With a presidential election looming in the not-too-distant future, the news media is having a good ole time analyzing every aspect of the political landscape. As always, the Democrats and Republicans are at odds, each blaming the other for the faltering economy, the deficit, unemployment, and an assortment of other inequities.
As I see it, the core issue should not be trying to figure out who’s to blame. All 535 members of Congress are to blame. End of story. But the compelling question is this: how do we fix what seems like the unfixable?
A friend of mine sent me an e-mail the other day with a proposal that Warren Buffet supposedly made. I don’t know if he actually wrote this piece, but whoever did, hit the nail squarely on the head. Here’s a reprint of the proposal:
“I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” Buffett told CNBC. “You just pass a law that says that any time there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 … before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land … all because of public pressure.
Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around. *Congressional Reform Act of 2011*
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.”
I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to politics, but I think Mr. Buffet is on to something here.