Okay... this one is coming after some conversations with friends, reading the weekend Op-Ed pieces, and just some things I have been thinking about over the last few years. We need solutions, problems we have aplenty :(.
How about term limits - for every federal official. I think everyone of them should serve 6 years (one-third turn-over every 2 years so that there are senior members to show juniors the ropes). At the end of that term they MUST sit out a full term before running for that (or any federal) office again. I am really fed up with our elected officials - our employees (to the tune of 6 figure salaries a year and health care for life) spending their entire time in office running for office! They start fund raising for the next election on the day they are elected. When do they have time to do our business? Votes are missed because they are at fund raisers; they knuckle under to party pressure to get the backing to run again; and on and on. Also, if they are worried about their vote endangering their chances of re-election, they are less likely to vote their conscience or the way their constituency wants them to vote. Bottom line, if they are worried about keeping their jobs, they are more worried about their futures than ours. I want our representatives worried about OUR future! OUR Country's future.
Contractors - if you want to do business with the federal government, especially in areas of national security, you have to be incorporated 'on shore' and pay taxes here to the good ol' US of A. No more companies like KBR who are now based for tax purposes in I believe the Canary Islands but have billions of dollars in US contracts in Iraq. So let's get this straight: The US hires them to do lots of jobs that are of a national security nature, and they escape the bulk of their tax responsibility because they are incorporated off-shore. What am I missing here, other than an opportunity?
Congress - READ THE CONSTITUTION! It is your obligation to declare war, not to abdicate that responsibility by giving the executive branch a blank check to circumvent the system. Part of your job is to read bills that are being debated and voted on, not abdicate that to "well the leader says we should/shouldn't vote for that and I have to be a good party member", or "they released it at 3 a.m., the vote is 9 a.m. the same day, and it's 1300 pages, who has time???" If you don't have time, then neither do the other members; have the balls to say that, and postpone the vote until you all DO have the time! Or at least are able to have YOUR staff read and give you a summary evaluation. I don't send my representatives to serve in government to party and do what they are told, I send them to think and represent me. Hopefully everyone else who votes feels that way too. It is also your responsibility to use your brains and assess situations - understand when you have been manipulated and recognize the tactic when it is used again!!! Like is being done now with Iran! This same tactic was used in the 60s with Viet Nam, certainly with Iraq, come on folks, I have to hope Congress members have at least as much intelligence as a 5th grader though I do doubt it sometimes. Hey... Senators and Representatives time to stop saying Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaaaaaaa... and being lambs to the slaughter.
Appointments - there should be an experience standard applied to all political appointees. Being a frat brother of the President is not a qualification for heading a federal agency; being a major donor to a party and/or campaign is not a qualification; being the brother of the president, vice president, et al is not a qualification; being a business partner or previous employer is not a qualification, etc. If you are being considered for a position in security it is necessary to have security background, educationally as well as employment. What private sector company, or even federal agency for that matter, would hire someone without experience or education in the field in which employment was being sought? Why should appointees be any different? If you are being appointed to go to Iraq to manage their bank, it would be nice if you had some accounting experience and weren't just a good Christian [supposedly].
I had hoped the days of smoke filled rooms and Boss Tweed were over, but they are so far from over and in this administration they have been over the top! There may not be smoke filling the room but there is tons of hot air, corruption, and cronyism! I'm sure there are lots more ways we can fix this system - but of course, the people who would have to fix it are the ones who would be adversely affected - talk about living the nightmare.