I have often said that I follow the "Fiddler on the Roof" philosophy of politics; "may god bless them and keep them all far away from me." It's one reason that I live in very rural America; I figure when it all ends, I can still grow my own food, heat my house with the abundant wood around me, and sustain my life. Is it coming to that?
It is becoming clear to this observer, as I watch what's going on in Washington relative to health care "reform," the so-called "financial bailout" and other activities, that we have a corrupt and broken system.
While I'm empathetic towards the man personally, how is it that we can have a 92 year old senator who can't perform his duties; but continues to hold his seat so he can throw his weight around from his sickbed? How is it that we can have animals like Bernie Madoff get away with total corruption in spite of whistle blowers? How is it that we can have a single senator from a single state manage to get a line item in a bill that has the federal government picking up his state's tab for medicaid increases…just to get his vote. How is it that simple fixes are thrown out (such as allowing parents to cover their children…read low risk coverage…on their existing policies until age 30) in exchange for expensive wholesale tinkering?
While I don't profess to know the answers, I do think we need some folks in Washington who know what it means to make a payroll; to balance a budget; to make tough choices. Here are a few reform thoughts:
a) Tie Congress and the Executive Branch' compensation to debt reduction. Watch what happens when they are paid, say $28,000 a year, unless our national debt is reduced. As Jack Stack (The Great Game of Business) would say, focus on the "Critical Number."
b) Eliminate Lobbying in Washington. Make it OK to lobby in the home state of the politician; to the public. Politicians are no longer elected by the public; but by special interest groups.
c) Charge a 100% tax on all political contributions. That way, the people paying for the election of the politician (read special interest groups) are at least contributing to bail out the messes that will be made in the aftermath of the election.
d) Provide benefits to congress equal to that of the average Wal-Mart employee. Let them walk in their shoes.
We have a $12 trillion national debt. If my math is correct, that's $225 billion per congressman and about $40k per citizen. What right do these guys and gals have to rack up that kind of debt? I, for one, am willing to take my lumps now to pay off my share of that debt within the next decade. But NOT if the system isn't fixed and the largess continues.
Our country is financially and systemically bankrupt. Is it time to go back to the sixties and become individual activists?