Welcome to the third installment of a suggested agenda that the recent elections show the electorate wants of the politicians we just elected…politicians on probation, not politicians to whom we’ve given free reign.
Contact your elected officials if you agree with this agenda. Tell them what you expect of them as your representatives…and that ignoring “we the people” and the constitution will result in them being part of another electoral bloodbath in 2012.
Earmarks/pork barrel spending
For years politicians have followed the adage “A politicians first job upon getting elected…is to get re-elected.”
Beyond the obvious problem with that philosophy itself are the actions our congressmen engage in in order to follow it. One of their worst practices is earmarking, also known as “pork barrel spending” or bringing home the bacon.
The practice has to stop…now.
Let’s start with the acknowledgement that government pork is not a budget buster. This country is not in debt to the tune of $14 trillion because of pork, and cutting pork will not balance the budget. Despite that, pork must end for two reasons.
First, while it is not a huge amount of money, as our mothers told us, pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars; that is small amounts, piled one on top of the other, add up. The late Everett Dirkson, representative and later senator from Illinois, was famously quoted as saying, “A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there…pretty soon you’re talking REAL money.”
The second reason pork has to end is because that would be a good first step in changing Washington-think that the public is nothing more than an open checkbook, useful only to finance whatever spending our leaders choose to engage in. It is time the politicians realized they are stewards of our money, and they are going to become good stewards…and we will drag them, kicking and screaming if necessary, to that realization or make them participants in the next round of election bloodbaths.
First let’s define “pork”. Some would have us believe that any money allocated to a specific project in a specific state by a congressman from that state proposing the allocation…is pork. Almost, but not quite. As Rand Paul, senator-elect from Kentucky, points out, if there is a need for federal dollars for a constitutional expenditure in a state and a congressman proposes that spending, it is not pork. For example, facilitation of interstate commerce is a constitutional duty of the federal government, and that would include building and maintaining US highways. With that in mind, a congressman proposing the allocation of funds to repair a bridge on a US highway in his state that is in disrepair would not be asking for pork. It is the federal government’s job to maintain US highways and bridges.
The same congressman asking for funds to repair a bridge on a county road in his district is asking for pork…and that is the federal spending that must stop. It is not the responsibility of a taxpayer in Portland, Oregon to pay to repair a bridge or build a sidewalk or library in Jasper, Georgia.
Politicians hate the light of day, and will do almost anything to keep their constituents back home from seeing how they waste money pandering to lobbyists and how they abridge our rights by passing unconstitutional laws. They also like to assure passage of unpopular laws by attaching them to bills that are guaranteed to pass. They will do almost anything to avoid the sanitizing light of open examination.
These “hidden bills” must come to an end. If a piece of legislation is constitutional and needed it will stand up to the light of day. The new congress, and others in the future, should do two things to make sure all legislation is good for America and our way of life.
First, every piece of legislation should be accompanied by written justification for the constitutionality of the new law, written in plain English, not legalese, so the average citizen can understand how the legislation is constitutional. Note I said EVERY piece of legislation, no exceptions.
Second, every piece of legislation should stand alone on its own merits. For too long congress has passed unpopular legislation by tying it to legislation that is assured of passage but is unrelated to the questionable proposed law. If the two bills are not on the same topic they should not be tied together. As an example, a bill addressing gays in the military should not be tied to a pentagon funding bill. Such a funding bill…ANY funding bill for ANY area of government should only address funding, period. If any bill is good enough to deserve passage it should be good enough to stand on its own.
Coming Thursday, the agenda, part 4, addressing cap and trade and card check.
This is a discussion, not a lecture. Please…add your thoughts by clicking on the comments link below. Agree, disagree, add to or subtract from the suggestions…all I ask is that you play nice and stick to facts instead of name calling and flaming. We don’t have to act like politicians.
Or, just stop in comments and say, “Hi!”.
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