Monday morning quarterbacking

Bob McKee

Carry the battle to them. Don’t let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don’t ever apologize for anything. — Harry S Truman

With several million Americans still unemployed it might seem illogical to recommend adding to that list. But there are 535 people, no make that 536, in Washington, D.C., who need to join the jobless ranks.

The first figure covers the 100 senators and 435 representatives who make up our current U.S. Congress. The 536th D.C. resident who perhaps should be looking for another job in a couple of years you can figure out for yourself. Or you may decide to give him another chance since his first few months in office haven’t been all that impressive. Benefit of the doubt sort of thing, you know.

If this sounds too drastic, let it be acknowledged right now that there are a few members of Congress who have the good of the country as their top priority. But they are tainted and must go with the rest, a thorough house cleaning so to speak. Even if they are ousted, most will still cost us since they may be entitled to a fairly nice pension (average $40,144 per year). But that is significantly less than they are costing us now and they won’t be in a position to do damage if they are somewhere besides Washington, D.C.

The famous Missourian quoted above coined the phrase “do nothing Congress” but he was referring to the 1947-49 members of the House and Senate. The current occupants  are being referred to as the “new” do nothing Congress. The description appears to be an apt considering the partisan battles that have preceded almost every piece of legislation they grudgingly passed or tried to pass. And most Americans are fed up with it, judging from the latest approval ratings coming out of Washington, D.C..

With the state of the nation in such disarray, us good old boys who gather around the potbellied stove every morning, being removed by a thousand miles from the confusion and chaos gripping our nation’s capital, have decided that we could do a better job of running the country — from here, of course.

There has been much talk, and that’s all, about putting Americans back to work on “shovel ready” jobs to repair the country’s infrastructure. We would finance that by cutting back on foreign aid which now costs nearly $50 billion a year. We wouldn’t cut foreign aid altogether, of course. But trying to buy another country’s good will doesn’t work so we would implement a selective foreign aid policy.

Countries that bad mouth us and are openly hostile to the good old USA would receive zero in foreign aid. Countries that support, harbor, fund or encourage terrorists would get no U.S. foreign aid. Instead they would receive generous amounts of swift, severe and inevitable retribution. Countries run by governments that kill thousands of their own citizens get no foreign aid from us. Aid that only fattens some foreign dictator’s Swiss bank account and doesn’t get to the people needing it the most would in the future be distributed only under close U.S. supervision, by the U.S. military if necessary. Armed.

The savings achieved might even be enough for the states to fix their aging infrastructure and put a lot of unemployed local people back to work for several years.

Running a country takes money, of course, and taxes are about the only way a government can raise money. But us good old boys would simplify (really, we mean it) the burdensome, overwhelming and downright dumb tax code that is now in existence. In its place we propose a flat 4 percent tax on income, no exemptions and no deductions. If you make $10,000 a year, you pay $400 in taxes. If you make $1 million a year, you pay $40,000 in taxes. Net profits for businesses would be taxed at a flat 4 percent also. A Wall Street firm reporting $100 million in profits would pay $4 million in taxes; and oil company with a net profit of $50 billion would have a tax bill that year of $2 billion. And so on.

If we were running things, lobbyists would be banned from Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals. It would be a federal offense for a lobbyist to reside in or enter the city limits of Jefferson City, for example. To a certain extent, a similar ban would apply to lawyers.

Put us in coach, we’re ready to play.