where's the like button??
in my dreams, I'd like congress critters to be paid reversed - the salary of the WA senator would be the average median of the state counter to his
(pulling from air, on dial-up so can't clog pipe) AL is among the poorest states around; NY among the top 5. NY Senator takes home the average median income of AL, AL senator gets the average median income of NY.
Incentive for NY senator to bring up AL average median income while incentive for AL senator to KEEP NY average median income the same if not higher.
of course it would never happen. :(
c'mon, let's elect Jack Ryan and have the ability to remove those who have made careers out of being politicans.
isn't it telling that every single time term limits comes up, they squawk worse than chickens about how it just takes SOOO long to get anything done that they couldn't *possibly* be expected to leave office after a mere 2 terms.
hmm, maybe if everyone ELSE was leaving office after 2 terms, things wouldn't take so long?
In my dreams: Congresspersons are assigned housing in blocks rather like quarters on a military base. They all get the same square footage. They all get the same pay (based on federal pay standards.) They get whatever medical care plan and other benefits they've voted for for citizens. For the duration of their terms, all their other assets are frozen. They are not allowed to travel by private aircraft (their own or anyone else's) or receive campaign contributions from individuals or corporations. Their campaign funds are identical, and paid out of a larger fund into which all contributions from individuals and corporations are paid. Their paid staffs are cut to no more than three; their offices are all the same size, small.
I'd like to have them all pass a certifying exam, too, that would include questions revealing their knowledge of the Constitution, several main branches of science, history, geography, economics, ethics, etc. This would be at least a two-day exam, part written and part oral, and would cover what I consider the minimum that anyone making national policy should know.
Term limits alone are not the answer; term limits do not prevent someone from being lazy, dishonest, stupid, and ignorant in office for two to size years.
I've long felt that elected officials should be required to take a Constitution Test similar to the one offered to 8th graders (here in Illinois, at least) and new citizens.
Of course, after listening to what Constitution training was offered to the incoming Representatives by Michele Bachmann, I'd be very concerned about whoever was writing said test.
Bachmann wouldn't pass a Constitution test I gave, that's for sure.
2011-03-31 03:40 pm (UTC)
From Gretchen in MN
I'm absolutely with you on testing knowledge before admitting anyone to public office, particularly high office. My husband and I have discussed the apparent need for testing for fitness to perform the jobs in question, right up to and including the presidency. An assessment of skills and abilities needed for performance of such jobs, followed by general application of said assessments would do a lot.
It's interesting that the older I get, the more I see What Must Be Done (options, anyway), and the more I also recognize the limits to my own power to effect change. I do, however, work on the level that I can, in raising awareness and asking questions.
I think that one of the best things that could be done - in schools, and at early ages, repeated through education - is to teach people how to think critically about things; how to find root causes, asking "why" and "how" questions, etc. It seems that these abilities have been lost for the vast majority of the population.
The right wing doesn't believe that "people" will do the right thing...they certainly do not trust individuals, unless those individuals are clearly on their side. They don't trust women to manage their own reproduction, for instance. They don't trust those who don't agree with them, and want to control information and lives to force compliance. (Hence, though they'd loosen all controls on corporations, they have strengthened controls on individuals. They do not like the amendments to our Constitution that protect free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, legal protections for those accused of a crime, etc.)
This is not a new problem in any society, and certainly we've seen it before. But post WWII, we had a range of views in both political parties--right wing to left wing in both, which meant that moderates in both had considerable traction. That's no longer true. And the Republican alliance with the religious right wing, carefully fostered by both, is a serious problem.
We could end up with a theocracy run by the wealthy, which, history shows, is a really nasty idea.
One small thing: Consider that the Speaker of the House was dismissive about GOP goals that would kill 750,000 jobs: a quarter of a million more Americans put out of work.
I think your math there is a bit off :)
The current system is not sustainable. It will either implode or be manipulated into some form of real tyranny -- probably based on a theocracy as they seem to have managed to convince the majority of the population into be passivity. Welcome to the dystopia envisioned by several excellent (and many not so excellent) SF writers.
Yes, my math was off. DUH. Have now edited and added a bit about the job loss in Texas alone that will be added to the national job loss from federal policies.
Combining "social conservatism" (right-wing religion) with "fiscal conservatism" (policies favored by corporations) was of course a smart strategic move. By insisting that social conservatism IS fiscal conservatism (the right-wing churchgoers cost less than others and, listening to their leaders, agree to ask less of government) they've created a double bind for both nonbelieving conservatives (who now find themselves having to support a religious agenda inimical to personal freedom) and more generous-minded believers (who are now told that they must support anti-union, anti-social fiscal policies or they'll be "voting for anti-religious policies.")
Hey, get the Catholics and the evangelicals all het up about abortion and gays and feminism and so on, and convince them they have to vote for your party because it's God's party (never mind the Satanic cr*p on the ethics and money side of things) and you've got a loyal bunch of followers who don't look to either side. Worked for tyrants in the past.
Distraction and diversion work wonders.
I've forgotten who said "if you get people asking the wrong questions, you don't have to worry about the answers", but it applies very nicely to our current situation.
Also the hot button issues: abortion, gay marriage, terrorism, etc. are ones that people respond to emotionally, not logically. And the emotions that the GOP are utilising are all negative: fear, distrust, disgust, anger. You're not going to get intelligent or intelligible responses from people who are emoting rather than thinking about the issues.
I'm looking for the "like" button too.
The fundamental problem with the Republican party is that they've taken what was arguably a good idea in the Reagan era and taken it to extremes.
The good news is that these actions will remind the Democratic base, which sat on their hands in 2010 (40 million LESS people voted in 2010) why they need to go out and vote.
LJ doesn't have "like" buttons. However, linking to it is always an option...
I'm am SO linking to this, thank you for writing it. The sheer creativity and determination of the radical right to shove their morals and politicians down the country's throat is nauseating and impressive. I have to take my hat off to them for organization, determination, and sheer sneakiness (so much of what they do by the time it is discovered, proved, and so forth the results of their actions are already done ... e.g. voter registration irregularities in the Southwest a few years ago, 'fixing' voter terminals in California during a close race, butterfly ballots, changing the number of machines in various districts, etc..
I do wish that the Democrats/Liberals could come up with a consistent message rather than jump around, I think it is hurting us. I also wish that the "news" outlets could be fined for spinning the news into pure fabrication such as the showing of riots in Wisconsin where the background had healthy palm trees ... not what I think can be found in Wisconsin in the wintertime.
I am in favor of tax incentives for corportations. If a larger % of your corporation is using workers in this country, you get a small tax break. If a certain % of your gross income is being spent to improve the environment, work toward renewable energy, etc., you get a tax break. I'm also in favor of minimum tax rates for corporations with a certain gross income (maybe $500,000 or $1,000,000/year). I don't want to tax the newly started businesses out of business but I think the big ones should have an automatic minimum tax. I also HATE the rules/guidelines that encourage companies to focus on profits above all else, especially the ones that are traded on the stock market. Granted, it is supposed to keep the company focused on doing stuff and not paying insane salaries to the CEO et al., but that isn't how it is working and companies are delaying maintenance to keep costs down.
I would also LOVE to see a new law. If the annual budget is not working its way through congress by 9/1 of the year, there will be NO recesses during the day until a budget is passed. If a CR is passed, congress members shall not be paid their salary (or reimbursed later for the missing dates) and shall be forbidden from travel away from DC except in a family emergency until the final budget is passed. Congress members shall also be prohibited from any campaign activities including mailings, tv ads, radio ads, interviews, statements, etc. until a final budget is passed. If that means that the 2 sides can't get together and play nicely by October 1 (start of the federal fiscal year) then they don't get to work on their re-election bids for the November elections, they may miss Thanksgiving and Christmas at home and will not be paid.
I like your way of keeping Congress at work. No campaigning until you've done your work would be an excellent rule.