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Don’t let Congress roll over you, demand accountability



Published: Tue, October 15, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Don’t let Congress roll over you, demand accountability

Obamacare is the law of the land since its passage (years ago) by the same Congress that now has its knickers in a twist over implementing the law it passed.

Obamacare is a good idea badly developed. No citizen of this blessed nation should suffer for want of medical care that is readily available when it is profitable for providers to render it. How much profit, who pays what portion, and how, are the devilish details Congress has the power and, allegedly, the skill to work out.

Instead of debating, compromising and amending Obamacare into a workable means of providing for the common good of the nation, Congress continues its shameless wallowing in the muck of party power grabbing. The same-old same-old has become too old to be tolerated further. Members of Congress behave as though they have no skin in the game. Oh, that’s right, they don’t.

Multiple shiploads of money and influence are on the table, not just for Obamacare, but for every bill that makes it to a vote, and therein lies the primary interests of our supposed leaders. Getting the corrupting influence of money out of politics is likely the only solution to the D.C. shuffle and sham.

We don’t need the self-serving, self- aggrandizing, oily lot we unfortunately have become accustomed to as government. Nor do we need ideals-bound Pollyannas unable to consider compromise. We need hard working, highly skilled, forthright public servants in Congress who are dedicated to achieving realistic goals for the good of the country. We need men and women willing to ante up verifiable, personal responsibility for their work on legislation. What we have are people who serve their party and themselves first, and treat the good of our nation as an unsubstantial afterthought to be discussed in glittering generalities.

Recognize that Congress is our employee. As such, we must provide its members with direction as to the goals we believe are desirable for our Republic and with sensible rules that we expect them to follow to achieve those goals. Let’s demand that our representatives in Congress communicate to us, at least quarterly, how they voted on which pieces of legislation and why. The informed choices the electorate could make based on this information would be at least a start toward raising the voice of the people to a volume approaching the siren song of cash.

Make some noise, write some letters, send some email, talk to your neighbors, stand up and stand together or the Capitol do-nothing machine will roll right over you.

Jim Cartwright, Canfield


Comments

1Photoman(993 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

A fine situation it is when the employee sets its own salary, decides on a benefit program all its own which includes an unbelievable retirement program and proceeds to dictate how the employers must live. And to think that we, the employers, tolerate this nonsense!!!

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2SeriouslyNow(192 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

@Jim,
Still believing the lie that Congress is exempt from Obamacare?

Members of Congress and their staff are specifically required by law to use the Obamacare exchanges. Does that constitute "skin in the game"?

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376Ytown(1207 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

seriously,

Is Congress exempt from Obamacare?

* A bill was passed requiring members of Congress and their staffers have to buy their health insurance on the exchange,

* They currently have health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan which the government pays an average of 72 percent of the premiums.

* Without their employer contribution, they would essentially be getting a cut in pay and benefits equal to thousands of dollars.

* President Obama issued a special rule for Congress and congressional staff to subsidize their purchase of health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange, something unavailable to every other American at similar income levels,

*Under existing federal statutes Congress had to specifically pass legislation authorizing the premium subsidies for any insurance program other than FEHBP therefore exempted Congress from the law.

* No other companies are allowed to subsidize premiums to employees insured through exchange.

Something the courts will have decide.

If we want Congress and congressional staff to use the exchange for coverage, is it fair that they are also subsidized for that benefit if that is something that is not allowed for rest of the American people?

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4commoncitizen(959 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

76Ytown, very good and factual response to seriously. The problem with some people is that they do NOT check their FACTS before they respond.
I asked Tim Ryan at a meeting where he was pushing "Obamacare" if he would drop his federal coverage and go in one of the exchanges, he told me that the would ----WHAT LIER!!!!

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5Jerry(486 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

While Obamacare is "the law of the land", it was NOT passed by this Congress; and no Congress is ever bound by the actions of a prior Congress. Why should those who oppose Obamacare be expected to accept it, move on, and stop trying to eliminate or resist it. I would like to ask several related questions.

The right to keep and bear arms is also “the law of the land”. Will the proponents of gun control now accept it, move on, stop trying to change it, and stop pushing restrictions on gun ownership?

The legislation in Texas restricting abortions is now “the law of the land” in Texas. Will pro-abortion activists now accept it, move on, and stop trying to change this?

The constitutional amendment in Ohio defining marriage as being limited to one man and one woman is “the law of the land” in Ohio. Will advocates of same-sex marriage now accept it, move on, and stop pushing for changes in the definition of marriage?

I am NOT suggesting that any of these people should stop supporting their causes, stop resisting policies with which they disagree, and stop advocating for their beliefs. Why are the people who stand against Obamacare expected to stop advocating for their beliefs and resisting policies with which they disagree?

Let's recall that during the Reagan administration the federal political landscape was just about exactly opposite of the situation we have today. For both of Reagan’s terms there was a Republican President, and Republicans controlled the Senate by a less than 60 seat majority. Meanwhile, Democrats controlled the House by a significant majority.

During that 8 year period, the federal government was shut down no less than 8 times because the Democrats in the House sent spending authorizations to the Republican controlled Senate and White House that contained agenda driven divisive individual spending policies (spending on this...cuts to that, etc.) that they knew would be rejected or garner a veto. Does this sound familiar?

Whether you agree with the ACA or not, it is a huge spending program and has significant effect on the economy and the growing deficit. It is an appropriate consideration in any spending bill. Deciding that we will spend money on some things but not on others is not only the purview of the House, it is their responsibility. Using the spending authorization hammer to attempt to drive policy modifications has been used by Democrats and Republicans alike and, in the current situation, the House has offered several compromise proposals.

BTW - There will be no "default" unless President Obama chooses to violate the Constitution and federal law by refusing to use the revenue available to service the debt first.

The whole sordid mess presents the perfect argument for how the size and scope of the federal government is totally out of control, and why its power needs to be dramatically slashed; returning the power to the states, local governments, and people, as originally intended.

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6SeriouslyNow(192 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

@common citizen et al,

The statement that Congress is exempt from Obamacare is clearly incorrect. The members of Congress are required, by law, to use the Obamacare exchanges. On this point 76Ytown agrees.

The question of how they are compensated is entirely a different matter, and perhaps the courts will have to decide,under other federal statues, if THOSE statues were violated.

With all the complaining, tell us what you really want.... Congress and staff in or out of Obamacare? Or do you want them in Obamacare just so that you can reduce their compensation?

By the way, Trader Joe, has already publically told their part-time employees that they will receive a 500 dollar subsidy to defray the cost of their Obamacare exchange purchase.

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7SeriouslyNow(192 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

@ Jerry,
I have no problem with the Congress considering 42 times (or 442 times) the repeal, defunding, reforming ACA. I have no problem with candidates running for office on a Anti-Obamacare platform.

I do have a problem with using the debt ceiling or govt shutdown to try to "win the battle that could not otherwise be won".
##############################
On the word default, one side seems to be using that term in limited fashion as in failure to repay a debt. For example, failure to pay bond holders, or pay on a mortgage on a federally occupied building.

But the word default is broader than that as in: "failure to fulfill an obligation". For example failure to pay contractors for work that was done, or for supplies that were ordered, or (perhaps) unemployment, medicare reimbursements, or social security.

I don't know if and when these "non-bond-like" are in jeopardy. But I'm not anxious to (as one congressman put it) .... "don't worry about it."

We already know what happened with the US credit rating when we just considered default two years ago. Now idea that it might be a "good" thing has the ratings organizations already issuing warnings.

So, while you may be correct that the administration is constitutionally required to service the debt first, I suspect that government contractors, suppliers etc may also be claiming that the govt is in default when the government fails to abide by a contact for payment.

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8polhack(123 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

I think SERIOUSLY and JERRY are complaining about being hung with a new rope and missing the point that they are being hung by a Congress completely out of touch with its constituents. It's the institution of Congress, not this one, or that one, or the one led by Gingrich that matters. It's the existence of an insular ruling class in the guise of elected officials that has made the mess. Debate and compromise, especially when open to the public, are not the problem in fact they refine our nation of laws. When a minor political caucus holds the good faith and credit of the nation hostage, at great risk to all citizens, however, that's not only a problem it's a catastrophe in the making.

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9SeriouslyNow(192 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

@polhack,
Couln't agree more with your comment about the minor political caucus!

But what I've been saying all along is that John Boehner reliance on the fictional "Hastert rule" empowers that minor caucus to hold the House hostage, therefore holding the nation hostage.

We might have been well beyond this crisis, had the Speaker allowed the House to vote democratically.

I'll let other speculate on Boehner's motives (but to me they are clear).

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10Jerry(486 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

@SeriouslyNow

“We might have been well beyond this crisis…………” Beyond this crisis!! Are you kidding??!!

The crisis is a $17 trillion debt. The crisis is tens of trillions of dollars in commitments to future entitlements that we cannot pay; that no one could pay with all the money in the world.

The crisis is completely dismissing the Constitution by removing the power of the purse from the people’s House of Representatives, and handing the President a blank check (a.k.a. “clean continuing resolution” and debt limit increase) to borrow and spend any amount of money he demands for anything he wants to rule this country; with absolutely no conditions and no controls.

The crisis is an out-of-control federal government that cannot contain its lust for power and control; a limitless federal oligarchy and ruling class replacing what was once a constitutional republic.

The crisis is a federal bureaucracy that demands to control what we can earn, how much of what we earn we get to keep, and what we can do with whatever they allow us to keep. The crisis is a federal bureaucracy that controls everything we do….. what we eat, how we construct our homes, how we heat our homes, how we raise and educate our children, when and how we get healthcare, and on and on.

If this is the America you want, then I guess you have “won”!

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11SeriouslyNow(192 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

@Jerry,
"borrow and spend any amount of money he demands for anything he wants to rule this country; with absolutely no conditions and no controls".....

Isn't that a just a trifle bit of an exaggeration?

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12Jerry(486 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

@SeriouslyNow

I guess we'll see, won't we?

We're $17 trillion in debt, and have tens of trillions in additional commitments that simply CANNOT be met. There are no plans to reduce spending; none at all. There are definitive plans to borrow more and spend more.

Why is it that you trust your federal government? Why is it you think that I am exaggerating??

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1376Ytown(1207 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

http://www.usdebtclock.org/index.html

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14YtownParent(276 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Every congress and every president over the last 40 years has spent more money than they had to spend. They are all to blame. The problem with Obama and the Boehner-Reid Congress is that they campaigned on change and sold the electorate on the hope that it wouldn't be business as usual, but it has been business as usual -or worse.

The ACA's going to get even more interesting once it does take full effect and the IRS starts levying fines. The Supreme Court has already ruled, so the "law of the land" is that health insurance is a tax just like income, estate, sales taxes. So once that law is put into full effect, the insurance companies will not be able keep a single dollar of premiums as profits, because premiums are taxes -not consumer products. It won't take long for the ACLU and others to file suit.

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1576Ytown(1207 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

YtownParent,

The insurance industry, once the richest industry in the world wrote the ACA.

Just look at what their stock profits have been in recent months!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertlen...

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16SeriouslyNow(192 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Re Jerry's post #17:
Jerry have you read the President's FY14 budget?
I think that you will find reduced spending plans there.

I think that statements like "with absolutely no conditions and no controls" is an exaggeration..

no controls

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17Jerry(486 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

@SeriouslyNow

The proposals made by the President do NOT include spending reductions.

In some places he has suggested that some spending might not need to be increased as much as the originally proposed increases. These suggestions, that are actually spending increases, are being deliberately misrepresented as spending reductions

UNRELATED QUESTION TO VINDY:
Why does SeriouslyNow refer to my comment #17 when I only see 16 prior comments in this string? Why does the comment counter indicate 22 comments when, as far as I know, this is the 17th comment shown? Why are we all not seeing all comments???

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1876Ytown(1207 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Vindy...and this one (40 comments showing only 27)

http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/oct/17...

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19Jerry(486 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

76Ytown

I see your comment above as being 18, with 25 in the counter.

My comment here will be 19 and move the counter to 26.

What is going on????

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20southsidedave(4777 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

"Obamacare is a good idea badly developed"...an understatement at best

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21SansArmes(17 comments)posted 9 months ago

Re Jerry's post number 17 above...

Jerry is correct, O did not propose reductions in spending.

His budget proposal does decrease the federal deficit (something that I thought was at the top of the conservative agenda)

2014 proposed spending increased 2.5% (from 3685 to 3778)

2014 proposed deficit decreased 23.5% (from 973 to 744)

The republicans should make up their minds, do they want reduced taxes or reduced deficit.

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2276Ytown(1207 comments)posted 9 months ago

http://budget.house.gov/fy2014/factsa...

http://www.budget.senate.gov/republic...

President's 2014 budget:
http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/file...

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23SansArmes(17 comments)posted 9 months ago

76YTown,
Your link to the President's budget is the CBO analysis of his budget. To see what he actually proposed go to:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defau...

To see the actual figures I used see the summary tables at
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/defau...

on Page 3 you will find Table S-1 Budget Totals (which is actually page 183 of the full budget document)

I calculated the percent changes, but you should find that the budgeted amounts for 2013 and 2014 to be correct.

Thanks,

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24keugene(21 comments)posted 9 months ago

great article Jim Cartwright.....not only should they pay more into their insurance like other employees have to but .....their pays should be on performance basis....like they pass laws in other areas of work,,,making those people accountable for their actions or they lose their jobs......we need to pursue this further....and we can accomplish this if enough of the citizens pursue it.

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