Most people know Warren Buffett as one of the richest people in the world—third richest to be exact, but there is a lot more to him than a bank account with a balance beyond most people’s wildest dreams. He has been asked what his thoughts are on the debt ceiling of the world, and he has some pretty thought-worthy suggestions. In a recent interview with CNBC, Buffett responded to these questions with an interesting view of something that could actually be good motivation. He said “I could end the deficit in five minutes…you just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.” While this may sound a bit sarcastic, there is quite a bit of truth to this basic idea. It would force all politicians into a situation where they had to work toward a resolution that would stick and fix the state of the economy that we see all around the world right now.
It has been said that if each person in the United States told just 20 other people about an event or idea, that it would take only three days for almost everyone in the United States to become aware of this event or idea. If this was put into action with Warren Buffett’s thoughts, it may be something that catches the attention of the people whose jobs would be at risk if this were to actually come to fruition, potentially causing some motivation toward a resolution that could save people’s lives.
Maybe more of the ideas of the people who are facing the harsh reality of just how bad the economy truly is would make it to the people who could change things with this method, and maybe that would be what it took for people to remember that they can take charge of their own country once again.
Most American’s live in the United States for the freedoms that have been fought for over the last few centuries, but most people are not taking advantage of what these freedoms are or even what they mean. Something as simple as the 26th Amendment giving 18 years olds the right to vote – some people are not even taking that seriously. People need to take this right seriously enough to do their research and make sure that the best candidates make it into those positions of power and influence. They vote because they feel like they’re supposed to, instead of trying to make a difference. Had people started voting with the intention of making a difference in years past, the state of the economy could be in a much better situation now than it currently is.
Look at the current phenomenon that is happening all around the world of dumpster diving for a simple example of how this method could make a difference. Some people do this to save money or to get a piece of furniture to put in their home or garage, but what about the people who are now being forced to do this simply to put a meal on the table? What about families that could not feed their children without visiting the dumpster behind their local grocery store on a regular basis because of the rise in taxes and other fees they now have to pay? What are those voted officials doing about the situations of these families? How many of these politicians have truly been where some people are now? You and I both know that very few, if any, have ever eaten something that has seen the inside of a dumpster. So why do we keep voting them into these positions when we could be putting people with new and fresh ideas that could actually help, into these positions, potentially changing our own future? That’s a good question.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this phenomenon is not limited to the lower class of any particular country. This is affecting the middle class just as harshly with the inability to make ends meet or pay for the things they need without having to resort to getting assistance from somewhere outside of the home. People of any class should not have to decide between eating and paying for the roof over their head, but that is exactly what many different families have to do each month.
Now imagine how different the economy would be if what Warren Buffett suggested had been put into place. How many families would be struggling to survive if the politicians had been put to the test with their jobs on the line? How much more would governments be willing and able to provide their citizens if it meant that elected officials were able to keep their jobs when they worked for the people? Food for thought…
American’s have the unique ability to make a difference in ways that other countries do not offer their citizens. They can change what happens within their own country just by taking a stand, but for some reason people have not been using this form of pressure to let these politicians understand how important the state of the economy really is to them.
Out of all of the amendments to the Constitution, pressure by the American people got seven of them passed in less than a single year. People took a stand and showed politicians of all levels how important their ideas were and how important they needed to be in the eyes of the government, and it made a difference.
It is time for people to once again take a stand and make a difference.
Unless we are all willing to live in these circumstances, or worse, for who-knows-how-long into the future, we need to do something, and fast. We cannot let the politicians or governments as a whole decide that the needs of these people are not important, but rather we need to bring the needs of ALL people back to the forefront of what each government was founded on.
For Americans, the Founding Fathers are likely rolling over in their graves right now seeing how greed and power have taken over the leaders of the country instead of helping people live what most people would now refer to as the “American Dream”. It used to be that people were willing and able to stand up for what they believed, even to the point of willing to die for the rights that the United States stood for. However, now it has turned into a situation where the politician with the most money and influence can decide what route the American people as a majority must face because of how they figure out a way into the office they desire.
One suggestion that is being sent around the United States via mainly email is that of a fictional Congressional Reform Act. It is not entirely accurate, but it does give some ideas that could be used to help reform some of the way that America’s politicians behave. When combined with what Warren Buffett suggested, it can really make a person think about just how impactful a unanimous voice really could be. Take a look at what this Act would include if it were real:
Congressional Reform Act of 2012:
1. Term Limits—12 years only, one of the possible options below:
A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
2. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
(Once Congressmen are up for re-election, the American people can choose to put this person back into their position or elect someone new, so tenure does not necessarily apply in this circumstance. There is no reason, however, for any former Congressman to get any type of income after they leave office other than what they paid into their retirement while in office.)
3. Congress, past, present and future, participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
(Now current Congressmen do pay into Social Security, but they have other options that are not available to anyone aside from ranking federal employees.)
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
(Many times Congressmen have voted to refuse pay raises, so this only applies on the years that Congress decides that they have done something above-and-beyond to have earned some type of a pay raise.)
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
(Congressmen currently have to use the same health care system that all federal employees get to choose from, but it is still better than a good portion of the American public gets to choose from. Maybe if they had to deal with the waits that Public Aid and Medicare forces upon many people, changing that system would become important to them as well? Who knows…)
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
(Somehow this does not seem likely.)
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective the day this is signed into law.
(This is likely referring to the contracts made with former Congressmen that allowed them to have some benefit over the standard American citizen once they were out of office. This would bring quite a large sum of money back into the budget of the United States, so this is probably not likely as well.)
If the American people as a whole stood up and unanimously told the government that this is something that they demanded, it would likely be something that politicians took seriously instead of thinking it is little more than a chain letter. If the promise of losing their job if they did not perform properly also loomed over the heads of the politicians who read this proposal, it may even sink in a bit deeper. Politicians have been taking money that could have been used to help those most affected by the current economic state for decades, and it is now time that people said “enough is enough”.
Decide that your economic future is important and that you are no longer willing to put up with the hand that the government believes you should be dealt. Start making a difference by getting your ideas out there. Do some research and put those who are really willing, able and proven to make a difference into office, leaving those who just want to have the money or power to fend for themselves with all of the rising costs of living. Start working together by showing just how much of a wave a unanimous voice can create, and do not let another opportunity to get your voice heard pass you by. If a comment from Warren Buffett can make it around the world and make the public think, then you really can make a difference.