Monday, July 03, 2006

Stroking my 1st Amendment Rights (part 2 of 3): Congress - The Old Boys' Club

And let’s continue.

Two-party system. Who knew the problems of our country could so easily be cut down party lines? Now while I think this is an outdated system, it’s certainly better than the one-party government we have right now. All hail the mighty corporation.

You haven’t heard? Congressmen no longer serve the interests of its constituents, but rather the lobbyists. Do you fuel their election campaign, or even fuel their jet on their trips to play golf with foreign diplomats? Congress has no more need for the common man when powerful oil/energy/car/pharmaceutical/tobacco companies tell them what’s best for the country. And all they ask is a little help thrown their way. Is that so bad? We’re busy people; we don’t have time to keep up with all the mundane goings-on of Congress. We need people like Lee Raymond from Exxon to help shape environmental policy.

More evidence we don’t matter anymore. Congress recently voted down the minimum wage raise (still $5.15) while giving themselves yet another pay increase, raising their pay $3100, what they like to call a “cost of living” increase. And good for them. Sure, this money could have been better spent on single mothers working two jobs trying to raise a family, but that would have put too much undue stress on the business owner. Forget the fact that the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 1997, isn’t adjusted for inflation, and the relative buying power is the lowest since the early 50’s. I just would have thought with all the voracious spending the 109th has been more than willing to do, those who truly needed it could have received even a little bit of help. But again, what does Poory McPoverty do to help them? Odds are, he doesn’t even vote.

And don't forget about all those great stories coming out about individual congressmen/lobbyists and thier abuse of power. Tom Delay stepped down after charges of conspiracy in fundraising; William Jefferson stepped down from the Ways and Means Committee after $90,000 was found in his freezer; Duke Cunningham is going to jail for 100 months after pleading guilty to tax evasion, mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bribery (don't worry, he may still receive his pension); Patrick Kennedy was just given a ride home and a wink and a smile after plowing into a barricade (probably driving drunk); and Jack Abramoff, superlobbyist, has pleaded guilty to three counts of buying everything in Washington. These notables just scrape the surface, you get the point.

Of course, to get your mind off this, we have idiotic debates and laws over issues that shouldn’t matter. Gay marriage comes notably to mind, violence in video games ruining our youth, and of course, the hearings on baseball. The media then, in turn, proceeds to fill the airwaves with analysis of these useless issues instead of talking about the problems that face our country. Fluff.

Now we have the immigration issue. Every senator who says he’d like to throw every illegal immigrant in jail I want to hit with a tack hammer. As if our prisons weren’t already full enough with people who shouldn’t be there, now we want to add the millions of illegals to the prison system? Now I’m not saying they all deserve amnesty, that would be completely unfair to those who have waited years to become a citizen legally. But instead of the quick fix (and LONG problem after) of incarceration, wouldn’t a more constructive way be to concede that we’re going to have immigrants coming over the border and offer incentives for them to register themselves for temporary work visas? Let them pick beans here, I sure don’t want to do it, and I’m sure all these ignorant citizens decrying the aliens don’t want to either. Once you do that, then hike up the penalties to employers and aliens not following the laws. Make it so easy for them to register with us that there’s no excuse for them not to. Now the big question is whether or not the cost of this added governmental department and more bureaucracy is higher than just throwing them in jail, but like I said, the 109th loves spending money. Hell, they just raised the debt ceiling. Part of this is the President’s fault, but I’ll get to him tomorrow.

In fact, I've probably carried on long enough, there really is too much to tackle (i.e. Greg's hatred of Bill Frist and Rick Santorum) in one post about the shortcomings of Congress, and tomorrow could get away from me even worse. Stay tuned, have a great Monday.


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