Other Voices: Bring in fresh faces, public servants who’ll make us proud
If our members of Congress are sincere in their quest to cut the cost of government, I would recommend that they start in their own house as we do in ours.
The annual operating budget for the U.S. Congress is $4.4 billion, or $8.2 million per member of Congress. Think about that for a moment – $4.4 billion!
That’s a lot of money for services rendered, no wonder they agreed to bail out AIG at the blink of an eye. What’s a few billion amongst friends and bankers.
Recently Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York took trips to the Caribbean that were paid for by various corporations. After the ethics committee investigation, Rangel asserted that the ethics report “exonerates” him because it says there is no evidence that he knew the trips were sponsored by corporations. The ethics report did state that his staff knew who paid for the trips.
Do you really believe that Rep. Rangel had no knowledge of who paid for the trips? Of course, no action is being taken by the ethics committee, which is a joke at best. Rep. Rangel violated the public’s trust and should be forced out of office with no benefits or retirement.
The culture in Washington needs to change, the club members (lobbyist and members of Congress) have been in each other’s back pockets for too long.
We, the voters, have not done our jobs properly. We keep voting the same people back into power hoping that we will get different results.
When we look around we find that at the state and federal levels we have a majority of “professional politicians” instead of public servants. I am sure the term “professional politicians” was not on anyone’s agenda when the framers of our great Constitution got together. It was felt that people would sacrifice and come to Washington and serve for a term and return to their communities and farms allowing new ideas and real change to flow into our young democracy.
At this time in our history I would like to see all new faces in Washington and Sacramento. Perhaps it would be chaos for awhile but it would take at least six months to a year before the lobbyist could become effective again.
Remember, our state and federal elected officials have not been unemployed or furloughed, they have not lost a home to foreclosure. They don’t pay for health insurance and in the case of the U.S. Senate and Congress they receive health benefits for life. They have defined benefits for retirement which we the taxpayers foot the bill for. No wonder they don’t want to go back to the real world – they have the best gig around. And don’t forget the perks from the special-interest folks.
As taxpayers, we are tired of business as usual which is why many voters are running away from the from the donkeys and elephants and becoming independents.
As our country moves forward in this new decade we need our elected officials from Washington and Sacramento to have our backs and become the public servants that we can all be proud of.
Jake Bronson lives in Nevada City.
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