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Putting Congress To The Test

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 2/20/14

Putting Congress To The Test

Here are some facts of life in the United States today. Wealth inequality is getting worse and has proven deleterious for both our economy and our people. The rich are establishing inherited ultra-rich dynasties while the poor continue to live in spreading poverty. Social and economic mobility has flagged and is now less than that in royal Britain. The poor do not have the same opportunity for good education needed to prepare them to succeed in life. Few Americans are satisfied with the cost of health care delivery; most sense that the convoluted system of for-profit insurance-based coverage is driving up costs and reducing quality.  

In all these areas -- wealth inequality, upward immobility, unequal access to education and health care - experts have suggested fixes that have the support of the majority of Americans. Yet our Congress will not pass legislation that addresses our needs.

To have our needs addressed and to live in a better America, we need to change the Congress. We must carefully select new members of Congress who truly represent our views and will address our needs. Presently, more than half of our congressmen and women are millionaires; They mainly represent moneyed interests. Congress has an incumbency rate of about 90%. Thus, if we do nothing, we shall end up with basically the same Congress once again.

Below is a set of seven questions that should be publicly asked of each candidate for Congress. The public answers to the questions, would give us, the public, a clear idea about whether or not we should elect him or her. The seven questions are:

1.   Do you agree to support the institution of a graduated income tax of up to 70-80% on those earning over one million dollars a year?

2.   Do you agree to support a graduated estate tax for up to 90%?

3.   Do you agree to support a tax on the sale or exchange of stocks, bonds and other financial instruments?

4.   Do you agree to support an inflation-proof national minimum wage?

5.   Do you agree to support a single-payer healthcare system?

6.   Do you agree that we need more equalized access to the educational system in the United States from kindergarten to University?

7.   Would you support legislation that would eliminate the private funding of elections

The political affiliation of the candidate, whether Republican, Democrat or Independent is not important here; what is important is whether he, or she, will help institute laws that will reflect our desires and needs for a better life.

These questions may seem simplistic and superficial but they really go to the heart of the matter of what we need our new Congress to do to ensure a better America for all of us. All of the issues involved have been discussed at great length and the answers that best serve our interests are well known.

If a candidate answers "Yes' to five or more of these questions, that should be a signal, powerful enough, to vote him or her into office. If he or she answers "Yes' to fewer than five of the questions, we should not vote for him or her. Their in-office records will reveal whether or not they answered honestly; if their records do not reflect their votes, we shall get another chance to vote them out.

We need to reduce wealth inequality. We need to increase the taxes on huge inheritances to equalize the opportunity of newborn Americans. The huge sums of money being made by the wealthy in the financial markets are taxed at a lower rate than are the hard-earned incomes of average Americans. We must ensure that the working poor in America can make enough to live on. We are all entitled to a uniform healthcare system and equal access to better education.

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Retired Pharmacologist with two masters and a Ph.D.

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It is about time we took control of our government... by Sam Amer on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 8:56:13 AM
Small remark:  I would prefer very progressiv... by BFalcon on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 11:12:22 AM
Great point!. I completely agree. Sam Amer ... by Sam Amer on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 12:37:08 PM
I would like to see both classifications taxed. ... by Daniel Penisten on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 1:34:56 PM
Yes, it should be charged to the recipient, not to... by Charles Roll on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 3:09:46 PM
Good thoughts, I agree. However, as for "double ... by BFalcon on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 10:40:02 PM
WE GAVE UP CONTROL OF WHAT USED TO BE OUR GOVERNM... by Peter Palms on Monday, Feb 24, 2014 at 4:13:26 PM
Better idea:  Focus on #7 first, because ach... by George Flower on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 10:40:43 AM
About #7: Would you support legislation that woul... by Charles Roll on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 11:52:45 AM
"...So the only strategy that makes sense is to el... by Daniel Penisten on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 1:53:00 PM
I support your suggestion about "SCOTUS" bought an... by Daniel Penisten on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 1:56:39 PM
And I will not "revile" you. I see you as sharing ... by Daniel Penisten on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 2:11:25 PM
Well, I am not opposed to third party approach at... by Charles Roll on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 3:00:50 PM
"My thinking for the Green Party, at least, is th... by Daniel Penisten on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 5:20:43 PM
"secret republican democrats must go. The voting r... by Charles Roll on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 6:28:20 PM
"About #7: Would you support legislation that wou... by Daniel Penisten on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 5:52:46 PM
If Congress would start seeing poll results showi... by Charles Roll on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 6:39:03 PM
Well said, and excellent analogy to FED.  Y... by George Flower on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 9:44:55 PM
Yes, implicit in any effective ban on money in po... by George Flower on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 9:55:25 PM
All good ideas, but focusing on #7 might well be t... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 12:23:23 PM
I could not disagree with you. It is very difficul... by Sam Amer on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 12:42:18 PM
You may also try http://www.writerbeat.com/ ... by BFalcon on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 1:16:06 PM
Yes it is difficult to even get access to an incu... by George Flower on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 10:21:50 PM
I don't know that incumbents are all or generally ... by Charles Roll on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 11:14:44 PM
I wrote "George Flowers suggestion for Art. II imp... by Charles Roll on Friday, Feb 21, 2014 at 12:44:17 AM
George Flower? You seem to come down way to hard o... by Daniel Penisten on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 1:43:31 PM
A fine article, Sam Amer. Fairly concisely states ... by Daniel Penisten on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 at 1:32:14 PM
Would you be willing to replace #7 with another wo... by Daniel Penisten on Friday, Feb 21, 2014 at 11:16:16 AM
The same 7 questions should be asked of all of the... by Paul Krumm on Friday, Feb 21, 2014 at 11:03:40 AM
Democratic methods can be attempted in tyranny. Ou... by Peter Palms on Friday, Feb 21, 2014 at 4:42:37 PM
A pessimistic scenario of future events incl... by Peter Palms on Friday, Feb 21, 2014 at 4:48:18 PM
continued Politicians seize upon the oppor... by Peter Palms on Friday, Feb 21, 2014 at 4:48:51 PM
I would like to thank Peter Palms, for this big mo... by Daniel Penisten on Friday, Feb 21, 2014 at 5:22:26 PM
No is the time for all good men to come to the aid... by Peter Palms on Friday, Feb 21, 2014 at 4:50:50 PM
Boy Howdy! I sure am for that! We The American Peo... by Daniel Penisten on Friday, Feb 21, 2014 at 5:35:54 PM
The one point I would argue with you about is that... by Mark A. Goldman on Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 12:52:32 PM
What government should do and what we must do will... by Peter Palms on Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 at 2:56:17 PM
What Costeau doesn't seem to see, is that there ar... by Daniel Penisten on Monday, Feb 24, 2014 at 1:44:51 PM
There needs to be a way to force a new election wh... by Jill Herendeen on Monday, Feb 24, 2014 at 5:38:24 AM