Making Government (Less Dis)Honest

Obamacare is a tax. It’s not a tax. Politicians and pundits are all over the map on this. A tax, a mandate, a ham sandwich…the answer depends on who you ask. But none of this matters because, whatever else it is, it’s currently the law of the land. But how did this happen?

During the debate over Obamacare, Democrats not only stampeded toward any camera they could find to say it wasn’t a tax, they spewed hundreds, if not thousands, of other lies about what it is and is not.

“It will lower premiums.”

“If you like your current plan you can keep it.”

“No one making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase at all.”

These are just a few of liberals’ greatest hits that still echo off the inside of the Capitol Dome. They are still lies. The people who said them still know they were lies from the start and they continue to repeat those lies today.

That Congress lies surprises no one. That we have tolerated this for so long does surprise.

But what can we do? Vote them out? The worst of the worst — Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Charlie Rangel and Chris Van Hollen — run no risk of losing, thanks to gerrymandering. It’s time for a new idea.

Congress lives by its own set of rules and routinely exempts itself from the laws it passes. It does insist members be somewhat polite to one another or face toothless disciplinary action. Beyond that, there is no consequence for spreading provable lies in hearings, floor speeches or anywhere else.

We’re not talking about being incorrect here. When Democrats wailed “Bush lied, people died,” that was him being incorrect based upon faulty intelligence delivered from people whose job it is to know.

We’re talking about lies here. Provably false statements designed to misdirect and mislead the public. Democrats have made any number of such statements in the Fast and Furious hearings. They knew these statements were false, and they made them anyway to deflect and divert a legitimate investigation into the murder of hundreds as a direct result of government incompetence.

As a direct consequence of their lies, they will face…nothing.

Why not change that?

There are a few honest Members of Congress of both parties. Why not start a push to make everything in the Congressional record under oath? I’m not saying we should prosecute every “misspeak” for perjury and jail time. They’d never vote for that. But a “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” policy — enter three outright, provable lies into the Congressional record, on the floor of the House or Senate, in a hearing or in official correspondences, and you’re expelled from Congress for life.

To give it even more teeth, ban those expelled from ever lobbying.

Overnight, Congress would change from the cesspool of partisanship and lies it is today into a bastion of honesty unseen since a group of 5-year olds were asked what they thought of peas.

Sure, there would be turmoil and protests over matters such as the meaning of “is.” But we’d know who ordered Fast and Furious because Democrats wouldn’t be able to hide behind their lies. We’d know when the legislation they propose imposes massive tax hikes because they’d have to tell us. We’d know when either side was using accounting gimmicks that double-count Medicare money to cook the books in whichever direction they need at the time.

It’s like a lot of things in Washington — it’ll never happen because it makes too much sense. It’s as likely to pass as term-limits because, like term limits, it requires Congress to vote to limit its own power. And, as we’ve seen recently, that’s something Congress just can’t seem to do. But we can dream…

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist.

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