A brand new year is ahead of us. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are past, leaving everyone, I hope, with pleasant memories and hopeful anticipation of the coming year.
I always enjoy those six weeks or so, especially when I recollect holidays past.
Often, I find myself wishing I could stay in those memories, but to do so is like the ostrich sticking its head in the sand. When he finally pulls it out and looks around, he recognizes nothing.
Life, however pleasant or unpleasant, has left him behind.
You and me, folks—we’re grown up. We’re children no longer with doting parents to solve our problems. That is up to us. And we have more than enough problems to solve.
We’re all facing a challenging year. If Big Banking isn’t turning the screws on us, then the politicians are feeding us lies. There are escalating problems in the Middle East. Genocide in Africa. Islam warns Christians in Nigeria to leave or be attacked. The job outlook is dim; money is tight; and neither Democrats or Republicans give a ‘Tinker’s damn’ about the middle class.
So we are, like the old homily says, ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t.’
You know as well as I there’s a whole slough of folks wanting to be president. I don’t know if a white Republican, a brown Libertarian, a red Whig, a black Democrat, or a green Martian will win.
Either way, I do not honestly believe you and me, the average Joe Sixpacks of this country, will find ourselves better off.
Washington, and I include all political parties here, has succeeded in setting up a convoluted set of connections that sheds accountability while enabling financial largesse beyond imagination. Those jokers get slaps on the wrist for behavior that would throw you and me in the deepest hole in the jail.
Perhaps, I should pause and take a step backward here and include local political entanglements also. There is more than ample evidence here in Southeast Texas as well as around the country and the world, that many elected officials are nothing more than crass barons of greed, perfectly willing to strip their constituents’ bank accounts for their own benefit.
Now, I have news for you. Maybe shocking; perhaps unbelievable; and certainly nothing new, but simply asking politicians to change won’t work.
Oh, they’ll agree that changes need to be made; they’ll assure us they’ll do all they can; and then as soon as we close the door behind us, they’ll stick another handful of greenbacks in their proverbial pockets.
Seems like to me these bloodsuckers are waiting in line for the plum political jobs; awaiting their turn at the trough of greed and wealth celebrated by the Potomac Two-Step.
Don’t believe me? Give me the name of a retired politician who lives on the median income of $50,000.00.
Like the Dodo bird, them fellers don’t exist!
What’s the answer, folks? Or is there one? Do we just simply move to the rear of the truck with the rest of the sheep?
I don’t know who coined the wry observation, but it smacks more of the truth than a lie. ‘An honest politician is one when he is bought, he stays bought.’
But there are a couple solutions, Blind Trusts or Term Limits.
Term Limits hasn’t worked. Sixteen states have term limits; nine for consecutive years, seven for lifetime. There were six other states with limits, but they were repealed, two by the state legislature; four by the state supreme courts.
I suggest term limits will not work for they must be put in place by legislators and judges, the very ones most affected by them.
That leaves Blind Trusts.
Lyndon Johnson was the first president to put his family wealth in a blind trust so there would be no question of impropriety; no question of using inside information for profit.
Why not require the same of Congress?
We send them to Washington to run the country. And we pay them well, $175,000 plus. Oh, yeah, and give them cost of living raises along with housing expenses.
Being in Washington, they are privy to financial information ahead of time, and more than one politician has made a fortune by that method.
Put their family wealth in a Blind Trust for the time they serve. They can’t touch it, so they won’t be tempted to do a little ‘insider trading’, a habit all too frequently taken advantage of by our congressional folks.
Now, most of those jokers up there currently won’t pass the necessary legislation, so we must do like the Tea Partyers and put in candidates who will carry out the wishes of America’s middle class.
An impossible task?
The realist in me says ‘yes’; the dreamer says ‘some day’.