Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fixing the System

FIXCONGRESS.jpgI have been talking with a friend who is of the opinion that there should be a one -Party system because the Constitution says "We the people" and  having more than one party is placing a label for the purpose of separating people by groups and that is what is wrong with the nation.

I disagree profusely. Having different Parties is what has made this country great, it allows people with similar political point of views and vision to work together for the good of the country.  People elect for office a person with a similar vision as theirs.  This doesn't mean that each political Party should be in "war" with each other; as adults and "professionals" they should be able to jointly brainstorm issues, work for a common goal and  be flexible enough to satisfy the majority of the people and always, always work together for the betterment of the nation, as a whole. 

However, I told my friend that any given Party is just a name to identify a group of people with similar ideals and that is definitively not where the problem resides. The problem we are facing it is not that we have multiple Parties; it is that since the 80s changes have been made to the rules of how the "game" it's played. The Equal-Time rule is no longer in existence and Congress allowed the Fairness Doctrine to expire and ever since then the most important concern for those running for office, from a simple City Official to the President of the United States, is to get funds for their next campaign since now they must pay for the airtime to run their TV and newspaper ads.  That's what they do from day one: Fundraising, not governing. 

We, the people, are no longer their main concern... their priority is to find the money to fund their next campaign. 

Then, about 3 years ago Citizens United - a Republican dream for at least 3 decades – became a reality, and now large corporations can "help" elect candidates that will benefit them and not the people. This must be overturned, a corporation will never be a person unless one day it can donate one of its vital organs, if it can be sentenced to death or give birth to a child.  I doubt they will ever be able to do any of these things, therefore they are not and will never be people. 

Money corrupts, this is known by everyone for centuries and money has to be taken out of the equation. An amount dedicated for elections, an equal amount of money for each and every candidate regardless of Party should be assigned. These monies should be provided by the Treasury and be part of the Federal budget. This will eliminate the sugar daddies and would free the elected official from "campaigning" and concentrate on what they were elected to do, govern. 

Lobbying should be banned, period. 

Furthermore, passing something in Congress doesn’t require a majority of the votes anymore. It used to be that 50% +1 was a majority, even mathematically it still is.  However, for Congress today 60% is what they consider a majority.  This needs to change and fast. 

Filibustering should change too. It is absurd that one candidate such as "Ted" Cruz can stand there and talk for hours about anything, even reading Green Eggs and Ham to filibuster a vote in Congress. I do believe in filibuster, but if you are - as a single individual – obstructing a vote, then you should do it by talking about the subject that you passionately object to and nothing more. I can talk for hours on end about a subject I am passionate about and this shouldn't be that difficult. A person shouldn't obstruct without providing a solid and clear reason for his or her objection. 

Serving the people (what these official are supposed to be doing) shouldn't be a career; it must NOT be a career. The President is allowed to serve two terms, Congressmen should not hold their jobs forever, and neither should any of the Supreme Justices. Perhaps Congressmen should be allowed to serve 3 terms and Justices 4, but that's it... after that, new blood is needed since an apple in a barrel of rotten apples will eventually rotten too. 

Any member(s) of Congress that maliciously obstruct legislation because they are answering to a political agenda should immediately be removed from office, regardless of party affiliation. A member of Congress can disagree and even obstruct, but if that obstruction is obviously malicious, and that Congressman is obstructing more than three times, the Congressman should immediately be removed from their position and new elections for that post should take place or the Governor of those States should appoint a temporary replacement. 

The rules for Federal Shutdowns should also change. If Congress decides to exercise their right to shutdown government, then they should not receive compensation and that time should be deducted from their years of service. 

Amendment 14, Section 4 of the Constitution clearly says that all public debt must be paid, without exception. Therefore, the President should be granted power to pay the public debt WITHOUT the approval of Congress... there is no need for Congress to approve payment of the expenses they previously approved. 

Members of Congress should not have more than 20 working days of vacation. For Thanksgiving they should have 2 days off, and the same goes for Christmas - that's what an American worker gets. They are not a "special class," they are our SERVANTS. 

And finally, not a single member of Congress should get 80% of their salaries for life after 5 years of service... Not a single citizen gets that not even after 20 years of service, and these public servants shouldn't either, after all, it's OUR money. 

If these changes could be done what's currently broken in the system would be fixed.

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