Saturday, February 23, 2013


To my son Tommy,

Lately the Congress seems like it is filled with a bunch of spoiled brats who don't play well with others and throw little tantrums to get their way. It is filled with political brinksmanship and threats of allowing consequences happen and finger pointing as who is to blame. The recent sequester is just one example. Your nursery school class plays better together, shares more, communicates more efficiently, and I dare say accomplishes more than the current Congress.

I am not taking sides or playing the political game here. No matter the party affiliation, I feel that the majority of our representatives have lost touch with their constituents and in fact lost touch with reality. I would say get rid of them all, through the vote of course, if it wasn't so darn expensive.

If I could bring up a court case to the Supreme Court, I'd bring up that the pension plan for Congress may be unconstitutional. If we vote out a vested politician we have to pay him his pension and pay his replacement a salary as well. I say vested because there is misinformation out there that if you serve one term as a congressman you get paid full pension for rest of your life. Not true, but that rumor persists, and that is not the point I am stressing. In essence voting out a fully vested senator or representative doubles what we pay as taxpayers. If we keep the vested guy, we don't pay any extra because he can't collect a pension while he is still working. Because of this knowledge, the entire pension package for politicians puts undo influence on my vote. Does that make it unconstitutional? Probably not literally, but I would argue that this could be considered a poll tax. In the least, it is outside the spirit and scope of electoral laws. In this day and age of fiscal cliffs and certain countries going through defaults and ratings downgrades and such, this might be the equivalent of a financial gun pointed to your head saying "Vote for this guy or else"

For the time being, if we vote a vested incumbent out, we pay their full pension and the new guys salary. So we have a few decisions to make immediately. Do we keep paying one price for the crappy ineffective junk we have now? Or do we pay double for the slim chance that the new guy we vote in might be able to accomplish something? Then if we do make the change, how do we make sure this guy doesn't get vested fully and it doesn't cost us an arm and a leg to vote him out when he screws up? Yep, I believe congressional pensions should go away. Replace them with some type of IRA contribution, subject to the same limits the general public has on contributions. Or better yet, change it to a profit sharing plan and they only get a contribution if the entire government makes a profit in that year, which usually happens never. That would teach them not to screw with the finances of the entire country for political gamesmanship. I understand why the pensions exist. They exist so the politicians don't sell their vote or politcal secrets for their future economical surety. But I think that happens already and believe we should prosecute this not pay them off with a pension so they won't do it. I really hope when you get older we still have a viable and solvent and non-bankrupt government. But i have my worries and doubts. Thus ends one of my few political rants.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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