DownsizeDC.org
February 1, 2008
Don't pay Congress
By Perry Willis
Today's Downsizer Dispatch . . . Change the environment. Recruit more Downsizers. Share this message with others. SPECIAL NOTE: I'll be on two radio shows today -- Jerry Hughes at 3 PM Eastern and Gary Nolan at 5 PM Central. See below my signature for details on how you can listen. Quote of the Day: "Congress is continually appointing fact-finding committees, when what we really need are some fact-facing committees." -- Roger Allen Subject: Make Congress pay by not paying them If the government fails, you can't take your business elsewhere, or even get your money back. If a politicians fails, you can't fire him or her. Of course . . . You're told you can get rid of mis-performing politicians at the next election, but the electoral game is so rigged that trying to replace an incumbent, or an establishment favored candidate, is almost impossible. And even when it does happen it's always "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." So why shouldn't government fail? Why shouldn't politicians blunder? They bear no risk and pay no cost for doing so. In fact, they benefit from failure because they can use it as an excuse to grab more power and money. The incentives are all wrong. Our idea is to change the incentives -- to raise the cost politicians pay for doing bad things -- and thereby change their behavior. Step one is pressure. We applied a record amount of pressure in January, bombarding Congress with 49,041 messages. That's the most in any month to date for DownsizeDC.org. Thank you for making this possible. Step two is to change the environment. We'll do this by recruiting a large enough army that we can make the downsizing message heard by everyone, everywhere, every day. We recruited 1,114 new Downsizers in January. That's more than in any month from last year, and the fourth best month ever. Thank you for making this possible. Step three is to force Congress to pass legislation that controls their behavior. Things like . . .Two other good examples of this kind of incentive-changing legislation are . . . The "Enumerated Powers Act" will force Congress to cite its Constitutional authority for every bill it passes. This would soon turn into a farce, as Congress would have to constantly misapply things like the commerce clause. But this would empower us to expose the rampant illegality of most Congressional legislation. It won't change anything directly, but it would be another weapon we could use to change the political environment. Downsizers have so far hit Congress with 7,437 messages in support of the "Enumerated Powers Act," and it has 38 Congressional co-sponsors. Thank you for making this possible. The "Fiscal Responsibility Act" is even more powerful. It could change things directly. It requires that everyone in Congress take a pay-cut whenever the federal government runs a budget deficit. Talk about changing the incentives! However . . . Several Downsizers have objected to this bill out of fear that it would create an incentive for Congress to raise taxes. We understand this concern, and we like the thinking behind it, but we feel the concern is misplaced. Here's why . . . Congressional pay has always been a sensitive subject. Ask any radio talk show host -- Congressional pay raises have always had the power to light-up talk show phone-lines with objections from angry taxpayers. The problem was so bad for Congress that they finally had to put their pay raises on auto-pilot, to avoid constant public debates and controversy. Can you imagine the public outrage if . . . The politicians tried to save their own paychecks by raising your taxes!? Ladies and gentlemen, it's just not going to happen. In fact . . . The debate over tax increases is pretty much over. Even tax-loving Democrats have gotten the no-tax-increases religion. You can still hear them talk about raising taxes on "the rich," but usually in combination with tax cuts for the middle class, so that the whole package remains pretty much revenue neutral. That's hardly a recipe for using taxes to balance the budget. Plus, most politicians now understand that higher taxes don't necessarily result in higher revenues, because of the negative impact higher taxes have on economic growth. Very few politicians are going to want to pay the political cost of raising taxes, only to end up with a deficit anyway, and the resulting pay cut, because of stagnant economic growth. The "Fiscal Responsibility Act" really is a powerful tool for controlling government spending, and even Congressman Ron Paul thinks so. He's one of the bill's co-sponsors. Please send a message asking Congress to pass the "Fiscal Responsibility Act." Downsizers have so far hit Congress with 9,018 messages calling for passage of the "Fiscal Responsibility Act." And there's good news! The bill has picked up another co-sponsor: Representative George Radanovich of California. The full roster of sponsors is on the campaign page. If your Representative is listed, use your message to thank him or her, while asking your two Senators to introduce the bill in the Senate. You can also use your personal comments to mention that you're aware that the federal government owes $53 trillion in future liabilities that it has no ability to pay. Also make note of the fact that one out of every four of your tax dollars is already consumed by interest payments on the national debt. Tell them you want a balanced budget now, and debt reduction now. Tell them to pass the "Fiscal Responsibility Act." You can send your message here. And please consider making a contribution toward our February budget. You can do so here. Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army. Jim Babka President DownsizeDC.org, Inc. P.S. MEDIA ALERTS 1) I'll be on Straight Talk with Jerry Hughes today (Friday) on the Accent Radio Network and more than 15 stations. This is a regular (weekly) appearance, and far from scripted. I never know what to expect and some incredible conversations occur here. My hour-long appearance begins at 3:05 PM Eastern time (2:05 PM Central, 1:05 PM Mountain, 12:05 PM Pacific). To listen, go here. The toll-free call-in number is: 1-866-222-2368 The email is: Jerry at AccentRadio dot com 2) I will be Gary Nolan's guest today (Friday) on The Eagle, 93.9 FM Talk in Columbia, Missouri just after 5:00 PM Central time (6:00 PM Eastern, 4:00 PM Mountain, 3:00 PM Pacific). To listen outside of Missouri, go to www.theeagle939.com, and click on "Listen Now" in the top right corner of the page (right above the mugs of Beck and O'Reilly). The call-in number for the show is 573-874-9390.
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