Politics As Usual . . .

A good many of you responded to last week’s babblings about the fiasco the U.S. House went through in electing a Speaker. To a person, you agreed that it was just another example of the ineptitude our government sadly exhibits now. But a lot of you went further. Much further. The anger, the frustration, the absolute disappointment in where our government, and thus our country, stands today is almost overwhelming.

The bloated, inefficient hot mess that our government has turned into is a sore topic. Many of us, I dare say nearly all who are reading this, had the privilege of growing up in a country that was proud, spirited and patriotic. Yes, our government had its problems, but nothing like today. The only thing woke meant was what time your alarm got you going. If a politician blatantly lied about darn near everything and got caught, i.e., Rep. Santos, he wouldn’t be in office. Think not? Ask Richard Nixon.

But before we go any further, no, this is not a call for overthrow . . . not a desk-pounding cry to take up arms . . . not an accusation of shadows and conspiracies.

What’s wrong with our government isn’t that complicated. For today, let’s boil it down to five things.

  1. Career politicians: We need term limits.
  2. Lobbyists and campaign contributions: Money talks. Too loudly in this case.
  3. Complexities: Richard Branson, the billionaire owner of Virgin Airlines has a great quote: “Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple.” Way too much of our government is complicated. Tax code that weighs almost as much as me? C’mon!
  4. Pork: I suppose you could throw this one under No. 3. But bills that get passed have riders attached to them that have nothing to do with the bill. Make proposed legislation plain to read and restricted to that specific law.
  5. Benefits and perks: Get rid of insurance, pensions and other perks for the hired hands. Not only do they now have sweetheart deals that most of us could only dream of, but it encourages them to stay in office.

To be fair, we could add a bunch more to the list, but this feels like a starting point, don’t you think? The bottom line is we have allowed our government to grow far beyond what was intended.

We could talk more about what the Founding Fathers created. But as soon as you mention them, it sends some folks into a tizzy. Kind of like when you mention the definition of a man or woman.

Look, those who hold elected office work for us, at least in theory. So, let’s all put our boss hat on for a second and think of this like a performance review.

First, the wonderful folks in HR would tell us we have a problem. How can we review someone’s performance if we don’t have standards and expectations in place – specific ones? Without that, how do we measure job performance? It’s a fair point. Can you imagine having a job in which your performance was never measured? Yet that’s exactly the situation we have today with the hired hands.

If we can’t agree on how to rate their performance how about if we focus on laws? It kind of feels like they think creating new laws is part of the job, right? But seriously, don’t we have enough laws? Maybe instead we can task them to examine laws that are out of date and get them off the books?

While they’re examining those, let’s add that we want them to take a look at taxes. All of them. I’d be willing to bet there are several (that might be the understatement of the year!) that are no longer used for what they were intended. The term is sunset clause – and it’s not used often enough.

When they get those two things done, we can get them working on the five things from above. Too much? Nah, we’re good and patient bosses. Let’s give them plenty of time to get all this accomplished. How much? Oh, I don’t know, how about four years?

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Thursdays in The Times. Timmons is the chief executive officer of Sagamore News Media, the company that owns The Noblesville Times. He is also a proud Noblesville High School graduate and can be contacted at ttimmons@thetimes24-7.com.