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- United States Politics
Does Congress Listen to the Will of the People?
Today the connection between the government and the public is strained at best and the amount of money which the government now spends in comparison to its income raises many questions. There are critical decisions which need to be made each calendar year which have varying degrees of support or opposition by the public. The manner in which government at all levels responds to the opinions of the public on issues creates the perception whether they are working for us or if we are working for them. Granted decisions are sometimes made for which we have no access to details which may affect the security of our country and most individuals understand this situation. Individuals do not understand though how votes are being cast in direct opposition to the will of the people.
Legislation from both parties appear to have what they feel are the right approaches to important issues for our country. The approaches are almost never on the same page as to how to achieve the actions with the goal being the same. Our economy is hurting and yet in some cases both political parties cannot come together on addressing the issues. This is not about one party or another but conflict between the two houses of Congress at the federal level and in some cases at individual state levels. Party unity appears to be the culture of the day which is fine if that culture reflects the will of the people on the issues at hand. It is sad to say that in many cases, not all, this is not the case. It is important to stand on principles when elected officials see this as the reason why they were elected or re-elected. An example is the healthcare legislation enacted over the objections of a vast number of private citizens and businesses. Whether this action is constitutional will be decided by the Supreme Court.
Government operations as they are now being conducted are seeing a low level of approval in terms of the action or inaction by both houses of Congress and in some cases the President. Our government was found on basic principles and these principles were identified by President Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address. The principle identified states: “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The key point in the quote identifies the fact that our government is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The last part is what appears to have been lost in recent actions of Congress.
Our government at all levels is a government of the people and by the people. Our ancestors created the government structure we have today with the principle that it work for the good of the people. The level of control that some government entities are exhibiting project the appearance we are working for them, not them working for us. Many rules and regulations are created, in some cases on a daily basis, directing our actions in relation to the topic it addresses. While many have a valid purpose others impose their opinion on the rest of the country and dictate what we must do to be in compliance with the rules and regulations they create.
The cost of government is skyrocketing to support the expanded structure which we now have. Our tax structure from the federal government down to the state and local government needs to be revamped to create an atmosphere of encouragement for individuals and businesses. The laws and regulations in existence today discourage individuals and businesses to make decisions which would have positive impact on our economy. Businesses want to know what their expenses are going to be from year to year. In the same respect individuals hold off making purchases for the same reason supported by the fact many are unemployed or fear they will be unemployed in the future.
Our present tax system is difficult at best to understand. In addition our tax rate for corporations/businesses is the highest in the world. It is a distinction no country should want to have and it should be changed. The more we earn the more we pay in taxes with little left in some cases to make us question why we made the effort. This should never be the case in a country found on individual principles. Changes to our tax structure are needed and both political parties acknowledge this to be true. What changes are eventually made will either fuel the perception whether the government is working for us or whether we are working for them. The uncertainty in what future laws and regulations are created in the future also adds to the perception. Government is exerting more influence through laws and regulations and the present path government is taking by exerting more control over our lives. Government is not the answer to all our problems and the philosophy now in place appear to be at least by some individuals the right focal point to make decisions for us.
Our system of government is great but elected officials must understand that they are working for us not their political party ideology. Decisions being made today in many cases reflect the policy of political parties to which our elected representatives belong. This may not always agree with the public position and political parties to that end need to make changes in their philosophical approach to generating legislation to reflect the will of the people.