This comment is in response to an appearance by Representative Mike Pence on MSNBCs Morning Joe program on December 1, 2010.
Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) appeared on Morning Joe yesterday; his rhetoric and inability to provide solutions was no less than shameful. Here is a man who has been spoken of as a potential Presidential candidate who was unwilling to take a stand on virtually any topic. It occurred to me that even Sarah Palin takes a stand, albeit ridiculous, on some issues.
How, I wondered, can a member of Congress support a Tax Cut (not a Tax Increase, since logically that would require a new law) and not be able to produce a single tangible idea on how to pay for it? I know it's becoming a bad joke, but to do this you must be a Republican. I continuously hear the same argument that if we put the money in the hands of those with the highest incomes, jobs will be created. Funny - they've had the tax break for ten years and we have a 9.6% unemployment rate. Once again proving that trickle down economics is nothing more than voodoo economics.
In virtually the next breath, Congressman Pence tells the unemployed that he supports an extension of UI benefits if it can be paid for. First Sir, the benefits have been paid for - WITH OUR TAXES. Can you tell me something more important than helping the people who in effect are your boss, during their time of need? Extending unemployment has benefits for the economy. Even John McCain once said that every dollar spent on unemployment benefits means a $1.60 gain for the economy. Therefore, spending the money will pay for itself. Enough said - pass the extension without condition. And, do it for a year so you don't have to waste time and hurt Americans again in a few months.
I do agree with Congressman Pence on the need of the government to stop unnecessary spending. And, the best way for Congress to encourage Americans to support the idea is to show them you're serious by making some sacrifices that affect Senators and Representatives. Here are some ideas to show that you're serious and to put you on par with the electorate:
1. Like most Americans, members of congress should have to pay for 20% of their health insurance premium and 80% of the premium for their family members.
2. If members choose to fly abroad for political exposure, they should do so on their own expense. There is enough work to be done here, so you shouldn't have to go globetrotting looking for more work.
3. Suspend pensions for members of congress. Have them pay into a 401K, like most Americans.
4. Halt all pay raises for members of congress. For future raises, allow your boss - the American people - decide if you deserve one. This could be a ballot initiative every two years. (Since your job is public service, waiting 2 years
should not be a hardship. If it is, move to the private sector. I am sure someone will step up to take your place.)
5. Vote to impose term limits on Congress (2 terms for Senators & 4 terms for Representatives). This would provide some incentive to make some bold moves, since it would be understood that you weren't in a lifetime position. No one would be able to sit out a few years hoping to derail a Presidency at the sake of the American people. Members of Congress get out of touch with the folks back home when they spend too many years in Washington. This solves that problem.
Once you achieved the above, which if Congress is serious should take about two hours, it's tax cut time. The order of business should be as follows:
1. Pass legislation to make the Bush Era Tax Cuts permanent for people earning $250K or less. Most of this money will be pumped back into the economy, so it's a no-brainer.
2. Modify the current tax rules for earners making $250K or more. Write the law to index the tax break to the number of jobs created per dollar earned over $250K. If the condition is satisfied, the tax cut is earned. If not, the tax rate paid is equal to that of the Clinton era. This is a win-win situation. This nullifies the argument that small business owners would be penalized. It's also prudent and pragmatic: If you don't create jobs, you don't get a tax cut. It only makes sense.
Whether you agree with these suggestions or not, they are ideas Congressman - and that's what America wants. We didn't all like Ronald Reagan, but we respected that he came to the table with ideas. So, the next time you appear on a talk show, perhaps you can have some. Or, are you simply taking the "I see nothing, I know nothing, and therefore I do nothing" road (aka/Sarah Palin Avenue) to a run at the White House?
There is something more fundamental that the American people want, and you and your cronies (on both sides of the aisle) just don't seem to get it. So, as every good supervisor does, I'll provide guidance and the answer. Americans want Congressional Republicans and Democrats to get off their butts and start working together to make this a better country. We have spoken (27% approval rating for both parties) but you seem to ignore us. As one of your bosses, I ask - no, I DEMAND, that you get to work and get the job done. No more standing around and making excuses about why you can't. There is too much at stake.