The Bin Laden Effect
Diversity -- to a point

Pants on fire

Pants_on_fire I
returned from vacation to the usual inbox overflow.

As usual, there were some familiar messages in the mix.

Like the email asking me to support the "Congressional Reform Act of 2011." It would require members of Congress to participate in Social Security, join the same healthcare plan as the rest of us, abandon the pension plan that allows them to collect a full-year's salary in retirement after one-term, etc., etc.

By the time this email reached me, it had been forwarded to more than 50 people. And many of those recipients had forwarded it to others.  One of the forwarders noted "I don't usually send these things...but it seems sensible to me."

It should. None of the problems it proposes to fix are real. Members of Congress already participate in Social Security and have the same healthcare and pension plans as every other federal employee. They are also subject to the same laws concerning sexual harassment as the rest of us. And so forth.  

All of this is easily checked and, in fact, the Congressional Reform Act of 2011 has been thoroughly debunked by both Snopes and FactCheck.

When I drew this to the attention of the friend who forwarded the email to me, he demurred "there is much in that email that doesn't make sense," but it reflects "a public sense that politics and politicians are bad."

Just so. Unfortunately, it also demonstrates that social media are a shame-free zone.

Most of the "facts" in the email have been debunked so many times, it's hard to see how someone can forward them without their pants spontaneously igniting.  But the point of such email isn't to stimulate discussion, it's to inflame passions.

Too bad, because at least one of the proposals in the email -- Congressional term limits -- is worthy of discussion.   




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