Monday, March 26, 2012

Emailed Lobbying

So, I was asked to comment on one of those chain email things about politics. The bold print is part of the legal changes proposed in the email. Everything else is my knee-jerk reaction fired off within a few minutes. Any errors in reasoning are mine and due to not thinking before I type.

1. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office. 

Ok, this is doable, I actually like this one. But, no tenure? Stop voting for them.

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.

So, this is doable as well. But, it will conflict with some of the later proposals.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

Umm, they already do, they just wrote the plan. So, this wouldn't actually change anything.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

I would want to see what the annual rates have actually been. The arguement may just be a red herring if Congress doesn't always vote themselves a pay raise, or if the rates are already lower than this proposal has. Besides, Congressional pay raises already do not take effect for the Congress voting on it. The raise is delayed until the next session, so those voting on it may never benefit from it.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

This presupposes a national health care system, so supporting this either supports Obamacare (or something similar) or supports employees participating in employer sponsored healthcare plans. Umm... Congress then gets to decide what health care plan to offer itself, and this rule does nothing. Nothing except placate people who don't actually know what they are asking for.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

They do, as far as I know. With the obvious exception of the Constitutional ban on arresting Congressmen while Congress is in session.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.

If we want Congressmen to be treated just like everyone else, why give them a massive loophole out of contract law?

Finally, if we don't want career Congressmen, vote them out of office. Isn't that the definition of democracy?

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