Vail Valley Voices: Some simple solutions for U.S.
August 6, 2010
An e-mail titled the “Congressional Reform Act of 2010” crossed my computer screen the other day. I
forwarded it to a number of friends and regardless of their politics. To a person they agreed it was precisely what America needs at this point in time.
The prospective act espouses a number of specific reforms, which present some of the most reasonable solutions to this country’s problems I’ve ever seen.
What follows are the salient points from that e-mail, along with a few of my own ideas and editorial comments:
1) Members of Congress should be term-limited. Serving in Congress is an honor and should not be a career. The founding fathers envisioned citizen legislators, not career politicians.
What a novel idea if all members of Congress served their terms and then went home and back to work.
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If all members of Congress actually had to work for a living or perhaps even make a payroll, they might better understand the real needs of this country. Senators should be limited to two six-year terms and representatives to six two-year terms in office maximum.
2) No tenure or pensions for Congress. A member of Congress should be fairly compensated while in office, but that’s where it should end. They should receive no further compensation of any kind after their term is over.
As indicated above, serving in Congress should be an honor, not a career. The founding fathers envisioned citizen legislators serving their respective terms and then going back home.
3) No special pension for Congress. All members of Congress are to participate in Social Security just like 300 million other Americans. All funds in the current congressional retirement fund should be moved to the Social Security system immediately.
Congress should participate with the American people. They should receive no more, no less.
Additionally, all members of Congress should have to contribute to their own retirement plan just as the rest of us do.
5) Congress should no longer have the ability to vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional raises should be limited to the lower of the consumer rice index or 3 percent.
6) Congress should lose its current special health care system and participate in the same health care system as the rest of America.
I suspect if this provision had been in place when Obama, Reid and Pelosi rammed the current health care bill down our throats, those 2,700 pages of arcane double-speak would have been read and reread a dozens times before being voted on, and Ms. Pelosi wouldn’t have had to say, “We need to pass the health care bill so we can see what’s in it.”
7) Congress should equally abide in all the same laws, rules and protocols that they impose upon the American people. I don’t think editorializing is necessary here.
8) All contracts with past and present congressmen should be void effective 1/1/11. The average American did not participate in creating those special deals, and we shouldn’t have to pay for them.
9) Make English the “official language” of the United States. No more ballots or other official documents printed in Arabic, Spanish, Russian or Sanskrit, for that matter.
If your dentist wants you to press one for English or if Walmart wants to announce, “Compradores de la atencion” rather than “Attention shoppers,” that’s their prerogative. Those are private enterprises.
But as former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm opined: “History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual. However, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual.”
Besides, if an individual cannot understand English, they shouldn’t participate in the governance of this country until they do.
10) Secure the border with the National Guard and at the same time, impose draconian penalties on employers who hire illegal aliens. Once we stop the flow of illegal immigrants into this country, we can begin providing a path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants already here.
Pretty simple, isn’t it? So the question becomes, is there a member of Congress with the intestinal fortitude to sponsor such a bill and then shepherd it through to a vote?
Somehow I doubt it, so come Nov. 2, I’ll be looking very closely at those candidates running against the incumbents to ascertain if such men and women exist.
Quote of the day: “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” Thomas Jefferson
Butch Mazzuca is a Lake Creek resident.