This column was originally published in the Orlando Sentinel on Feb. 3, 1984.)
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats
and the Republicans
are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if
all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have
inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I
don't have the constitutional authority to vote n appropriations. The
House of Representatives does. You and I don't write the tax code. The
Congress does. You and I don't set fiscal policy. the Congress does. You
and I don't control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme
Court justices - 545 human beings out of 238 million- are directly,
legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems
that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Bank because that problem
was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its
constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered
but private central bank.
I exclude all of the special interest and lobbyists for a sound reason.
They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a
congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care
if they offer a politician $1 million in cash. The politician has the
power to accept or reject it.
No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
Don't you see now the con game that is played on the people by the
politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy
convincing you that what they did is not their fault. they cooperate in
this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive
amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip
O'Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan
for creating deficits.
The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to
accept. it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land,
gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for
originating appropriations and taxes. O'Neill is speaker of the House.
He is the leader of the majority party. He and his fellow Democrats, not
the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president
vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto.
Just 545 Americans have fouled up this great nation.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace
545 people who stand convicted - by present facts - of incompetence and
I can't think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to
defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those people.
When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise complete
power over the federal government, then it must follow that what exists
is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. If the
budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red. If the
Marines are in Lebanon
, it's because they want them in Lebanon.
There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people
shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can
abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to
regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they
can take it.
Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist
disembodied mystical force like "the economy," "inflation" or "politics"
that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone
have the power. they and they alone should be held accountable by the
people who are their bosses - provided they have the gumption to manage
their own employees.