Guest Commentary: Memo to the 112th Congress: Time is running out

During your tenure in Congress many of you have tried to represent our country and your constituents in a fair, respectable and unbiased manner. However, others have chosen to represent their personal agenda and that of the special interest groups that have financed their careers. As a collective body, your indecisiveness, inaction, and inappropriate conduct have resulted in political stagnation, economic chaos, and the polarization of the American populace.

For years, your undeterred wavering has resulted in your failing to make the difficult decisions required to guide America on a true path to prosperity. You have opted to channel the bulk of your energy, frustration and anger towards the opposing party and your congressional counter-parts.

America needs leadership, and the time has come for you to put aside your differences and do what is right for your country and for the American people. Both expect and deserve more from such an honorable institution. Perhaps you should worry less about being re-elected and focus more on your representation and the legacy you leave behind.

Americans are brighter than you often think. If you pass the corrective legislation that will restructure our economy and enable America to prosper and regain our declining status in the geopolitical arena, you may even get re-elected on your own merits and without the help of ’special interests.’

During our current economic downturn, as in past recessions, the middle class and the poor have born the burden of the aftermath of the excesses and bubbles created by the greed fueled by unfettered capitalism. At this point in their lives, most baby boomers have educated their children, and should have paid off their mortgages, and become self sufficient empty-nesters.

And, most middle age Americans should have reached their maximum earning potential. Unfortunately, your apathy, ineptness, and past treaty legislation has prevented this from occurring, and has instead, resulted in the outsourcing of America which has allowed the standard of living abroad to rise at our expense.

The severity of this downturn is far different than those previously experienced by the majority of Americans who have become increasingly wary of what lies ahead. Many of your constituents have lost their jobs, their homes, and a good portion of their retirement income, along with their confidence, dignity, and self-respect. What should have been a prosperous era in America has instead become one of the most dreadfully, frustrating periods in modern times.

The extravagant excesses of the ‘90s and the first decade of the 21st century that seemed to parallel the roaring ‘20s has come to a screeching halt. Although usually self-induced, recessions are natural phenomena in capitalism and are meant to ring out the excesses in the imbalances between supply and demand. But, the gravity of this recession and the anticipated higher interest rates associated with an expected long-term rise in inflation may very well result in an extremely high degree of civil unrest not too different from that which occurred in Europe and the Far East in the ‘30s. And, we know how that culminated.

For years, you promoted and middle class Americans subscribed to the trickle down theory as they tried to emulate the lifestyles of the ‘Rich and Famous’ by purchasing bigger homes, and multiple cars and boats they could not afford to purchase and maintain. And, many have suffered the dreadful consequences of their opulent, but unattainable lifestyles. What most failed to understand was that for every trickle downward, there was an inexhaustible flow upward.

Congress should focus less on constructing a world democracy, for technology and the intrinsic desire to have a voice heard will eventually prevail if it is the will of a country’s people. After all, did we not have to fight for our independence? Instead, concentrate on the needs of the American people and on strengthening our economy and economic independence which will ensure our nation’s ability to remain a sovereign democracy. For once, worry less about your ’special’ interest groups and more about what will continue to make America ’special.’

You approved a tax break extension that covers the top 1 percent of Americans who account for 50 percent of our country’s wealth, yet consider cutting heat subsidies for the sick, elderly, and poor, the very assistance that has defined our empathy for our fellow man. You fail to provide incentives that will keep businesses from moving abroad, but reward those who have done so by failing to tax all expatriated corporate income earned oversees.

During prosperous economic times, elected officials of all levels of government have treated tax revenues as if they were non-discretionary inexhaustible sources of income. You have poorly negotiated long-term contracts with employees without regard to future ramifications. Now, you realize the errors of your ways and want to amend or terminate agreements with little or no concern for the personal lives that have been affected and the hardship that will be inflicted.

Yes, drastic changes must be made, but they should be implemented fairly, consciously, intelligently, compassionately, and honorably. We are a country built on trust, justice, and contractual law. When possible, these changes should not affect employees who have worked a lifetime, often giving up pay incentives to gain long-term benefits they believed would be available upon retirement. If changes can not be grandfathered due to the severity and urgency of the crises that confronts our nation or one of our states or municipalities, then one must disregard the temptation to adhere to the prevailing large corporate sentiment of ‘what can you do for me today,’ and instead, weigh one’s lifelong contribution.

When implementing cuts, a first-year person should never be treated the same as one who has worked a lifetime under their current system for the newcomer has an entire lifetime to change direction. And, when reducing benefits and bargaining powers for others, perhaps you should select an agent other than yourself to negotiate your salary increases. Better yet, perhaps you should trim your retirement benefits, since Congress was meant to be a selfless body of non-career representatives who wish to serve their country, their state and their fellow Americans.

You have much to do to lower the national debt. Some areas such as infrastructure, education, physician shortages, energy independence, and foreclosures are areas that need to be addressed. However, there are major structural changes that can be immediately implemented to guarantee the annual deficits and national debt does not continue to spiral out of control. The four that come to mind are Social Security, Medicare, pension reform and immigration.

But, all is not lost, for ’Man’ is a resilient species and has always been able to endure and overcome obstacles that often seem insurmountable. But, we can not do so if we are misled, uninformed, unguided, and consumed with fear and despair. Nor can we do so without sacrifice, sound leadership and a well defined course of action. And, ’Man’ can not prevail, without faith and the hope of success.

Do your job. Represent the interests of all America. Make the difficult decisions that will again make us the nation others inspire to become.

© 2011 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 1

ajm3s writes:

You may need to GOOOH to a meeting, and address that branch of the government charged with the responsibility of spending our earned tax dollars.

It may only be a start, but the House of Representatives is the body that can use a house cleaning and the mover of such an undertaking is spelled GOOOH.

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