Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

That Bright, Shining, Responsible Congress

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The latest Gallup public approval rating for our so-called “representatives” on Capitol Hill stands at 11 percent — two whole percentage points higher than 2013’s worst-ever 9 percent measure.

But what if Congress changed? What if our representatives did something dramatic? You know, to show Americans that they get it, that they’ll start representing us, that they’re about doing the job and not just riding the gravy train of power, high pay, lavish pensions, special exemption from Obamacare, etc.?

No, I don’t envision a majority of the 535 House and Senate members jumping into a phone booth and coming out with Super Solon capes. My fantasy actually has its roots in reality.

Neither Obama nor congressional Democrats dare stop Republicans in Congress from passing The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa). The legislation presents a straightforward incentive: do your job, balance the budget or . . . your pay will be cut.

Okay, disincentive.

Until the deficit is closed, and budget balanced, Blum’s law would reduce each congressman’s salary by 5 percent the first year, then 10 percent each year thereafter. Once Congress balances the budget, their full pay will be restored.

“For the sake of our children and grandchildren who will be stuck paying off our $19 trillion debt,” Rep. Blum argues, “it’s time we make our politicians face the reality of our fiscal crisis by hitting them where it counts: their own pocketbook.”

If the Republican-controlled Congress passed The Fiscal Responsibility Act, cutting their own pay until they get our country’s finances in order, the elections this November would be a rout.

Just a dream?

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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congress, responsibility, fiscal, debt, pay, paycheck, illustration


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  1. James J Kovalcin says:

    What possible effect can this have when more than 50% of the members of the congress are multimillionaires?

  2. Pat says:

    You’ll just have to keep dreaming. Most of our spending is on automatic pilot. The ‘discretionary’ part of the budget is minuscule. Add to that, we woiuld need to do more than just balance the budget. We need to run surpluses of hundreds of billions of dollars for at least a decade to even begin to put a dent in the debt. Even then, we would still be deeply in debt. It’s not enough to balance the budget. The budget is merely a statement of intent. Spending bills need to be cut. Government has to shrink – drastically.

  3. Ken says:

    The problem with either this bill or with a balanced budget amendment would be in how future legislatures would respond to their demands. “We’re spending more money than we take in? Well then, we’ll have to increase some taxes to balance things out, We don’t want to raise taxes, and wouldn’t do so on our own, but you’re forcing us to do so,” How about efforts to limit total federal spending to a (gradually declining) percentage of GDP? That percentage never reached double digits until the beginning of WWII, and stayed around 15-17% during most of the ’50s and ’60s. We’re currently running at over 20%, with the only possible change in sight the doubling or more that Bernie Sanders and his supporters would like to have.

  4. Carl Fisher says:

    While it would be a transformational result, it would probably also be unconstitutional…

  5. Gramma says:

    A dream at the moment, but a nightmare for our children and grandchildren!

  6. Brian wright says:

    Don’t hold your breath, Pablo et al. I like the more direct solution of freedom of choice in government. 

  7. Brian Richard Allen says:

    …. our children and grandchildren who will be stuck paying off our “Nineteen Trillion Dollar” debt …. 

    For starters if real accounting (the ferals’ “book-keeping” would land you and me in prison)  is used, the feral gummint’s debt (Yes, “Unfunded Liability” — and by any other name — is debt, too) is closer to Two Hundred Trillion than to “19” and; 

    If we – let alone our “children and grandchildren” – had an ounce of either courage or common sense we would disobey the IRS, defund the stand-over and shakedown federal gangsters and force the federal government to default on those of its foreign and domestic cronies, cohorts and co-conspirators who’ve been criminally arrogant enough to – unconstitutionally-through-treasonously – have lent it money!

    Then the, thus, massively — and by-We,The-People — reduced-in-size-and-scope federal government would have no choice but to balance its budget. 

    Brian Richard Allen

  8. Paul Jacob says:

    If Republicans in Congress were serious, they would do this. They’re not. Sadly.

    Don’t think this would have any effect? It would. Everybody notices when they get more money and when they get less. Even millionaires. (Especially millionaires.)

    Carl — Why unconstitutional? The Constitution mandates, via 27th Amendment, that any increase or decrease cannot take effect until an election has intervened. This constitutional provision  — which has been neutered by automatic cost of living increases that Congress doesn’t even vote on — would simply require that Blum’s change not take place until 2017, after this year’s election. Or am I missing something?

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