Thursday, November 10, 2011


GET REAL: Email was bad enough. But now that we broke down and signed up for Facebook, we're inundated with well-meaning people forwarding idiotically simplistic solutions to complex problems which they and whomever started the chain took about three milliseconds to think through.

The latest started as a bogus email chain letter that continues to circulate regarding what was called the "Congressional Reform Act (CRA) of 2011" proposing a constitutional amendment that would cull congressional salaries and eliminate pensions and benefits, essentially making recompense almost non-existent.

Bogus or not it became exceptionally popular with those who forwarded it.

So what's wrong with the content? Well let's start with a maxim that we're sure those who distributed the above will agree with- you get what you pay for.

But moreover take a gander at a recent study by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a nonpartisan organization that keeps track of money in politics.

NPR reports that according Michael Beckel, a spokesperson for the CRP "244 current members of Congress are millionaires — that's about 46 percent and that includes 138 Republicans and 106 Democrats."

Now these guys and gals didn't exactly get rich by stashing away their salaries or even through corruption. They started out rich when they ran for office.

So why did we elect them and not, as the CRA folks called them, "citizen legislators (who) should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work (as) the Founding Fathers envisioned?"

Maybe it's because those citizen legislators can't just stop working and gallivant off to the state or national capitol and expect to not just continue to support their families but to have their jobs to be waiting for them when they get back.

Would your boss do that? Didn't think so.

And these CRA people want to make it worse.

We have two close friends who went into politics- just plain working folks who made for extraordinary office holders. But both are out of politics now, not because they were voted out of office but because essentially they were faced with giving up a job they had either trained their whole lives for and dearly loved doing- or at least one that gave them a steady income- for a "job" they had to re-secure every couple-o'-four years.

And in order to do that they had to raise bucketsful of cash and subject themselves to insults that people ordinarily wouldn't address to their worst enemy.

The people who took their places? In one case he's a longtime hack politician just coming off a get-rich stint out of office and working for a local developer. The other is a glad-handing TV personality whose main job in office is apparently to promote his show and every hotel on the island.

Yet when we suggest making service with both our local county council and state legislature full-time jobs with decent pay that's commensurate with the duties, instead we get crap like this CRA petition which is actually a measure to assure that the other 291 members of congress become part of the same rich "1%" against whom we're out in the streets protesting.

At the same time we'd bet dollars to donuts that "99%" of those who liked the CRA have never heard of another proposed constitutional amendment from the "Move to Amend" organization that would put the kibosh on "corporate personhood," as declared by the Supreme Court, which turned on full blast the already gushing corporate campaign money spigot. At the same time many have opposed programs for partial public financing of elections or even legislation- or if needed a constitutional amendment- ending all campaign contributions in favor of full public financing.

It's the penny wise and pound foolish of the world who scream about "paying for politicians to run for office"- as if they're not paying 100 times more on the back end as corporations buy and sell the pols and write the legislation- and would pay office holders poverty wages, who are the self-same ones that are perpetuating the corrupt system that has people's opinions of elected officials at all-time lows.

So do us all a favor- think it through before you hit that send or post button. We’ve got really important issues to attend to... like the Giants-49ers game this Sunday. Go G-men.

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