Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cleaning Out the House...and the Senate

Ask any Congressperson whom they work for and they will answer with some variant of  "the people" of a district, a state or the United States.  You sure wouldn't know it by the way they act.  I've read in a variety of places that a "study" done in 1998 found, at that time, the following:

36 had been accused of spousal abuse
7 had been arrested for fraud
19 had been accused of writing bad checks.
117 had directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
3 had done time for assault
71 could not get a credit card through normal channels because of bad credit
14 had been arrested on drug-related charges
8 had been arrested for shoplifting
21 were, at that time, defendants in lawsuits
84 had been arrested for drunk driving in the prior year

Now, let me be the first to say that the names were not disclosed, people are often sued frivolously, and I cannot verify any of this.  However, whether true and accurate or not, it's unquestionable that, when it comes to unethical behavior history is riddled with Congressional Scandals: Most recently, the very powerful Charles Rangel,  the head of the Ways and Means Committee which writes tax law was accused of tax evasion.

The problem is that the "employers" of the congresspeople ought to be able to fire them for misconduct that would get anyone of us fired, should we be lucky enough to be clinging on to a job.  However, Congress polices itself, so a powerful member can use his influence to hold on to a job, bring it before an ethics committee,  and often get nothing more than a censure. Case closed.

At a minimum, Congresspeople should be subject to the same penalties anyone working for say IBM or Coca Cola would be subject to.  In reality, because they are fiduciaries of OUR MONEY, they should be held to even higher standards.

But that's not all:  Congresspeople pass laws that apply to all Americans but themselves.  For example, they are exempt from Social Security and have their own private pension plan. A pretty damn cushy one I understand! Congress is also exempt from the new health care plan.  So I ask:  Who works for whom?

The solution to this problem is not straightforward but it can be attacked in a number of ways.  As a society, we have to DEMAND our sovereignty be returned to us.  This won't be easy, but we have to recognize the problem first, and I wonder just how many people do.  If an elected official DOESN'T vote for a new set of ethical laws, vote em out!  Secondly, the practice of gerrymandering must be stopped.  (For those that don't know, gerrymandering is the creation of voter districts by politcians to maximize their chance of re-election.)  If you've never seen a map of the districts, look them up on Google.  Many of them look like a plate of spaghetti after a major windstorm or an x-ray of someone's intestines.

Finally, we need to keep "professional politcians", another oxymoron, from claiming their thrones.  If someone hasn't lived or worked in the "real world", that's as red of a flag as possible.  Politicians should be representative of us. How CAN they when they haven't had to deal with the challenges that the vast majority of American's face, especially today. 

It was most telling when Term Limits were not passed when the Republicans, led by Newt Gingrich, won control of the House of Representatives in 1994, despite the fact that it was a much ballyhooed component of the Contract With America.  The other provisions were passed in one form or another.

There are good congresspeople out there.  As to me, I do believe there are congresspeople that I would support multiple times.  However, I support term limits because  I believe the benefits of deterring professional politicians would be greater than losing the few that I would vote for successively.

If you have another solution or disagree entirely, by all means, feel free to leave a comment.

Marko's Take


  1. This is a subject that has bothered me for years. My all time FAVORITE, of course, was the dissolute Ted Kennedy on the Senate Ethics Committee! And they didn't even see the sick, sad irony of it.
    Now with information freely and easily available, it should be the job of every voter to check out his/her Congressperson or candidate BEFORE giving them the keys to the you said, Marko, they have a fiduciary duty to be stewards of OUR MONEY, not feeders at the public trough.
    Okay we know what needs to be done. Now how do we do it?

  2. Thanks for the comment, Lavender. Our only recourse is legal activism of some sort or another. Town hall meetings, petitions, and legal assembly. Actions like these were successful in ending the Vietnam War. But first, people need to be made aware of the problem. That's the reason for this blog. If you believe that others need to be made more aware, or create a greater discussion by interested parties, feel free to connect them with this blog. Best, Marko

  3. This is an issue that truly has always angered me. If it's good for the goose, then WHY NOT the gander? The politicians are insulated with caviar while we scramble for Top Ramen. Is this what our forefathers had in mind?

  4. Peter:

    Cleary not! The constitution, which has been all but butchered, was created by brilliant men seeking to escape tyranny.


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