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March 6, 2007

Cut Congressional pay for bad performance?

What if we could cut the pay of Congress when they take us further into debt?

Did you know that the budget rules of Congress, as written, guarantee the growth of Big Government? And continued growth means continued deficits and expanding debt, doesn’t it?

Were you aware that Congress has virtually no incentive to reign in the expense of Big Government?

In fact, much of the problem we have with Big Government today is inherent to the system. This is why DownsizeDC.org has focused it’s Agenda on what we call The Referee Principle.

The Referee Principle is . . .


“If you write the rules and referee the game, you can’t guarantee the outcome, but you can be so certain of it that you’d be willing to bet on it — and expect to win.”

Congress and those with political power have written the rules on budgeting, campaigns and elections, lobbying, and other areas, so that they, as well as their key supporters, can place their bet on the power of incumbency, influence peddling, and expansion of government size, scope, and power.

And they consistently win a virtually fixed game.

But what if the Referee Principle were applied to Congress. What would that look like?

DownsizeDC.org has begun answering that question with proposals like . . .

* The Read the Bills Act
* The Write the Laws Act
* The One Subject at a Time Act (coming soon)

In each case, we’re attempting to write, and eventually enforce, rules that cause Big Government to get smaller.

Often overlooked in this rigged game is the power of incentives. As we’ve explained in the past, politicians have little reason to say, “No,” to a proposed government program. But they have lots of reasons to say, “Yes.”

As a result, government grows.

What is overlooked in all of this are the “incentives.” But if you’re going to apply the Referee Principle, you’d want a way to keep score — a method to reward good behavior and penalize bad behavior.

Which brings us back to our first question: What if we could cut the pay to members of Congress when they take us further into debt?

Believe it or not, there’s actually a bill introduced in Congress that would do exactly that. And it’s got a handful of co-sponsors.

H.R. 500, the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007, would, if passed into law trigger a cut in Congressional pay for each year in which the federal government runs a deficit.

And as if that’s not enough, the bill has the added virtue of being short. So short that we’ve reprinted the entire thing on our website.

You can “read the bill” for yourself and then take action.

Tell your Representative to co-sponsor this bill (unless, of course, they believe Congress should be unaccountable for continuing deficits).

And then, share this message with friends.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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