Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of Politics

I feel compelled to say something about the State of the Union. Not the speech but the state of the country. It sort of sucks. But it could have sucked worse. We could have been in the deepest depression of our history if not for the often unpopular actions taken by our still new president. But bailouts, even when they work, are as he phrased it, "about as popular as a root canal." They do stop the pain. But they don't make teeth aches any more popular. We all still hate the banks.

And we all still hate politics as usual. And it looks like the political races are beginning early. What used to be called the silly season in Washington seems constant. We don't elect our representatives to run for office. We supposedly elect them to govern and serve. And yet increasingly they seem to serve only special interests and govern very little - not even their morals much - and constantly run to get re-elected.

When President Obama talked about a freeze on spending I began figuring in my head just what it was we could save if we cut out all congressional positions. First their salaries. Then their Cadillac health care, and travel expenses back and forth to their districts where they ignore us, then the salaries of their staffs and their health care and their travel expenses. And without them running for office there would be no matching public funds for their campaigns.

Then there are some possible ways to bring in income from the empty Senate and House Office buildings. We could lease them to lobbyists since they are there all the time anyway but with nobody to lobby they may move on to other jobs (would that increase the unemployment rate which we have already increased with the unemployed legislators and their staffs?). Maybe the banks and investment companies will want to rent office space.

Then of course there is the Capital building itself. Won't need it for sessions of congress. Might make a nice convention center which could be rented out. A wedding in the rotunda would be quite an affair. We could keep one or two of those congressional limousines to rent for those weddings and sell the rest of them off.

Financially there is much to be said for a benign dictatorship. So as we approach, all too rapidly, the midterm elections I urge all my fellow Americans to just say NO. As in no more politics as usual. Let us have some governing for a change. If any of those elected representatives had actually represented us instead of themselves we might not be in this mess to begin with.

I propose a whole new approach to voting in elections.

Vote for the candidate that spends the least amount of money to win your vote. Vote for the also rans. Those that got into the race because they wanted to change things not fly to Bermuda for political junkets. That should put a hitch in their get-a-long as my uncle used to say.