Tag Archives: United States Congress

What Do You Think?

Charles B. Rangel
Corruption King Charlie Rangel: Poster boy for term limits?

A friend forwarded me a message regarding an act reforming congress containing 8 key provisions. I like most of them, but what do you think?

  1. Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible options below:
    1. Two Six-year Senate terms
    2. Six Two-year House terms
    3. 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 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%.
  6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
  7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
  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, serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

Parts I don’t agree with? Term limits. I agree with Michael Medved that term limits sounds good, but needlessly hamper possibly good congress people who truly excel. A crucial aspect of the American ideal is that we err towards allowing the possibility of wrongs occurring if there is reasonable possibility a right will occur under the same structure. To put it another way: If a law punishing some minor wrong also prevented or excluded some good, that law would be unjust. And so, while term limits would indeed shorten the time of service in congress of many people who probably ought to be there even less time than term limits allow, they would also necessarily shorten the allotted time of those who would continue to be beneficial beyond the limited term.

Everything else I agree with. Congress should never, ever exist on a plane separate from the rest of America. Legally, financially, from beginning to end, they ought to live in the same systems they have created and placed upon the rest of us. This stems from the same root concern that paints convicted unethical congressman Rangel with a severe brush. He considered himself special and above the normal concerns of the average Joe’s subject to his whim, for his immoral self-enrichment and failure to report income and pay taxes, the only reasonable response is ejection from congress. This namby-pamby limp-wristed hand slap isn’t sufficient to convey the extreme levels of anger we feel at his sense of personal privilege. He considered himself above the law. Let Charles Rangel now feel the weight of the law upon his law-breaking head.

Enough of the soap box, though.

What do you think would be reasonable requirements that ought to be placed upon Congress to help prevent their becoming so disconnected as they have?

Simply prescriptions will not be sufficient. Please provide arguments and reasoning behind your suggestions.

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