Downsizing Congress – Its Time Has Come

I did not author this piece. It was sent to me by a friend (thank you B.L.) but after the events of this past weekend/holiday, the suggestions included herein sure sound good to me.

I am feeling a bit numb after all the politics I’ve been listening to and watching over the last months and even years. There is lots more coming down the pike soon, too, but I need to seriously consider letting some of it go from my psyche and just BREATHE…. So here goes:

Downsizing

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 must 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 the board of directors gives upper corporate management big bonuses.

Our government should not be immune from similar risks.

Therefore:

Reduce the House of Representatives from the current 435 members to 218 members.

Reduce Senate members from 100 to 50(one per State). Then, reduce their 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.)

$437,100,000 for elimination of their staff. (Estimate $1.3 Million in staff per each member of the House, and $3 Million in staff per each member of the Senate every year)

$108,350,000 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 improve efficiencies. It might even be in their best interests to work together for the good of our country!

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 does not hesitate to head home for extended weekends, holidays and recesses, when what the nation needs is a real fix for economic problems. Also, we had 3 senators who were not doing their jobs for the 18+ months (on the campaign trail) and still they all accepted full pay. Minnesota survived very well with only one senator for the first half of this year. These facts alone support a reduction in senators and congress.

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.

$70,850,000 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.

$8,084,558,400 per year, estimated total savings. (That’s 8-BILLION just to start!)

Corporate America does these types of cuts all the time. There’s even a name for it — “Downsizing.”

Also, if Congresspersons were required to serve 20, 25 or 30 years (like everyone else) in order to collect retirement benefits, taxpayers could save a bundle.

Now they get full retirement after serving only ONE term.

If you are happy with how Washington spends our taxes, just ignore these ideas. Otherwise, it’s time to “downsize” Congress.

The 26th Amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 before computers, before e-mail, before 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.

Congressional Reform Act of 2013

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 and 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 get automatic pay raises. 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 1/1/13.

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.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So there we have it. Ideas. Some very good ideas. Let’s mull it over and maybe we can get somewhere with it. Maybe not. It’s worth considering, though.

Happy New Year All,

Bex & Co.

“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog…

He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world…

When all other friends desert, he remains.”

~ George V. Vest ~

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7 Responses to Downsizing Congress – Its Time Has Come

  1. Reenie says:

    Bex:

    Provocative reading. Thanks for posting. It�s all so overwhelming for me. Makes my brain sore.

    Is there something wrong with me? When I saw the words pork barrel my thoughts drifted to your pork pies I�d read about earlier. 🙂

    Like

  2. Rhubarb says:

    What I’d like to see is some kind of relationship between their compensation package ($ + perks) to their productivity. For the least productive Congress EVER to receive full pay is an outrage.

    BTW, I believe that reducing the number of Reps and Senators would require Constitutional Amendment(s).

    Like

  3. mz. em says:

    Finally someone had come up with some good ideas about cutting the deficit. I can understand the above idea of not enough representation of the people. But, it does seem to me that politicians have created a job for themselves instead of serving the people. Why, do they have to pass so many laws each year? Don’t we have enough as it is?

    Like

  4. TopsyTurvy says:

    Um, you do realize that by cutting Congress what you’re doing is making it harder for YOU to get something done if you need help, right?

    Cut the House from 435 to 218 members? Yes, we have much better technology since 1911 BUT the US also has a much higher population, 92 million then versus 315 million in 2012. So the number of House members has stayed the same while the number of people they serve has tripled.

    I’d say that technology is barely holding its own with that.

    You know, members of Congress don’t just sit in Washington DC and vote on this or that pork barrel. They also work with the people in their districts.

    Mind you, I don’t live in the US right now so if you folks think it’s a good idea for you to have LESS control and LESS representation in the gov’t – well, I wish you luck.

    Like

  5. Rambler says:

    Not sure about lessening representation. There’s so many of us, so diverse, that I find it hard to believe that we can be adequately represented by one person, or two, or however many.

    We have the tools to become more democratic. Maybe we should start thinking about implementing some of them. Just thinking off the top of my head, trying to argue another side…

    Like

  6. Bex says:

    You said a mouthful, L’Empress. Their own interests are all that matter… whether they will win the next primary, etc…so selfish, so greedy. I don’t know how we can put the genie back in the bottle at this late date either. We can only hope.

    Like

  7. l'empress says:

    As you know, I have had similar ideas — like do the job or step aside for someone who can. One of the saddest things I know is that it isn’t going to happen. We have yet to build a society of leaders who don’t place their own interests before anyone else’s.

    Like

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