Choose one: A Great Reversal or A new Third Party
The WaPo recently published an in depth report on the wealth of congress persons. Today a follow on article relates how congressional ethics committees work to protect legislators.
Earlier this year WaPo reported that 33 lawmakers directed more than $300M in earmarks and public spending provisions next to, or within two miles of their own property. Another 16 lawmakers directed tax money to companies, colleges or community programs where their spouses, children or parents worked or served on boards.
The bottom line is that the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) most always gives a pass to such legislation or earmarks as long as they and their families are not the only beneficiaries.
Easy to understand how wealth creep through such shenanigans can leave one well endowed over a long career.
Seems it would be an easy fix by requiring that where conflicts of interest surface then the legislator would recuse him/herself from voting on such legislation or proposing ear marks.
To the contrary, some legislators have/are proposing legislation to further water down OCE oversight.
Robert Samuelson, opined in WaPo, asking if the country is undergoing a great socio-economic reversal. In his article he quotes a profound statement by Robert Gordon, a Northwestern University economist, "most economists believe that economic growth is a continuous process that will persist forever". Gordon believes it may not.
Samuelson believes Europe and perhaps the US is entering a stage he refers to as the "exhaustion of the modern social order". He suggests that demographics are stacked against Europe, Japan and the US; declining and aging work force.
He points to Gordon's identification of 3 industrial revolutions. The first occurring in England around 1750 with cotton spinning, the steam engine and railroads. The second, 1870-1900, electricity, the internal combustion engine and indoor plumbing. The third, the mainframe computer around 1960.
Excluding the computer, Gordon see the digital age as being more relevant to entertainment than labor saving or high productivity.
Samuelson suggest that stalled economic growth in Europe is straining the political systems ability to meet peoples expectations where the pursuit of self interest becomes more contentious and destructive. If we are not to follow Europe's path then "we should reduce people's claims on the system and strive for faster economic growth." Otherwise, we may slip into a great reversal.
This article may seem disjointed but I'm writing to make the point that whether it be less major violations (ethics and earmarks) or major failure of the legislative process (housing crisis, federal debt, and so on - - -) , these issues are processed by the public as 'just another issue that needs fixing' as opposed to placing accountability on the legislators.
Surely we believe that congress plans, administers, provides for oversight and justice down to the nitty gritty. For example, gas refineries in Calif can't begin producing 'winter gas' until the gov't of Calif gives approval. Likewise, congress, through federal agencies, regulates the very heart beat of the country. Thus, congress persons bear the responsibility for legislation, or the lack thereof, that gave us the housing crisis, the federal debt, and so on - - -. Therefore, instead of just crying out to the masses about this wrong or that wrong and waiting for 'fixes' that rarely come, we should be holding congress persons accountable for their deeds. This November we should vote large numbers of incumbents from office.
Likewise, we should be able to sue federal officials that have abdicated their sworn oath to uphold the Constitution as it relates to such issues as withholding access to Article V Convention from the public.
What is really needed is a new 3rd party with a different political attitude such as the Republic Sentry Party.. A party designed to remove the money influence from politics and gov't and implement REAL campaign finance reform.
Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.
Posted by Roy Ellis at October 8, 2012 10:25 PM
A little more tautology here. The gov’t is spending $10B of taxpayer money to close the gap on short sales. This is a wonderful bailout for the banks and underwater homeowners. But, the amazing part of it is that you are helping to pay for the ‘short’ part of the sale.
And, it is amazing isn’t it, that instead of booting those from office who brought on the housing crisis, the taxpayers are dutifully bailing out the banks and the home owners who bit off too much risk?
Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.
We’ll only ever get out of the system what we put into it. If we put people in office who aren’t willing to be held accountable for their actions and legislation (like mentioned above) then we’ll get the kind of results we’ve been getting for the last 10 years or so.
Otherwise, the Corpocracy we deserve.
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