San Diego: One of the most influential columnists writing on the American Political scene was Charley Reese, originally with the Orlando Sentinel. He was the only columnist i ever heard of who on an annual basis listed his affiliations, memberships, and philosophies because he believed readers should know the biases of the people they were reading.
In 1985 Mr. Reese penned the first version of an article that he edited and updated over the years and which was so clean and powerful even after his retirement from writing it has been “updated” by other writers who have substituted current names, population figures, and events then circulated these on the internet and via email.. But even so they have credited the new versions back to him because of the influence of his name.
Later versions as actually written by Mr. Reese were a bit more polished than the original, but as we come into the next big season of watching politicians blame the other guys for the ills of the country and world, I believe that from the first iteration of the article he accurately and succinctly pulled back the curtain and revealed just who was REALLY responsible and continue to BE responsible despite their disclaimers and whining all to maintain their jobs and power. So as a sort of “guest” blogger, below is a reprint of the early version of the article by Charlie Reese.
“The 545 People Responsible For All Of U.S. Woes
BY Charley Reese
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of the 235 million – are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.
I excluded all but the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.
No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislation’s responsibility to determine how he votes.
A CONFIDENCE CONSPIRACY
Don’t you see how the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O’Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.
The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.
O’neill is the speaker of the House. He is the leader of the majority party. He and his fellow Democrats, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetos it, they can pass it over his veto.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts – of incompetence and irresponsibility.
I can’t think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.
When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red. If the Marines are in Lebanon, it’s because they want them in Lebanon.
There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.
Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses – provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.”
So why don’t we do it? Why don’t we give them the boot? I believe it is because despite our collective rhetoric to the contrary, as a country we have gone soft and in fact want the goodies that have flown to us, rich and poor, from the public coffers. Another writer recently was trying to explain to his kids the problem we are in and proposed a hypothetical story by way of illustration. He set the stage by telling them that two kids were running for student president. One of them offered them all daily lollipops even though he could not afford them and was taking from the student account to buy them and the other tried to explain that they were out of money and needed to sell some of the desks. The father then asked his kids who they would vote for and they both replied they would vote for the kid with the lollipops.
Well, we so-called adults using only our childish mentalities keep voting for the people offering the lollipops even though with our allegedly more sophisticated awareness of the world and economics we know, or should know, that the money is not there for them and the desks are going to have to go anyway. Everyone of the politicians up for election in 2012 is going to tell you the problems, which they admit exist, were caused by “them” (those nasty mean people of other political persuasions).
Charley Reese showed in his article how that was not true. And in doing so, also showed us, at least by implication, how to really solve it. Unfortunately we have voted for lollipops for so long we now are not only needing to sell of the desks, we may have to hold classes in a tent in a vacant lot to pay not just for more lollipops already promised but for the debt service on the money we had to borrow long after we ran out of actual money to buy more lollipops while those poor old desks were falling apart anyway.
I’m going to vote to kick them all out and start over and by doing so take back the government to its rightful owners… us. But I am one paltry little vote in a state overwhelmingly addicted to lollipops. If ever there was a wilderness in which a lone voice might be crying, it is here. But how about you? Are you going to vote for more lollipops or are you going to stand up and say it is better for us to sit on the ground in a tent and finally start getting our economic and governmental house back in order?
Because at some point we have to realize Charley Reese was wrong. He enumerated those 545 people because he said they held the power. But they hold the power only because WE, the people, gave it to them and continue to keep giving it to them. Why would they think we actually want other that what we have gotten for the last half century since we keep voting it back into place pretending that by voting for the various labels they actually will bring the change we hope for; that they will stop digging instead of digging us deeper?
Why, based on the most surface analysis, would we ever think that? Those 545 people have done the evil deeds but they have done them, and continue to do them, solely because we have given them the power. Isn’t it time we take it away?