The dramatic election results of a couple of weeks ago were a demand from the American people that those entrusted with a position of service treat it as an actual form of service and not just a stepping stone for personal advancement.
The Americans who pay for government in taxes want to make sure they are not played for chumps and they expect that those who administer the money use it with care.
Having been a part of the political process for many years, I would propose that this new Congress pass real reforms to prevent Congress from becoming a privileged class.
Let me call upon Congress to do the following:
• An elected official cannot seek any elected office while currently holding one except the one he or she currently holds. So if you are a member of the House, you can't keep your paycheck to run for the Senate, a governor's seat or the presidency, unless you resign from the position you hold.
I know that neither you nor I could actively pursue a job with a different employer while receiving a paycheck from my current employer.
• Stop allowing transfer of funds from one campaign account to another. Currently, if you raise $10 million for a Senate campaign, but then decide to run for president, you can transfer the money people gave you to run for Senate and run for president. That's defrauding the donors. If you don't need it to run for the office you seek, then give it back or give it to charity.
When I ran for president, most of my opponents were members of Congress. They got their full paycheck, even though they were almost never at their work station, but campaigning on your dime. They got their health insurance paid, their pension plans funded and never had to show up for work. Can you do that? Of course not and neither should they.
• And here's another: Not only freeze congressional pay, but take 5 percent cuts for every year the budget isn't balanced. And no pensions — just the same Social Security the rest of Americans have.
If Congress wants to win back the confidence of the people, then create rules that you live by.
It's a start.
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