- Gas at the pump soaring!
- Food used as fuel – ethanol – adopted without an understanding of its impact – pushed by lobbyists!
- Oil Companies still receive federal subsidies!
- Food prices soaring!
- Congress intentionally slowing completion of the border fence.
- Earmarks costing the taxpayers billions!
- Congress using earmarks to return favors to campaign contributors.
- Lobbyists / special interests contributing to Congressional campaigns, heavily influencing your Representatives.
- Congress regularly deferring to lobbyists over the voter.
- Seniority system in Congress fueling almost absolute power to a select few Senators and Representatives.
- Congress riddled with ethics violations, both rule violations and moral violations.
- Rampant disregard of the public trust.
- Senators and Representatives entering Congress with little personal wealth and leaving with great personal wealth.
- Partisan politics nearly always trumps what is good for America and good for the American people.
- Funds wasted on earmarks and redundant Federal programs.
- America’s sovereignty and national security at risk due to oil.
- America’s oil independence abdicated by Congress in favor of lobbyists.
- Congress is 38% lawyers.
This list should be enough of an indictment on Congress and how it functions to warrant changes – big changes. Today’s Congress does not run as was intended by the founding fathers. Why should your Representatives be listening to and acting upon requests from constituents of other Districts and States and not you? Why would a Senator or Representative take actions contrary to the well being of their constituent and nation? It is all about money! Money for reelection to perpetuate this non-representation of constituents. Money to be able to leave Congress very wealthy. Congress has become a lure for those who seek power and money from that power. Lobbyists provide the money to power campaigns in all sorts of devious ways. Senators and Representatives repay campaign contributors with un-debated and often weakly disclosed earmarked projects. Congress is almost the definition of broken government or more aptly corrupt government. Our Congress often makes the Iraqi and Mexican Parliaments look like a Boy Scout Jamboree.
Why is it wrong?
The Senate: The founding fathers placed checks and balances in the Constitution for the States to control the Federal Government. This was done to ensure that the States remained an equal partner. It was also done to keep power from being concentrated. In 1913, Congress, after years of trying to make Senate elections direct and not serve the legislatures, with the help of a powerful newspaper chain (Hearst Newspapers – Randolph Hearst felt he could control elections of Senators if they were directly elected, by swaying public opinion about the candidates) pushed through the Seventeenth Amendment – the House Joint Resolution 39 and the Ratification process are still questioned today as whether the Constitution was followed. The Congress with a strong popular movement by the voters due to the wide reaching Hearst chain’s agenda journalism was in an absolute rush to push the amendment through.
What did the amendment change? From the founding of this nation until the Seventeenth in 1913, Senators were elected by the States’ Legislatures and represented the States. Senators were obliged to mind the wishes of the States’ Legislatures. The Senate, the upper house, was the voice of the States in the Federal Government. The only lobby the Senators could really listen to was the lobby that elected them – their legislature. After the Seventeenth Amendment, the Senate was elected by directly by the voter, but this made them subject to the growing threat of lobbyists. Senate campaigns now run between ten million and one hundred million dollars, depending on location. This requires money from people, PAC’s, and corporations, not of your state, seeking to influence future votes on matters concerning them that may be contrary to your state’s needs. The direct election of Senators removed any control your State had over the growth of and the operation of the Federal Government.
The House of Representatives: The founding fathers intended the House to be the lower house, made up of citizen legislators. It was not to be a permanent home for Representatives serving for up to 50 years, as is the case of Representative John Dingell. These citizen legislators were to be the direct representative of the people of their district, serving the needs of the people of their district, and listening only to the people of their district. Today, to run for the House of Representatives, it will cost upwards of $5 Million for both the primary and general elections. This money primarily comes from outside your Congressional District. It comes from lobbyists in devious ways, corporations, again in devious ways, and from political parties. Since most of the money for the campaign does not come from the District, you do not get represented, the contributors do. Someone or some entity in Florida does not contribute to a campaign in a Texas District, without expecting votes in return. Votes often not in your best interest.
What do we do about it?
First, fix the Senate and return checks and balances back to your State. Push, plead with, and prod your State Legislature, through a Constitutional Convention, to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment.
Second, return your House Representative to his or her role of Citizen Legislator. Take the big money out of the job. Remove the overarching influence on these Representatives away from people and entities not in your District. Push, plead with, and prod your State Legislature to, through that Constitutional Convention, to amend the Constitution to restrict campaign contributions to House candidate campaigns. Require candidates for the House of Representatives to only accept campaign contributions of money, property, or services in kind from INDIVIDUALS PRIMARILY RESIDING in the candidate’s district. No money from lobbyists outside the District, no money from Corporations, and no money from political parties. The cost of a campaign will drop dramatically, creating a level playing field for candidates. The elected representative from your District, will only have you the voter/constituent to serve.
Third, at that Constitutional Convention, push, plead with, and prod your State Legislature to, through the Convention, propose a Constitutional Amendment that restricts all spending bills to be of like nature, military, agriculture, health, etc, and spending provisions may not be including in an amendment – it must be in the main body of the bill and clearly disclose in the bill if it is a targeted expense to one District or to one State and not a broad based spending bill. This will eliminate earmarks.
Fourth, Simply do not vote for an incumbent in November. This will replace 468 sitting Senators and Representatives for the 111th Congress in 2009. How is that for a message to Congress?