It’s been tough writing this week. Not for a lack of material but too much. I could have taken you to the campuses of major universities. Pakistan. The EU. The Broncos. But I really had to get to first things first.
I have to admit I am still riled by the impasse provided by the Six Stooges. Twice the bang for the buck. I am blown away that half of our elected representatives are being held hostage by a promise they made to a dude named Grover Norquist. Then the other half is shaking in their boots by an ad from the AARP claiming 55 million senior citizens will nail them if the touch the golden trough of Medicare and Social Security. They don’t speak for me.
But I took a deep breadth and just started thinking. The bottom line of our problems seems to come in two colors: Money and Longevity. The Supercommittee itself was lobbied ad nauseam. Millions upon millions have been tossed around pushing this plank or that. The politicians need that money to ensure their reelection and assuage their egos. There are currently 11,140 registered lobbyists and they have doled out this year so far $2.5 billion.
On the matter of longevity the average term for both sides of Congress is about 12 years. 6 House and 2 Senate terms. You say great but that is the average. The devil is in the details. On the powerful subcommittees high rank is by years in service and loyalty to the party. And of course the higher the rank the more money pouring in from K Street.
Untold members have come to Washington with every bit of reform vigor they could muster. And every one has succumbed to the siren’s call of the Beltway. The rules are also jiggered, so you are immune from every crime just short of treason. You can trade stocks on insider knowledge. And the power of an incumbent to hold his or her seat is absurd. Throw in a little thing called gerrymandering and it’s a lead pipe cinch.
So if you are following me, longevity is power and that is where you follow the money. How do we get rid of it? Take longevity out of the equation. Here in my best Herman Cain look alike (please I hope not) is TTG’s 666. That numbered is feared by many and Congress as well as the President better beware.
I propose that no one be in office longer than 6 years. One term in the Senate, one six year term for the President and two three year terms for a congressman. As an added attraction, no member of the Executive Branch, Congress or the military above O5 shall be able to do business with the government for five years after their departure.
They all worry about reelection from the day they are sworn in. They get pushed and pulled and vote with their war chest in mind. They claim they have to spend so much time on fundraising they can’t do their job properly. So with my 666 they don’t have to worry about it.
The lobbyists are now stymied. This guy doesn’t need their money. He really can’t use it. Tromp down really hard on boondoggles and junkets and legislating might be just a job after all. The only one running again is a congressman and that is only once.
With 666 the career politicians are now gone. When was the last time Barney Frank, who has been there thirty years had a creative thought? Robert Byrd died after 57 years in the Senate. Strom Thurmond was 100 and they had to prop him up to make votes. Some claimed he was already dead.
Think that is crazy. It is estimated that only 10-15% of the upcoming House seats are in play. Sure the demagoguery and partisan bickering may make this better, but why not take it out of the equation completely?
We have got to take the money out of the system. We know they are not going to legislate it out with so many nests to feather. Let’s propose our own. Now the president won’t be a lame duck in a second term. There can be continuity and the ability to govern with God forbid, a longer term perspective. If you can’t get it done in six years you sure as hell can’t get it done in eight.
Well I promised to be creative and come up with answers and not just more questions. I promise to work out harder and stop pounding my head against the wall. My fellow Americans I come to you with a heavy heart. (Only you old farts will remember that.)
Have a good week and come back at me if you think differently.
Ted The Great
11,140 lobbyists = 20.7 per representative.
The $2.5 billion they have shelled out so far this year is $4,646,840 per representative. That is through October 31,2011.
John Dingle. Mich 55 years
Daniel Inouye Hawaii 52 years
John Conyers Mich 46 years
Ted Kennedy Mass 46 years when he died.
Charlie Rangel New York 40 years
6 Senators 36 years
Congress is usually in session 100 days a year.
They get paid $174,000 plus staff, plus expensesThey oversee spending $3.5 trillionWe take in $2.3 trillion
Approximately 22.5 million Americans work for some form of government entity. About 2.8 work for the Federal Government but in the numbers there were 236,000 they couldn’t allocate properly.I rest my case.