15 November 2011

Some proposed reforms to take money and its influence out of politics

After the shocking revelation on CBS' 60 Minutes that members of Congress are exempt from insider trading laws, and that some of the worst scoundrels in that body are in fact guilty of wretched behavior that would otherwise land them in jail for a long time, I have a few simple proposals:

1.  All members of Congress and Senators must put their assets into blind trust upon assuming office; for those in need of it, the Congressional administrative offices will provide that service.

2.  (While we're at it); House and Senate members may serve only one term, then must stand down; with a maximum of 2 terms in the Senate or 4 in the House in a lifetime. (Eliminates entrenched incumbency bias).

3.  After the dreadful holdings of Citizens United v. FEC are nullified, Congress persons will be prohibited from raising private money, or taking any form of private remuneration for any purpose while in office, and shall have only public campaign funds to spend on elections; the same for their challengers.

Might well add a fourth: Congressional representatives and Senators, upon leaving office, shall be prohibited from all lobbying activity permanently or from taking any form of remuneration or compensation for any actions taken while in office. This would be tricky to enforce, but the standard should be there. As it should be for all Congressional and Executive branch staffers and for retired military personnel.

Also, Congressional pensions should be prorated; there is no reason someone who serves a few years should receive a glorious income for life.

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