Monday, July 18, 2011

Misreading History

By Daniel Perin

As I read the Sunday Oregonian Commentary page on this subject [1] I wanted to share it with others who don’t have access to the article, or did not read it.  It so clearly stated the obvious in terms of what is going on in our current debate on economic principles.

By this morning, as I reviewed the article, I thought, “What’s the use?”  It seems to me that the folks in Washington who are supposed to be representing their constituents back home simply are unwilling to LISTEN to what we are trying to say.  Congress and politics in general have become so rigid in positioning themselves that the two sides are like the proverbial immovable object meeting and irresistible force! 

Mr. McElvaine leads his article with these words:
What excuse do we have when we follow people who, guided by a different economic faith, see the past as they want it to have been not as it was?  Today, under the influence of leaders blinded to facts by certain faith, we are careening toward a repetition of mistakes that led to catastrophe.
He is referring to politicians who either have forgotten what the Great Depression was like, or were not present during those horrendous times.  Having forgotten that the principles of the Republican Party that brought on the financial ruin for millions of people they are now “misreading history” and implementing policies similar to those that led to the collapses of 1929 and 2008.  There is a well-known saying that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”  McElvaine continues:
With the economy in a precarious position, slashing spending, concentrating ever more wealth and income at the top, and blocking effective regulation is a prescription for disaster.
Conservatives appear to be united behind a set of beliefs that are dangerously wrong.  Theirs is a faith-based economics that contrast with fact-based economics; their god is named the Market.  Their economics is as immune to facts as its opposite, Marxism.  Call it Marketism.  A devout Marketist believes that the Market is always right and any government intervention is, well, sinful.
The sad reality of this interminable roadblock is that the public has a better sense of what is wrong and what is really important to them than their representatives.  It is time to get REAL, to get past the thinking that “my representative is okay, but the rest of them should be voted out of office.”  This is not good enough.  I believe we are close to a time when a total house cleaning is in order.  If we were to elect 100 brand new Senators and 535 brand new Representatives, there is NO WAY they could do worse than the ones in office now.  I know this is such a radical thought that it could never happen.  But there are things we could do as a nation that would bring about change more quickly.

This morning I received an email making the rounds, which in short advocated making our Congressional representatives subject to the same realities we all face.  I don’t often forward such emails, but I did this time.  It may be too much to hope that we can bring about a re-direction in our politics, but I have to keep trying.  I am dismayed to realize that people I would have believed had more sense than to blindly follow factually illiterate leaders, do not realize the consequences of such action.   What I DO realize is that more of us are beginning to raise our voices and to take actions in some way.  Already a majority of the public, including Republicans, disagree with the insane positions taken by Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Eric Cantor, all of whom are scared to death by the Tea Party representatives elected in 2010, no attention is paid to our voices.

 There are moments—after saying “a plague on both their houses,” I am ready to say let the default occur.  Let the economy collapse.  Let our house of cards crumble.  Then, using our indomitable American Spirit, let us rise again to rebuild this great nation!  It is time to quit misreading history and learn from what actually happened  when faulty economic policies were followed.

Here is a copy of the email I mentioned earlier.


The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it.. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

I'm asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011
1. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.


[1]  By Robert S. McElvaine, Oregonian, Sunday, July 17, 2011.

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