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April 26, 2013

Washington’s “Gang” Problem

Joe Charlebois

Most nations are controlled by a small number of men. The United States is no exception. But today our government, that was wisely set up as a representative republic, is little more than a modern day oligarchy of elites.


What is even more troubling is that of the 535 members that constitute the House of Representatives and the Senate, fewer than a dozen may be involved in legislative matters of critical importance. Due to the introduction of special committees the small number of legislators who control the process has resulted in an inverse level of influence and power.


Although we have had other influential committees in the recent past – such as the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) – it did not play as significant a role as the recent incarnations of these special committees. BRAC was established for the purpose of downsizing and consolidating our military footprint throughout the United States. In essence BRAC was a “blue ribbon panel” designed to mitigate the political fallout over base closures.


What we face now with the re-birth of several “Super Committees” is legislation that may alter American forever.


In the past eight years there have been several “Super Committees of note these five stand out.

The Gang of Fourteen – judicial appointees – 2005

The Gang of Six – healthcare reform – 2009

The Gang of Six – national debt; fiscal responsibility – 2011

The Gang of Twelve – debt ceiling – 2011

The Gang of Eight – immigration reform – 2013


These bi-partisan committees have grappled with difficult issues.  They have put forward legislation or ideas, but often the outside public, even other members of Congress, weren’t privy to the proceedings of these proposals until a press briefing revealed the results.


Are they constitutional? Yes, there is nothing in the United States Constitution that determines the rules of Congress. If Congress wants to create a “Super Committee,” they can. On the other hand for those concerned about transparency and accountability in government, there is more than a little to worry about. For those Americans, whose representative or senators are always on the outside looking in, there is more than a little to worry about.


Consolidation of power in the hands of the few is even more widespread than just the increased power into the hands of an extremely small number of legislators – which we can chose to re-elect – it is also the ever increasing power of the unelected; that is judges and entrenched bureaucrats.


This is no accident. This continues the progressive march toward a centralized government. Make no mistake; progressives are prevalent in parts of the Republican Party as well as the majority of the Democratic Party.


With the exception of Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan, nearly every other president since, including Theodore Roosevelt, has had a strong belief in increasing the presence of government in nearly every sector of society.


With the acceptance of “Super Committees,” the American public is led to believe that reasonable people have come together in a bi-partisan way to provide solutions to critical issues facing us today.


In reality these committees create a “government” solution through a non-transparent process that likely wouldn’t see the light of day on a president’s desk if it were debated openly.


Beware the “Gangs” in Washington, they are very dangerous.


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