Our housemate Lisa informed me this morning that if Congress closes down the government, they still get paid. Not to be exclusive, I assume that the President also has the same benefits and will also still get paid if the government shuts down. Remember that when health care was being discussed, the same Congress that already has universal heath care didn’t want the rest of America to have it? Remember years ago when the first George Bush was shocked by the “new” scanners at the check out and didn’t know how they worked?
Isn’t democracy supposed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people”? Is it any wonder that our government seems so out of touch with the needs of the average person. Can you imagine a world where you or I closed down our factory and still got paid just like nothing was wrong? Maybe unions can do this with strike funds, but I think they only get a portion of their income. In any case, how is it ok that people who work for us can put Americans out of work and still get paid for doing it?
Can you imagine a world where you didn’t have to worry about paying for health insurance or for health care? Can you imagine a world where no matter what you did, you still got paid? Can you imagine a world in which people give you money just to change your opinion? This is what happens when Congress (or the President, I suppose) meets with lobbyists. How can a government full of people who don’t have to worry about things that we worry about make decisions about us and for us? How can people who are inherently out of touch with us claim they represent us?
Here’s a simple solution to fix this problem. Let’s make a new law that says that Congress and the President can’t have anything re: benefits that all of the people they represent don’t have. Let’s put the government on a scale like Ben and Jerry’s does that says no employee can make 8 times more than the average worker. When those who represent us actually know what it’s like in the present to be us, we’ll be a whole lot better off. If a senator or representative can only make 8 or 10 times what a Welfare mother makes, they’ll think twice about cutting her benefits. If a state senator had to cope with, for instance, MassHealth, their views on the system and coverage would change in a hurry.
Lets have a connection between their real lives and our real lives. Let’s have real laws that protect democracy and protect us from having the aristocracy we now have.