Where is the Accountability?

It’s a sad day in America when we are no longer able to look to our leaders for leadership.

Families and individuals alike from coast to coast are struggling to make ends meet. Individuals are forced to account for their debts, as should be the case. The foreclosure wheel doesn’t stop spinning for the average Joe. Why then do our 535 Representatives and our President not seem to realize that if personal accountability and responsibility are good for us, it’s good for them too? After all, they are us, right? Perhaps no longer. Washington has become so distant from Main Street that their effectiveness and ability to lead our nation through its toughest times has eroded considerably.

Each election cycle invariably hosts one of two types of candidates. There is the Washington insider, pledging to wield his or her power to bring the pork to their constituents’ plates and then there is the self professed outsider, light on influence, yet full of ambition to change politics as usual. The winners are decided usually on a cyclical basis. When a district gets sufficiently fed up with their power brokers, in comes the new blood

As another trillion dollar spending / stimulus plan is rammed through the halls of Congress, I can’t help but feel that a solution such as that would be laughed at in my home. If in dire straits, let’s spend a whole bunch more money that we do not have. My wife would smack me for presenting a plan like that. Not to mention further insulting her by insisting she agrees with such a lofty program in the span of a day or two. No, we can’t spend our way out of this situation we have gotten ourselves in. Spending what one doesn’t have is an ill-founded idea born in Washington DC. There is nothing free in this world. One trillion dollars will cost us, our children, and their children incalculable amounts more. Let’s face it; we’re not just talking dollars are we. Look at the missed opportunities for teaching our children passing us by with every crisis we face. Rahm Emanuel, Barak Obama’s Chief of Staff was quoted as saying, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” I’m pretty sure he and I are talking about something completely different. It’s in a time of crisis that we are afforded our best learning opportunities. Any learning opportunity for me is consequently a teaching opportunity as well. As a proud new father in America, I will have to spend a considerable amount of time explaining to my daughter why they just didn’t get it right in Washington. That’s a shame!

To simplify the solution to our current economic crisis, just imagine what most families would naturally do in a similar situation. They would spend less, get another job, and improve their ability to earn more in life. Why then doesn’t Washington see that what works for us would work for US? Stop spending! Decrease taxes to spur growth and therefore generate new money. Get rid of any and all plans that merely re-circulate and increase debt.

In order to capture and retain the attention spans of our Representatives between election cycles, I propose the following:

With each new legislative term, our Representatives should start with a food, housing, travel, and congressional staff budget relative to our current fiscal year’s budget condition. When they keep the American public in the black, they get to eat, pay their Washington DC apartment’s rent, and travel home on weekends. More importantly, their staff will get paid and continue to make them shine in front of the cameras on Capitol Hill. When Congress drives our fiscal budget into the red, than imagine how quickly they’ll rectify matters when they are shelling out their own cash for the things they now take for granted. As crazy as it sounds, it’s simply a plan to return our Representatives to the realty that you and I live each and every day we roll out of bed and head to work. This is the connection we have lost with Washington. Our view of Washington and their view of us are clouded with a green tint emanating from the myriad of special interest money flying through the halls of Congress.

Times are certainly tough and getting tougher, there is no doubt about that. The real question is what moves will the American public make with regards to our problems. The easy way out would be to throw more money that we do not have at problem. The better answer has to come from those with the leadership to stand up now and admit that we have made major mistakes with our addiction to spending. Leadership never comes easy. That is why we seemingly have so few leaders on Capitol Hill. The American public has been taking the easy way out for many years now. It’s no wonder we perpetuate that cycle with the lack of leadership our children get from Washington. Parents can take all the individual responsibility they want for raising their children with morals and ethics, but we can’t lock our children up. We need some help from our most esteemed and the most appropriate citizens in the United States, our elected officials. How about backing up the American public with a renewed sense of right and wrong, your leadership will only help spur future generations of constituents that relate to you and thereby put you right back in office.