This is an actual letter that has been sent to Speaker John Boehner's office, concerning the extremely light schedule that he and the Republican leadership have aranged for the remainder of the year. Should anyone share my thoughts, I ask you to please send this letter to the Speaker, as well as your personal representative. You can find their contact info here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
I would like to thank you for listening to the American people by allowing a congressional vote on a bill that reopened the government, and assured the world that the US would not default on our debts at this time.
It has been brought to my attention that congressional members will earn the remaining 1/6th of their 2013 paychecks (roughly $29,000.00 per member or $12,615,000.00 for the total House of Representatives) by working only 19 days over the remaining two months of the year.
Furthermore, it has been brought to the attention of the tax-paying citizens of the United States that the House Leadership has taken up consideration to decrease the number of working days even further, because “there is not much legislation left.”
I feel that our country still has much work to do, especially at the congressional level. I have assembled a short list of items that you may consider legislating in the current session:
1. Unemployment in the United States is currently at 7.2%; real unemployment is at 14%. Perhaps Congress could pursue a stimulus in the form of a jobs bill that would help decrease these numbers.
2. In June of this year, the Supreme Court knocked down portions of The Voting Rights Act. Their ruling gave the United States Congress the ability to rewrite the legislation. We have seen numerous states take advantage of this “donut-hole” in time, by passing extremely restrictive “Voter ID” laws. Perhaps you could present legislation guaranteeing the right of every American to cast a vote for his/her public representative during this “slow legislative time.”
3. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that “Money is Speech and Corporations are People.” This ruling has allowed corporations and wealthy donors to spend ungodly amounts of money to buy politicians and pass laws that favor them over the rest of us. Not to mention the constant threat of a primary challenge, should the current politician “step out of line” in the eyes of the wealthy donor. How about a move to Amend the Constitution the read that “Corporations are not people, and Money is not Speech,” as well as to allow public funding of elections? This would level the playing field for everyday workers to run for political office, just as the founders of our country intended.
4. Fast food workers and other low-wage jobs are paying far too little to live off of, yet corporate CEOs are making millions. These same CEO’s and corporations are using tax-payer funds to subsidize their businesses. The top 10 fast food companies alone are costing the tax payers $7,000,000,000.00 per year. Each Walmart store is estimated to cost tax-payers nearly $1,000,000.00. How about raising the minimum wage, or even creating a living wage? We can then raise taxes on corporations once they hit a certain threshold in profits. Maybe you could tax everything over $10,000,000.00 at 91% (just like FDR). This would encourage large corporations to raise wages and invest in their own companies, instead of stashing the money in a bank where it is essentially out of circulation.
5. Even after Obamacare takes full effect, about 20 million people will be without health insurance. Perhaps you could vote on legislation to fix parts of the law and our healthcare system. How about a bi-partisan bill to cover every American, affordably? A public option would do the trick while leaving private, for-profit health insurance companies in tact. It would even add some “Free Market” competition.
6. We are still at war in Afghanistan: How about a bill to remove the troops immediately?
7. The Post Office has tight constraints that cost it $5,000,000,000.00 per year. They are required to fund the health/retirement benefits for all employees for the next 75 years, and they only have 10 years to raise the funds. How about repealing the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act so that the Post Office can operate the same way as every other organization in the Free World?
8. Our roads and bridges are crumbling: how about an infrastructure bill? The President already wrote and proposed it. I am sure he would send it right over.
9. The Sequester is still in effect and it is only going to get worse in 2014. It is slowing economic growth and killing jobs. How about a bill to repeal it? Nothing in Congress is “forever”. You could undo that damage tomorrow and be remembered as the Speaker who stopped such a horrible decision from taking full effect.
10. Workers and unions are still under attack by corporations and big Government Governors who are crushing them with Right to Work bills. How about repealing Taft-Hartley? This would immediately undo all of these Right to Work laws, allowing every American the right to unionize and bargain for a living wage. Exactly as Dwight Eisenhower promoted while he was in office.
11. Dodd-Frank is a great start to protect the American people from out-of-control banking. However, banks are still far too large and widely unregulated. How about reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act?
12. Puppy mills, factory farms, and slaughter houses mistreat animals every day. Most Americans are outraged at the mere thought of how these creatures are treated. You would gain wide support if you exposed these industries and then introduced humane restrictions.
13. Global warming is destroying the planet. Coal, oil, and natural gas pollution are all increasing the temperature of our planet. How about enforcing some new regulations on these industries, passing a bill for clean energy, and outlawing fracking? You could also stop any and all oil subsidies which would help make clean energy more competitive.
14. A majority of Americans now believe that marijuana should be legalized. Why not present legislation to legalize marijuana and tax it at a very high rate? For example, if it costs $4 for a pack of 20 joints, put a $26.00 tax on each pack. People pay more than $30.00 for a good bottle of alcohol, they will certainly pay it for choice cannabis.
15. We have more prisoners per capita and in real numbers, more than any other nation in the world. Perhaps you could address this as well. Maybe start with making private prisons illegal. No one should ever profit from someone else’s freedom being revoked.
16. Our schools are overcrowded, understaffed, and underfunded. How about changing that?
17. College is unaffordable, leaving young adults racked with debt and unable to find a job. College debt has now outgrown credit card debt. Congress could put forth a bill to fund college tuition for every American. What if the cure for our energy crisis is in the mind of a student who can’t unlock it because he/she can’t afford to go to school? It is in everyone’s best interest to have an educated populous.
18. Raise the FICA tax so that everyone pays the same percentage. Right now, someone who makes $1,000,000,000.00 per year pays the same as someone who makes $113,700.00. Your party is widely in favor of a flat tax. Why not start with FICA?
19. Gay marriage is gaining support among voters, every day. The congress can pass legislation that guarantees every consenting-couple, the right to marry the person they love.
It sounds to me that we might actually need to call a special session just to take care of these surface items. I am quite certain that many of the members of your caucus will protest that spending is already out of control, and we can’t afford these projects. However, many people believe that it was WWII that helped pull us out of the Great Depression. The war did help (among other things), but it wasn’t the war itself. It was the Government’s spending on that war. In 1945 our debt-to-GDP was 126%, or about $260 billion. By 1960, our debt was down to about 60% of GDP, or about $270 billion. Obviously, this is because we grew our way out of the Depression. All of these items will spur economic growth, therefore helping us grow our way out of these hard economic times.