I watched some of the reading of the constitution on the U.S. House floor. I realize it's all a facade for the American public, particularly the rabid fans of the fiscally conservative Tea party. But the underlying message is a credible one. Our elected politicians shouldn't be spending money they don't have. Of course, I haven't seen anyone stand up and say they want to slice a chunk out of the big 3 (national defense, medicare and social security). It's so much easier to rail against runaway spending when it comes to silly sounding stuff - like studying the mating habits of the Asian silkworm or whether there's some correlation between nipple size and foot odor.
But it got me to thinking... If I was one of these newly elected officials and I wanted to make a quick name for myself, what would I do? Well, I would go before the entire House of Representatives with the following proposal. I would call for legislation to eliminate the heating and cooling gas bill for the entire U.S. House. You simply are going to turn off the thermostat for a period of ONE YEAR.
I'd argue that the bill is probably about somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 million per year. After all, it's a pretty big structure. When I made the speech I would explain how it's far more than just a symbolic gesture. This would surely resonate with mainstream America which feels that all their taxpayer dollars are being flushed down the toilet. I'd say things like this...
1) "Hey, this isn't our house. It's the peoples' house. There's plenty of Americans who are having trouble paying their gas bills. And this place has a decent roof. I think we can all live for a year wearing coats in the winter and short sleeves in the summer. So what if we shiver or sweat a little bit. Maybe that would be a good thing for some Congressional reps, the vast majority are multi-millionaires that live comfortably. Maybe the lack of climate control will knock some sense into everyone who fills this venerable institution.
2) Maybe the cold or the heat could act as a continual reminder to be more responsible with the U.S. taxpayer dollar.
3) It's time to put a stop to all this earmark bashing, especially the ones which may sound trivial or amusing. All that makes for a great sound byte but does nothing to curb real government runaway spending. Rather than defund some aquarium in rural Idaho, let's start right here in DC for a change before we look elsewhere.
4) There are plenty of Americans who work under conditions far worse than us. Maybe it will help guide our collective thinking when it comes to legislation which affect the daily lives of our constituents.
Of course, you'd be hated by most of your fellow House members but no politician in their right mind would publicly come out and oppose your bill. You would instantly become the darling of Fox News. Guaranteed. And it would make for a great stepping stone to higher political office as well.
The prevailing anti-DC/inner Beltway climate has never offered a better opportunity. And especially in this day of congressional images and notorious sound blips, it would be a huge hit with the American public. Seriously, Michelle Bachmann should try this one. Right up her alley. Very Palinesque - virtually no substance but plenty of bang for your buck.
Imagine - every time someone gets up to address the House, the American public would notice their attire. And you would be given all the credit for the foreseeable future. I think this idea has a shitload of merit but it has to be the right kind of person who throws it out there. Darrell Issa (R-CA)? No. It's much better suited for one of the "newly elected, self-described independent" teabaggers or maybe someone on the far left like Dennis Kucinich.