OK, I’ll admit it. That title is click-bait. I wanted to draw in all the “I hope this post confirms what I believe is true about who should be elected to office” people. There will be scores of people scouring the interwebs for content that confirms their biases. CNN and NBC will be pushing their “If Trump wins, the world will end” content. FOX News will push their “If Biden wins, the world will end” content. And sadly, I expect the supporters of the candidate who loses to riot, demonize every person that voted for the winner and spend the next 4 years doing everything they possibly can to ensure that nothing productive gets done.
Why It Does Not Matter
Truth be told, neither a Biden nor Trump victory is going to mean much for the average person.
I was a registered Republican all my life until I switched to Libertarian in 2015. I did so because there is, in truth, truly little difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. Holding an elected office, especially at the Federal level, is about influence and control, not public service. There are several reasons for this:
Law exemptions – One thing Democrats and Republicans have in common is believing they are above the law. They believe this so much that they write exemptions for themselves into every piece of legislation they write. These exemptions are the only lines of bills that never encounter any debate or opposition. Insider trading is a perfect example. If you own a lot of stock in a company, and an executive you are friends with calls you and tells you that in a few weeks, some devastating financial news is coming that will destroy the price of the stock, you would then move to sell your stock right away. Then when the stock craters, you are safe because you sold early. That is insider trading, and it is very much illegal – except to members of the Federal legislature. They wrote an exemption to themselves into insider trading regulations. If you and I engaged in this activity, we would go to jail for many years. But since Congress is exempt, they can use this info to make themselves incredible amounts of money. Every time you see an injustice and say, “There ought to be a law against (insert injustice here),” rest assured that if your desired law gets put in place, the legislators that do so will exempt themselves so they can continue using that injustice for their own personal gain.
Hidden agendas – Legislators not only exempt themselves from the laws they write, but they also bury their intentions in legislation. In my opinion, the single worst amendment to the Constitution is the 16th Amendment. This was the amendment that legalized placing taxes on income. The idea was first proposed in the 1860s to fund the massive costs of the Civil War. It was finally passed in 1913, allegedly for the sole purpose of funding our involvement in World War I. Congress brilliantly introduced wealth envy to legislation. There was already a level of envy – not to mention ill will – for people who had accumulated massive amounts of wealth during the Industrial Revolution. People like Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford, and the like were hated by many. They had more money than they could ever use while there were starving people in the streets. Legislators capitalized on this by imposing the new income tax only on “the rich” – or, the top 3% of all US wage earners.
Exploitation – This continues the previous item. Over time, the tax was expanded until every paycheck was subject to income tax. Legislators upped the wealth envy ante by introducing the tax deduction. This is where you first started having your taxes deducted from your paycheck automatically, rather than having to save money on your own to pay your tax bill every spring. It was sold as making life easier for workers. In reality, it was just a way to control people as well as banking on people’s ignorance. If you never saw the money, you never earned it, and the people would be too ignorant to know what was happening. Then legislators could wield more power by increasing or decreasing the tax level or who would pay what. Even worse, they began building more exemptions and deductions into the tax code. Those who earned the least could get enough exemptions to get all their taxes refunded when filing their tax returns. Those exemptions have increased to the point where today, once tax refunds have been issued, less than half of the citizens end up paying any income tax. Wealth envy is now politicians’ top tool to gain or increase power. They tell people who are doing poorly economically that everyone that has more money than them got it by lying, cheating, stealing, or inheriting, never working for it. But elect me, they tell us, and I’ll fix that. I’ll use the tax code to take that money they didn’t earn away from them and put it into programs that you can materially benefit from.
Many people were angered this year when it was revealed that President Trump paid just $700 in Federal income tax, despite his billion-dollar net worth. This proves Trump is evil, his detractors say. Actually, it only proves that he has the resources to navigate the massive tax code. War and Peace is often referred to for its massive length – it’s about a 1,000-page book. The Federal tax code is well over 3 times as long. Legislators have made it impossible for many people to know what is correct and what is incorrect. That’s why there is an entire industry built around it. “Tax compliance” is comprised of all kinds of accountants and attorneys that have dedicated their entire lives to navigating this impossible code for others.
No term limits – Some of the younger folks may not remember this (or were never educated to know), but there was a time when someone could serve their entire life as US President if he could win the election. The change was more recent than you may realize. It was only in 1947, after President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected for the fourth time, that the 22nd Amendment was passed to limit the President to two terms or 8 years. There is no such limit for members of the House or Senate. When you combine no term limits with the exemptions that legislators have set up for themselves, someone elected fairly early in life can stay in place for decades, and leave office with a net worth many times greater than when first elected. Someone like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was first elected to Congress at age 29, can reasonably expect to become a billionaire if she spends the rest of her life in Congress or the Senate, provided she continues to be elected.
With atrocities like these in place, you can easily see how elected office can mean wealth and power to potential politicians rather than serving the people. What can be done about it?
Amend the Constitution
There have been 27 amendments passed since the Constitution was ratified more than 230 years ago. The first 10 were adopted all at once, and are known as the Bill of Rights. The next 16 amendments passed between 1795 and 1971. In the last 49 years, only the 27th Amendment (limit on Congressional pay) has been ratified, and that amendment was proposed alongside the Bill of Rights in 1789. It didn’t get ratified until 1992. So, for all intents and purposes, the Constitution has remained unchanged for almost 50 years. The Federal government bears zero resemblance to the one the writers of the Constitution set up in the 1780s. It’s time for some fixes. I propose three of them.
- Amendment XXVIII (28) – Congress shall make no law that exempts members of Congress from its enforcement.
- Amendment XXIX (29) – 1) Members of the US House of Representatives shall serve no more than six (6) terms or twelve (12) years. 2) Members of the US Senate shall serve no more than two (2) terms or twelve (12) years.
- Amendment XXX (30) – The sixteenth (16th) article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. The Congress shall have no power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived.
I believe these 3 simple steps could remove the incentives that politicians have to view elected office as a position of power that allows them to control every aspect of citizens’ lives, reducing the citizens to a position of servitude to them. It will also eliminate many of the financial perks that allow them to become multi-millionaires at the expense of the people.
What do you think?