No government? No problem!
So, currently the United States government is mostly shut down over a budget impasse and looming debt ceiling increase. It isn’t a complete shutdown as essential personnel still get to keep the monstrous cogs (or are they sprockets?) of the government moving, but essentially they have closed their doors. How in the heck did we get to this point? I was of the understanding that our elected officials were supposed to put the betterment of the country first and put the harsh partisan bickering aside. I am not really sure how to resolve the gridlock, but one idea might be to keep lawmakers out of Washington as much as possible.
Keep the bums out of Washington D.C.
In Texas, the state legislature only meets in regular session every other year and then only for 140 calendar days. The governor can call special sessions as needed, but essentially the entire legislature meets for about 5 months out of a possible 24 months during a 2 year time span. Why is this important? Because politicians tend to think since they are called lawmakers that they need to be passing laws of all make and manor. If they are in session for most of the year, then most of the year they will feel the need to pass various laws. It they are out of session for most of the year, then it makes it much harder to pass many laws.
Texas likes to keep their politicians poor
The other thing the Federal government could learn from Texas is how to pay elected officials. Texas politicians get paid very little for their time as public servants. In fact, they only get paid roughly $7,200 per year. Yep, 31 state senators and 150 state representatives earn a grand total of $1,303,200 in salary per year. Their compensation and other benefits extend past that amount, but that sure seems like a bargain basement price to fill up both houses of the Texas legislature with warm bodies. It would be interesting if D.C. could attempt something similar with our elected officials from national elections.
Do I have a point to this pointless rant about changing beltway politics?
So what is the point with my bringing up this information about Texas? It is that if we only paid our elected officials a pittance for a salary, offered them no retirement beyond what their salary contributions would allow and had some type of term limits with staggered elections in the House of Representatives it might greatly expand the quality of people seeking office from say…people hungry for power. Currently every member of the House is up for reelection every two years, so most of the time they are in reelection mode instead of doing their jobs properly. If we had an elected body of representatives that were there to really do some good for the country maybe, just maybe we wouldn’t be in the mess that we are now.
The meat of the potatoes
I know that changing how Washington does business is just a crazy dream that some of have, but a blogger can dream can’t he? Perhaps one day when the country finally wakes up and demands a higher quality of elected official, they will realize that limiting a politician’s ability to make knee jerk laws in response to whatever the crisis-du-jour happens to be is a good idea. I for one would prefer them to stay at home with their families as much as possible.