The Case for a 21st Century New Deal: A Presidential & Congressional Accountability Act

The past week saw the government shutdown and debt-ceiling limit fight come to an end. The cost of this particular episode of government irresponsibility is estimated at $24 billion with nearly a million jobs lost during the 16 days. Only a Congress helmed by a bunch of swivel-eyed loons would have gone down that road putting the nation at risk.

This amounts to financial terrorism against the country.

The NYTimes ran an article a couple of weeks ago that this government shutdown was planned for months beginning after the presidential election last year and was the work of the Koch Brothers, former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese, Jim DeMint, and about three dozen conservative groups, and carried out by their foot soldiers Ted Cruz, Eric Cantor, and crew. Michele Bachmann, when interviewed on TV, was enthusiastic about shutting down the government.

Would those politicians or wealthy conservatives do this if they could be held financially responsible for their actions? Imagine, Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, the Koch brothers, and the other Tea Party Republicans being held financially responsible for $24 billion and the cost of almost 1 million jobs? Chances are they might have second thoughts if the public could come after their assets or have them face prison time, or even strip them of their citizenship.

Like Wall Street, who will steal anything not bolted down, politicians will do anything they think they can get away with in the name of party ideology and to curry favor for the Koch Brothers’ financial largess. Why? Because they know they can get away with it with few if any repercussions and it will almost be forgotten by next election.

Remember in 1999 on behalf of Wall Street (Sandy Weill of Citigroup in particular), Bill Clinton repealed Glass-Steagall, a law which prevented another financial crisis for 66 years since the Great Depression. Nine years after the repeal, the U.S. suffered a financial calamity on par with The Great Depression and resulted in trillions of dollars of damages.

And since signing the repeal and leaving office, Clinton has made $106 million in speaking engagements mostly resulting from Wall Street companies, in addition to collecting $1.5 million annually in a taxpayer-funded federal retirement pension. And don’t forget he was responsible for the 1996 Telecomm Act deregulating and consolidating the phone companies and the Welfare Reform Act of 1996.

It’s time to stop letting these dopey fuckwits make a mess, stick taxpayers with the bill, and then walk away scot-free, so they can return a few months later and do it all over again, and then eventually retire to private sector riches as a result of all the sweetheart deals they passed for big businesses and the rich. 

It’s unacceptable that these elected politicians accept bribes in the form of campaign contributions and then pass laws that end up being sweetheart deals for the big business and rich people, leaving the rest of the country to pick up the tab.

Don’t forget, these are all the same people who have been preaching “accountability” to everyone else when they want to cut the social safety net, reduce benefits, cut Social Security & Medicare, and break the Social Contract people have had with their government since the New Deal; all for tax breaks, subsidies, and a transfer of wealth to the elites.  As JFK said, “You can’t negotiate with people who say what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is negotiable.”  Thirty plus years of evidence prove this.

The NDP Proposal
To that end, it’s time to pass a
Presidential and Congressional Accountability Act law retroactive to the Clinton administration that makes elected representatives of the people personally and financially responsible for any mischief they create. This law will extend to lobbyists and private citizens that fund these movements. Penalties for actions will include severe financial penalties, harsh prison time, and stripping of citizenship.

Such a law can even be considered as an amendment to the Constitution, which could be a solution to getting money out of politics.