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Limitations needed for elected officials

An interesting e-mail is circulating right now regarding elected congressional positions.

Dubbed the Congressional Reform Act of 2009, it would limit terms to a total of 12 years, congressmen would be paid while actually in office and would receive no pay when no longer in the position; they would have to participate in Social Security, could no longer vote themselves pay raises, and would change from their current health care system to participate in the same health care systems as the rest of us.

A common phrase throughout this proposal is “Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators to serve their term(s) then go home and back to work.”

I have never been a supporter of tenured positions — elected or appointed.

These people are elected and given the power to change our lives but do not follow the same laws they have established.

If they expect some of us to live on a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, they should try it.

They should be given the task of figuring out the complicated Medicare system that they established.

There are some congressional representatives who will be active members, contributing in a positive way, regardless of the number of years they have served. But we all know of those who are not prepared when they vote on bills and some who do not even show up to vote on those bills. They are re-elected for other reasons.

It is a disservice to the American people that the only people who can be elected U.S. President these days are those who are wealthy and politically savvy. There will never be another president who will come from the working class and understand what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck.

Congressional bills have become so convoluted with political propaganda and coddling that few of our elected officials can figure out the confusion. Those who care enough to know what they’re voting for are usually outnumbered and the bill passes anyway.

Whatever happened to these officials actually serving their constituents?

How many constituents actually said, “Yes, take trillions of my tax dollars that will continue to be a tax burden for my children and their children and even their children, and give it to big companies so they can continue their business of losing and squandering money.”

How many constituents supported their elected officials receiving raises and unreasonable benefits?

Our congressional servants are just that — public servants. They are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during their tenure. They should be reasonably compensated — but not for the rest of their lives.

What about police officers, firefighters, and other public servants who risk their lives every day for us? To me, they are more deserving of a lifetime stipend than an elected official.

I realize elected officials sometimes give up their full-time jobs to take the elected job. Compensation is necessary but not for the rest of their born days.

I’m not sure how far this proposal will get. You see, because of our system, someone from the U.S. Senate and someone from the U.S. House of Representatives would have to introduce this to their cohorts and then convince them it’s a good idea.

How far do you think it will go?

— susan berg

Last modified Dec. 16, 2009

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