Cal  Thomas

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial lays out a proposal for meaningful reform that includes ending spending earmarks through which individual members can take our money to waste on projects near and dear only to them; a rewrite of the 1974 Budget Act, sold as a reform, but which has made it easier for Congress to tax and spend; and six-year term limits on the appropriations committees to "neutralize the power of the 13 subcommittee chairmen - known as the College of Cardinals - who are a major obstacle to budget reform."

Here's another idea: Congress should be forced by public opinion to submit to what in labor disputes is known as binding arbitration. An independent commission - not unlike the Grace Commission of the Reagan years - that identified waste, fraud and abuse in government and made some headway before members fell off the spending wagon - should be given the power to impose reforms on Congress in order that "we the people" might benefit for a change. Among them should be term limits for everybody. The Founding Fathers did not foresee a permanent political class, out of touch with the people and in touch only with their careers and self-interests.

The people in the institution that brought us the problem are unlikely to solve it. They have tried and failed many times. Only an outside commission (or putting true reform-minded members in charge, like Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana) will accomplish real and long-lasting change.

Unless Congress and the public get serious about reform, things won't get any better, even if the Democrats win a majority in the fall elections. So what will it be, real reform, or more snake oil?

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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