"Welcome to the Cushy Congressional Boys and Girls Club"
from "In Defense of Rural America"
By Ron Ewart, President
National Association of Rural Landowners (www.narlo.org)
"The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time the Congress meets." Will Rogers
Article I, Section 1 of the U. S. Constitution
"All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money." Alexis de Tocquerville
Of the 435 House members and 100 Senate members of Congress, more than half are millionaires. Many Congressmen and Senators start out in political life with middle class incomes but leave Congress as millionaires. When they leave Congress they can command obscene speaking fees. Most of the rest of us do not have that kind of access to where the "money" flows.
The legal profession is also well represented in Congress. As of 2015, 160 House members and 53 Senate members are lawyers. Perhaps that explains why medical tort reform is so difficult to pass.
Then there are the very lucrative salaries. The Speaker of the House makes $223,500 per year. House majority and minority leaders make $193,400 per year. Your run-of-the mill House and Senate members take in $174,000. On top of that, throw in their healthy per diem and expense accounts and junkets to foreign lands, paid by the taxpayer. The best number we could find for total appropriations to pay for Congressional salaries and benefits was $4.1 Billion in 2014. Are they worth $4.1 Billion? We’ll let the reader decide.
Congressmen and Senators receive retirement benefits under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) through a formula depending on years of service and the last three year’s salary. A full pension is available to Members 62 years old and older with five years of service. It is also available to any Member at any age with 25 years of service. For 32 years of service a Member can earn a pension up to $139,000 per year. It is no wonder that Congressmen and Senators work so hard to get re-elected.
House and Senate Members do not participate in Obama Care. They have their own medical benefits through private insurance that also insures other federal workers, with little to no deductibles and small co-pays. The government, that’s you and me, pay 72% of their health insurance premiums.
In contrast, the middle class worker is subjected to rising premiums under Obama Care, along with high deductibles and significant co-pays. The out-of-pocket expenses under Obama Care are so high that the average individual essentially self-insures their health care, while their high premiums pay for everyone who can’t seem to afford health care. Today, there are too many people in the "wagon" and too few people pulling the "wagon."
Senators and Congressmen and women don’t care about the debates they hold or the bills they pass, just so long as they can sit in their ivory towers of power, rule over the masses and suck up the unbelievable benefits that accrue to being a "politician." They don’t really care if their party is in the majority as long as they can stand on the floor and put up the charade of acting like "representatives of the people." They spend half of their time while in Congress going across the street to a phone bank center and dialing for dollars to cover the cost of their re-election. The majority and minority leaders demand this fund-raising activity. It is a "requirement of employment." Would you pay a full day’s salary for a person who only worked half a day?
Even with their fund-raising efforts, Congressmen and Senators cannot get elected without the votes. They need the money for advertising and getting their message out, but they need something else to put them over the top. They have to buy votes using the public treasury. The Democrats discovered this over 100 years ago with the rise of the Progressive Movement and that has propelled the Democrats into having a virtual monopoly over the majority of votes in America.
The Democrats purposely engineered the one-man, one-vote concept that was upheld by a liberal U. S. Supreme Court. That decision turned America into a Democracy, ruled by the mob, rather than the Constitutional Republic the Founders intended it to be. The one-man, one-vote principle is also why the Democrats vehemently oppose voter ID laws.
Buying votes is why the U. S. debt has skyrocketed to almost $20,000,000,000,000. Obama, in his 8 years of expanding the welfare state, has nearly doubled the debt. If Hillary becomes President, watch the debt skyrocket even more. The General Accounting Office reported that no matter who becomes President in 2016, the debt will increase to $33,000,000,000,000 (that’s Trillion) by 2026 if America stays on its present course. That un-payable debt is a result of Congress, mostly Democrats, making promises of money and benefits to millions of Americans, paid for by a shrinking number of working Americans.
Then there is the lobbying of Congress. In 2014 it was reported that there were 12,281 registered lobbyists in DC. But some estimates put the number closer to 100,000 as lobbyists use increasingly sophisticated strategies to obscure their activities. Lobbying in the federal capitol is a $9 Billion dollar annual industry. $2.6 Billion of that $9 Billion is spent to influence what happens in Congress. Now there are strict rules and reporting procedures for lobbyists. But in a corrupt system there are many ways for the lobbyists to get around those rules, for the benefit of the politicians the lobbyists attempt to influence. Multi-national corporations are the biggest lobbyists and that is how America got trade deals that shoveled millions of American manufacturing jobs offshore.
Washington DC has the infamous distinction of being surrounded by the richest counties in America. It would be ludicrous to believe that those riches came from the politician’s salary.
As alleged representatives of the people, what do these ruling-class elite do for their salary and benefits? Very little and many of them are hopelessly corrupt.
Here is an example of the corruption that goes on in the U. S. Congress every day. That's every day! Senator Rand Paul gets up on the Floor of the Senate and describes Senate corruption in detail. See his damning testimony at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Then listen to former Senator Jim DeMint at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
where he accuses the Senate of passing 94% of its bills in secret. 94% mind you ..... in secret! We can't be a country controlled by the rule of law, if the lawmakers won't follow the rules ..... much less the law, or pass laws that are so large and so complex that no one can understand or interpret them, except obscenely high paid lawyers. That is corruption on a grand scale and can only lead to enslavement of the people.
"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow." James Madison, Federalist No. 62, 1788
Political corruption is not a new phenomenon. It started when man invented politics, some 5,000 years ago. There always has been political corruption and there will always be political corruption because the propensity towards corruption is a human failing, especially for those who hold political power over the masses, or control over large sums of money. The only thing that holds corruption in check is the people. If the people don't care and will not hold those that govern them accountable, political corruption grows and becomes institutionalized, just like it is now in America and has been in Europe for centuries.
The inescapable truth is, freedom cannot co-exist with political corruption.
One of the protections against corruption was the fourth estate, or a free press, imbued with strong journalistic ethics and unbiased objectivity. It follows then that if the press is corrupt or biased in its reporting, as it is today, the people will not be properly informed of political corruption and the corruption will flourish in the darkness of ignorance that no light can penetrate.
The evidence of political corruption in the mainstream news media is not hidden any more. The bias towards and for anything Progressive or liberal is blatant and notorious. Every day we are drowned in Trump missteps but the coverage of Hillary’s corruption is glossed over, ignored, or under reported.
The same is true for the U. S. Congress. Congressional Democrats recently shot down sanctions for sanctuary cities and "Kate’s Law.’ Why? How can the Democrats be against punishing sanctuary cities for openly violating federal law and be against "Kate’s Law" that punishes deported criminal illegal aliens guilty of aggravated felonies with five-year mandatory sentences? Why hasn’t the press highlighted the duplicity of the Democrats in this open defiance of good and reasonable law? The answer is all too obvious.
Consequently, ladies and gentlemen, unless corruption can be controlled in politics, business, or the individual lives of the people, any peaceful attempts to preserve freedom will be fruitless. Only the people can control political corruption. If the people are corrupt, or are without honor, or don't care, controlling corruption becomes impossible and thus freedom becomes a far-off shimmering mirage that can never be reached.
But then these are just words. Without action, the words are meaningless. Unfortunately, things aren't bad enough in America for people to get active in trying to restore it. They don't see what is happening behind the curtain and most don't care. By the time they do care, it will be too late.
Right now, all there is out there is "talk" and "words" and lamenting on how bad it is. But no one will lift a finger to change it, even if they knew what to do. Perhaps it is just too big to change. What we are certain of is that the destruction of America is too far gone and has become too corrupt for peaceful means to alter its course. We have reached the point where the Colonials stood in 1776. Only violence will restore freedom, if freedom is to be preserved. All this stuff about presidential elections and representatives of the people are just a smoke screen to cover up the corruption and dupe the people into thinking we are still free and still living in a representative Democracy.
America has always been in a state of torment and turmoil from its beginnings. But the shift towards mob Democracy and socialism and away from a Constitutional Republic started in the early part of the 20th Century under the banner of Progressivism when: "Congress discovered it could bribe the public with the public’s money and tax them heavily using the IRS to pay for the bribes." Now Congress not only bribes the people with the public money for their votes, but they lie to and deceive the public to cover up their corruption, leaving representative government lying dead and emaciated, face down on the ground.
In fact, the people of America are on a train gaining speed on a long, long straight track. Everything is comfortable on the train and the people are content and happy for the most part. But what the people on the train can’t see is the sharp curve at the end of the long straight stretch. The "engineers" (Congress) know the sharp curve is there, but will do nothing to prevent the calamity. As it stands right now, no one is slowing down the train. There is no way the train can make it through the curve without crashing. At the crash, the American Republic will die and an Absolute Democrat Monarchy, or a dictatorship will take its place.
Bow to her majesty Queen Hillary, princess Chelsea, heir to the throne and the Duke of Debauchery, Prince William Jefferson Clinton!
A new royal kingdom under a Clinton Dynasty is a fitting end to a nation where most of the people became dependent on government and got to vote to maintain their dependency, rather than becoming independent, self-reliant, responsible individuals who cherished and preserved freedom.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property rights issues and author of this weekly column, "In Defense of Rural America", is the president of the National Association of Rural Landowners (NARLO) (http://www.narlo.org) an advocate and consultant for urban and rural landowners and a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State. He can be reached for comment at: firstname.lastname@example.org.