?

Log in

Anthony "Tony" Arndt [userpic]

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution?

March 6th, 2010 (12:21 pm)
Tags:

I've seen this floating around lately. Not a bad idea, it's nice to see something that I think most Americans of any party affiliation could get behind.

Subject: An idea whose time has come

For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term; that they didn't pay into Social Security; that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Health Care Reform that is being considered...in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop. This is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has come.

Have each person contact a minimum of Twenty people on their Address list, in turn ask each of those to do likewise..

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States".

Comments

Posted by: alfredtmahan (alfredtmahan)
Posted at: March 6th, 2010 01:02 pm (UTC)

Works for me!

Posted by: snowcalla (snowcalla)
Posted at: March 6th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC)

"Not a bad idea, it's nice to see something that I think most Americans of any party affiliation could get behind"

You would think that, wouldn't you? However - on FB and on my friend's page people are scoffing at the idea, mocking it, and calling it a stunt by the GOP to stop Healthcare Reform.

Posted by: Anthony "Tony" Arndt (anthony_arndt)
Posted at: March 6th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)

Seriously? That's asinine. I don't see big-name GOP folks any happier with this than the big-name Dems. I think there'd be a fair amount of bi-partisan distaste among the senior Congress-critters.

Posted by: murstein (murstein)
Posted at: March 6th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
US Constitution

Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term . . .


Um. If that's ever been true, it wasn't in either the 20th or 21st Century. Under current law, the only way a member of Congress can retire after one term, is if we're talking about a Senator who is at least 62 years old, and has served for at least 5 years. But the pension amount is determined, in part, by how many years a member was in Congress; it takes 32 years of service to reach the 80% mark. (See page 11 of this file for the formula.) Even then, a member of congress' retirement pay can never be more than 80% of their final congressional pay. (After many years of cost-of-living increases, it might climb back up; but, since cost-of-living increases are set by law to a little less than inflation, they won't really be ahead.)

. . . that they didn't pay into Social Security . . .


This hasn't been true since 1984.

. . . that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed . . .


This was done away with by the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995. So that hasn't been true for about 15 years.

. . . exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment . . .


This is specifically addressed by Section 201 of the Congressional Accoutability Act.

The latest is to exempt themselves from the Health Care Reform that is being considered . . .


Which is not in any of the versions of the bills that have been seriously considered in either the House or the Senate. In fact, the final version of the Senate bill gives members of Congress less choice than any other Federal employees:

H.R. 3590: D) MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN THE EXCHANGE.—

(i) REQUIREMENT.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are—

(I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or

(II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).


The section saying this begins on Page 157 of this file.

Given that the justification for the amendment is raging at things which have not been true for decades, I wonder what this is intended to distract us from. Most of the time, stirring up anger at things which are not true is how "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" works in American politics.

Posted by: Anthony "Tony" Arndt (anthony_arndt)
Posted at: March 6th, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC)

Hm, those are all good points. Well done.

So the question behind the motivation would be is it that the government is going too far or is it that they are not doing enough?

Though the fact that I'm seeing this from friends who identify as Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, and Independent, seems to me to indicate that frustration with Congress is a bi-partisan issue.

Which I think is good. American health-care is deeply broken. I've lived and traveled in many countries and based on my experience, for the average citizen the US has the worst system in the (industrialized) world. It has one of the top if you're rich. It's not bad if your a veteran.

Once upon a time, if someone else did something better than the US, we'd learn from it and improve those methods. Not continually settle for something like we've got now.

Posted by: murstein (murstein)
Posted at: March 6th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
US Constitution

So the question behind the motivation would be is it that the government is going too far or is it that they are not doing enough?


I suspect it's something in an entirely different direction. Something like how Joe McCarthy's Communist witch-hunts distracted us from the CIA engineering the overthrow of Iran's elected government, and placing the Shah on the throne instead.

Though the fact that I'm seeing this from friends who identify as Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, and Independent, seems to me to indicate that frustration with Congress is a bi-partisan issue.


Indeed. We all elect them, and then we complain that they don't do what we want them to do. I suspect it's innate to America's two-party system, which is why I hunt for reasonable people on third-party tickets every election.

In addition, conspiracy theories flourish when people are scared. The recession has scared tens of millions of people, who believe that they did nothing to deserve the economic hit they've taken. (The wealthy were as scared about the value of their investments going down, as the unemployed are about being jobless.)

American health-care is deeply broken. I've lived and traveled in many countries and based on my experience, for the average citizen the US has the worst system in the (industrialized) world. It has one of the top if you're rich.


Agreed. For those who can pay the bill, or can shift the bill to someone else, it's excellent.

It's not bad if your a veteran.


Well, a veteran who qualifies for the VA system. I'm one who doesn't.

Once upon a time, if someone else did something better than the US, we'd learn from it and improve those methods.


And then we developed the doctrine of American Exceptionalism. Everything we do is better than what any other country does, by definition. It requires one to trust stories and ignore data, sort of a Yankee Ingenuity Free-Markets-Über-Alles jingoism, but that's become more common than checking facts these days. This recession isn't the first time it's bitten us in the ass, and it probably won't be the last.

Posted by: Kevin (mister_bitters)
Posted at: March 6th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)

So long as corporate interests are the primary consideration of our elected officials, it will continue to ruin us. This isn't an anti-business screed, just simple math. Corporations have vast sums of money to spend in order to influence (I prefer buy, but I'm trying to be language neutral) politicians at all levels of local, state, and federal government. They higher insiders with knowledge and contacts. They give gifts (read bribes) that are well beyond dream vacations. They contribute to campaigns directly and indirectly to incredible degrees. In contrast, the people don't have all that much to give, have no professional lobbyists, and very little voice in government. It doesn't matter who the official is, corporations have their hooks in all of them while we stand muted and impotent. We have a de facto shadow government that we have no control over or recourse of grievances with. It is in their best interested to promote the idea that everything we do is better than anyone else because it keeps their coffers over-flowing and their board rooms in command of government.

Posted by: Janitor of Lunacy (wodurid)
Posted at: March 6th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
Che-che

"frustration with Congress is a bi-partisan issue. "

Well, yes and *not*....

I'd instead pose that the frustration with Congress is a QUITE partisan issue ...

At base, both sides are frustrated that the opposite side of the aisle doesn't just roll over an play dead, while they ram-through their own partisan legislative agenda.

Neither side can get their way, party dogma wise, so they and the partisan citizenry throw a childish tantrum.

Checks and balances, boys & girls. Be thankful FOR partisanship!

I get very irritated at the prevailing modern attitude that whoever is in the White House is "in power" (a term George Washington is surely rolling in his grave and grating his wooden teeth over) and thus, is somehow endowed an "agenda" that is their right and prerogative to push through Congress.

Likewise, the equally onerous notion that simply because, with our erroneous (and dangerous) notion of "majority rules" democracy, whatsoever side in a legislative body has a majority, the other side should just roll-over and bear their neck whilst the majority pushes forward their very own partisan agenda.

Don't even get me started on how Supreme Court appointments are now viewed as "spoils of war" and VERY partisan political chess pieces for whoever wins the White House.

In short, we don't need more amendments to the Constitution. We instead need more politicians and more citizens who actually understand the existing damned document!

Posted by: Kevin (mister_bitters)
Posted at: March 7th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)

I suppose it depends on how we view partisanship. For instance, if partisanship is fighting for what you believe in and what your electorate desires, then I would generally agree that it is all well and good. However, this isn't what we currently have. What we have is a single minority party that is obstructionist and oppositional to ANYTHING, even those things they later vote for. On top of this, we get the power players in the party demanding that elected members do as they are instructed by the party leaders and NOT what is in the interest of the people they are supposed to be representing. We are seeing people obey party leaders and ideologies that benefit their elite positions in a manner that is detrimental to the people who elected them. Rolling over and playing dead isn't expected, but being obstructionist and elitist is destroying our governing bodies and doing real harm to the American people. This is why Washington advised AGAINST political parties. They prevent Congressmen and Senators from doing the People's business in favor of doing Party politicking.

Posted by: Janitor of Lunacy (wodurid)
Posted at: March 7th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)

I'd submit that it is merely one party's turn now to be oppositional (I'll continue to think "obstructionist," not a bad thing.) The Republicans are merely taking their turn, is all. Just as the Left treated us to eight years of wailing that Bush was "not MY President," and blaming him for *everything*, including the hangnail they woke up with in the morning, it is now the Right's rightful turn (under the circumstances) to call Obama "Hussein," claim him to be a "muslin" and revile him for being a "godless socialist." (never mind the fact that many on the Right would readily propel us into a theocratic National Socialism)

That illustrated, I agree that the party system is totally detrimental. This has never been more apparent than in the last couple of decades, that we have devolved into a government propelled by dueling ideologies and clashing party dogma.

Our representatives should be elected by, and expected to represent our in-total electorate, not just whichever party they are from or is currently "in power." Yeah, I'd go with abolishing the whole rotten party system.



Posted by: Kevin (mister_bitters)
Posted at: March 7th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)

I think we have hit one of those damned symmantics walls with our use of oppositional and obstructionist, so bear with me as I try to climb over that hurdle.

I would agree the the GOP is well within its rights to be oppositional, but I don't think they, or anyone, has any right to be obstructionist. When they later vote for something that they tried to kill, that tells me that it isn't at all about doing the people's business or ideological differences. It tells me that they are interested only in power and gaming the system. This kind of bullshit elitism drives me into a mouth-frothing rage.

Don't think I'm excusing the Lefties from MoveOn and other places for the insanity they brought to the table. Their actions helped overcharge the uncivil behavior we see now. I won't say they started it, as I don't think any one group gets that much credit, but they did turn up the heat. It made things worse. That doesn't excuse the fascism of the Right or their coded racism. That kind of crap needs to be called out, mocked, humiliated, and spurned.

Now, if we couldn't dissolve political parties (and we never will, as there is WAY too much power and money involved), I'd really like to see a deletion of the bogus idea that we are a "two-party system." Nowhere in the Constitution is there a clause that establishes such a notion. In fact, the original two parties that developed aren't even in existence any more. The problem with both the Dems and GOP is that they are a bunch of interest groups lumped together. Break them up and let people actually have a mind numbing plethora of parties and beliefs to associate with. That way we are at least more adequitly represented by our parties. I'm not in favor of joining the Democratic party, but I might consider the Progressive Populist party.

Ultimately I'd prefer to see political parties die a painful and ugly death and see elections reformed so that public funds, and only those funds, are used for getting elected. No more wealthy elites getting in by virtue of being filthy stinking rich. No more corporate money buying off politicians before the gates even open and the race starts. The ONLY people that politicians would be beholden to is the people. You piss us off, you cease to govern.

I'm also for doing away with the House of Lords we call the Senate. If not that, set a two term limit and remind them that they were originally tasked with considering the state government's authority. I also favor changes to the House that would have people elected for 3 years with a three or four term limit. This places people in Congress longer than any single president, but doesn't let them become career politicians. There are a number of other reforms I'd implement, but I doubt anyone really wants me to list them here. If our government is to be saved (and I no longer believe it can be) we need radical, sweeping, and massive overhaul to bring it back in line with the purpose of our Constitution, a government for the people, by the people.

Posted by: Janitor of Lunacy (wodurid)
Posted at: March 8th, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
Che-che

You are correct about the semantics. Perhaps "oppositional" is indeed the correct.

Let me then say that what is truly obstructionist, is the two party system in that it enables gaming the system and upholds party dogma over what is in the best interests of the country.

That said, to my mind, both parties are fascistic, albeit in their own way. They're tits on the same tired-old sow. Moreover, neither party has had a fresh and dynamic idea in decades. It's all re-hashed, stale dogma.... now devolved further into short-attention-span talking points. There is nothing "progressive" about either side. They both, in their own way, oppose change and dynamism. They are unfit leadership for the 21st Century.

Posted by: Kevin (mister_bitters)
Posted at: March 9th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)

They're tits on the same tired-old sow.

That made me laugh.

They both, in their own way, oppose change and dynamism. They are unfit leadership for the 21st Century.

That's because their corporate masters don't want change that benefits us, but I get the feeling that I'm preaching to the choir on that point.

Posted by: PolyRanger (polyranger)
Posted at: March 6th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
Thundercats

You'll never get a house majority. They have all exempted themselves from voting.

14 Read Comments