Want to fire Congress? This finally could be the year voters are willing to do just that.
Recent polls should put the fear of God into our congressional representatives, but they are betting on the fact that we often say one thing and do another.
There is only one reason the most prosperous nation on earth has racked up a $17.5 trillion debt and has lost the ability to make good on its obligations: Congress.
There is only one reason that we have saddled our children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt they cannot possibly pay: Congress.
There is only one reason we have lost our ability to lead in the community of nations: Congress.
A president sends a budget request to Congress each year, but he cannot spend one dime. Yes, it is Congress who holds the purse strings of the nation, and it is Congress that has failed us.
Our forefathers wisely designed our system of government so that our congressional representatives can be easily held accountable. One-third of our senators have to stand for re-election every two years along with the entire House of Representatives.
There is reason to be optimistic. There is reason to believe that we finally will do what our Founding Fathers wisely gave us the ability to do: Fire our out-of-control Congress!
Congress’ approval ratings have been traditionally low. Voters instinctively know that Congress has failed them, but they vote to hold on to their own representatives. Why?
No one likes the thought of being fired or having to fire someone. Businesses owners and managers hate that, too. However, there is an axiom in business: If you have an employee who is simply “adequate,” fire that employee. A business simply can’t afford to keep employees who aren’t doing a “good” or “excellent” job.
You, in effect, hire your member of the House of Representatives and your two senators. How are they doing? According to the latest Rasmussen poll, only 8 percent of us think they are doing a good or excellent job. What does that say about the 8 percent? A full 66 percent of us are now aware that Congress is doing a poor job, which is down slightly from 75 percent last month. That was the legislators’ highest negative in seven years of Rasmussen surveys.
But are voters finally willing to throw the bums out? A Gallup survey in January indicated we are. A record low percentage of registered voters, 46 percent, now think their own member of Congress deserves re-election. Equally historic, Gallup reports that the share of voters who say most members of Congress deserve re-election has fallen to 17 percent.
Yes, there still is a disconnect between those who want to fire Congress but want to keep their own congressional representatives, but those numbers are beginning to shift.
So why the disconnect between Congress in general and one’s own representatives? Another Gallup survey taken last May holds the key. Only 35 percent of those who were surveyed actually knew the name and party of their member of the House of Representatives, the man or woman who is their closest link to Washington.
If voters don’t know who represents them, how can they possibly know if their representatives are doing a good or bad job? If voters don’t actually know if their representatives are the ones doing a bad job, they won’t fire them. Unfortunately, they still will vote for the “incumbent” (whoever he or she is) and then pat themselves on the back for doing their civic duty. This has to stop!
Think you don’t have time to find out if your representatives are friends or foes? Think again. Take a minute and dial 202-224-3121. That’s the congressional switchboard. Give the person who answers the phone your ZIP code and the operator will give you the name of your elected representatives. Then take another couple of minutes to call the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation at 703-683-5700 to get a copy of its latest Report Card on Congress, or go to www.ntu.org. If you can read down and across, you will know instantly if your representatives (your House member who is called a congressman and your two senators) are keepers.
I do have one beef with NTU. Since Congress is doing such a poor job, be advised that it grades on the curve. Therefore, if any of your representatives score less than an “A,” man-up or “woman-up” and fire them at your next opportunity. It may be in the primary election, which is coming soon.
Media wishing to interview Jane Chastain, please contact [email protected].