|By Bob Weaver|
While Congresses ratings in the polls are at an all-time low and America is thoroughly polarized politically, with some criticizing the "crazies," most of those "crazies" will return to Congress because they have been entrenched by gerrymandered voting districts, a political ploy used by both parties.
In 2018, the Congress appears to unable to negotiate with opposing parties, strict political lines drawn.
We've been told that "America Will Be Great Again."
While many Americans voted for Donald Trump, believing he would help the little guy, he immediately appointed some of the USA's most wealthy people to leadership roles, including a half dozen from Goldman Sachs (leaders of the last Great Recession), billionaire Betsy Devos, who has not likely seen the inside of a public school and former EXXON chief, Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.
Until there is a national movement to independently define voting districts that reflect a proportioned district, little will change.
A 1984 column about Congress that will not die was written by Charley Reese of the Orlando Sentinel.
Reese wrote about the thickness of the US Tax Code, more pages than the Bible, which essentially gives tax breaks to special interests. All approved by Congress.
Reese wrote about the magnitude of multi-millions of dollars of lobbying money, excusing the lobbyists, because members of Congress took their money to help with their re-election while maintaining their impartial decision making.
The column has been re-written many times by bloggers to reflect their political views, often forwarded as his "last column," although he continued to work for the paper for 17 years.
An example of Reese's "Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them," is a $3 billion earmark bill by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) for a dam project in his state that was attached to the critical "must pass" bill to restart the federal government following the shutdown.
While Reese maintained that voters could make government better by replacing members of Congress, this was before most of America's congressional voting districts were thoroughly gerrymander to assure the the re-election of the incumbent.
The column was before the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision empowered a small number of the wealthiest individuals in the country to buy undue influence over elections and government decisions.
Here is Reese's original version:
By CHARLEY REESE
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I donít propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I donít have the constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I donít write the tax code. The Congress does.
You and I donít set fiscal policy. The Congress does. You and I donít control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices ó 545 human beings out of 238 million ó are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Bank because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.
I exclude all of the special interest and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I donít care if they offer a politician $1 million in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.
No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislatorís responsibility to determine how he votes.
Donít you see how the con game is played on the people by the politicians?
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall.
No normal human being would have the gall of Tip OíNeill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.
The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept. it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.
OíNeill is speaker of the House. He is the leader of the majority party. He and his fellow Democrats, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto.
Just 545 Americans have fouled up this great nation.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted - by present facts - of incompetence and irresponsibility.
I canít think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those people.
When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise complete power over the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, itís because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, itís because they want it in the red.
If the Marines are in Lebanon, itís because they want them in Lebanon.
There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.
Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical force like ďthe economy,Ē ďinflationĒ or ďpoliticsĒ that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. they and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses - provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.
- Charley Reese retired from the Orlando Sentinel in 2001, 17 years after he wrote this column.