Restoring Faith In Our Government

… Rome become bankrupt.” Cicero

The Congressional election results were neither a mandate for extremist social or political agendas of Republicans and Tea Party activists nor the result of the Democrats inability to communicate their accomplishments and future agenda.

Rather, they were a repudiation of the entrenched Beltway establishment, its reckless spending, lavish life-styles, lack of accountability and refusal to seriously limit the size and scope of the federal government. With Congress’ job approval rating hovering below 20%, more than lip service is necessary to restore confidence in our government and even our political system.

The partisan politics of party-first must cease! Reducing and eliminating the deficit, assisting the private sector to create new jobs, securing our borders, energy independence and protecting the environment must take precedence over who gets elected in 2012!

If the Administration and new-elected Congress are truly serious about supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States (the only mandate in their respective oaths) and serving the best interests of the people of the United States … some food for thought.

1. While the following “sacrifices” are more symbolic than substantive, they would reduce federal outlays and could be a first step toward renewing public confidence.

a. Reduce Congressional, White House and Executive Department staffs by at least 20%.

b. Freeze all federal salaries until the current $1,300,000,000,000 deficit is reduced by at least 50%.

c. Require all federal employees to fully participate in the Social Security system and be subject to the same health care mandates recently imposed on the American public.

d. Reign in the outlandish retirement benefits (including vesting periods and ages to receive benefits) of elected officials and appointed bureaucrats, bringing them in line with the private sector where their constituents live and work.

e. Trim non-salary Congressional, White House and Executive Department budgets by at least 25%.

2. Equalize civil servant salaries and benefits with those in the private sector and repeal legislation tying across-the-board federal salary increases to raises for single groups (i.e., federal judges). The long-term savings are significant.

3. Require amendments be related to legislation being considered; thereby eliminating costly expenditures (“earmarks”) frequently buried in popular, but unrelated, bills.

4. Proactively address the controversial big-dollar items highlighted in the recommendation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, specifically Social Security, Medicare, Defense and Taxes. Not since the darkest days of World War II has the American public been asked to participate in shared sacrifices for the good of the nation.

If the perceived price to do so is not being reelected, then it would be interesting to see whether our President and members of Congress have the courage to do what is right for our country’s future before its deficit and debt service overwhelms the economy. Unless statesmanship begins to trump political expediency, the United States could well fall in to the same economic abyss into which Europe’s PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) have descended.

5. Extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed who are actively seeking employment; as these monies are rapidly recycled into the private sector economy.

6. Pass comprehensive immigration reform which does not reward law breakers (be they illegal aliens or companies who hire them) but fast-tracks individuals who’ve entered the country legally and recognizes we are a nation of immigrants and the needs of our economy!

7. Eliminate the bureaucratic roadblocks to licensing and expedite the permitting of both conventional and alternative energy projects.

8. Do not waste time on efforts to repeal the health care bill which will only be vetoed. First, there are many popular provisions and second, most Americans believe no one should be denied basic health care for lack of coverage. While major changes are needed, particularly where its costs are concerned, they can be addressed on a responsible, case-by-case basis.

9. Require that members of Congress certify, in writing, that they have fully read and understand every bill before they cast a vote.

10. Legislatively demand accountability from all government employees. The practice of permitting waste, mismanagement and/or incompetence to go unpunished is an anathema to the type of government the public has a right to expect.

11. With next year’s reapportionment, require committees making such decisions be representative of the body public, in which close to a third of registered voters are not associated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

In their wisdom, our founding fathers used the words “no” and “not” with respect to restraining the federal government twenty-four times in the Constitution and twenty-two more times in the Bill of Rights.

The decades of ever more costly and expansive government must cease or both our economy and liberties are at risk!

by Dick Newbert

Langhorne, PA 19047

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