Where is Mr. Wright when you need him?

What do you remember about being in the third grade? It was 1961 for me. My teacher was Mrs. Ling. She was the first teacher I had that was as strict as an anaconda. She had her rules, and there was no escaping them. But her boss, the principal Mr. Wright, was the ultimate rule enforcer.

One spring day, while out at recess playing kickball, the class bully acted up by picking a fight with another student. All of us knew there was going to be some severe consequences, and we were right. After settling back into our classroom, only minutes later Mr. Wright came walking in carrying a two-foot long oak paddle. We all knew that paddle existed but it was the first time we ever got a look at it.

The principal walked over to the bully, told him to stand, bend over his desk and then proceeded to give him three hard whacks on the butt with the paddle. Before he left the room, he asked us if we understood why he did this and if we knew fighting wasn’t allowed. No need to answer his question, and he walked out.

Back then, rules were rules. Well, not if you are in the United States Congress. They break their own rules all the time, and instead of getting punished, they get rewarded by getting reelected. What’s the lesson here? They are less obedient than third graders and deserve punishment.

I am of course referring about Congress’s inability to pass a budget. Now Congress has a lot of responsibilities but none more important than funding our government. That is priority one! Their own rule is that a budget has to be passed by October 1 of each year. The last time they did that was 1997. They have failed to do their fundamental job for twenty-six years straight, and because of their incompetence, we have had five governmental shutdowns since 1995.

And this year is no different. Failing to pass a budget last October, they passed a continuing resolution (CR) giving them an extra two months to get their work done. To no one’s surprise, they failed again, so they extended it yet again, to today, January 19. At the time of this writing, it is clear they will fail again, and pass another CR instead. Why do we put up with this ineptitude year after year?

So, what are the solutions? Well, I have a few. One, have the Congressional Sergeant at Arms, William McFarland, the chief law enforcement and protocol officer, grab an oak paddle and walk into the Halls of Congress and ask each of the 435 members to stand up, bend over their desks, and give each one three whacks on the butt. Or number two, failure to pass a budget on time would put all representatives on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, instead of their $83.65 an hour they make now, until a budget is passed.

And number three, the most sensible solution of all. Fire them for insubordination and failure to do their duty. How can we do that? Well, its simple. Stop voting for them. Then entire House of Representatives is up for election this November. That gives us time to tell every one of them that if they can’t pass a budget on time, they don’t deserve to represent us in Congress, and we will not vote for them. Would that get their attention? You bet it would.

And to further explain their fiscal irresponsibility, in 1997, the last time they passed a budget on time, our national debt was $5 trillion. Now it stands at $34 billion, so not only can’t they pass budget, they can’t balance it either.

If your candidate was running for office and they told you they can’t pass the budget on time, and they can’t balance the budget, and they don’t have a plan to pay off our debt, would you vote for them? Think about it. Then why do we reelect them? In 2022 we reelected 95 percent of the House incumbents and 100 percent of the Senate incumbents. Don’t you see we are filling the henhouse with a bunch of foxes, who think they can outsmart us every two years, because they can!

I can only guess they believe we are too stupid to figure this out on our own. I don’t believe we are stupid, but we are gullible. I am reminded of that old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

We have a huge responsibility as voters. We get to choose who we want to work for us. They are our employees. I am done being fooled by them. I think the only way to get their attention is to send them home next November. Heck, if your favorite football team’s coach had a losing record twenty-six years in a row, well, enough said.

I am going on record, ten months prior to the November election, that I will not vote for a single House or Senate incumbent. They are failures. Yes, I understand I may toss a few babies out with the bath water, so to speak, but the fact is, the current members are not getting the job done, and I won’t reward them with my vote. If you could draw a picture of my vote this year, it will look an awful lot like Mr. Wright’s oak paddle.

Am I right or wrong? Let me know what you think at gregawtry@awtry.com

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