Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Congress is Incredibly Corrupt - disability backlogs and Pork barrel spending

In a large number of posts on this blog, I've stated that the fundamental problems with both the social security disability and SSI disability program can be laid at the feet of 545 would-be Presidents, i.e. the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. They love to be interviewed in newspapers and on TV about how backlogs in the federal disability system are hurting their constituents and how they are mystified that such a situation could come to be---when, really, it all comes down to the fact that they never fund the social security administration to the level needed to keep sufficient manpower to do the work required to A) eliminate disability backlogs and B) make sure they don't occur.

It is both fascinating and disgusting that Congress (and I mean every member) can both decry a situation in which disabled Americans face bankruptcy and foreclosure while professing to have no clue as to what the problem is (most cite the need for a special hearing to "investigate" the matter).

But, sadly, it is not surprising. Consider the bank bailout measure passed by Congress. Not only are U.S. taxpayers being saddled with hundreds of billions of dollars of extra debt that resulted from A) the incompetence of Congress and the Administration and B) the unparalelled greed of Wall Street, but adding insult to injury, the bill has been bloated and saddled down with billions of dollars of pork for special interests.

So, I ask the question, are we at a point in our history where the legislative branch, Congress, has become not only incompetent and somewhat corrupt, but now completely and thoroughly corrupt with no hope of improvement?

I think the answer is yes. Because at a time when the nation sits on a precipice, that falling over could lead to economic disaster, the 535 members of Congress did the following--

1. They failed to pass the bailout the first time because too many members of Congress were worried about getting re-elected and wanted to get through the session so they could return home and get back to business: running for re-election.

2. When the bill was passed, it could happen only when and if our elected representatives could secure enough pork barrel attachments to the bill. After all, these add-ons are essentially payouts, bribes to special interests that help senators and congressman get re-elected.

We shouldn't be surprised by any of this. Why should we? Every member of Congress knows that they have the best job in the world. Great pay and compensation, and lifetime employment if they play things right (lie often enough and even come to believe their own lies).

The social security retirement and disability system will, likely, only be reformed when and if members of Congress are forced out of their private Congressional retirement system and into the social security system.

The healthcare system will, likely, only be reformed when members of Congress are forced out of their private congressional healthcare system and then have to face the reality of what it means to be a citizen in need of health insurance (and most of these guys, due to age, probably have pre-existing conditions so this would be a rude awakener for them).

And the country, in all terrible likelihood, will only be put on the right path when the American people conclude that serving in Congress should not be a lifetime job. In other words, term limits.

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