More Insight

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


One of my mentors sent this article by Charley Reese to me today, and 2 decades behind, many have probably seen this - an 'updated' version - before, but I think it's worth repeating.


By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices, 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.

They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing.

I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash.

The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a

Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the Speaker of the House?

She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Marines are in IRAQ, it's because they want them in IRAQ.

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no unsolvable government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

While I agree, especially about voting the losers out and cleaning house, I think it's unwise to pretend that the 545 are the only culpable and that every one of the 545 deserves the same degree of blame.

Of course there are certainly those within the 545 who are trying to reform the body (Kucinich, Waxman and Wexler first come to mind).

But it is irresponsible to let the blame, and apparently all the power, end with the 545.

I would place equal amount of blame on the 300 million who not only stood by and did nothing while their constitutional and human rights were made a mockery of, but continue to elect and support such offensive negligence, irresponsibility and greed.

The 'power' essentially lies with the public, who have failed to use and instead willfully allow the 545 to usurp it.

And of course we can't forget the corporations behind most of it. From pacifying a literally revolutionary culture into a consumer nation, where especially news and information is commercialized, we're all less informed; to the buying off of the weak 545 through lobbyists and campaign contributions.

And lastly let us not forget to blame ourselves, we who believe something is certainly amiss, for merely recognizing and endlessly complaining about the 545 instead of doing something productive like REALLY raising awareness beyond our inner circles and actually holding the 545 accountable for selling off our once great nation and literally, to our faces, handing us the bill to pay for it all.



The more I think about it, the more I completely disagree with him as I realize that what Reese was saying wasn't anything profound, new, or even accurate; it just sounds good - it's an appealing resolution to all our problems to scapegoat an insignificantly small percentage of individuals, freeing ourselves of any semblance of blame, responsibility, or patriotic duty to action.

It sounds neat and tidy and problem solved, pat yourself on the back and wash your hands clean because "they" have everything to do with it and only "they" can and should do anything about it. It sounds good. But it's harmfully wrong.

This is a tragically shallow understanding of the nature of the problems at hand, and displays an especially ignorant contempt for human complexity, let alone group complexity.

And not only is he just disrespectfully lumping together many elected federal officials as uniform in nature, but he's excusing himself and everyone else from ever having to do anything about it.

And the worst part is that by spreading a message like this, he's deceiving people into docility, advising complete abdication of civic responsibility. It's startlingly dangerous to advocate sheepish, hands-off, blame-free behaviors and attitudes to a public that needs now, more than ever since 1775, to move to action and defend the rule of law from tyranny home and abroad, and to uphold the integrity of democracy.

The United States is not meant to be an oligarchy, don't encourage it to be.

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