The only people I can think of who might approve of what Congress is doing (or not doing; I am writing this on Oct. 2, the day Congress shut the government down) are the lobbyists who bribe our politicians. They far outnumber the members of Congress and are far more successful.
In fact, many members of Congress look forward to the day when they, too, can become lobbyists!
Why are 90 percent of us dissatisfied with Congress, if not enraged? Let me count the ways:
(1) Congress shut the government down while its members still receive a paycheck. Most other government employees have no checks to look forward to.
(2) Congress voted to reduce the food stamp program by $40 billion, while leaving fully funded many weapon systems that even the generals don't want.
(3) Many members of Congress want to take away the opportunity for millions of uninsured Americans to attain affordable health insurance, without offering viable alternatives. Pre-existing conditions be damned!
(4) Congress refuses to balance the budget and reform the tax system. The Congressional Budget Office recently said public debt is expected to consume 100 percent of the nation's gross domestic product by 2038. Isn't our national debt our No. 1 problem? Yet Congress fiddles as Rome burns.
(5) Many members of Congress want to cut governmental programs, especially for the poor, while they themselves get fat at the public trough. Once in, most stay in. Paul Ryan was elected in his late 20s and now he is in his 40s, still harping about the size of government while living off of it all these years. John Dingell has the current record for such largess.
I could go on — and you, too, could add many other complaints. But let's get to the bottom line.
Our Founding Fathers saw serving in Congress as public service, not a career. When a member of the clergy starts believing that the church is there to serve him or her — not the other way around — that is the point when a church begins to become dysfunctional.
Same with Congress.
Too many members of Congress have done little else in their lives. Fewer and fewer have served in the military. They see Congress as a way to enrich themselves by using their influence as future lobbyists and corporate board members. Few seem to leave Washington once they get there.
I am in favor of term limits — one six-year term for president and 12 years for members of Congress.
Since they will not vote for limiting their power, we need to provide that public service and vote them out.
— By the Rev. Henry Idema, Tribune religion columnist