Politics 2012 – Is there a good presidential candidate ?

Unfortunately, for decades, Main Street USA has allowed politicians to bathe in their own self-proclaimed glory and have not demanded that they rein in their own lavish salaries, expenses and excesses and actually “work for the people.”

Politicians take credit for things they really did not accomplish and they blame others for their own faults and shortcomings.

It is very difficult, today, to distinguish between the art of politics and the art of deception, art of mis-direction, or sleight of hand. With large PR machines operating, most (if not all) politicians do not utter a word to their target public that has not been polled, i.e., that those people being addressed want to hear.

One party accuses Wall Street for all of America’s woes and miseries (while taking their money for their own campaigns), meanwhile trying to add jobs that will, in reality, only add to the budget deficit.

Another party doesn’t want to raise taxes on the wealthy, meaning that the burden of funding runaway spending by all parties entrenched in Capitol Hill falls, again, upon the middle class.

Both parties continue to append thousands of pieces of pork annually to legislation, adding countless billions to the statospheric national debt.

Add to the scenario that elected officals probably spend half of their time while in office campaigning for their next term.

How is it that politicians who “feel your pain” have no pain of their own to feel? Theirs is a “job” that offers incredible wages, benefits, pensions, spending accounts and more. Have any of them actually slashed their own budgets during this economy? Have they ever even thought about doing so?

 

Looking to the 2012 presidential election, there is no “good” candidate from any party. And there is really no “lesser of two evils” to choose between.

Exactly what, then, does a voter do?

Hope and pray that, by some chance, a candidate emerges who does not add jobs to the public sector as the “solution” to unemployment (while increasing the private sector’s burden), who knows that balancing a budget requires cutting certain “entitlement” programs, who will flatly deny approving legislation with even one earmark added, who knows that wealthy individuals do not pay an equivalent share of taxes compared to their actual cash income, who understands that increasing the size of government does not make it run more efficiently, who knows with certainty that forcing citizens to purchase healthcare is unconstitutional and not governed by interstate commerce, who will actually make the public sector transparent and accountable, and who knows they are in office only to serve those who elected them, not any special interest.

Then, and only then, will Amercians be able to say that they have found a person who truly deserves to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

As well, only then could the person being sworn in to the nation’s highest office honestly state the oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Who Regulates Government?

The Federal Government is attempting to gain more control of the financial market with the recently-passed Senate legislation regarding Wall Street.

According to President Obama, “Our goal is not to punish the banks, but to protect the larger economy and the American people from the kind of upheavals we’ve seen.”

This may be a moderately true statement.

However, government regulation and intervention does a couple of things to the free market. First, it does limit free market practices and, potentially, expansion. Next, it increases the size and scope of government.

There is a definite need to derail criminal activities in the private sector. The same is true for the public sector. And who watches over these people?

In just the past several months Main Street USA has seen the Social Security Administration throw a lavish, by any standard, management getaway, only to be topped by the Federal Aviation Administration’s 5 million dollar bash. Taxpayers have also heard about Department of Veteran’s Affairs employees obtaining, if not illegal, unethical loans and other monetary benefits for themselves and family members as well seen evidence that state pension funds face a trillion dollar deficit. More recently, it was exposed to the public that many high-paid Securities and Exchange Commission executives spent their 8-hour day doing anything other than their assigned tasks.

In these days of relatively low-cost video conferencing (especially when compared to what the SSA and FAA spent), coupled with the economic reality of the times, how can the White House, Capitol Hill, state governments, etc., allow such unethical and immoral behavior (i.e., corruption) in their own sphere?

Thus, the question to ask is, as government continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, who will be the watch-dog over the supposed overseers, as well as our own elected officals?

True, the election process does allow citizens to boot those they feel have violated the public trust (though having to wait two to four years may not be appropriate justice), but what disciplinary action do non-elected officials face?

Before throwing stones at the private sector, the public sector needs to ensure that each and every nook and cranny in their own house is in order. America is not a “do as I say not as I do” mentality.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

YouCut – Wouldn’t That Be Nice

Here is a unique concept.

While Rep Cantor’s idea may not be practical, may not be realistic, it is this taxpayer’s opinion that perhaps his campaign will open the eyes of people (especially those on Capitol Hill) who are blindly following our dramatic deficit spending spree–all in the name of saving the US economy.


So, even though Cantor’s idea may not fly, it is another way for people to see for themselves where all of our money (and debt) is going, what it is “buying” for us as a nation.

And, based on recent polls Main Street USA is not buying it. Citizens are unhappy with incumbents now residing in Congress.

There are those in Washington DC continuing to try and create a great divide between Main Street USA and Wall Street.

Attempting to, basically, destroy capitalism.

To those people it would seem fair to ask what other system allows individuals from all walks of life to be able to accumulate wealth in so many different ways.

How many people who purchased stock in Wal*Mart or Microsoft early on became wealthy simple because they allowed their money to work for them?

How many people earned seven or more figures from creating and selling something as simple as a “Pet Rock”? (For those too young to remember this, it was a common ordinary rock that was boxed and sold for about ten dollars, claiming it to be the easiest pet to care for.)

While critics scoff at the idea of YouCut, elected representatives may want to look deep within their hearts and their minds at the direction our country is going under their service.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Whom Do You Trust? Whom Can You Trust?

Unfortunately we live in a time of widespread corruption, misuse of power, as well as both lesser and more serious crimes against people and/or society at large.

One of the more unforgivable transgressions, to me (aside from murder), is a politician’s betrayal of the public trust. Here we have a person voted into office by Main Street USA to do a job, and to do it to the best of his or her abilities. And they are compensated well for their work and the benefits, well, those will be the subject of another blog.

This one is about trust.

I do not know of any public official swearing-in ceremony where doing their best includes corruption or bribery or even taking leave for many days with no method of contact.

As an example, Randall “Duke” Cunningham, pled guilty of accepting at least $2.4 million in bribes.

Two million four hundred thousand dollars in bribes.

That is the equivalent of someone working for, and taking home, $60,000 per year for 40 years!

Bribes are, of course, illegal. For Duke, the payoffs came from defense contractors and he did plead guilty.

I believe that a publicly elected official taking money from an organization to gain favor is nothing less than Treason. That is why Duke should not receive his Congressional pension. Last I heard, that is not the case. Elected officials guilty of bribery are still eligible to collect a pension.

One reason is that our government officials have a more limited view of treason than do I. The typical application of that word relating to an elected person is a violation of allegiance to the state or of attempting to overthrow the state or selling secrets of the state.

Those have to do with the state, not the public trust, which is interesting because the public elected the person, not the state. To me, a violation or betrayal of the public trust is clearly a treasonous activity.

So why is Duke eligible to collect pension?

It seems as though our elected officials may believe that they are not necessarily above the law, but above some of the laws. Then again, they are the ones who write the laws…

Why is it that Wall Street and Main Street are expected to follow all of the rules and regulations that are imposed and, if not, face the consequences. And, not that I condone AIG executives receiving lavish bonuses (because I do not), what really is the difference between an AIG exec receiving a bonus and Duke who pled guilty to bribery but remains eligible to receive public funds?

Before I leave Duke’s example there is one other thing I did not understand about the judgment and his sentencing. Duke received $2.4 million in bribes but only had to pay $1.8 million in restitution. That makes it appear as if Duke was able to keep $600,000 of illegally gained money (whether he had spent it or not). What a bonus! (for lack of a better word.)

The above is serious abuse by an elected individual to receive illegal monetary rewards. Duke is but one example. There have been others.

Then there is the better-than-thou type. From all that I have read, Governor Mark Sanford (SC) was a harsh critic, voting to impeach President Clinton from office for lying about having sex with Monica Lewinsky. Sanford said “…what he did in this matter was reprehensible.”

Fast forward to June 2009 and Gov Sanford goes AWOL. His aides tell media that they think he went hiking in the Appalachian Trail. As we all now know, he had been in Argentina with another woman.

How is it that Sanford could be so adamant about Clinton being impeached but he feels he should be able to maintain his office?

The apparent difference is that Sanford admitted his affair and Clinton first lied about his. True, that is a difference. However, Sanford was, even worse, AWOL. His duty and responsibility to the state of South Carolina comes first. And, if he is not able to be reached when gone, proper transition of power should have been granted to the Lt. Governor. Anything less is purely dereliction of duty.

In the military, the maximum penalty is a bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of pay and six months confinement duty. Because he did come clean for the affair, but was absent without official leave, perhaps Sanford should not pay the maximum penalty but I do not think that he should retain public office. Nor should he be allowed to collect a pension. He was AWOL.

Corruption charges, dereliction of duty and other acts that violate the public trust should not be rewarded. They should be punished. They should not stay in office. They should not collect pensions. They should be fully and totally accountable to Main Street USA, to the people who elected them.

Perhaps by enforcing appropriate penalties our elected officials will be more honest with Main Street USA and with themselves and can start to earn back the Trust they have lost.

Over For Now,

Main Street One