We don't know how many times we have been sent the email that has gone around the globe at least 10,000 times by now, the infamous 'Congressional Reform Act of 2013' supposedly written by Warren Buffett himself.
Don't get sucked in by this. We seriously doubt Warren Buffett even knows how to turn on a computer or a laptop. He probably puts the mouse directly on the screen to try to navigate his way around the internet.
The premise of this email is that Warren Buffett wrote it and started it on its way around the cyberworld of Planet Earth awhile back. Snopes.com (which we think is a bit fishy truth to be told in the first place) says that he did not start this email chain.
Apparently, on October 11, 2011 on CNBC, Mr. Buffett said the following, and we quote:
'I could end the deficit in 5 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'.
This single solitary comment somehow has found its way to the top of this '28th Amendment' email chain known the world over. Somehow someway it has been morphed into some sort of Warren Buffetesque endorsement of the following 'law' or proposed 28th Amendment to the US Constitution.
The man may have made himself and lot of his investors a lot of money over the course of his lifetime. However, he must have flunked 6th-grade civics since he fails to tell anyone how a sitting Congress would pass a law restricting their own ability to run for re-election. In short, this is just not a serious proposal to consider.
We don't live in a dictatorship, you know, thank God. Not even Mr. Buffett or President Obama can, in the end, really tell any of us what to do. We have a difficult, tortuous democratic gauntlet to run through each and every time someone wants a new law passed.
We should be grateful for that.
For some reason, we have received this Buffett email last week from 5 different people. Perhaps it is the anger at the government shutdown. Perhaps it is the anger at the President and Congress never getting anything of any substance done on the problems that face us as a nation.
We 'get it' when it comes to understanding that people are angry.
But this is not the way to go. In fact, this email is so off-base and wrong that we hope you will start an email chain of your own to send around to all of your friends and neighbors and post it on your favorite social network. Hopefully, enough people will read it and come to their senses and realize they have been duped by someone in somebody's else's basement, perhaps from Estonia or Latvia or maybe just California, who take special pleasure at seeing hard-working Americans waste their time reading such drivel.
Sorry to be so harsh but we have answered this specific email hundreds and hundreds of times now over the past several years. This will be the last time we ever address it again.
'This would be a 'good idea'....except it ain't.
(see answers below in bold....or go to the great Congressional Institute website under the 'Mythbusters' link and see it all for yourself. It is a Republican website but, surprise of all surprise, this section is not at all 'partisan'...just the facts, ma'am!)
(text of mass email):
'The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.
I'm asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. (as if it is directly from Warren Buffett himself)
In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
Congressional Reform Act of 2010 (or 2011 or 2012 or 2013 or 2014...whatever year is next up)
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
(We have 'term limits' already...they are called bi-ennial congressional elections (are we really smarter than the Founders like James Madison who set it up this way for a reason?)
2. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
(Who in the heck in their right mind would leave their place of work and do this? No building of retirement assets during their term in Congress? We would truly get only the brain-addled simpletons who can't comprehend the complexity and scope of the national problems that face us. If not them, then we would get the similarly-addled sons and daughters of wealthy icons running for office.....no middle-class person; teacher, engineer, architect or small business owner ever run for the People's House ever again)
3. Congress (past, present, future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately.
This is really off-base. Congressman and staff ALREADY PARTICIPATE FULLY IN THE SS SYSTEM AND HAVE DONE SO SINCE JAN 1, 1985! Tell the person who started this email to check his/her facts before sending this around the cybersphere.
All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. SS is broke today, and so is Medicare....so is this really a good idea for all of us?
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
THEY DO!!! IT IS CALLED THE FERS PLAN AND THE TSP...CONGRESSMEN AND STAFF CAN CONTRIBUTE UP TO 6% MATCHING FUNDS AND UP TO 10% OF THEIR SALARY INTO WHAT IS BASICALLY A 401 K PLAN, just like everyone on this email.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
Congress stopped giving themselves a pay raise after the Great Salary Grab under Henry Clay in 1814 where 75% of all incumbents in the next election! (hey! Why not let the current Congress double their salary and then we can replace 75% of the current sitting members on both sides of the aisle?)
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
BCBS of the DC area was the standard health insurance plan of choice for most employees in the House and on the Senate side. Standard plan, $30 copay; $500 deductible just like everyone else on this email, again
Now that Obamacare is the law of the land, Members and staff are part of that plan as well. They receive a similar match to what they received before. If they didn't, then we would not have the 23-year olds who now make up the majority of staff on the House side; the 24-25 year olds on the Senate side.
Get rid of any benefits, 401k plans and cut their salaries from $25,000 to $12,000 and all we would get would be the local 16-year old civics/political science high school students from local area high schools to work on Capitol Hill. Is that really a good idea?
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
Congress is covered by many of the laws they pass but they can't pass laws that may discriminate against other members, say, of the minority party in Congress and put them at a disadvantage in some way. That is why they are exempt in some of these laws they pass in the first place. We don't want them to write laws that impact their decision-making such as it is.
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
(don't know what this means exactly. The only 'contract' a Congressman has with the American people is the oath they make at the beginning of each Congress to 'uphold the Constitution' and to 'defend us against all foreign attack'. That is it, plain and simple. Do the best you can; get 50%+1 of the vote and you win. Case closed.)
THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!! If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete.'
Please do NOT delete this but send it back through your email chain backwards until it gets to the numbskull who wrote it and maybe he/she will learn something today.
'Give me Liberty...but if I have to keep representing people such as the person who started this idiotic email in the first place, PLEASE GIVE ME DEATH!'
That is what Patrick Henry would write today if he was still around and was subject to such nonsense.....and so should we.