Oh boy! Things are sure starting off with a bang in 2010 politically.
Quite a number of Democrat Congressmen are deciding to retire from the Senate and the House. The Republicans are salivating at the prospect of gaining seats on the Democrats in both houses. There are also some Republicans deciding to cash in their chips as well, causing the Democrats to think they’ll be able to hold onto their power. Well, whoop-de-doo!
Personally, I’m disgusted with the whole bunch of them. I’m still looking for men and women of conviction. Men and women who are willing to take on the tough issues and stand their ground. Men and women who do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Men and women who stand on principle. Men and women who represent “We the people” and not special interest groups and political action committees. Men and women who do not have skeletons in their closets. Men and women who are willing to risk serving only one term if it means fixing the mess in Washington DC. Men and women who put the interests of their constituents above the interests of their party. Men and women who serve their country because they want to see it prosper, and not because they can financially benefit. I feel as though I am looking for such people in vain.
Have you ever looked at how much members of Congress make each year in salary? It’s very educational. As our nation emerged from the Revolution, members of Congress were paid $6.00 per diem (Latin: per day, or for each day served). In those early days members of Congress only met about half the year to manage the affairs of the nation. Otherwise they were home working on their farms or in their commercial trades. This held from 1789-1815. At $6.00 per diem two hundred days came to $1,200 annually. It then went to a straight salary for a couple of years of $1,500. Then it was $8.00 per diem until 1855 (or $1,600). Over the intervening years the Congressional salary has continued to grow annually with two exceptions: 1873-79, and 1929-35. This is interesting in itself because there have been five periods of economic depression in the United States. But only twice has Congress voted to cut their salaries during these downturns. The annual salary for Congressmen today is $174,000.
Then there’s the retirement plan for members of Congress. This is another issue, so suffice it to say, “Congressional pension benefits are 2-3 times more generous than what a similarly-salaried executive could expect to receive upon retiring from the private sector” (Taken from the National Taxpayers Union). Did you get that? Congressional retirement pay is 2-3 times MORE than those evil, money-grubbing, villainous corporate executives!
So, okay, they vote themselves pay increases every year. We’ve allowed them to do that because we keep sending the same kind of folks to DC.
In 2009 the Democrats have dug themselves a hole with this Health Care Bill. Folks across the country are simply disgusted with this monkey business. The undercurrent of discontent is evident in the polling data which shows a lot of Democrats may be facing uphill battles for re-election. That’s fine by me, because the Democratic Party has shifted so far to the Left that it is unrecognizable. On the other hand, the Republican Party has shown itself to be at sea without a rudder. This party of supposed conservatism has also abandoned its political base by pandering to the policies of the Left. The GOP (Grand Old Party) of Lincoln and Reagan has lost its moorings.
Here’s a question I would like to posit to both political parties. Why should I vote for you?
Listen carefully Congress! You have pushed the American people too far. If you will stand upon principle (Are you listening Senator Ben Nelson?) and do what is right, then I will consider voting for you. If you will serve the American people and not your purse, then I will consider voting for you. If you will aggressively work to reduce the tax burden on the American people, reduce the size of government, and reduce the intrusion of government in the private sector, then I will consider voting for you. Republican, Democrat, or whatever!
I hope you are listening, Congress. We’re ten months away from the next election. Prepare to be surprised.