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O My America: Here’s Something to Be Mad About

Lawrence Bush
November 16, 2016

by Lawrence Bush

NOW CIRCULATING on the Internet, supposedly in the name of Warren Buffet:

The BUFFETT Rule

Let's see if these idiots understand what people pressure is all about.

Salary of retired US Presidents .. . . . .. . . . . .. . $180,000 FOR LIFE.

Salary of House/Senate members .. . . . .. . . . $174,000 FOR LIFE. This is stupid

Salary of Speaker of the House .. . . . .. . . . . $223,500 FOR LIFE. This is really stupid

Salary of Majority / Minority Leaders . . .. . . . . $193,400 FOR LIFE. Stupid

Average Salary of a teacher . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .$40,065

Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . .. . . .. $38,000

Here’s where the cuts should be made!

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in five minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election".

The 26th Amendment ( granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds ) took only three months and eight days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.

Warren Buffett is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; 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 2017

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're 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/women are void effective 3/1/17. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.

Congress 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 go back to work.

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. It's time!

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!

If you agree, pass it on.

SO LET ME ADD a few notes to that:

The Pentagon's F-35 jet fighter has cost well over $400 billion during fifteen years of development. The plan to build and maintain a fleet of nearly 1,800 planes will cost more than $1 trillion over the cost of thirty years. In September, one month after declaring the plane "combat-ready," the Pentagon grounded fifteen of them for faulty cooling systems. The military need for such a plane is highly questionable, and the military effectiveness of its design is still being debated.

Meanwhile, the navy has buily its first Gerald Ford-class aircraft carrier for roughly $15 billion. According to Eli Wolfe at policy.mic, " a "Government Accountability Office report from September [2013] noted that the combination of cost problems, engineering obstacles, and untested technology systems was alarming and should be addressed by Congress. Some experts have also pointed out that in an age of long-range and heavy-yield precision missiles, aircraft carriers are becoming obsolete (but still incredibly expensive) strategic assets."

And the Pentagon as a whole has never completed an audit of how they actually spend their trillions of dollars on wars, equipment, personnel, housing, healthcare and procurements. According to the Fiscal Times, "A review of multiple reports from oversight agencies in recent years shows that the Pentagon also has systematically ignored warnings about its accounting practices and regularly makes phony 'adjustments . . . without supporting documentation . . . [that] mask much larger problems in the original accounting data,' the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said in a December 2011 report." The article continues:

Reuters has found that the Pentagon is largely incapable of keeping track of its vast stores of weapons, ammunition and other supplies; thus it continues to spend money on new supplies it doesn't need and on storing others long out of date. It has amassed a backlog of more than half a trillion dollars in unaudited contracts with outside vendors; how much of that money paid for actual goods and services delivered isn't known. And it repeatedly falls prey to fraud and theft that can go undiscovered for years, often eventually detected by external law enforcement agencies.

The consequences aren't only financial; bad bookkeeping can affect the nation's defense. In one example of many, the Army lost track of $5.8 billion of supplies between 2003 and 2011 as it shuffled equipment between reserve and regular units. Affected units "may experience equipment shortages that could hinder their ability to train soldiers and respond to emergencies," the Pentagon inspector general said in a September 2012 report.

Because of its persistent inability to tally its accounts, the Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China's economic output last year.

Nu, President-Elect Donald, you like stoking popular anger? There's enough money for the taking right here to preserve Social Security for the rest of the century.

Lawrence Bush edits Jewish Currents.

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.