I'm just an ordinary citizen that likes to express my opinions.
When I was a child growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, I was taught in elementary school that we live in a democracy where people vote on the laws that govern our lives. As I progressed through the school system, I learned that there was a local government that was run by a mayor, and there was a state government that was run by a governor. Then I learned that there was a city council that helped the mayor govern their city, a state congress that helped the governor run the state, and a federal congress that helped the president run the country.
Then I learned that there were more people that are elected to enforce the laws that we the people vote on. Then I learned that there are people appointed by elected people to help them govern, such as the president's cabinet and some judges, for example. But the thing I learned that disturbed me the most was that we don't vote on all issues or laws that affect us. Yes, the issues that affect us the most are decided on by the people we elect to some of these positions.
I think the first two issues that brought this to light for me had to do with traffic laws. The two things that I didn't remember voting on were the seat belt law and the law that everyone must have auto insurance to drive. I learned about that seat belt law when I got pulled over one day for not wearing it.
Considering that cars didn't have seat belts when I was a child, and the first seat belts only went across your lap, it wasn't until they added the shoulder belt that police could determine if you were wearing it and began using it as a legal reason to pull people over. I learned about the insurance law when it came time to renew my license plates. I couldn't believe that they were making you buy auto insurance.
Why Didn’t I Get To Vote on the Affordable Care Act?
Fast forward to 2009 and again we are being forced to buy insurance, but this time it's health insurance. Congress has passed a law requiring everyone to purchase insurance under what is called the Affordable Care Act. This law was passed while the democrats held the House, the Senate, and the White House. In an attempt to make it sound like this was a bad law, the republicans began calling it Obamacare, named after the first African American president, who championed the bill. The democrats love this term as it clearly gives credit to the creator of the bill. These two names for the bill draw different reactions when you ask people on the street about the bill. A lot of people didn't know they were the same thing until the republicans tried to repeal and replace it last year.
Republicans found out that it is the best health insurance coverage that can be offered because it covers every health issue you can think of. They can't take away any part of it without throwing thousands of people off of health benefits of some sort. The only problem is it is not really affordable for everyone because they don't want to take away profits from the insurance companies. So why is it so hard to make health insurance affordable for everyone? It wasn't that hard when you forced everyone to buy auto insurance.
It seems to me that if 50% of the people had insurance before the law went into effect, and now you have 95% of the people with insurance, there should be an increase in the amount of money you make, even if you lower rates to make it affordable. I say 95% because there are always going to be people that don't purchase it, but just like auto insurance, you're going to get caught without it at a time you really need it, and that's when you pay a penalty. People who don't own a car or never drive do not need auto insurance, but all people need health insurance. Just like auto insurance, there are plans that allow people to have the minimum coverage at an affordable rate.
We Pay Your Pension and You Stole Ours
This gets to the real issue of my article. Why do we need politicians to vote on something that affects the American people? It is obvious that practically everyone wants this health care that covers everything. Why not let the people vote for themselves? We don't want politicians voting to take something away that we need. Politicians should be fighting the insurance companies, not each other. Each and every one of them have insurance. We pay their huge salaries with our tax dollars so that they can afford the best coverage that money can buy, but they want to deny us the same right to have that coverage.
And speaking of salaries, why is it they can vote to give themselves raises and deny us a livable minimum wage? They forget that the six-figure salary they get paid comes from our tax dollars. Donald Trump just passed a tax bill that most people are saying benefits the rich and takes money away from the middle class. How do they get to vote on the tax bill and we are the ones whose taxes pay their salaries? Why didn't we the people get to vote on this tax bill?
What about what happens when we retire? We have to work until we are 65 and then most companies force us to retire. Yet there are politicians that get a pension after serving only five years. There are also politicians that are serving well past the retirement age of 65. Both of the presidential candidates were at least 70 years old and there are over 200 members of congress above the age of 65, with 12 of them over the age of 80. These people want to cut medicare and social security benefits for the elderly.
What Happens When the People Vote
Now let's think about what happens when we the people do get to vote. For years congress has voted against legalizing marijuana. A few years ago, states started voting to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. The majority of these elections went in favor of legalization.
Recently states began voting for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. So far each state that has put it on the ballot has passed in favor of legalization. Now, you have the Attorney General saying that he is going to try to override the states that have passed a law that the people have voted on, even though there is no evidence to show that it is a legal detriment to anyone. In fact, every state that has legalized it is showing a profit from it in taxation and a drop in marijuana-related crimes.
They want to mislabel marijuana as a gateway drug, meaning it leads to the use of harder drugs. The real gateway drugs are alcohol and caffeine. One is a depressant and the other is a stimulant. This just proves that these old politicians are really not in touch with what the American people really want. Probably the real reason is the threat marijuana poses to the alcohol and tobacco industries, both of which can kill you with prolonged use.
Lastly, I'm going to touch on the subject that really ticks me off. Every day I get emails asking for political campaign donations. They only ask for a dollar and they even ask you do you want to contribute on your tax return form. These campaigns raise millions of dollars for each candidate. If that candidate doesn't win, that's millions gone to waste.
Political Fundraising vs. Poverty Fundraising
Each party brags about how many millions they raise and spend for each election. I've heard of presidential candidates having $ 10,000-a-plate campaign fundraisers just so rich people can hear them speak. Trump charged guests $100,000 per couple to attend a dinner he was hosting at his Mar-a-Lago property with the option to pay $250,000 to sit down and talk to him. He postponed his appearance due to the government shutdown, but people still attended the dinner. I don't know how many people attended, but imagine if this money had gone to a good cause instead.
I have never heard of one single politician having a fundraising dinner to end poverty or rebuild their communities. They want to do this with taxpayer money from the federal budget. Infrastructure, immigration reform, health care, welfare, minimum wage, public education, and other issues that affect Americans all come from our tax dollars, but we hear things like "We may have to shut the government down if we can't get a deal to build a wall."
The 2020 Democratic Candidates
Below is a link to the first 23 candidates and what they raised as reported in this article as of July 15, 2019. Keep in mind that all but one won't get elected and just look at how much money is wasted. Also keep in mind how much more was raised throughout the primaries and by the Republican candidates who decided to challenge Trump, and even Trump himself.
In summation, politicians can raise millions of dollars for themselves to get elected, then they get paid from our hard-earned tax dollars, enjoy the best health care possible that we pay for, and are even eligible for a pension that we pay for after five years, but they can't seem to find money to take care of the people that elected you.
In addition, they also receive a budget from our tax dollars that allow them to travel and eat as long as it's job-related. That's similar to the budget I was allotted as a member of the Armed Forces. I got to eat, travel for free and was provided lodging while I was doing my job, along with a salary that was slightly above minimum wage. Hell, some members of the military don't even get housing and real meals while working if they are in combat status.
Do you think our tax dollars are to be only used to pay your salaries? America, let's really drain the swamp and vote to lower all politicians to a minimum wage salary and see who really wants this job.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.