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Published on January 11th, 2012 | by Leonard Jackson


The Only Solution

If I hadn’t become so cynical in my old age, I would swear that I’m getting an inkling of a growing awareness and, as a result, stronger discontent with the continual asinine shenanigans we see in Washington daily

Recently I received an email from Warren Buffett concerning the “Congressional Reform Act of 2011” that has been circulating around the internet listing the seven provisions of the proposed act. Earlier I had received the same message from Andy Rooney so perhaps the legitimacy of the senders is questionable, but the message is encouraging wherever it came from. There is more evidence every day that clearly shows more people are finally paying attention to what is actually happening behind those closed doors in their government buildings and their voices of displeasure are getting louder and louder.

Let’s look at the terms of this proposed legislation:

Congressional Reform Act of 2011
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are 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 are void effective 1/1/12.
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, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

Sure, there are some constitutional discrepancies here and the actual passage or even legitimate consideration of the proposal in this form would be highly contested and “Dead on Arrival” as they say in D.C. These demands are somewhat more about revenge than reform, but the tone and the contempt show tempers are simmering and patience is wearing thin.
Peter Schweizer has written a New York best-seller “Throw Them All Out” that brings to light some amazingly flagrant misdoings from some of our congressional members. It’s a purely bi-partisan exposé, illuminating the despicable actions from “both sides of the aisle”. Each incident has been carefully chronicled and to my knowledge there’s not been a single denial from any of the people accused in the book. The tragic reason for this is simply that they’re not breaking the law in their own eyes and therefore there’s nothing to deny. There was a time when the folks had the decency to hide or deny all this mischief, but today it’s just “in your face and so what?” Each day there is at least one (usually many more than one) incident that exposes the blatant abuses of power and position used by our lawmakers to strengthen their influence, broaden their political base and add to their ever-growing personal bank accounts. I think I’ll start posting a weekly “Cheat of the Week!”
There has been a concern about the rotation of office since there was an office to be concerned about. Our founders probably debated this very issue longer than any other when they were framing our constitution. They fully realized the dangers of the power inherent in the offices they were establishing. Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Those concerned about this power prevented the executive branch from creating a king thanks to George Washington’s refusal to serve more than two four year terms. Later FDR’s power ambitions forced a law to be enacted to limit the maximum time two four terms, but Congress has been able to thwart any changes or additional limits placed on its members. Now with the advent of the Tea Party movement and the astounding success and speed in which it has affected the political process there is new hope and anticipation as to what might be accomplished with the right people in office at the right time.
No legislation is possible without a grandfather clause that would exclude the present legislature. Getting any changes like this would be hard enough, but these folks would never vote to terminate this bonanza they have created for themselves. Any considerations for any change would always have to begin with a future congressional class and affect only new legislators and all elected thereafter.
I’ll be writing more about this topic in the coming weeks. If you have followed this blog you know that this is an important issue with me. I wouldn’t expect to see it actually become law in my lifetime, but I might certainly see the wheels start turning with the first steps toward bringing about this essential correction. The Tea Party has given me hope again. It just might be possible.

About the Author

As I prepare my “reentry” into the e-world of blogging, I am advised that I should provide my prospective audience with a brief biographical résumé covering my life’s work and future aspirations so that I, and my work, can be properly categorized and thus judged in the proper venue. Since I will be joining a new group in just a few short months, it came to my attention that for a quick summary I can cover my life span in 20 year segments that pretty well sum up the route that I took to get to where I am today. In December, the Lord willing, I will become a member of that esteemed group known as Octogenarians. . Now that may be a disturbing, even scary, pigeonhole for some folks to find themselves assigned to, but I’m beginning to realize some real benefits from being maturity advantaged. The first 20 years I grew up, was educated and began my married life and my career. Second period was about 20 years in the cotton business in Memphis, TN. Trading this commodity in the world’s largest inland cotton market. Third period was spent in the municipal bond industry in Memphis, Houston TX Chicago and finally to my present home in Kansas City, MO. The fourth 20 years I served as a registered investment adviser to a number of individual clients which I continue to do in a semi-retired capacity. In addition to all this, over all these years, I have been blessed with a loving wife of sixty years, four children, four grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and a menagerie of grand horses, dogs, cats and a donkey. Providentially, none of these, except of course my patient wife, are still living in the family home. And now the fifth period will be consumed in my new career. For the first time in all the years I have an opportunity to share my opinions with the world. I can truly express my thoughts without regard to any extenuating conditions. I can just say how I feel about any subject. How liberating. Let the blogging begin!!!! By the way – what I do in the next period remains to be seen and depends on how well I do in the fifth period.

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