“I’d Like to Propose….”
J. D. Longstreet (and an Unknown Author)
Like you, I get tons of e-mail. Every so often I get material for a “suggested commentary” from readers. That’s how this one came to be in my inbox. As I am not mathematically inclined, I have not run the numbers so I cannot vouch for their accuracy and I will not even try.
Having said that, I must also say, the writer, whoever, he/she is, does posit some fodder for thought, especially when the country finds itself in trying financial times such as we are experiencing today in America. Our form of capitalism comes with these cycles built in.
IF we remain a capitalist country, and I have strong doubts that we will, we must go back to teaching our scholars, while they are yet in high school, that recessions, and recovery from same, and yes, even depressions, will come and go. It is the way a system based on a free market operates. It is when we forget that fundamental of capitalist economics that we get into trouble. I was taught that in high school over half a century ago. It has stuck with me and, as a result, I tend not to get rattled when the “slow downs” come. The trick, of course, is to plan for the slow downs during the cycles of plenty. America could take a lesson from Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream about the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine. But, that is a commentary for another day.
The Proposal: (Author Unknown)
When a company falls on difficult times, one of the things that seems to happen is they reduce their staff and workers. The remaining workers need to find ways to continue to do a good job or risk that their job would be eliminated as well. Wall street, and the media, normally congratulate the CEO for making this type of "tough decision", and his board of directors gives him a big bonus.
Our government should not be immune from similar risks.
Therefore: Why not reduce the House of Representatives from the current 435 members to 218 members and Senate members from 100 to 50 (one per State). Also reduce the remaining staff by 25%.
Accomplish this over the next 8 years. (Two steps / two elections) and of course this would require some redistricting.
Some yearly monetary gains include:
$44,108,400 for elimination of base pay for congress.
(267 members X $165,200 pay / member / yr.)
$97,175,000 for elimination of the above people's staff. (Estimate $1.3 Mil in staff per each member of the House, and $3 Mil in staff per each member of the Senate every year).
$240,294 for the reduction in remaining staff by 25%.
$7,500,000,000 reduction in pork barrel earmarks each year. (Those members whose jobs are gone. Current estimates for total government pork earmarks are at $15 Billion / yr)
The remaining Representatives would need to work smarter and would need to improve efficiency. It might even be in their best interests to work together for the good of our country? (Ya Think???… Ed)
We may also expect that smaller committees might lead to a more efficient resolution of issues as well. It might even be easier to keep track of what your representative is doing.
Congress has more tools available to do their jobs than it had back in 1911 when the current number of representatives was established. (Telephone, computers, cell phones to name a few)
Note: Congress did not hesitate to head home when it was a holiday, when the nation needed a real fix to the economic problems. Also, we have 3 senators that have not been doing their jobs for the past 18+ months (on the campaign trail) and still they all have been accepting full pay. These facts alone support a reduction in Senators & Congresspersons.
Summary of Opportunity:
$ 44,108,400 reduction of Congress members.
$282,100,000 for elimination of the reduced house member staff.
$150,000,000 for elimination of reduced senate member staff.
$59,675,000 for 25% reduction of staff for remaining House members.
$37,500,000 for 25% reduction of staff for remaining Senate members.
$7,500,000,000 reduction in pork added to bills by the reduction of congress members.
$8,073,383,400 per year (estimated total savings.)
Big business does these types of cuts all the time.
If Congresspersons were required to serve 20, 25 or 30 years (like everyone else) in order to collect retirement benefits… there is no telling how much we would save. Now they get full retirement after serving only ONE term.
Now, I am not so naive as to believe that any of this is going to happen… at least not in my lifetime… if ever. Some of it even begs the question of feasibility. Nevertheless, it IS interesting to ponder.
The so-called “Stimulus Bill,” which is expected to be passed at any moment, in my opinion, is only going to set us back, deeper into the current recession, and our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will be paying for it. Where else is the money going to come from to pay for all this? It must come from you and me and the others listed above. The Stimulus Bill is not going to do one single thing to get us out of debt. It is only going to suffocate us under tons and tons of MORE DEBT.
I would remind you, as so many other conservative writers have, that FDR did not get America out of her last, much, much, worst, Depression. In fact, FDR made it worse by doing exactly the same things the Obama Administration and our leftist/socialist Congress is doing. Apparently, our government doesn’t know its own history, and it is repeating it.
So, buckle up America, it is all down hill for a while, at least until we bottom out. Maybe, just maybe, the American people will, by that time, have seen the error of their ways (by electing a socialist government) and toss them all out on their rear-ends and replace them with some realist conservatives. Until then, America is facing some dark, dark, days ahead.
J. D. Longstreet