Initiatives v Oligarchy

Our Founders' Warning: “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” (Thomas Jefferson)

Does Congress Oppose the People Socially, Ethically, and Legally?

Our representatives oppose the People in their interests on vital long-term social, ethical and legal issues. For example:

  1. Massive media mergers have allowed special interest groups increasingly to oppose the people, filtering and manipulating news information—and thereby their excessive influence over our government. This is part of a trend to ignore monopoly laws. For most of the last century, these laws were the People’s assurance that our capitalist system would remain competitive and efficient.
  2. Cheaper medical drugs are available in other countries at international pharmaceutical prices but not in the U.S. Moreover, congressional legislation prevents the federal government from negotiating the prices of drugs supplied through Medicare. In both cases, the congressional legislation ignores American free-market anti-monopoly ideals.
  3. Congress is unwilling to propose a constitutional Amendment setting congressional term limits that would prevent their own almost-permanent reelection. In January 1997, a proposed Constitutional Amendment set House and Senate limits of 12 years each, for a combined total of 24 years in Congress. However, it failed to get the necessary support to pass. Public opinion is strongly in favor of congressional term limits.
    • Many States have term limits for their State legislators. Twenty-two States set term limits for their congressional representatives. However, in 1995, the Supreme Court’s five-to-four decision (S. Term Limits v. Thornton) determined that states do not have the authority to limit the terms of their Congresspersons.
    • In the absence of an Amendment, Congresspersons could voluntarily limit their terms. Less than two dozen congresspersons chose to be self-limiters. The National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) found that self-limiters proposed budget cuts of about $15 billion a On the other hand, non-self-limiters with the same seniority proposed average increases over $15 billion. Furthermore, the eleven longest-serving congresspersons proposed increases of nearly $60 billion a year. Though these data are not statistically conclusive, they are indicative.
  4. Under the influence of special interest and political obligations, the Congress has come to focus excessively on short-term issues, expediency and party politics. As a consequence, Congress inadequately addresses its long-term leadership responsibility to ensure that government comply with the Constitution.
  5. As the top legislative branch of Government in the nation, Congress sets a moral and ethical example for the nation. Congressional failures are publicized and apparent to every person and organization in the U.S. By their tolerance of excessive influence in high places, Congress encourages a decline in moral and ethical standards cascading throughout government, business and the nation. There is no way to evaluate the financial and moral costs of this decline, but many Citizens believe them to be pervasive and appalling.
  6. Increasingly, the companies that employ us are the same specials interests that control us through their surrogates—our elected representatives. The level playing fields needed for an effective capitalist system yield to competition by paid political influence. We know that some of this is inevitable, that it has always happened, that it is part of our human nature, but today it is far worse and growing. Without adequate adjustment to our system of checks and balances, special interests’ control of government steadily transforms the U.S. into a surrogate plutocracy and, if their power consolidates over time, perhaps a form of totalitarianism