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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time to Haul Back on the Reins

Say you’re making preparations to attend college or to send one or more of your children off to school. If you’re like most of us, you’ll have to make financial sacrifices to achieve your goals.

But, what if you had a fairy godmother in Washington who could get you all the scholarships you needed? Just pluck them out of a never-ending supply of money.


Nope, that’s what happened when nine-term Dallas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson awarded $31,000.00 in college scholarships to her grandchildren and a top aide's two children, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers' causes.

According to the Dallas Observer News, Ms. Johnson claimed she did not understand the anti-nepotism rules for the scholarships. Seems like she did not consider grandchildren as part of her immediate family. And this from a single woman pulling down two hundred thousand a year as a lawmaker.

Now Ms. Johnson is not by herself. Innumerable members of Congress have bent the rules for personal use of someone else’s money.

Two of the most recent instances of ethics violations have concerned Rep. Charlie Rangel D-NY and Rep. Maxine Waters D-California facing ethics charges.

During my research, I was stunned when I saw just how many of our lawmakers had been charged with ethic’s violations, a Pablum expression in the parlance of Washington insiders that covers just about everything under the felony statutes.

You know how it goes, a senator from the state of Xanadu takes a fifty thousand dollar bribe, and the accusation is not bribery, but ethics violations. Sounds better, you know?

Political correctness at its apex.

Would you believe that ninety percent of those accused of various violations of the law have served three or more terms.

The three representatives I mentioned earlier are all in the thirty-forty year brackets serving the people—no, let me rephrase that. I should have said “‘thirty-forty year brackets taking” from the people that long becomes a habit, just like entitlements become a habit.

In a recent survey, three quarters of all voters favored term limits. Only 16% opposed them. (I don’t have the details, but I can guess the demographics of that 16%-elected officials)

So why don’t we have them?

Let me tell a little story. According to watchdog U.S. Term Limits, opposition comes from legislative or judicial actions overturning the results of popular elections.

In fact just last year New York City leaders arbitrarily tossed out the results of two citywide elections that would have denied themselves additional terms in office.

Now this could never happen in the political process laid out by the Founding Fathers.

U.S. Term Limits noted that female historian Mercy Otis Warren, the Conscience of the American Revolution, protested exclusion of term limits from the constitution, pointing out the corrosive influence career politicians would have over the populace.

She wrote, “There is no provision for (rotation in office), nor anything to prevent the perpetuity of office in the same hands for life; which by a little well timed bribery, will probably be done.” --1788

Richard Henry Lee, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, all Founding Fathers and along with many others feared that without a restriction on tenure, career politicians would take over the country.

History has proven Mrs. Warren correct in her assessment of the situation.
Until we follow the wisdom of our Founding Fathers to correct this fallacy in our elective process, we’ll continue with the same as we have now.

Albert Einstein is supposed to have remarked, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting different results.”

A neighbor said it a little differently, but it means the same thing. “Keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll keep getting what you got.”

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