The downgrade of U.S. debt followed by the market crash yesterday provided ample evidence that Washington is broken, and Congress is a dysfunctional three-ring circus. I was outraged last week when Congress couldn't get its act together to avoid a debt crisis, and this week millions of middle-class Americans saw their savings further dwindle when the markets crashed in reaction to the antics in Washington. Especially vexing is that our congressman, Joe Walsh, favored defaulting on America's bills and, earlier in the year, favored a government shutdown over working together to keep our government and economy afloat. It's no wonder that a record 82% of Americans disapprove of Congress. Their performance is pathetic, and it's time to shake things up.
If I am elected to Congress, I plan to introduce legislation tying Congressional pay to performance. For too long, people in Washington and Congress point fingers at each other even as millions of middle-class Americans remain unemployed, and our economy continues to sputter. They must realize that we are all in this together, and I respectfully submit that the best way to remind Congress of this is to tie their pay to their collective results. If America does well, they do well. If Americans suffer, they must suffer. Members of Congress earn almost $175,000 a year, far in excess of the average American; therefore, we must hold them to a standard befitting their pay. Accordingly, I would introduce the following concepts:
- If there is a shutdown of government, members of Congress will not be paid under any circumstances, and their benefits will be suspended;
- If the government defaults on its bills, members of Congress will be last in line to get paid, and their benefits will be suspended;
- If the Congressional "super-committee" fails to act, and draconian discretionary cuts are triggered this fall, the pay of Congressional members will be cut by 50%;
- If our economy enters a double-dip recession, members of Congress will suffer a pay cut of 50%.
Members of Congress argue that because they are subject to election every two years, they face the full brunt of voter sentiment, and therefore there is no need to tie their pay to performance. I disagree. They often get re-elected because their fundraising prowess allows them to scream louder than their opponents during election season. But when you're yelling, you're not listening... and you quickly lose sense of voter sentiment. Today we are in an economic crisis. We must change course, and they must be responsive to our needs as a people.
Our own Congressman Walsh loves to point fingers at others for the follies of his Republican-led Congress. We cannot tolerate this any longer, and as I have mentioned before, his personal and egregious child-support scandals coupled with his official performance merit resignation now. I have even begun to circulate an online petition calling for Rep. Walsh to step down. In any case, today, we say enough is enough to all their antics. Please join me in shaking up Washington and Congress.