Note: Rereading this nonpartisan commentary after it was done I questioned whether it had any place being published in a business venue. However, as all businesses are subject to the impact of both the consequences and unintended consequences that the decisions out of Washington (and our states) create, I determined that it was.
Throw All The Bums Out*!
Of course, at least on the federal level, the mid-term booting of a corrupt and self-serving representative of a state or district is typically not possible regardless the magnitude of unethical and seemingly illegal activities that describe their misstep!
This is often due to the fact that the ‘guilty’ party will be judged by a jury of his or her peers, most of whom are hiding ghosts in the closet themselves and therefore don’t dare to judge lest they be judged.
I know this description may sound cynical and harsh and that is not my intention. I fully recognize that in the political mix there are those who are selfless and in Washington to actually do the People’s Business.
That said, back to the rank and file politician. Observing from afar, many of these public servants appear as a group and regardless of political party, to possess as their only real interest the following after we cut through the empty rhetoric…To do whatever is necessary in order to hold on to committee positions, pander to party leaders in order to keep campaign money flowing and, after all is said and done, to get reelected in order to hold onto power.
But I digress badly. The purpose of this article is to focus on one current example that to my mind describes the lack of respect shown by our representatives in Washington for the people who pay their salaries, fund their projects and put them there in the first place…You and I, the voter!
Because sadly, once in power these ‘public servants’ tend to forget who is footing the bill. Numbers in the billions and even trillions of dollars get tossed around the way you and I might discuss the purchase of a $5 item, and reality concerning true life on the Main Street they love to invoke during speeches seems to become clouded.
They often sadly seem to forget what it is they ran on and why they are there in the first place.
Pure partisanship wasn’t always the way but regardless of issue the vote will now be typically be close to 100% yay from one party and 100% nay from the other. Statistically this should not be a possible outcome. But in action it sure seems to be.
Issue One: The August Recess
Sometimes an issue will be raised in Washington that to the average American will seem foreign. Such is the concept of the August Recess that your congressman and your Senators will be enjoying.
Originally and unofficially the reasoning behind this month-long hiatus from doing the job they were sent to Washington to do was based on the heat of the summer (and the fact that it wasn’t a full-time job). Of course today we have air conditioning AND it’s a full-time job so the need to escape no longer exists.
In 1970 the Legislative Reorganization Act said that from ‘that Friday in August which occurs at least thirty days before the first Monday in September’ Congress shall recess.
While the recess can be overridden when matters are considered imperative to be resolved, it typically is not. The recess serves as ‘an opportunity for lawmakers to spend time with their family, work with their constituents, campaign or travel in congressional delegations’.
The calendar below indicates the days in 2017 that the House and Senate are not in session allowing for many of the same activities that take place during their August recess.
While I am sure there is much to the job of member of the House of Representatives and the Senate beyond racing to any microphone (i.e. James Comey testimony) that’s available that are going on behind the scenes, it seems to be nice work if you can get it…
Imagine for a second this scenario:
The Private Sector Employee
You’re working at a company and have a project to complete that is critical to the viability of the organization and the wellbeing of its employees.
In other words, it needs to be done, done right and in timely fashion!
But that said you have a vacation planned and don’t really want to cancel.
So to the detriment of your firm and the people who work there, you tell your boss that you’ll be gone for two weeks and pick it back up when you return.
It’s a simple example with a predictable solution. The boss tells you to cancel or delay your plans until the project is done. That, or look for another job.
In reality members of Congress work for you and I and yet, they seem to face no apparent ramifications for abandoning their jobs to do their own business.
Solution? Hold Your Representatives Accountable In The Only Way They Understand…The Ballot Box*!
*Warning: The replacement will likely soon be no better than their predecessor!
Coming Soon: A discussion of the proposed changes to the title insurance industry in New York that may be no less caustic than this one!
This commentary was written by Hallmark Abstract President Michael Haltman and represent his opinions.