Journalist Charley Reese, who is now retired, used to be on the staff of the Orlando Sentinel. In the mid-1980s Reese wrote the first version of a mini-masterpiece called “Looking for Someone to Blame? Congress Is a Good Place to Start” or simply “545 people”
Charley lets loose with a declamation which destroys both sides of the isle in what would be considered an ‘Epic Rant’ in these more modern days of Ipads and the Anointed One.
At the time, he opined that those 545 people “are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country” and boy did he nail it.
The piece has been updated and republished several times since the original version was penned in 1985. I’ve taken multiple versions and cobbled them together the best I could. Proper order is of little consequence when you can muster magniloquence like this.
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and
then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits? Congress votes for them. The $14 trillion plus debt? Congress created it.
Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation
and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes? Blame Congress.
Unjust tax laws? Congress wrote them.
Out-of-control bureaucracy? Congress authorizes everything bureaucracies do. Too many rules? Blame Congress.
Americans dying in Third World rat holes like Iraq and Afghanistan? Congress allows it.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme
Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are
directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the
domestic problems that plague this country. Anything involving government that is wrong is 100 percent their fault.
You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.
You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on
appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
I excuse the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that
problem was created by the Congress. Congress created it and all its power is power Congress delegated to it and could withdraw anytime it chooses to do so. In fact, all the power exercised by the 3 million or so other federal employees is power delegated from the 545.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.
They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator,
a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t
care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The
politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the
lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine
how he votes.
I exclude the vice president because constitutionally he has no power except to preside over the Senate and to vote only in the case of a tie.
All bureaucracies are created by Congress or by executive order of the president. All are financed and staffed by Congress. All enforce laws passed by Congress.
All operate under procedures authorized by Congress. That’s why all complaints and protests should be properly directed at Congress, not at the individual agencies.
You don’t like the IRS? Go see Congress. You think the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agency is running amok? Go see Congress.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that
what they did is not their fault.
Congress is the originator of all government problems and is also the only remedy available. That’s why, of course, politicians go to such extraordinary lengths and employ world-class sophistry to make you think they are not responsible. Anytime a congressman pretends to be outraged by something a federal bureaucrat does, he is in fact engaging in one big massive con job. No federal employee can act at all except to enforce laws passed by Congress and to employ procedures authorized by Congress either explicitly or implicitly.
Partisans on both sides like to blame presidents for deficits, but all deficits are congressional deficits. The president may, by custom, recommend a budget, but it carries no legal weight.
The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to
Only Congress is authorized by the Constitution to authorize and appropriate and to levy taxes. That’s what the federal budget consists of: expenditures authorized, funds appropriated and taxes levied.
Both Democrats and Republicans mislead the public. For 40 years Democrats had majorities and could have at any time balanced the budget if they had chosen to do so. Republicans had majorities and could have, if they chose to, pass a balanced budget. Every president, Democrat or Republican, could have vetoed appropriations bills that did not make up a balanced budget.
We have annual deficits and a huge federal debt because that’s what majorities in congress and presidents in the White House wanted.
House and Senate members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree
to do it.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot
replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of
incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic
problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you
fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the
federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they
want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.
If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s because they
want them in Iraq and Afghanistan….
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement
plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they
hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and
advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to
regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let
them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical
forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them
from doing what they take an oath to do.
It’s as true today as it was back in 1985.
Don’t be conned, don’t let them escape responsibility and don’t worry. We just have to pick through 300 million people until we find 545 constitutional conservatives who will act like frickin responsible adults.