I Won't Do My Job, Give Me a Better One

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Three of the current front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination are big on their fiscal conservatism, yet there’s one area they’re not so conservative on – their own salaries. All three are advocating ‘business’ positions to problems, but missing one vital fact. Were they in the private sector, all three would have been fired already.

When you have a job, you go to work, do what you’re supposed to do, and then every 2 weeks, or once a month or whatever, you get your paycheque for it. If you don’t do your job, but spend your time searching for a new job, then odds are you’re going to get fired pretty quick. Unless you’re a politician, elected to serve the people, that is.

There are three campaign hopefuls at present, vying for the republican nomination on the public purse. Texas governor Rick Perry, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. The Governor is getting $150,000/year (or $2,884/week) while the US House representatives are being paid $174,000/year ($3,346/week) from the public purse, money paid to them if they’re doing their job representing the public, or if they’re completely ignoring it to hunt for another. Currently, these three are doing the latter.

It’s not a new thing though. In 2008, citizens of both Illinois and Arizona only had half of their constitutionally stipulated senate representation, as for more than half of the 110th Congress, Senators Obama and McCain were campaigning for the presidency, at $174,000/year each as well, and in the second half of 2008, then-Governor Palin ($125,000/year) and then-Senator Biden (another $174,000/year) were also so busy campaigning that their official jobs were not being done.

Clockwise from top left: Perry, Obama, Bachmann, Paul

Biden felt that wasn’t enough though, as a fall back, he also campaigned for his existing job, as Delaware Senator, and won that. Biden was actually sworn in again as Senator for around 2 weeks, before resigning to let the person already selected (NOT elected) on election day to fill the seat until another election could be held, at taxpayer expense…

What we have is financial irresponsibility on a massive scale. People running for job, political grandstanding, with no worry of consequences, and no concern for the people they swore an oath to serve. It’s an issue that’s not gone unnoticed. In the past, Ex Minnesota governor Jessie ‘The Body’ Ventura, has remarked about the hard struggle he had campaigning for the position. He had no job, and that limited his ability to campaign, while his opponent the mayor of the city of St Paul’s, could campaign with impunity. Of course, that Mayor more recently gained notoriety for his ‘never give up, never surrender’ election fight for his Senate seat in 2008, but that’s another story.

It doesn’t just happen in the US, though. In the UK, Some MEP’s have tried running for seats in the House of Commons, trying to abandon one elected position for one they would prefer instead. Nick Griffin, for instance, ran for MP in the London constituency of Barking, despite being an MEP for North West England, some 200+ miles away. Clearly his intention was about ideology and influence, rather than representing his constituents.

If it were anyone but politicians, we would call it theft, or fraud. However, politicians are above the law, they face no consequences. That doesn’t sit well with me though, as politicians should not only be accountable to the laws they make, they should be held to the HIGHEST standards of those laws. So, what should be done?

The first thing is to require the repayment of salary for the time spent campaigning. You take time off from your job to campaign? Then it’s at your OWN expense, not ours. We’re not asking you to run, so why should we pay you to run?

Perhaps the best idea, though, is a ‘make your mind up’ requirement. If you want to run for another job, then you should give your current one up. That way, some arrangement can be made for replacement, so that the campaigning can be done at the candidates own expense, and not the expense of those supposedly represented.

It’s also going to help keep some of the crazy out. Who’s going to give up a job, when they know they’re probably not going to win? It will also show come commitment, but most of all, it shows you actually take your word, your oath of office, seriously. That you are committed to representing effectively, because nothing says “unfit for a job with greater responsibilities” than “can’t do they job they’re currently employed at”.

Will this change happen? Unlikely. The current political machine works by keeping existing politicians safe. Making them have to risk their own jobs, as they so cavalierly risk everyone elses, that requires integrity, and there, current politicians are completely bankrupt. In the mean time, we’ll continue the sad parade of politicians screaming “I won’t do my job, I want a better one!

andrew.norton

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Discussion

  1. Elias.L

    Thank you.

  2. Peter Andersson

    Nja, alla vet ju ändå att det i princip är en kylarprydnad man väljer och att de som gör det riktiga jobbet är tjänstemannastaben bakom kylarprydnaden som kör bilen. Att kylarprydnaden sedan är ute och kampanjar för omval eller nytt jobb är inget problem så länge tjänstemannastaben sköter jobbet, både den betalda och den voluntära staben (antalet unga som jobbar mer eller mindre ideellt för meriten att ha jobbat nära makten ligger ju på en mycket högre nivå i USA).

    Dessutom är det numera konstitutionellt OK i USA efter utslag i högsta domstolen för två eller tre år sedan för företag att ställa upp med en representationskandidat i allmänna val, det vill säga rent teoretiskt är det lagligt för McDonalds att kandidera till presidentposten som företag bakom en kandidat utklädd till Ronald McDonald 24/7. Var det inte du som skrev om det när det hände för två- tre år sedan?

  3. Michael Hendricks

    Bachmann has missed 37% of votes since campaigning for President [1]. Paul has missed about 8%, which is similar to the Congressional average. I’m not aware of an objective participation measure for governors like Perry.

    I suspect that some people can fulfill their current job while looking for another in their off hours. Whether or not a politician is doing his job is for his constituency to decide.

    1: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/173441-bachmann-skips-40-percent-of-votes-since-launching-bid

  4. Andrew Norton

    It’s still early days yet. McCain, Obama and Biden missed a LOT of votes in 2008. I also forgot Thaddeus McCotter, another member of the US House, from Michigan., also sucking down $174,000

    Bachman was elected into her current office less than 11 months ago, and has spent less than 6 months doing just her job.. If she loses in the Primary, she’ll continue campaigning, but just to keep her current job.

    Let’s not forget the oath they take:
    “I, (name of Member), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    They’re not. They can’t..

    1. Zacqary Adam Green

      No, you see, when they’re campaigning, that’s when God takes over. Just like they asked.

  5. […] help, nor does the incessant campaigning which means people already holding elected office are not doing the job they’re being paid to do, and not representing who they’re supposed to […]

  6. […] piece was first published at Falkvinge.net and is released under […]

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