Monday, January 10, 2011

Congressional Reform?

A friend of mine just emailed me this thought and proposal.  It was one of those emails that you are instructed to send on to x number of people and then the world will change.  I'm not a huge fan of those emails so I didn't forward it. However, I think it's a good idea, what was contained in that email.

In short, the concept involves moving our civil service positions away from profession and toward service.  It often isn't the right answer to  just go back to a prior way of doing things.  So I'm not sure we should simply revert to the early ways we did governance.  It's also not usually the right answer to leave things the way they are (unless they became that way naturally... sometimes that is a good answer).  Some of the ideas below are good ones, I think.  One other thing I think is that the Church would probably achieve it's mission more fully if we weren't only using a professional model for our pastors.


Congressional Reform Act of 2011
1. Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible options below.
  A. Two Six-year Senate terms
  B. Six Two-year House terms
  C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
2.  No Tenure / No Pension.  A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.  
3.  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. 
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. 
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.  

The American people did not make the current contract with members of Congress.  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. 


Anonymous said...

interesting idea. my question is what is the problem that these changes will address? it's not clear to me that the problems that we see in washington are going to be resolved by having higher turnover...


Brandon said...

Is this CE as in prof at EMU? It seems to be that professional politics has created an entity... a corporation. As you know, when such an entity is created, it tends to watch out for itself more than it's mission (though that can be corrected by trying hard). I believe that a lot of energy is spent in Washington on getting reelected. When that is a primary focus, thinking hard, brainstorming and coming up with things that may be against what your constituency is comfortable with is actually against your goal. So, shorter terms, less benefits etc. may not solve tons of problems, but I bet it would refocus the purpose of the congress (shifting away from a successful "career" and toward good leadership). That said, I'm no expert on governance. Still learning.


Click here for all sorts of pictures from parts of our lives