Congress Must Work To Get Paid

At least here, in these good ole United States, no one can say that taxpayers do not get all of their money’s worth from those men and women who have been elected to serve the people.

Editor’s note: the lowest Congressional salary is approximately $174,000 per year, plus a couple of offices with staff, lots of expenses, world travel, long vacations (even when there is urgent business at hand), wonderful health insurance (not part of the national healthcare reform plan passed in 2010) and an outstanding pension plan. (Just sayin’…)

Over For Now.

Main Street One

The Washington DC Finger Pointing Game Does Not Produce Viable Results

Finger-pointing, which the White House and Congress seem to enjoy, especially concerning spending or budget cuts, does not show Americans any form of responsibility or concern for Main Street USA.

It is a childish activity that does not result in any viable product. Ever.

The only end products of this adolescent behavior are minutes of airtime or inches of press and seeing themselves on prime time.

Politicians of all sizes, shapes and political affiliations are too much engaged in the blame game.

Few are willing to cut spending, especially in areas where the federal government should not be allocating dollars in the first place or to make cuts in their own backyard.

Not to mention the full elimination of earmarks. Each citizen should not have to contribute to an individual community walking path or the like that is attached to a piece of legislation to buy a vote.

Congress and the White House should lead by example.

Each member must begin making cuts in their own house. They have far too many benefits, expense accounts, overseas trips, staff and perks that are paid by taxpayers.

That is where representatives of the people should have started if they were truly serious about handling an economy that the Congressional Budget Office reports faces a $1.5 trillion budget deficit for 2011.

If the newly elected members of Congress (Nov 2010) really believed in cutting the size and shape of government they would have done so when they assumed office and slashed their own individual office budgets (pay freezes, hiring freezes, cuting perks, cutting travel expenses, eliminating waste, etc.).

That would be leading by example.

That would be the only valid time the president, a member of the Senate or House of Representatives could point fingers, telling their colleagues that they must do the same.

Those who occupy seats on Capitol Hill are not some sacred anointed masters. They are elected officials who are servants of the people, though it appears that none truly remember this, if they knew it in the first place.

Servants of the people.

Perhaps each and every one of them should intently and earnestly study the writings of our Founding Fathers and learn what it means to serve.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

The Affordable Care Act & The Constitution

The stage is set for the Supreme Court to become involved, whether they wish to or not, in the decision of whether or not forcing citizens of Main Street USA to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.

While there certainly is debate centered around other portions of the incredibly massive piece of porked-out legislation, the rulings of two Federal judges that Congress has overstepped its authority by relying upon the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution (while two others ruled the opposite) all but guarantees the highest court’s involvement.

Simply put, the Commerce Clause (Article I) grants Congress the power to “…regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

Throughout the decades the Supreme Court has used that particular clause very very broadly, including rulings on Depression-era farm quotas as well as bans on racial discrimination in the 1960s.

This Main Streeter finds it extremely difficult to fathom exactly how racial discrimination fits into the Commerce Clause. Whether one is Democrat, Republican or Independent, how could it be that human beings are considered as commerce?

In reality, the court used this clause because a company that was discriminating earned a majority of it’s revenue through interstate commerce. That still seems a stretch when, in fact, the country was founded in the belief that all people are created equal. Consider that the 14th Amendement (1868) guarantees equal protection under the law and racial discrimination would quality as something which is not equal. It seems, therefore, that the 14th Amendment offers a quite superior legal standing to ban racial discrimination.

In an attempt to determine what may or may not have been included in the thoughts and intentions of our Founding Fathers regarding the Commerce Clause, the reference used was the American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, 1828.

It was thought that perhaps by using a dictionary from that time period there could be some light shed on the issue at hand today (and perhaps even some of those earlier court decisions that do not quite seem to fit).

The definition of Commerce is: “In a general sense, an interchange or mutual change of goods, wares, productions, or property of any kind, between nations or individuals, either by barter, or by purchase and sale; trade; traffick.” It further defines inland commerce as: “…the trade of commodities between citizens of the same nation.”

Turning a page, the definition of Commodity is: “…anything that is useful, but particularly in commerce, including everything movable that is bought and sold, goods, wares, merchandise, produce of land and manufactures. Unless perhaps animals may be excepted, the word includes all the movables which are objects of commerce.”

Based upon the above definitions, which were used by those responsible for writing and implementing the Constitution it seems clear that mandating that a citizen of the United States purchase health insurance through the vehicle known as the Affordable Care Act is, indeed, unconstitutional.

It really is not even debatable.

That, coupled with the actual wording of the Article in question (“regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes”), indicates that Article I gives absolutely NO power to Congress to force citizens (i.e., individuals) to purchase anything.

Undoubtedly someone will be called upon, when all is said and done and attorneys for both sides have voiced their last convincing words, to write a decision. And that document will more than likely be scores and scores of pages, when, in fact, it boils down to just a couple.

And, as a last thought, allowing Capitol Hill to mandate what an individual must purchase opens the door for future edicts by those elected representatives who are supposed to be serving the interests of Americans, not dictating them.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Politicians Are Out Of Touch

Associated Press reports that President Obama states Republicans are “out of touch with the daily problems of Americans.”

That statement is probably true.

However, that statement is also misleading as Democrats are also out of touch.

There are many citizens of Main Street USA who are not satisfied with T.A.R.P. (the Troubled Asset Relief Program), and for good reason.

Our elected officials voted to borrow from the Federal Reserve Bank (read Central Bank, read not at all associated with the Federal Government) three quarters of a trillion dollars to halt a financial melt-down and pump energy into the economy.

The results are not stellar.

And, when payments are made from the firms that borrowed from our government (i.e., taxpayers) instead of paying that money to the Central Bank those residents of Capitol Hill spend it again.

Thus, interest on that huge debt continues to mount.

And while the stock market has come back to its pre-crash level, much of the economy has not improved, as evidenced by various recent reports.

Politicians need to wake up and smell the roses and the coffee.

Americans are sick and tired of business-as-usual in Washington DC.

Quit buying votes via pork and earmarks and practice honorable statesmanship.

Quit blaming others for problems and work on solutions without finger-pointing and accusations that do not result in a product to better the economy and jobless rate.

And, elected officials need to keep their own house clean, especially when there are those who attack businesses with various allegations that may or may not be true.

Over For Now.

Main Street One