10
   

Taking back control of Congress -Buffet style

 
 
JPB
 
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 08:27 am
The following is making it's way around email and social media circles. I think it makes some good points. What would you add or delete to make it something you'd support?

Warren Buffet in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just
pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more
than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible
for re-election.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds)
took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple!
The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail,
cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year
or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.

Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to
a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask
each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will
have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed
around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2012

1. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no
pay when they're out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates 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. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all
Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and
participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the
American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void
effective 12/1/12. The American people did not make this
contract with Congressmen/women.


Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in
Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their
term(s), then go home and back to work
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Type: Discussion • Score: 10 • Views: 3,032 • Replies: 41

 
RABEL222
 
  2  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 12:18 pm
This will happen when our sun goes nova.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 12:26 pm
@JPB,
JPB wrote:

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.


Except for this one, I like it very well. Let Congress keep up with inflation. Let the Federal Reserve have the lower of 3% or CPI. Oh, go ahead and let them both have the lower increase. That'll be okay, too.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 01:16 pm
I'd been pushing for term limits in Congress, but this would accomplish economic sanity and natural term limits at the same time.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 01:55 pm
@JPB,
I don't agree with this suggestion, and I don't agree with term limits. I disagree with each of these for the same reason.

In a democracy, I as a voter should be able to vote for anyone I want. Telling me that I can't elect the candidate I think is best because of some arbitrary limit is the opposite of democracy. These limits take away my right to choose my political leaders.

There are times when running a deficit is a good thing for the country (for example in time of war or extraordinary recession). Why should politicians be penalized for acting for the good of the country.

If voters were serious about the deficit, they themselves could vote out the lawmakers who are responsible. Weakening democracy by limiting the ability of voters to choose is a bad thing.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 02:14 pm
@maxdancona,
On term limits, I would have agreed most strongely up till perhaps two or four years ago. In principle, I suppose I still do, and for the same reasons.

Under present conditions, committee assignments and chairmanships are based on seniority and party affiliation. Once a state has a Congressman in the position of Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, for example, it becomes almost impossible to unseat him. In practice, I'm leaning towards term limits if done on the federal level. For an individual state to limit their terms, and they can, it would be political suicide. It would almost immediately become the least influential state in the union, unless all other states passed the same restriction.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 03:08 pm
@JPB,
This ignores the 27th amendment,which is really simple:

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

That amendment was proposed by the First Congress in September, 1789, and was ratified in May, 1992. The Congresses since its ratification have gotten around it with COLAs, and other dodges. No one has ever challenged these measures in court, so they get away with it. Something far more detailed and complex than the simple measure offered in the OP is needed to control these greedy bastards.
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 03:29 pm
@Setanta,
Interesting. The intent was to keep them from voting themselves big raises and benefits and then leaving Congress. Now we're talking about taking benefits away from career politicians.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 03:34 pm
I also agree about term limits with whoever it was who pointed out the problem with committee assignments. The cnstitution gives the two houses the right to make their own rules, so that's not something we can do anything about without amending the constitution--not a good idea, i think, in such a case.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 03:35 pm
@roger,
Same here. From the other things in the list above, it's clear that our career politicians have taken care of themselves while a large part of their constituents suffer under the weight of the recession. I agree that the founders envisioned citizen legislators not career politicians.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 03:35 pm
@JPB,
I think the intent was to make them face the electorate if they did vote themselves a pay raise.
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 04:20 pm
@maxdancona,
You cant really believe that limiting one or two citizens out of 320 million would hurt a democracy. When politicians are in office for multi year terms they develope power bases that are not in the best interest of voters. Sometime the voter has to be protected from themselves. After all people who have run afoul of the law cant vote or hold office. I submit that most politicians who have been in office for more than 8 years are more crooked than the average law breaker.
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 04:24 pm
@Setanta,
For which they have passed laws to get around this problem.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 04:28 pm
@RABEL222,
What do you mean one or two citizens? A politician who only gets one or two votes out of 320 million doesn't need to be term limited. Term limits only come into play when a plurality (usually a majority) of citizens want to vote for a politician. Term limits that have any effect restrict the choice of a large percentage of voters.

And why should we protect voters from themselves? If we don't trust voters, then why have a democracy at all?



0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  4  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 04:32 pm
I would like for ex elected officials to be barred from becoming lobbyists.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 04:37 pm
@RABEL222,
But that only works because people are apathetic, and no one has challenged them in the Federal courts. The language of the 27th amendment is straightforward and unambiguous.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 04:38 pm
@edgarblythe,
I agree completely.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 05:22 pm
@JPB,
JPB wrote:
career politicians.


bad idea all round
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 06:44 pm
@ehBeth,
Yes. They can get so wrapped up in their many committee assignments and just "doing business" that they seem to forget what they are there for, and who they represent. If they want a career, they can try out for civil service - which has at least minimal job requirements.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Nov, 2012 07:48 pm
@ehBeth,
I disagree with that as well. In an important job there is an advantage to experience.

Do you have a problem with career doctors, or career architects?

And to Roger, there are minimum job requirements to being a politician. You have to get the support of a plurality of voters. For the more powerful offices this is quite a high bar. I couldn't do it.
 

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