Saturday, October 23, 2010

Reform Congress – or We’re Doomed

As many of us do, I get a lot of political e-mails from friends. Some are wacky, but this one I received recently made a lot of sense to me. It was titled the Congressional Reform Act of 2011. Hyperbole aside, I think these changes make a lot of sense:

  • Term Limits: 12 years only - total between service in the Senate or the House of Representatives.
  • No Pension: A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
  • All members of Congress (past, present & future) participate in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
  • Congress can purchase their own retirement plan (IRA, 401K), just as all Americans can.
  • Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
  • Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
  • Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
  • All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.  Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.  The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators. Serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

1 comment:

Perplexio said...

According to the Constitution no sitting Congress can vote itself a pay raise. However I believe they get around that Constitutional Amendment by voting future sitting Congresses pay raises with the hopes that they'll be re-elected to reap those benefits.

Given the current Constitutional Amendment regarding this issue, if you were to impose term limits the pay raise issue would sort itself out. Congress could vote pay raises, sure, but those pay raises wouldn't take effect for them, only for their successor. With that in mind they might be a bit more fiscally responsible.

The other stipulation I'd like to see added-- the re-implementation of the Social Security Account. When SS was first established it went into its own account, independent of the general fund. Congress could not touch it to use for other programs. It was money specifically for Social Security. When LBJ came along he closed that account and moved all SS money to the general fund-- essentially giving Congress the keys to the cookie jar. Take SS back out of the general fund and all taxpayer money going to SS goes into the SS account going forward. I believe we'd start to see a change in the potential solvency/insolvency of Social Security. Make Congress balance the budget without having access to that money. It will force them to be a bit more creative and maybe they don't really need that earmark to determine why pigs in Iowa smell, or that bridge to nowhere in Alaska...