THE BLOG
08/29/2012 03:07 pm ET | Updated Oct 29, 2012

First Spending Cut: Paychecks for Congress

The new Gallup poll shows approval for Congress at 10 percent.

Congress -- especially the 112th one -- is a corrupt and failed institution. I'm not saying that they're no decent people in Congress; I know that there are. But, the institution as a whole is a failure and it's doing catastrophic damage to our country. 

You could blame the culture in Washington or horrible campaign finance laws, but the fact remains that too many out of 435 members have submitted entirely to the status quo. They are selfish, bought by special interests, loyal to their party more than the country, and so rabid with hate for each other that they would rather hurt American people than give their opponents an electoral advantage.

The Republican members in particular, under the toxic leadership of McConnell, Cantor and Boehner, worked hard to deliberately slow down or sabotage economic recovery for electoral gain in 2012. In fact, world leaders, ratings agency and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) have repeatedly told Congressional leaders to stop politicizing the economy because it's hurting not only America but the rest of the world. 

Even now, the CBO keeps sending out warnings, ignored by members of Congress, that if they do not avert the fiscal cliff, a deep recession will ensue. They just don't seem to care. They're too busy memorizing their polished lies -- err, talking points -- to voters in this vicious election season. 

The bottom line is that Congress members would rather win than govern even if it requires burning the whole house down. And that's not why Congress was created, why we vote for members and why we pay them. They're just not doing their jobs. Even worse, they're playing a game with our lives. 

Congress members spend 30 percent to 70 percent of their time raising money to for their campaigns. They are severely gridlocked and proudly get nothing done while we pay them six-figure salaries (average $174,000) with great health care and benefits. They turn around and blame everyone else, including the American people, for their failure to manage our money, one of their primary jobs. They never apologize for sucking at their jobs and they insist that they deserve to keep their jobs. 

Why should we continue to pay them when they're such miserable failures? Seriously, before we cut health insurance and food programs for hungry children, shouldn't the first spending cut be their paychecks? We should consider making serving in Congress a part-time, minimum-wage job with no benefits. Or, we could be more generous and require that all congressional salaries capped at the average salary of a public school teacher ($51,000). 

Or, maybe we should just dissolve this Congress altogether and start anew. I'm not sure but the only way we can do this is by calling for an Article V Constitutional Convention.

Article V of the Constitution gives the states the power to call for a Constitutional Convention. To do so, two-thirds of the states -- 34 out of 50 state legislatures -- must pass an application calling for a Convention. If enough states pass this simple resolution, then Congress must call a Convention so that states can propose amendments to the Constitution.

Let's have public-minded citizens volunteering to serve the country with no possibility of becoming lobbyists EVER and publicly funded elections. Let's make campaign donations illegal. 

Something needs to be done. Congress is killing the economy because its members are incapable of governing. They cause us grievous harm and we pay them do do it. 

In case you're wondering about who the 10 percent approvers are, check out Samantha Bee's investigation on the Daily Show, which was made last year when the approval was at 14 percent.

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