but a contest between benefactors.
Think I’m wrong? Ask yourself what has really changed over the last 50 years. No matter what each new President says, we still fight undeclared wars. Taxes fluctuate, but they trend up. Inflation continues because of our money policies. Overall, no matter what political party is in charge, things still remain the same with a few fluctuations.
The approval rating of Congress is about 10%. That’s awful. If they are so bad, why don’t we vote them out? Probably because most folks think all the other guys are crummy, but their own Congressman is one of the few good ones. So we still see the same faces, year after year.
I don’t know about you, but this scares me to death.
PS: If you have any comments, please leave them on the blog so that Wisiwuv and I will see them. As the dolphins are famous for saying, “Good luck and thanks for all the fish!”