Make the president and Congress join us in the real world

The rulers of our nation live untouched by most of the trouble they cause for the rest of us. It's because they can. Suppose they couldn't. Photo: U.S. Constitution/ Flickr

ANDERSON, Ind., October 6, 2013  With government spying, IRS attacks, cover-ups, paid leave — even for admitted murderers — special deals for Congress, presidential decrees that change laws whenever the president wants — it’s time to have another look at how our rulers have gotten so far from the reality the rest of us live in.

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What’s immediately obvious is that the ruling class understands the difference between “laws” and “rules.” A law, like gravity, cannot be broken without consequences. A rule can be broken without consequence — if one has the proper connections. Our society tends to give “rules” the appearance of “law,” and our legislators are willing to accept this mantle of infallibility, thus calling their rules, laws.

What this sets up, of course, is a society where the rulers set rules for everyone else, and where those rulers don’t have to actually follow those rules. For examples, Congress has set up Social Security for everybody else. Congress has its own retirement plan, paid for by everybody else. Congress has its own health care, apart from the “universal” Affordable Care Act’s provisions and constraints.

What this country’s rulers need is a dose of what it’s like to live under their rule. It’s sad to admit it, but what we need is a Constitutional Amendment to return to the ideals in the Constitution.

If Americans are to realize the guarantees of equal protection mentioned in the 14th Amendment and implied throughout the Constitution, we need a 28th. Try this:

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All federal laws, programs, regulations, mandates, taxes; and all federal administrative duties, investigations, penalties, and limitations, shall apply equally and at all times to all citizens, private and corporate.

Short and simple, this would prohibit government-sponsored monopolies, special set-asides, exemptions from anti-trust, and all sorts of special deals that our legislators sneak into other bills, for themselves and their divisive constituencies.

Think of the changes this would bring, the freedom it would foster. Congress would have to live under the rules they are so willing to force us to live under. Rather than special retirement plans for Congress and the Executive, they would live on Social Security. Rather than letting the populace “eat cake” under their medical plan, Congress would buy the same plan and pay the same rates — and get the same coverage — as everyone else under the ACA. Congressional aides would be paid minimum wage, and not be automatically reclassified into “exempt” status, so they can be worked to death.

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In fact, there would be no differentiation between “exempt” and “non-exempt” federal workers. When big shots played golf or vacationed all over the world, they’d be off the clock, and not be getting paid. And when staffers worked all night, they’d get the money they deserved.

Taxes would be uniform. There wouldn’t be different rates, depending on whether an industry was “favored” or not. Truly profitable technologies would not be forced to finance pet projects, and “unfavored” but profitable enterprises would not be forced to compete on tilted playing fields. The good would rise to the top; prosperity and jobs for all who worked!

Government employees would not be above the law. They would have to answer to both criminal and civil charges, and their lawyers would not be furnished free, from their departments. If they could not afford an attorney, they would get assigned one from the same public defender pool we are all entitled to. Of course, if they could afford an attorney, they could hire anyone they please. And it’s unlikely that a multi-millionaire, generously pensioned former senator and secretary of state, for instance, couldn’t afford an attorney.

Eliminate the class structure in our laws, and force the rulers to live by their own rules; and we still have a chance to save this Republic.

Oh, and if you’d like one more, let’s look at this for the 29th: All federal debts will be paid for, first, by extracting necessary monies from Congressional and Executive Branch pensions. All other forms of debt amelioration, including taxation, appropriation of private and corporate assets, and any other means, shall be authorized only after these pensions are exhausted.

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Tim Kern

Tim Kern taught economics for fifteen years, and discovered that understanding life is easy; it’s recognizing reality that takes practice. He holds a music degree, and later earned an MBA in finance from Northwestern University. He has lived across the US, and now makes his home in Anderson, Indiana.

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