"Why don't you mind your own damn business?" This was the reply from Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel when asked by a reporter about his failure to pay tax on rental incomce. Charlie Rangel, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee (the tax writing committee in the U.S. House) failed to report income on a summer home he's owned in the Dominican Republic for more than 20 years. Since Rep. Rangel is a "public servant" (at least in theory) then I would say that this matter IS the business of any honest taxpayer who wants to ask. Rangel's reply is just indicative of the imperious attitude that many of our Representatives and Senators, Republican and Democrat alike, have adopted while serving in Congress.
All American citizens, regardless of party affiliation, should be concerned about the evolution of our congressional "representatives" during the life span of our country so far. With their own "golden parachute" reitrement program, including fully paid health insurance for life, social security exemption, and more perks than you can shake a stick at, it would seem that being elected to the U.S. Congress could be better than hitting the lottery! Did you know that, when a congressman or senator decides to retire, any campaign funds left in his/her coffers goes with him/her into retirement as income, instead of being passed on to the political party for which the money was donated! This was not what our founding fathers intended when they established our system of government service and representation.
It is long past time to change the way our government runs in Washington, DC. We need to take the money out of the politics by eliminating lobbyists and the special interest money that they toss around like confetti. We need to establish term limits for all elected officials and thereby eliminate the term "professional politician" from our vocabulary. And, above all else, we all need to start taking more interest in how our elected "representatives" vote on issues that matter most to us. Does your senator or representative vote to represent the interests of his/her political party or the constituency that put him/her into the elective office. Far too many of our "representatives" vote the party line, even when that is not what their constituents want to do.
Our current administration and congressional representatives have already voted in several trillions of OUR dollars to bail out auto comanies, banks and other financial institutions, plus spending massive amounts on unrelated "pork" programs, even when polls have shown that the American people said NO with a solid majority.
As future spending bills come up for a vote, we need to take control of our voices in Washington, DC and let them know that we will make them pay in 2010 at the polls if they do not heed us now. Failure to do this will result in failure for America.
A quote I once heard comes to mind now: "ALL THAT EVIL NEEDS TO SUCCEED IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING." As good men and women, let us go forth now and do what needs to be done to turn this country away from the evils of massive overspending and start to show some fiscall common sense again.