Thursday, October 17, 2013

No Winners In A Government Shutdown

There aren't any winners in the recent shutdown of the government but there certainly are losers.  Chief among them is John Boehner and the Republicans in the House of Representatives followed closely by the American people.

John Boehner has worked for several years on defunding or derailing the Affordable Care Act (also known as "Obamacare").  He has brought up a vote in the House more than 40 times to halt it in one way or another and on each of these occasions the Senate has refused to vote on it.  

For anyone who doesn't know how the process works, in order to make a law the legislation is brought to the floor of both houses and both houses must agree on it.  Once an agreement is reached, it is sent to the president for his (hopefully soon her) signature.  If the president doesn't agree with it, he has the power to veto it.

In the case of the Affordable Care Act, the Senate has repeatedly stated that it will not vote on any measure that defunds, delays or derails this law.  Yet Boehner, with great zeal at wasting tax dollars wherever and whenever he can, continues to bring up useless legislation and force the House to vote.  And they have.  And it passes and goes to the Senate.  And they lose each time because the Senate does what they said they would do.

So, Boehner once again brought up a measure that the Senate told him they would not vote on.  He once again saw the measure passed and sent on to the Senate, which threw it in the trash (where it belonged) and Boehner effectively shut down the United States government.

President Obama, in true presidential fashion, refused to cave in to the demands of the Republicans in the House.  Good move on his part.  He allowed the government to shut down but in reality, much of the government remained up and running.  We still got our mail, our military was still funded, our elected officials were still working.  For the majority of Americans, we really didn't see much of a difference.

Then came the vote on the debt ceiling.  If this were not raised the United States would default on our debt and an international crisis would be on the hands of the Republicans.  We knew it, they knew it, the president knew it and the Republicans had to do something.  Sadly for them, there wasn't anything they could do but go along with the Democrats and pass the legislation that the Senate sent to them.  Which they did.

Now the Republicans have lost face with the American people.  They were responsible for the government shutdown, and hopefully, the American people will remember that the next time they go to the polls.

The American people have lost in this latest battle as well.  Our tax dollars just paid for two weeks of vacation for the employees of the government who were furloughed because of Boehner's ineptitude and gross incompetence.

I'm thinking that shutting down the government in an effort to change legislation should be seen as treason and Boehner should be dealt with accordingly.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Campaign Reform

There are several issues currently gripping our country that the majority of Americans oppose, yet our elected officials are not listening.  The main reason they don't listen is because their supporters, although in the minority, contribute large sums of money to their campaigns and therefore, the politicians listen to them over their constituents.  To eradicate this discrepancy in our system, I propose the following campaign reform:

All campaign contributions are limited to $100.00 per contributor per candidate per election.  This means that everyone, including the candidate themselves, can only contribute $100.  This would not limit the number of contributions, only the amount.

In other words, in the next election, I would be allowed to contribute $100 to a senator, $100 to a congressman, $100 to a county official, $100 to a mayor and so on.  Every election would start over but all contributions would be limited to $100.

For PACs (Political Action Committees) and corporations, the same $100 limit would apply, which is only fitting given that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people too.

The second would deal with anyone who wishes to spend more than $100.  The campaign reform would limit the amount that can be contributed to a campaign but that would not stop someone from putting up their own billboard.  This cannot be stopped as to stop it would be to violate their right to free speech.  It can, however, be regulated.

Any advertisement not paid for by the candidate's campaign fund must have the following disclaimer on it: "This advertisement is neither paid for nor endorsed by any politician or their campaign but is wholly funded by XXX."   "XXX" would obviously be the name of the person or organization who foots the bill.  Additionally, this disclaimer must appear prominently on the ad using a font twice the size of the largest font used in the ad.  For radio and television ads, the disclaimer must be read at a normal reading speed and at the same volume as the rest of the ad at least three times.

This is very simple reform but it would take back our government from the special interests who fund the politicians.  One additional stipulation would probably not be possible to be made into a law but could be an agreement.  Only vote for candidates who agree that they will NOT meet with lobbyists.  They should be dealing with their constituents, not with the special interests.

What do you think?  Comments are always welcome.