Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We The People...

An open letter to the President and Congress:

Dear Mr. President and Congress,

It seems that you are all having a hard time with your decision making skills, so I would like to remind you of a few things that you seem to have forgotten.

WE THE PEOPLE have elected you to do a job. That job is to represent US (the People). If you can't handle that, it's OK, we can elect someone else.

And in case you forgot the basics of your job, maybe I can help you remember. Does this sound familiar to you?

"We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

That's it. That is your job:

Establish Justice... provide fair and reasonable rule of law.

Insure Domestic Tranquility... provide First Responders to allow for a life free of disturbance. And although you obviously can't make everyone Happy, you should certainly promote an atmosphere where we can create our own Happiness.

Provide For The Common Defense... provide a strong military presence, not to police the world, but rather to provide for our safety here in our own country.

Promote The General Welfare... this does not mean create a Welfare State. This is the General Welfare, meaning to provide assistance (financial, educational, or otherwise) to people in need in order to help them become more self-sufficient. Note: this is a courtesy of the People, not an entitlement.

Secure The Blessings Of Liberty To Ourselves And Our Posterity... this means we will ensure that our Children have the same Freedoms that we enjoy, and that we will leave the Country a better place than how we inherited it. This is not possible to do if we leave our Children saddled with Trillions of Dollars of Debt!!

And as our Forefathers stated so eloquently... it doesn't need to be perfect, but we should strive for a 'more perfect union'.

One of the reasons I am in favor of Term Limits is that you, Mr/Ms Politician, will know that you will be 'fired' in 4 years or 6 years. (8 years or 12 years if you do a good job and achieve your one possible re-election!)

Since you know you have a limited time, you will try to do as much as you can in the limited time that you have. Note: If you do a great job, you will most certainly command a premium salary in the Private Sector when you get 'fired' from Public Service.

That means you will stop thinking with that long-term Politician mentality. That is when people do as much as they have to in order to get re-elected, but not too much that someone might be offended and not vote for them next election day.

Maybe it would be helpful for you to start thinking of the government as a small business. Or maybe you could make decisions the way you would with your Family Budget.

You know in your Family Budget that you have a set amount of expenses: food, shelter (mortgage, rent, utilities), well-being (medical, health club, insurance), travel (gas, tolls, parking, airfare), entertainment (movies, cable TV, museums, books) and on and on...

When times are tough, you have two options: spend less, make more.

Sadly, Congress, you have taken on option #3: go into debt.

No, in real life you need to choose between option 1 and option 2. Either you cut back on frivolous (unnecessary) spending or you need to generate more income.

You need to get your priorities in order. You can decide to go to the movies less often, brown bag your lunch, cancel your Cable (TV is mostly wasted time anyway!) and travel locally rather than fly to some far away exotic location. Or, if you decide that your Premium Cable Package and going out to lunch daily with your fellow Politicians is a priority for you, then you need to generate more income. So maybe you need to get a part time job (temporarily, until you straighten out the economy) as a Wal-Mart greeter, or you could try your hand at waiting on tables or selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door.

Either way you need to choose: spend less--make more.

Do I need to translate that into GovernmentSpeak for you Mr/Ms Congressperson?

That means cut spending or raise taxes (temporarily).

When you cut spending it needs to come from non-essential budgets. You know, the Goofy Stuff. That means all the 'Pork' spending in bills that build bridges that go nowhere, and funding for experiments that determine which ketchup pours faster. And although some of these things may net interesting information (in the long run) they could be put on hold for now until the economy can support extra spending on things like the already over-budget Webb Space Telescope, on which we have already spent $18.4 Billion, but which having gone over budget, now needs an additional $1.6 Billion to complete! Note: this funding for the Webb telescope is to replace the (perfectly good and productive) Hubble Space Telescope.

I am a firm believer in a strong Military. But let's get with the Modern Times, can we please?! Mr/Ms Senator, just because Boeing or Pratt and Whitney (enter your local business here) is in your state, you don't need to fight for more government Military spending.

The future of the Military is Seal Team 6 and similar types of precision Strike Teams. Small, mobile, travel light. Do we need to spend billions on tanks? It is highly unlikely that we will ever fight that type of battle again. And we need to be more selective about the aircraft that we build. No more building just to build. Some of these monstrosities are obsolete before they finish building the final aircraft in the contract! We should be spending money on training and intelligence, not expensive obsolete weapons. And don't even get me started on Independent Contractors like Halliburton and Blackwater Worldwide.

All of this leads me to another beef! What is the deal with the concept of, 'Too Big To Fail'? There is no such thing. Economic Darwinism is the American Way!

WE THE PEOPLE promise to 'fire' (vote out) the next politician who even suggests another Bail Out.

Businesses will continue to grow, change, improve or at least keep up... or face the risk of failing. This is what WE THE PEOPLE call being 'Buggy Whipped'.

Remember when stage coach drivers used whips to encourage the horses? Well, when WE THE PEOPLE transitioned from horse-and-buggy to automobiles-- did we Bail Out the buggy whip makers? No. And the world didn't end. Maybe he got hired by Henry Ford (as did the blacksmiths) to make automobiles. Or maybe he reinvented his image and changed his Target Market to create the Sex Toy Industry.

Remember when a young kid named Bill Gates revolutionized the computer industry out of his garage? IBM and those other computer companies had to keep up or move on to 'explore other opportunities'. For a while, he even ended up in court for having a monopoly. Nobody thought he could be brought down. Enter Steve Jobs with his little company called Apple. He had a few innovations of his own.

Did we Bail Out Wang or Honeywell or Dell? No. And they all either got bought out, changed their focus, or changed marketing strategies to keep up.

WE THE PEOPLE refuse to ever Bail Out anyone EVER again.

By bailing out these companies, we are not only setting a bad precedent, we are setting them up to fail. They won't try hard to succeed if they know that we will reward them for their non-effort.

We need to encourage Personal Responsibility. Yes, WE THE PEOPLE are a caring, compassionate and generous people, but we also ascribe to the "give a man a fish, feed him for a day... teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime" theory.

This is why our welfare system also needs to be overhauled. There should be a time limit on our generosity, otherwise people start to feel entitled to the money and support we offer.

We should continue to offer this help and support while recipients are doing job training to learn new skills to make themselves more marketable. Once they are back on their feet, they should come out of the 'system'.

The thing that bugs me the most about the Bail Out situation is that while WE THE PEOPLE are Bailing Out the oil companies, they are generating record profits while simultaneously spilling record amounts of oil into the environment.

Did you know that while we are Bailing Out General Motors here at home, they have been making record profits in China? I wonder how many tax dollars are being generated here on their profits over in Europe and Asia?

And a final note on spending cuts. Now that you are aware Mr/Ms Congressperson, of a few places to cut (and believe me there are plenty more!) let us (WE THE PEOPLE) suggest a few places that you should refrain from touching.

Stay away from the money we spend on our Essential Employees.

No, you idiot Politician... you are NOT an Essential Employee! In fact, you have in this past year (or two) proven yourself completely Non-Essential. We hear that if you don't decide soon on a budget, that it will shut down government. My question is this: How will anyone know the difference?

No, when I say Essential Employees, I'm talking about Military and Police. This includes all First Responders (Fire, EMS, etc.) who keep us safe, both nationally and locally.

Spending on Teachers/Education should be Tabu. Again, WE THE PEOPLE promise to 'fire' any Politician who even proposes a cut in Education or First Responder Budgets.

You should vote to slash your own pay, Mr/Ms Politician, before considering cuts to our Essential Employees.

In fact, you should make some changes in your benefits package, too. What's the deal with your Perpetual Paycheck? You keep getting paid, even after you are out of office?

Maybe I understand that for the President, since the President has a bunch of seriously classified information in his/her head. This means he can't just walk around in the street and get a real job. He still needs a protection detail for a while. Should we call it 20-25 years? By then all that info is pretty obsolete. And by then he is probably at retirement age anyway.

Another area that is off-limits for your cutting pleasure is Social Security. That isn't your money to cut. WE THE PEOPLE have put that money in to the system. It is your job to invest it and grow that money so it will continue to be there as people need it.

That money is not for you to borrow, cut, steal or otherwise screw around with.

Here's another novel idea. What if we think of Social Security like an investment? We all put money in (as if it was a Rainy Day Fund). Then, if we need it, we use it. If we don't need to use it, then we leave the money in there for the less fortunate. It would be the choice of each individual person if we want to use it or not.

And I have another general rule of thumb: What is good for Congress is good for WE THE PEOPLE! Get it? You can't pass laws that only pertain to Congress (like your sweet Post Office set-up, and your personal loans set-up, and your comprehensive health care program). And you can't pass laws for the rest of us that don't pertain to you.

So as soon as you balance the budget, you can start working on these other things. And while you are making changes, there should be no pork in any bill, EVER. In fact, you should only pass one law at a time. No more mixing laws, no more 'I'll vote for your bill if you vote for mine' by putting them in the same law. If you can't write your bill on 5-10 pages, it's too much. And it should be written in plain English so that WE THE PEOPLE can understand what kinds of laws you are passing on our behalf.

WE THE PEOPLE would also like to remind you that our forefathers came to this country over 200 years ago on some pretty rickety old boats to get away from the tyranny of an inflexible, stubborn, selfish old king who was out of touch with the people.

Your job Mr/Ms Politician is to do what is good for WE THE PEOPLE, not 'I the Person' or 'I the Big Business' or 'I the Re-Election Campaign Contributor'. Maybe sacrifices need to be made. But you need to ask yourself--"Is this beneficial to WE THE PEOPLE?"

And don't forget, Mr/Ms Congressperson, that you are also, WE THE PEOPLE!

Is it worth closing some loopholes in the tax laws so that the wealthiest 1% of the people in this country pay a little more? Maybe just temporarily? Will that be beneficial to WE THE PEOPLE?

That is, after all, the flip-side of the coin. Remember we talked about the Family Budget? You can cut spending or generate income.

In this case, your temporary part-time job, translates to raising taxes. Or at the very least, temporarily eliminating tax cut 'loop holes'. Keep in mind that this is not really raising taxes. These are taxes that they would be paying, but now are not because a previous Congress wrote in a 'loop hole' so that now they are not paying that tax.

And if you are going to tax something, make it something that is optional. If we tax alcohol and cigarettes then people can decide to not buy those things, and by not buying alcohol and cigarettes, WE THE PEOPLE have just given ourselves a tax break! And the money generated by taxing alcohol and cigarettes can go to helping out with health care costs.

The same with automobile tax and gas tax. We can choose to not drive, thereby saving money on taxes. And again, the money generated by these taxes can be used to pay for road and bridge repairs, transportation infrastructure, etc.

And while I'm on the subject of pet peeves and things that irritate me...

Who's idea was it to allow gas companies to charge nine tenths of a cent on gas? Who do they think they are kidding? Call it what it is... it's an extra penny. Was that so hard? What a joke! It's an insult to my intelligence.

Can someone out there fix that? Don't make me have to run for Senate!

And also, Mr/Ms Congressperson, please don't let people screw with my food. All of this genetically modified food and processed food is making us obese and unhealthy.

And food is either organic or it's not. You can't say that food can be called organic 'as long as it meets the criteria' of some obscure law (that nobody ever read or could even find) passed in 1991. Please, don't be ridiculous!!

And can we treat our farmers a little better? Don't you realize that without our farmers we won't have real food and will be dependent on these chemically enhanced, processed foods, and/or foreign growers.

WE THE PEOPLE have one other reminder for you:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes, and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government..."

In my opinion, our Trillions of dollars of National Debt constitutes "a long train of abuses and usurpations"!! It's time to vote some people out and "to provide new Guards for (our) future security".

Congress, your "my way or no way" attitude is Un-American and Unacceptable. You are a disgrace to our Forefathers who braved rough waters in rickety boats to offer us (WE THE PEOPLE), their descendants, a better life.

So it's time to stop trying to legislate LIGHTBULBS and balance the budget!

I am disappointed in you, Congress.

WE THE PEOPLE deserve better.

Signed by a true patriot and one small voice of WE THE PEOPLE,