Politics – Miscellaneous, Mixed, and Motley Meanders
An Ode to the Politician Problem
And the public’s most recent reply, is an outraged, “Just tell me why.”
There is public recognition that by dictionary definition,
“oxymoron” is the word that brands an “honest politician.”
Some politicians enter office quite poor; by term’s end they exit quite rich.
Unlike all their voters and all their tail coaters, for them life’s sure not a bitch.
That leads to a story, a scandal that’s true, a most lamentable tale.
It’s ethics that’s mentioned, but gets no attention, since politicians are all up for sale.
Whether it’s senators or congressmen, it really doesn’t matter,
It seems that when they take on that job their wallets just gets fatter
To be in the Congress or in the Senate, it’s awesome, there’s no doubt,
You legislate, and investigate and you delight in all that clout.
The health plan’s substantial, compensation is ample, and the pension is terrific
But the best is yet to come because the money flow’s prolific.
It’s true you have to beg, beseech, solicit, and implore,
But it’s well worthwhile since to win again you must fill that big cash drawer.
You play the game as you go, court the lobbyists that you know!
And you do what you do, what you have to do, to attract the real big dough.
Pay back means you vote the way the rich boys want you to.
Call it extortion; call it bribery––but is it legal? What’s your view?
Congress is rated at just nine percent, much lower it just cannot go.
Solution? “Throw out all those bums, it’s time for each of them to go,”
In essence, give every one of them what’s called, “the old heave-ho.”
Will Rogers’ Political Legacy
During the 1920’s and early 30’s, until he died in an airplane crash in 1935, Will Rogers was probably the world’s most well known celebrity. As a humorist, a vaudeville performer, a nationally syndicated columnist, and the highest paid Hollywood star of his time, he was beloved by all. However, he will possibly be remembered best by the legacy he left through his often-quoted aphorisms. What is most amazing is the fact that his quotes from some 90 years ago were so predictive, so prescient, since they are equally relevant today. Read them and weep, as you laugh out loud.
Aphorisms about Congress
"Congress is so strange; a man gets up to speak and says nothing, nobody listens, and then everybody disagrees."
"Congress meets tomorrow morning. Let us all pray: Oh Lord, give us strength to bear that which is about to be inflicted upon us. Be merciful with them, oh Lord, for they know not what they're doing. Amen."
"We all joke about Congress but we can't improve on them. Have you noticed that no matter who we elect, he is just as bad as the one he replaces?"
"I read where they are going to limit debate in the Senate. It used to be that a man could talk all day, but now, as soon as he tells all he knows, he has to sit down. Most of these birds will just be getting up and nodding now. Why, some of them won't be able to answer roll call."
"We cuss Congress, and we joke about 'em, but they are all good fellows at heart, and if they wasn't in Congress, why, they would be doing something else against us that might be even worse."
"The "Ways & Means Committee" is a committee that's supposed to find the Ways to divide up the Means."
"Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, they don't hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous."
"The Senate just sits and waits till they find out what the president wants, so they know how to vote against him." [Right on!]
"In Washington, one man could do what ten of them do. There could be only a quarter or a third as many congressmen or senators, and we would pick better ones then. But it's the system that we have always used, and there is no use getting all overcome with perspiration over it. Things kinder run themselves, anyhow."
"Senators are a never-ending source of amusement, amazement, and discouragement."
"Funny thing about being a U.S. senator, the only thing the law says you have to be is 30 years old. Not another single requirement. They just figure that a man that old got nobody to blame but himself if he gets caught in there."
"Our president delivered his State of the Union message to Congress. That is one of the things his contract calls for -- to tell congress the condition of the country. This message, as I say, is to Congress. The rest of the people know the condition of the country, for they live in it, but Congress has no idea what is going on in America, so the president has to tell 'em." [Amen!]
"A president just can't make much showing against congress. They lay awake nights, thinking up things to be against the president on."
"Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously, and the politicians as a joke, when it used to be vice versa." [Hello Jon Stuart and Steven Colbert]
Amazing! It’s 90 some years later, and nothing has changed.
"Now these fellows in Washington wouldn't be so serious and particular if they only had to vote on what they thought was good for the majority of the people in the U.S. That would be a cinch. But what makes it hard for them is every time a bill comes up they have things to decide that have nothing to do with the merit of the bill. The principal thing is of course: What will this do for me personally back home?" [If this isn’t a description of our current Congress, I don’t know what is.]
Warren Buffett’s New Rules
Exactly eight years ago, in the February 2004 issue of Viewpointe, the fifth and last part of a five part series appeared, describing the personal and business life of Warren Buffett. In December of last year, a Gallup/USA Today poll reported that Mr. Buffett was the fifth most admired man in the world.
Despite his popularity, Mr. Buffett has currently become a somewhat controversial figure. This is due to his advocacy for what has become known as the “Buffett Rule;” that those with an income of over $1 million should pay taxes at a higher tax rate than that which currently exists. Several recent polls have indicated that about two thirds of the public argree with this argument.
In addition, during a CBS interview in July of last year, he suggested an interesting and innovative method of controlling the nation’s debt. He said, “I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a law that says that any time there is a deficit of more than 3 percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.” That would certainly get the attention of our legislators.
That statement by Buffett made the rounds of the email circuit along with the proposals listed below that were also attributed to him. This latter portion originated on the Internet some time in 2009, however Warren Buffet had nothing to do with them. I include them because as outlandish, and as unlikely as some of them may seem, if you think about it, our Senate and House of Representatives might function in a manner more consistent with the vision of the founders of our Constitution if they were enacted.
Congressional Reform Act
- No tenure. No pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when out of office.
- Congress — past, present and future — participates in Social Security.
- All funds in congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into this system and Congress participates with the rest of the American people.
- Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, as other Americans do.
- Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay rise. Congressional pay will rise with the lower of CPI or 3 percent.
- Congress loses their health-care system and participates in the same health-care system as the American people.
- Congress must equally abide by any laws they pass for the American people.
- All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective at once. Congressmen/women made these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The founding fathers envisioned citizen legislators. Ours should serve their terms, then go home and go back to work.