We need a National referendum on Congressional perks

I believe the "Citizen Congress Act" proposed by U. S. Representatives Mark Sanford and Wayne Allard to elimininate many congressional perks is an excellent bill that has no chance of passage by those that benefit from those perks. As reported in the Washington Post by Dars-Erik Nelson, the proposal would put the Congress under the same pension plan as ordinary federal employees. It would also eliminate franking privileges, stop automatic pay raises, terminate special parking privileges at airports, take away frequent-flier miles accumulated on government-paid trips, bar congressional junketing on military aircraft and bar members of Congress from receiving free medical care at military facilities.

As a federal employee, I have no such privileges and am restricted by rules of ethics that would prevent me from personally benefiting from government travel or receiving unearned military privileges.

The problem is, why would a group vote to eliminate their own benefits? It's like a company's employees deciding amongst themselves what their pay and benefits should be; then the only way correct a problem is to fire some of the employees and expect them to come up with a better solution. It shouldn't be left up to the Congress to make those decisions. It should be the responsibility of the public.

If we can have public referenda routinely at the state and local government levels, why not at the National level? A National referendum would more appropriately take the decision away from the beneficiaries and put it in the hands of their employers: the American people.

2003 David Nation

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