End the Reign Of Career Politicians

Editor, News-Register

Many years ago in my early schooling, I learned about guys like Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. They were elected to Congress, served their terms, and went back to private life with little fanfare. They were referred to as “citizen-statesmen” because that’s what they were: average citizens who served their patriotic duty to help lead this country. They then went back to farms, shops, factories, or whatever they did before going into Congress.

Around the middle of the 20th Century, politicians in Congress realized they could give themselves raises and make it financially worth their effort to stay in Congress. They started bringing taxpayer money back to their districts in the form of government funding in order to gain the approval of the average voter and get sent back to Congress. This was the beginning of the “career politician” and led to people like Strom Thurmond, Robert Byrd, Harry Reid, John Boehner, John McCain, and many of the other names so prominently mentioned in the nightly news.

Since then, these politicians have traded tax breaks for campaign money (lobbyists), added “earmarks” to major and minor legislation to send taxpayer money back to their districts or states, raised their own pay on an annual basis, passed laws exempting themselves from having to obey them, raided the Social Security fund for pet projects while voting in their own retirement system without contributing one penny of their own money to it. These politicians (even if they fail to be reelected after six years in office) will earn their highest annual pay for life as retirement income. Upon their deaths, this pay continues to go to their spouses for life. Now we read that Congress has voted to exempt family members and family members of their staff from having to repay college loans.

Congress is beginning to resemble the former Soviet Union’s Politburo, in which the political elite made all the decisions with little or no regard for the interests of the average citizen.

It’s time for a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to abide by the laws they enact. It’s time for the American people to take America back from self-serving individuals.