Lanterns: A Digital Congress Will Crush the Status Quo

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A Digital Congress Will Crush the Status Quo

We should discuss having a digital Congress; it would crush the status quo. 

 

As technology evolves and is more user-friendly than ever, why isn’t the legislature moving in the digital direction? Imagine the monetary savings, and the streamlining effect on the wheels of government if our Representatives were to keep their sorry butts at home. So much of what angers people… POOF… erased with a modicum of effort.

Congress and the Senate need to be put on notice and put in their proper places. It’s hypocritical to be living the good life while lamenting the state of the middle and lower classes. That goes for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, as well as Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, and a host of other liars and thieves. Both parties are equally complicit.

Champagne Taste On A Taxpayer Budget… 

 

Have you ever thought about what it costs the taxpayers for each of our representatives in Washington? Let’s be honest, they aren’t funding travel and incidentals, we are. Each member of Congress receives an annual salary of $174,000. Additionally:

Members of the House receive a $900,000 annual allowance for a staff as well as a $250,000 budget for travel and office expenses, paid for entirely by taxpayers. Each senator, on the other hand, gets a budget close to $3.3 million based on figures from the Congressional Research Service.

Eating, drinking and making merry all go on the “allowance.” This is also commonly referred to as an expense account. Prices are prohibitively high in the Capital area, so we're paying top dollar for all of it. Nice work if you can get it, huh?

While Congress is in session, and even when it’s not, lobbyists are there in DC, dropping in on representatives, wining and dining them, or just running into them. Generally speaking, people want lobbyists out of politics; it's an enormous hot-button political issue among the US citizenry and is something on which the Left and Right actually agree. Nobody likes lobbyists, excepting, of course, politicians. If Senators and Congressmen weren't in DC, but at home in their districts, it would throw a mammoth monkey-wrench into the lobbying sector. All of K Street would end up on the real estate market.  

A Positive Change for Us

 

Let's recap. Senators and Congresspeople stay home with their families, where they belong. At last, constituents have the opportunity to speak to their representatives. If they were more accessible, and we could see what they’re doing day to day, they may not automatically get voted back in at the rate of 93%, as they are currently.

Taxpayers save oodles of cash, and lobbyists lose the easy influence they've always enjoyed. 

Also, fooling around is uncomplicated when a Representative is miles away from home in DC. Being at home, however, creates innate obstacles which would hopefully reduce the affairs and shenanigans our legislators seem to find too often while away. Temptations aren’t nearly as prevalent when the family is living, working, and shopping in the same town. This gang certainly does have a gift for getting into awkward and salacious extracurricular relationships. 

Having our representatives keep their butts at home will have some wonderful consequences. 

Doing The People’s Work Has Become A Giant Slumber Party 

 

Do our legislators require physical proximity to each other to do their jobs? I don't think so. FaceTime, Skype, and GoToMeeting have changed our small worlds into a global economy. There’s nothing stopping them from gathering online to their heart's content. While they’re in DC they keep in touch with their families and communities online; it’s time to flip that dynamic. Congress and Senate jobs are perfect telecommuting positions, allowing them to put their families and communities front and center. Multibillion-dollar private corporations do it every day, in order to compete in the global market. 

Advances in Virtual Technology would allow Congress a Virtual Capitol in which to meet. Transparency could finally become the order of the day. Here in America, there is more than enough expertise, and Silicon Valley would scramble for the contract. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Let’s get with the times. 

They could meet once a year in DC for a joint session and the State of the Union Address. House them in hotels or college dormitories for the session, costing significantly less than footing the bill for them to live there. Think how exciting it would be for the college students chosen to host the representatives. With the number of top rated Universities in DC, there are certainly more than enough rooms. 

Elected to work for us, they shouldn't have any illusions about their place

 

We don't have royalty in the United States, but our representatives are living a heck of a lot better than most of us. Pensions for Congress and other perks must stop immediately. In addition to their salaries, a small expense account is plenty to provide what they need to do their jobs. Necessary junkets would be reimbursed. 

Have they done anything worthy of all they earn? Why do they have the ACA Gold Health Care package when constituents struggle to pay Bronze premiums and copays? They’re no better than the rest of us, and we shouldn’t fund their fairly lavish lifestyles. If these positions were compensated in a similar way to the private sector, representatives might not view government as a career path. Our representatives often come into office just normal people, but they leave Washington old, corrupt, and wealthy. It’s astounding. We-the-people forget, they work for us.

No wonder folks are drawn to public service, it’s a cushy, powerful job. Wear nice clothes, eat in the best restaurants, travel the world: all on our tax dollars. 

It is time they were forcefully dismounted from the pillars and high places we’ve permitted them to perch, and treated as the public servants they are. There’s so much waste in Government. Cutting our representatives down to size is an excellent place to begin real cost-cutting reforms.

Written by Julie Custer

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