The U. S. Congress is too darn BIG!

Have you ever heard the term, “economies of scale?” It’s one that the private sector has used for centuries. In its simplest form, it refers to the cost advantages that a firm obtains due to expansion.

Companies that operate below or beyond this point simply fail to achieve the best investment returns for all concerned.

The public sector, aka GOVERNMENT, uses the term freely whenever it suits bureaucratic needs. I have yet to meet a true government bureaucrat that has any real idea of what the term actually means, though.

I’m not going to delve into a long-winded dissertation on economics. Take a course in the subject if you’d like. Or, Google it. The Internet abounds with tons of stuff that explains it.

The point is that whenever a private sector company becomes BIG, to the point that economies of scale become diseconomies of scale, it orders resources cut back to match optimum output.

In other words, the company cuts non-productive or unprofitable programs. People get laid off as the company tries to rediscover those lost economies of scale.

State and local governments personify BLOAT. Federal government raises it to an art form.

While no one seems to want to talk about it, the United States Congress reached a point of diminished returns decades ago.

It’s time we start looking to reduce the size of the federal bureaucracy to more efficient levels.

Only, I’m not talking about the usual mumbo jumbo incantations we hear every time the bureaucrats get worried over our displeasure.

No! I’m talking about cutting the fat where it’s most obvious and damaging: in the U. S. Congress… both chambers.

A friend of mine sent me a proposal—called, The Proposal—regarding this very process. It’s not HER proposal. Someone else sent it to her.

But neither she nor I can find who originated it. So I can’t properly attribute it. I can only present it as I received it, although I did fix the grammar and math errors.

I’m sure this was intended as some sort of satire aimed at Congress and promulgated in a chain email. But, satire or not, it gave me pause to wonder and present it here.

Unfortunately, it would take the very “do nothings” that we’re criticizing to make this a reality. So, it’s not going to happen.

But, at the very least, we MUST get Congress’s attention. Perhaps we could start DEMANDING the calling of a National Constitution Convention.

Anyway, here’s the proposal as I received it. The only changes I made were those that involved grammatical and numerical errors.

Even though the numbers are realistic, the math has to make sense and reflect current reality.

The Proposal…

When a company falls on difficult times, one of the things that seems to happen is they reduce their staff and workers.

The remaining workers need to find ways to continue to do a good job or risk losing their jobs.

Wall Street and the media normally congratulate the CEOs of such lean-minded companies for making “tough decision.” And, their boards of directors give these CEOs nice fat bonuses to boot!

Our federal government should not be immune from similar repercussions, especially whenever their own ineptness has been the primary cause of a southbound economy.

So, Therefore…

 

Let’s reduce the House of Representatives from its current 435 members to 218 members and the Senate membership from 100 to 50 (one per State).

This must also include their associated staffs. In addition, we should reduce the congressional overhead staff by 25%.

We’d accomplish this over an 8-year period (two steps/two elections), including all necessary redistricting.

Of course, we’d have to find an objective way to redistrict because we can’t trust Congress to do it in an objectively fair way.

Some REAL annual savings…

$43,744,400 by eliminating the base pay for House and Senate members (217 House members plus 50 U. S. Senators X $165,200 pay/member per year).

$432,100,000 by eliminating associated staffs (estimated at $1.3-million for each member of the House and $3-million for each member of the Senate

$97,175,000 by reducing all other Congressional overhead staff by 25%.

$7,500,000,000 reduction in pork barrel earmarks each year (218 fewer House members plus 50-fewer Senators). The current estimate for earmarks is $15-billion.

The remaining members of the House and Senate—assuming they wished to remain—would need to work smarter and more efficiently.

With less reason to do otherwise, they’d likely begin seeing the importance of working TOGETHER for the good of the country, instead of their own and those of their lobbyist connections.

Also, with a smaller Congress, we’d see much smaller committees. Smaller committees are a lot easier to hold accountable; and it’s much easier to tract what the whole of Congress is doing.

Now, as for further justification for such a drastic reduction in the size of Congress, here are two facts we should consider.

First, Congress established the method of congressional allocation back in 1911. None of the current fantastic, timesaving, and efficient technology was available then.

Now we have computers, telephones, cell phones, email, and myriad other technological wonders to establish efficiencies of scale. We don’t need 535 members of Congress any longer.

Second, Congress recesses ON SCHEDULE no matter how pressing the nation’s problems are at the time. We all survive. Also, whenever House members or Senators seek a higher office, they simply take off and campaign.

This past election cycle, three U. S. Senators disappeared from the Congress for over 18-months and not a soul missed them. Need I say more?

So, let’s summarize the annual financial savings that would result from this proposal.

Proposal summary…

$ 43,744,400/year reduction in congressional salaries

$432,100,000/year reduction in associated staffs

$97,175,000/year reduction (25%) in all congressional overhead staff expenses

$7,500,000,000 current year reduction in earmarks from fired House members and U. S. Senators

This gives us $8,073,019,400 per year total annual reduction, assuming that the $7.5-billion in reduced earmarks remains relatively constant.

These types of reductions are standard fare in the private sector, from the largest to the smallest. We need to stop exempting Congress.

And now, here are just a couple of more things to add. If we force members of Congress to wait 20, 25 or 30 years (like everyone else) in order to collect retirement benefits, the annual savings would be even higher.

I won’t even go into ANY detail about how much we’d potentially save by LOCKING down the Social Security Trust Fund and making it criminally prosecutable to touch a dime of it for ANYTING other than Social Security Retirement payments.

Finally, what do you think would happen in this country if ALL of us began bombarding the United States Congress and the White House with these sorts of proposals?

FEAR! That’s what would happen, especially if we indicated our seriousness over the issue by voting every one of the bums out of office a couple of times just to get their attention?

 

Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.

This entry was posted in Economics, Humor Bureaucracy, Main Page, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.