America 2.0: Taxation Without Representation
Elected or selected, and set for life
Our Founders never envisioned that those selected to represent the interests of the people would be career politicians. They pictured statesmen, who were interested in public service, not lining their pockets. They never thought of writing term limits into the Constitution. Those enjoying the free ride surely aren’t going to implement them.
In 1944, John T. Flynn, best remembered as the “cancelled” head of the New York chapter of the America First Committee trying to prevent our entrance into World War II, wrote the book Meet Your Congress. It was not just an expose on how bad Congress already was, but a plea for the legislative branch to flex their muscles, and check the unbridled power of the judicial branch and the imperial presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Constitution established three separate but equal branches of government, which was supposed to prevent too much concentrated power in any one place. But early on, the legislative branch took a clear back seat to the judicial branch, when John Marshall simply invented Judicial Review.
When Abraham Lincoln took office, and overstepped his constitutional authority with reckless abandon, the template for the imperial presidency had been set. There has never been an imperial Congress. Instead, Congress consistently has abrogated its responsibilities. For instance, Congress has the sole authority to declare war under the Constitution. They haven’t formally declared war since WWII, but our government certainly hasn’t been at peace. They also have the sole authority to enact legislation. This became an especially laughable concept during the imperial presidencies of Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and FDR.
As far back as the late 1800s, Mark Twain was calling Congress “America’s only native criminal class.” Humorist Will Rogers declared that “the public is never safe while Congress is in session.” Everyone chuckled at the wisdom in these expressions, but few seem to have wondered why our representative body should be such a national laughingstock. Has there ever been a “great” Congress? As a classical liberal firebrand in the mid-1970s, I admired the congressional Democrats who exposed the chicanery of the CIA and FBI, and passed the Freedom of Information Act. But I hardly thought they were heroic. They certainly dropped the ball with the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which first triggered by disillusionment with the Left.
By the 1990s, I related to many of the issues popular with the “extreme” Right. I understood that Newt Gingrich was a typical mainstream Republican, but his Contract with America, especially the plank advocating congressional Term Limits, got my attention. When he became Speaker of the House, I watched to see if these career politicians were actually going to limit their careers. There were a few Republicans who ran for Congress and promised to limit their own terms, one of whom upset long-time corrupt Democrat Dan Rostenkowski. But once in office, they quickly forgot their pledge. And so we sit here, thirty years later, with only a few “extremist” voices still talking about Term Limits. We lost on that issue, as we have lost on everything else.
When I started becoming a political junkie, I knew the names of pretty much everyone in Congress, just as I’d once memorized the rosters of professional sports teams. There were always a handful of good ones, like Ron Paul. Or James Trafficant, one of the last great Democrats, who was so honest that he was expelled from Congress. The few decent ones shined during congressional hearings on Rudy Ridge and Waco. I watched those hearings faithfully, and sometimes the live sessions of Congress on C-SPAN. Watching the “democracy” sausage being made wasn’t pretty. But however you look at it, there were more members of possibly good faith there as late as the 1990s than there are now. Some of the Freedom Caucus Republicans say good things, but it’s hard to trust any of them in America 2.0.
Congressman Larry McDonald wrote the Foreword to one of the essential books, that belongs in every “awake” person’s library- None Dare Call it Conspiracy by Gary Allen. In 1983, McDonald was on board Korean Airlines Flight 007 when it was shot down by a Soviet plane. Strident anti-communist President Ronald Reagan did absolutely nothing in response. It was a “containment” thing, you wouldn’t understand. It’s a pretty amazing coincidence that the foremost “conspiracy theorist” to serve in Congress died so unnaturally. The great “muckraker” establishment toadie Jack Anderson was on hand to gloat that if any member of Congress had to die, they certainly picked the right one.
But those kinds of figures are few and far between in the hallowed halls of Congress. Today, we have the likes of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who somehow went from waitress to congressional representative. Funny, no one talks about her lack of “experience” or qualifications. Her own brother said she answered a casting call for Congress. She’s essentially a very well paid crisis actor. Patty Murray, in a similar vein, went from pre-school teacher and mother to the U.S. Senate in 1992, where she continues to build her lucrative pension. She has zero charisma, and someone with her ordinary background, like AOC, could not possibly have risen to such a position without great powers helping behind the scenes. “Our” Congress creature Ilhan Omar recently pledged her allegiance to Somalia, not this country.
Former Black Panther Bobby Rush served in the House for thirty years before retiring in 2022. Rush famously compared the federal agents Donald Trump belatedly sent to Portland to quell a violent BLM/Antifa riot in 2020 to a “lynch mob,” and called Trump “a student of the Ku Klux Klan.” He also claimed that Trump, who was notorious that summer for doing nothing but tweeting as stores were looted and cities burned all across the country, was trying “to instigate a race war.” He defended Black prosecutor Kim Foxx during the ridiculous Jussie Smollett hoax. When a Republican senator once called for mass arrests of Chicago gang leaders, Rush called him a “White boy.” A full-fledged racial huckster, Rush had also worn a hoodie in Congress in support of Trayvon Martin.
I devoted a chapter in my book Survival of the Richest to what I satirically called “The Best and the Brightest.” Sheila Jackson Lee has been “serving” in Congress since 1995. She has earned the reputation of being a vulgar, ignorant woman who treats her staff like peasants. She has displayed the amazing intellect which mysteriously got her into Yale University on multiple occasions. She once wondered if a rover sent to Mars would be able to see the American flag planted by astronauts there. This pampered, entitled, and eminently unqualified woman refers to herself as a “freed slave.” Another Affirmative Action “representative,” Hank Johnson, seemingly believes that continents could “tip over” from overpopulation.
For a while, I lived in long time Congressman James Moran’s Virginia district. Moran “served” in Congress for twenty four years. His bullying style was notorious, and he built a powerful machine that was dubbed the “Moran Mafia.” Two longshots attempting to challenge Moran for his seat had their petition of signatures torn up by his “Mafia” henchmen. Moran was accused of getting into physical scraps with his wife, and came close to scuffling on the floor of Congress on occasion. He turned his lack of impulse control into the political slogan, “I like to hit people.” In 2010, an eight year old Black boy accused Moran of choking and cursing at him. There were witnesses to this disturbing incident, but nothing happened to him. The great “liberal” refused to apologize, but questioned the parenting the child was receiving.
There are so many examples of the sterling statesmen the American voter keeps allegedly returning to Congress. I say “allegedly” because of the prevailing fraud that permeates the electoral system, which Donald Trump and others are being prosecuted for questioning. Republican Larry Craig, caught playing “footsie” with other men in an airport bathroom, for example. He’d been accused of sex with teenage male pages since 1982. Rep. Gerry Studds was found to be having an affair with an underage male page, but nothing happened to him (statutory rape?) and he “served” in Congress for many more years. Running a male bordello out of his Capitol Hill residence did nothing to stop Barney Frank’s long congressional career.
Senator Brock Adams was accused of sexual misconduct, including rape, by eight different women. Kind of the Bill Clinton of the Senate. Luis Gutierrez, who “served” in Congress for twenty six years, was embroiled in a variety of financial scandals, and was caught on video behaving like one of those “Woke” lunatics, shouting “don’t touch me!” to a question about the Affordable Care Act, and loudly humming to drown out the questioner. He also declared Donald Trump to be “explicitly racist” after his first State of the Union address. In the Senate, another Hispanic “representative,” Robert Menendez, has been beset by allegations of improprieties as well. Republican Scott DesJarlais has served in Congress since 2011, despite numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.
In my book, I describe many largely unknown perks that go to our allegedly elected officials. Thanks to an indecipherable provision that amounts to legalized largesse for House Speakers, Dennis Hastert, who had sex with numerous teenage male wrestlers, was granted just under $1 million to “document materials.” In 2014, a story broke revealing how taxpayers were supporting former President Bill Clinton’s lavish lifestyle to the tune of nearly $1 million annually. George W. Bush was getting slightly more from the generous American taxpayers, who were even financing his scintillating portrait painting. As of 2016, all ex-presidents were being paid $205,700 each year. Congressmen can fly commercially for free, and have parking spots reserved for them at airports. They have by far the best 401Ks in the business.
While most Americans must get by with inadequate Social Security payments as their sole retirement income, members of Congress can receive full pensions at age fifty. As of 2014, the average pension amount for the older members of Congress (before representatives began paying into Social Security in 1984) was $72,660. Another group was getting their Social Security, plus $41,652 yearly. Former congressman Bob Michel was being paid an incredible $211,452. “Oh, for heaven’s sake,” he reacted when questioned about it. “I didn’t realize it was up there.” Dick Cheney was getting $132,451, and Al Gore $120,378. Gore also gets $633,000 a year for attending a handful of meetings as a member of Apple’s Board, but that’s another story. All of the dubious “representatives” I mentioned earlier will be enjoying a comfortable retirement courtesy of taxpayers who largely have no pensions.
They tell us that incumbent “representatives” are almost impossible to defeat because of the advantages they have in fund raising. I don’t know, but why should people be more likely to vote for someone because they have more money to campaign with? Perhaps that might make sense if the incumbent was defending a solid record, but none of these “representatives” have a solid record. Unless these incumbents are literally paying people to vote for them, this rationale doesn’t fly. It’s not like it’s any harder to vote for a challenger than an incumbent. Throw in the fact that polls invariably have approval ratings for Congress in the single digits, behind used car salesmen, and the average reelection rate of some 96 percent becomes truly incomprehensible. Let’s really hope they’re not counting the votes.
They will try to explain this low public approval rating/high reelection rate paradox with “people hate Congress, but like their own representative.” This makes about as much sense as any other official proclamation, which means it is nonsensical. Just who likes their own political “representatives?” What have your “representatives” ever done to get you to like them? Fixed your roads and power grids? Cut your utility costs? Cut your property taxes? Refused a pay raise? One politician, Huey Long, did all that. Which is why I continue to speak so often and so fondly about him. However, everything he accomplished was as governor. He was despised by his colleagues in the Senate. Well, to be fair, he did say things like, “A mob is coming here in six months to hang the other ninety-five of you damned scoundrels, and I’m undecided whether to stick here with you or go out and lead them.”
My own congressional “representative,” Democrat Gerry Connally, has been unbeatable, if you accept that votes are really being counted, since he arrived in Congress in 2008. Although he typically is opposed by a lame RINO, in 2016 he ran unopposed. My previous “representative,” Republican Tom Davis, ran unopposed in 1998 and 2002. Well, there was always a Third Party, whom I voted for. I recall voting for some guy named Levi Levy more than once. A shocking number of incumbent “representatives” run unopposed. Is there anything more shameful than that? Or anything more ridiculous than the public trudging to the polls when there is not even the usual lesser of two evils “choice?” We were told that happens in dictatorships.
It is disgraceful that the supposed greatest country in the world has such corrupt and unqualified leaders. If you look at those who “serve” in our Congress, it becomes less puzzling why none of the many problems crying out for solutions ever get addressed. It should be a simple matter, for instance, to upgrade and repair our Third World infrastructure. It should be common sense to bring our troops home from the more than 150 countries where they are nonsensically stationed, and assign a fraction of them to guard the wide open southern border. They can’t figure out that there should be no cap on Social Security taxes for wealthier citizens? They can’t even end the Daylight Savings nonsense that was first implemented by FDR.
As a populist, my proposal is that the House of Representatives become a lottery system. Every two years, a random group of voters would be assigned as congressional representatives in their various districts. This would enact Term Limits for the House, and ensure a true cross section of the populace had a voice in their legislature. Real diversity. It would be much harder to bribe someone who was only there for two years. I would limit Senators to one six year term. The problem is, how do you pass legislation like that, when those voting on it would be adversely impacted? We know that the “Best and the Brightest” have no principles. They aren’t going to voluntarily jump off of the gravy train. Or you could hand the Senate over to any random group of preschoolers, and they’d do a much better job.
When is the last time our “representatives” have done anything which benefited you? The common people. As the saying goes, affluence is influence. Without affluence, you aren’t going to have any influence over your “representatives.” They will continue to vote against your interests as surely as they’ll vote themselves another undeserved pay raise. I’m convinced that libertarianism, and now anarchism, became attractive because of the undeniable fact that government, through our “representatives,” never does anything good. If they do something, it will make things worse. Guaranteed. It may help the very rich (and usually does), but it will be a negative for the rest of us. See, for instance, the “tax cuts” that the Stupid Party are so fond of.
As I’ve said, I no longer have an argument against anarchy. There isn’t an authority in this crumbling land that is worthy of our respect. They are all illegitimate. What is the point of voting, when there isn’t anyone worth voting for? The lesser of two evils is still evil, as someone wise reminded us. And that’s assuming they even count your vote. It sure looks like they don’t, at least not honestly. While the mindless Sheeple who have cheered this tyranny on may deserve these kinds of allegedly elected officials, no one reading my Substack does. I haven’t deserved any of the putrid “representatives” I’ve had. We’re paying more than enough taxes, in return for corruption and incompetence. Remember, the rallying cry of our fight for independence was No Taxation Without Representation!