New Years Wish List : Forrest Gump Congressional Reform

First Continental Congress.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who serve their term(s) and then go home and back to work.

New Year’s wish list:
Forrest Gump’s Congressional Reform Act of 2010

By Larry Ray / The Rag Blog / December 23, 2009

A friend sent me an email containing the idea below and instead of reading and deleting it, it occurred to me that, since all our long-serving career politicians in both houses up in Washington would see this as simplistic folly, fraught with potential problems for the “good of the American people,” and on and on, I would therefore post it for all to read.

It is sort of a Forrest Gump wish list for the New Year, unhampered by the reality of today’s political madness. It is a back to basics call for a housecleaning in the nation’s capital. Things have gotten so incestuous in national politics over the past century or so that these eight new laws would, of course, never be passed today. But use your imagination… like Forrest.

Our founding fathers certainly did not intend “representative government” to mean representation by the same folks decade after decade. Today’s congressmen and senators spend a goodly portion of their time in office away from the office traveling all over fundraising from moneyed interests so they can campaign to stay in office. So “representative government” more and more means politicians representing big business and wealthy contributors, not necessarily their constituents back home.

We as Americans have also gotten used to our rich uncles or aunts up in Washington. Especially those who have gotten us to vote for them year after year and who have become pompous and powerful. They use their tenure and positions on various committees to sneak in obscure, tailor made bills like one that would only apply to building a billion dollar bridge in our hometown, onto the coat tails of a major piece of legislation. These are the shameless stealth appropriations, not voted upon based on their merits. The habit-forming “earmarks” of course, which have become a Congressional ATM.

Try, for a moment, to imagine an America operating under the eight laws below. Certainly there would have to be an accompanying set of elaborate qualifiers that would retain a continuity and strict oversight of the various departments of government.

This would probably reduce top-end white collar crime and crowding in Federal prisons too!

Congressional Reform Act of 2010

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

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who serve their term(s) and then go home and back to work.

2. No Tenure / No Pension:

A congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when out of office.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who serve their term(s) and then go home and back to work.

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. Congress participates with the American people.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who serve their term(s) and then go home and back to work.

4. Members of Congress can purchase their own retirement plan just as average Americans do.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who serve their term(s) and then go home and back to work.

5. Members of Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will be tied to the lower end of the Consumer Price Index or 3%.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who serve their term(s) and then go home and back to work.

6. Congress loses its current health care system and members participate in the same health care system as the American people.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who serve their term(s) and then go home and back to work.

7. Members of Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who serve their term(s) and then go home and back to work.

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.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators who serve their term(s) and then go home and back to work.

[Retired journalist Larry Ray is a Texas native and former Austin television news anchor. He also posts at The iHandbill.]

The Rag Blog

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