Tags: Public | Service | politics

Public Service Has Mutated Into Public Disservice

Friday, 30 Dec 2011 07:17 AM

By Barry Elias

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I would consider running for Congress, because I do not want to be a career politician.

Public service should be analogous to the charitable tithing principle: a portion of one’s income and/or time is dedicated toward others that are less fortunate (e.g., 10 percent).

The rationale: “Veil of ignorance.”

In 1971, John Rawls incorporated the “veil of ignorance” as an integral feature of the social contract in “A Theory of Justice.” By this, he suggested the just treatment of others is more likely when each individual has no knowledge of their socioeconomic status prior to birth.

In recent decades, those in public service seem to lack adequate competence and/or just intent.

Prudent public policy will not improve as long as the current unfair rules of engagement are in place. The rules of engagement need to treat public servants as citizens and limit government involvement, so all live by the policies created.

I would consider a short term position in Congress to institute the following changes retroactive to the start of my term:

Congress abides by the same rules and regulations they impose on the citizenry.

1. Congresspersons may not engage in “insider trading.”

2. Congresspersons may receive healthcare according to the same rules of engagement as private industry.

3. Congresspersons may receive retirement benefits according to the same rules of engagement as private industry.

    a. Congressional Retirement funds for current and past congresspersons will be transferred into the Social Security and Medicare system.

    b. Congresspersons shall contribute to the Social Security and Medicare system the same as the general citizenry.

4. Congresspersons shall not receive any form of future payments upon leaving office (e.g., pension), since tenure  is limited.

5. Congresspersons shall not have the authority to approve compensation increases.

6. Compensation for Congresspersons shall be determined as follows:

   a. Compensation (salary and benefits) shall equal that of private sector employees in the top 2 percent of the population

   b. Compensation to be increased 10 percent for each 10 percent reduction in the annual fiscal deficit.

   c. Compensation to be reduced 10 percent for each 10 percent increase in the annual fiscal deficit.

7. These rules need to be passed by both houses of congress and signed by the President prior to other legislative considerations.

Prudent, fair, and effective public policy is more likely if these value driven parameters are in place.

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