News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

October 1, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: Congress deserves to be fired for actions

TERRE HAUTE — I don’t like to write about politics. I’m not interested in trying to convert anyone to my preference, and hope the same courtesy will be extended to me.

But I am so slack-jawed that our elected, and well-paid, representatives are slacking on the job that I must comment. I cast no aspersions on either party. Representatives of both were elected to serve our interests, and they are simply not doing the job they were sent to do.

Our senators and representatives in Washington seem inclined to look after their own interests. I once had a history professor who said that citizens, like nations, should base policy on self-interest and that seems to be what’s going on.

Do we need attention to health care costs which seem to exceed the cost-of-living increase on an annual basis? Our elected representatives have taken care of their health care needs, and the care will continue whether they serve only one term or dozens.

Should we keep up with the cost of living, or maybe increase the minimum wage? Our political representatives on Capitol Hill have awarded themselves an automatic annual wage increase. It’s automatic, because the folks at home began to questions whether or not they deserved an annual bonus — so, they arranged that there is no annual vote.

Are average citizens having a problem when our retirement income falls behind the cost-of-living increases? When Congress “adjusts” Social Security payouts, it is done as a percentage of the cost-of-living increase whereas their retirement income increase is matched to the COLA.

Nor do we have a voice, beyond the next election, when it comes to spending our tax dollars. “Pork barrel” projects keep the home folks happy but are meaningless to the broader interests of the citizens. We spend money on wars to “bring democracy” to others, then more tax dollars to rebuild what has been destroyed.

Meanwhile, our elected representatives won’t talk compromise with each other and certainly not with overseas governments who benefit from our largesse.

If I had performed at work the way our Congress is performing, I’d have been fired. I should have been. Maybe they should be. It would be a start.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to opinion@tribstar.com.

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