Friday, June 17, 2011
During the past two weeks, I've received E-mails from people advocating changes to the Constitution. Particularly regarding a balanced budget, term limits and making Congress follow the laws that they pass for the rest of us.
Do we really need Constitutional amendments to do these things? If there are no honest, moral and ethical people left in this country, then I guess the answer would have to be yes. But I refuse to believe that everyone in this country is dishonest, immoral and unethical. There may not be many or any that are willing to run for office, but they are out there.
I'll start with Congress following laws that they pass for the country. Our Representatives and Senators are supposed to be....well, for lack of a better description, US. They are our neighbors and friends that we elect to office. This is usually true when they are first elected. Unfortunately, once they are elected, they are now part of the "elite". They set themselves up as being better than those that actually for them.
There is no better or more timely example of of this than Representative Anthony Weiner. He is still Representative Weiner as he hasn't yet resigned, although he did announce yesterday that he is resigning. Weiner had been in office for seven years. During that time he's taken part in a 401k offered to him as well as being eligible for a pension. The 401k, according to reports will get him $32,000 per year. He'll not be eligible, apparently, for another ten years. At age 62, he'll also be eligible for the pension which will get him another $46,000 per year income. After 7 years on the job, he qualifies for the pension, he only has to wait until he hits age 62. I wonder how many Americans are eligible for a pension after 7 years on the job, let alone eligible for $46,000 per year.
Term limits is something that is always put out there. People seem to forget that we already have term limits. It's called the ballot box. In Michigan, we actually have term limits in addition to the ballot box. People were clamoring for it for years and it was finally passed about ten years ago. Now, people are aleady calling for an end to term limits within the state. Term limits is nothing more than forcing people out that the voters don't have the time, energy or intestinal fortitude to vote out of office.
Yes, term limits would remove entrenched people like Nancy Pelosi, John Dingell and a host of others. But, if the people exercised their term limits ability by paying attention to what elected officials do, and the results their actions produce, and then voting them, there would be no need for the Constitution to do for them what they can't seem to take the time or effort to do for themselves.
Term limits would remove the bad officials, but it would also remove the good ones that are worth keeping in office for long periods of time.
The balanced budget is only admitting that our elected officials cannot control their urges to spend money. Not just the money we have, but money we don't have. There are times when it makes sense to run deficits. Times of war is one that stands out. Suppose we have a budget and we cannot spend more than what's budgeted. Do we then tell terrorists after a 9/11 event that they got away with it only because we can't afford to come after them?
Or we're already in a war, or two, or three, or four, and the money runs out. Do we now stop even though the objective hasn't been reached? Suppose we'd run out of money one day before Hussein or bin Laden. Do we then miss out on getting them because we just don't have the money to open the lid to the spider hole Hussein was hiding in? Or to go after bin Laden's compound?
We need politicians that will stand up during peacetime and say, "we're not going to spend this money because we may need it in the future for our soldiers." We need politicians that can control themselves to live within a balanced budget during peacetime so that if we have to go into deficit spending during a time of war, the numbers don't skyrocket so high that we can't dig our way out. That would be a responsible government.
What we currently have and have had for many years is a government full of spenders. They are like kids in a candy store. They have the ability to spend money we don't have and they do spend it. They are irresponsible. Do we really think that there are no responsible people left in this country that can control themselves when it comes to spending money we don't have?
The past two years, we've seen this irresponsibility at its' worst. The Democrat Congress didn't even try to pass a budget. The new Congress, which is split between both parties, can't even agree on a budget this year. The last Congress and the current President have spent more money than all of the previous Presidents combined!
Maybe we need a Constitutional amendment to balance the budget and limit terms and to follow the laws that they write for the rest of us. Maybe we don't have anyone with self control in government any longer. But if we do get a Constitutional amendment, spending won't be cut. Taxes will be raised. The spending problem will become more immediate and the first answer by politicians will be to raise money. Congress does not hold bake sales or raffles. Their first inclination is to raise taxes. Given the requirement of a Constitutional amendment, they will then be under the gun to get a solution by October 1 each year. This will make taxes the only real option which will then cause us to have a poor economy continuously.
Find the honest people, the ethical people and put them in office. One added little benefit of having honest, ethical and moral people in government is we might actually get elected officials that can keep their pants up and their skirts down.
You're welcome to comment.
Posted by Brett at Friday, June 17, 2011