Tag Archive for congress

Rank has its privileges

Real leaders inspire, not intimidate

I was trained to be an army officer during six months of officer candidate school in 1966. And to this day those months were the best education in human relations I ever received; better than all 17 years of formal education spent earning a BA and MPA. The concept and pitfalls of RHIP were dispensed in daily doses during that training, mostly warning us against it. My three years of active duty as an officer showed me why. I ran into two types of army officers: good ones who never resorted to RHIP, and lesser men who found many ways to abuse it.

I separated from the army in late 1969 and it seems I have been waiting for the right cue to express my intense dislike of people who abuse their rank. Recent letters to this paper dealing with the privileges of Members of Congress have provided that cue. You know the ones I’m talking about, where MCs should buy their own health insurance, and join Social Security for retirement benefits. Where their term of office should be limited and then each incumbent shown the door.

I once taught citizenship merit badges to Boy Scouts and emphasized that everyone in Washington, D. C. worked for them. I hesitate to say that now.

During my army training I saw the company commander stand aside and wait his turn in the chow line until his men had been served. On active duty I saw a general officer treat his aide, my best army pal, like a slave requiring him to pay for everything and then submit a bill to be reimbursed a month later—this from a man who was paid at least ten times that of his aide. He did it because he could, not because he should.

After army service, I returned to graduate school and confounded one professor by saying Up the Organization was the best management book ever written. Why? Because author of the book, Robert Townsend, the CEO of Avis, paid people lower in the company’s management structure more than he paid himself! This would be inconceivable today with multi-million-dollar CEO pay regardless of results. But sadly, the only remnant of the practices in that book is a special parking place for employee of the month.

I eschew the cult of the individual. Men who fail to mention the people around them who contributed to their success never impress me. I admire Nolan Ryan, Hall of Fame pitcher who dwells on the plural personal pronoun WE, and you know he means the rest of the team and his wife who is always sitting beside him. If you watch any sports on TV you’ll see players pointing at each other recognizing contributions. This simple acknowledgement came from Dean Smith, an extremely humble basketball coach at my university. Coach Smith was big on we.

My grad school dean once said no one in public service would get rich because it was supposed to be a privilege. His profound words certainly applied to my public service which I’ll always consider an honor and a privilege. But at the highest level of public service, RHIP has been abused, is being abused. If Congress were an army officer, no one would follow.

Amendment to Fix Congress

Forwarded to FRL by Phil Skergan, thank you Phil!

The content of this post is free for any to copy and distribute.

Public Property = We OWN IT.

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people,
it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government
– lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.

—Patrick Henry

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971… before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land… all because of public pressure.

Forward this web page to a minimum of twenty people; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.

This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

  1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
  2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
  3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
  4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
  5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
  6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
  7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
  8. Members of Congress may not accept gifts, meals, trips, etc… from lobbyists, etc… They will always pay their own way and use approved expense accounts.
  9. Corporations are banned from political speech, as that right belongs to individuals and to nonprofit organizations chartered for political speech, funded by individuals, and reporting all donations.
  10. All voting districts will be determined by independent commissions adhering to sensible criteria that disregard political party affiliations and emphasize common geographical interests.
  11. After MoC’s and high-ranking officials in government leave government, they may not lobby for or work in an advisory capacity for the industries that would benefit from their contacts in government or legislation that they have shepherded.
  12. Anyone meeting the requirements as a legitimate candidate for Congress will receive funds allocated by the government for their campaigns to use as needed. No other funds will be used for their campaigns.
  13. To allow for more than two-party rule, all Federal elections will operate on an “instant runoff” basis, so that the people’s most preferred candidates win elections where three or more candidates run on a ballot.
  14. The House and Senate may not adopt rules that preclude majority rule. No single-party control, no easy filibusters, no supermajority votes not specified in the Constitution. Control of the houses of Congress will be shared in the proportion determined by the outcome of elections.
  15. All candidates for government posts sent to the Senate for confirmation will receive prompt attention, without political delays, or the candidates will be accepted without the consent of the Senate.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.


If you agree with the above, pass it on.