4 Feb 2011

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

[Speaking of corruption] I agree with this guest rant, via JWT:

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, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

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

This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Addendum: Corrections below, per Roadrunner's advice. That said, I posted this mostly for the (stated) goal of term limits and (unstated) goal of reducing personal enrichment based on power, whether in office or retired.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011
  1. Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible options below.. A. Two Six-year Senate terms B. Six Two-year House terms C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

  2. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.*

  3. 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 [already] participates with the American people.

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

  5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%. [not true]

  6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people. [not true]

  7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. [Not sure about this in the letter of the law, but there are some suspicious problems with the meaning of the law.]

  8. 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. [mostly true]
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.
* This may imply pay for life, but I saw it as a type of pension based on pay while in office -- as opposed to contributions to a pension system -- which they DO receive, at the rate of $35-65k/year.


Roadrunner said...

Sigh. David, you're a very smart economist, but I wish you were a little more careful in your posts about American government. This chain email you've posted is, according to Snopes.com, "mostly false". Members of Congress don't receive a salary for life, they do pay into Social Security, they do have health insurance like most working Americans (most have Blue Cross-Blue shield), they are subject to the same laws as other Americans, and Congressional pay raises are currently tied by law to CPI (and since 2009, they have voted to *refuse* their cost of living increase).

Before you post chain emails, perhaps you could do your readers a favor, and do a quick search on Snopes first to make sure you're posting factual information? Our democracy is harmed when people don't understand their government, and as citizens, we all have a responsibility to do our best to not convey untrue information about our government and elected officials, because citizens need accurate information to make good decisions about public policy.


David Zetland said...

Thanks Roadrunner. Mayne I need to put a stronger filter on JWT's stuff. He's good for a rant, but not always a factual one. (I've caught stuff before, but my bad on this one...)

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