How To “Compel” Your Members Of Congress To Answer
The Pew Research Center sets forth some interesting data about the number of people represented by each member of the U.S. House of Representatives:
- In 2018, each Member represented approximately 747,000 Americans
- In 1789, the U.S. House had only 65 members
- The number of Members increased to 435 as states were admitted to the union and has remained there
- There is no Constitutional requirement to expand membership in the House as population increases, but the number is set by a law enacted by Congress
- Germany has 709 members of their lower house and the United Kingdom has 650
- The two highest representation ratios in countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development are Japan with 1 for every 272,108 citizens and Mexico with 1 for every 247,965 citizens
The cynical among us may believe our U.S. representatives like the idea of having a large number of constituents because it means they will have to interact with just a relatively small percentage of them. This also means most people will leave them alone because they either feel insignificant or think it’s too difficult to reach their representatives.
Members of Congress are constantly assailed by parties trying to get their attention. Relatively few of them are actual constituents living in the Member’s district, but instead, most represent lobbying groups trying to influence national legislation.
Except for large donors, many ordinary constituents find there is very limited opportunity to command their representative’s attention. Generally, Members of Congress only come back to their districts on weekends and during some Congressional recesses, and often their time is consumed with local campaign activity.
However, the one thing U.S. House Members never forget is their re-election every 2 years depends on winning the most votes from their local constituency. They also know even with all the advantages of being the incumbent, there have been cases where even some of the most powerful Members were defeated by opponents who spent as little as 10% of what the powerful incumbent spent on their campaigns.
For this reason, the Members of the U.S. House have local offices whose primary job is to show the actual voters in their districts the Member is doing a good job for them.
The Ten Minute A Week Plan That Works
Most of us feel passionately about The FAIRtax. We can explain its benefits to our families, friends and neighbors. When we do, they almost always agree The FAIRtax is a much better way to fund the government than the present income/payroll tax system. However, most of us have jobs or other family obligations which consume our time. Few of us are financially able to make political contributions large enough to ensure we have our representative’s attention.
You want to help push The FAIRtax forward but don’t see a way to do it effectively. Maybe you send an email or a letter to your representative. This almost always results in you receiving a form letter which “thanks you for your interest and assures you the Member appreciates your input and will keep your thoughts on the issue in mind”.
Maybe you post a question on the Member’s Facebook page. However, the likelihood your representative will actually see and respond to your question is very low. First, there’s the sheer volume of posts. Second, all Members of Congress have staffers who handle this kind of communication for them.
As Senator Russell Long told me in the 1990’s, "if you don’t have a lot of money to wave in front of your representative, then create a situation where he or she will have to address your concerns just to shut you up". Yes, they can ignore email, social media and even letters, but they have not yet found a way to ignore the phone call, if you are persistent.
Here are the simple steps:
1. Get the local office number for your U.S. House Member and your two U.S. Senators
2. Pick one or two parts of The FAIRtax important to you. It can be a better way to fund Social Security, a fairer and more efficient way to collect taxes for the government, will reward hard work and savings, will greatly reduce the tax evasion under the present system. The important thing is you have one or two selected benefits you are able to discuss in detail
3. Call the local office and ask to speak to the aide familiar with the Member’s position on tax issues
4. When the person comes on the line, introduce yourself and give your address showing you are a constituent. Then write down the person’s name and any extension and their email address
5. Indicate you are interested in finding out if the Member supports The FAIRtax. You can then add you believe replacing the current income/payroll tax system with a national retail sales tax just makes a lot of sense and you want to know if the Member supports it
6. If the person asks you why you like The FAIRtax, give a couple of reasons but then politely ask again if you can get a response to your question
7. Generally, they’ll tell you they will have to get back to you. Thank them and ask when next week you should call back if you have not heard from them
8. If no answer by the call-back date, then call again, try to get the same person and politely ask again. If they still don’t have an answer, then ask when you can expect to get an answer from them
9. If you can, recruit others to do the same thing. Give them the same person’s name to call and ask the same question
10. If the aide tells you the Member will not support The FAIRtax, ask why and make note of the reason. It doesn’t matter what the objection is. Any objection can almost certainly be addressed and handled. Politely ask if the Member would be willing to meet with a FAIRtax representative to discuss possible ways of handling the Member’s objection by “amending” the FAIRtax bill? Ask the aide to please speak with the Member and see if a 15-minute Zoom meeting or in-person meeting can be arranged
11. If the Member isn’t willing to meet, send the aide an email confirming their decision. Then post the email as widely as you can to all of the social media and other sites where other voters in the district will see it
12. If the aide still doesn’t answer the question, then call every week. If they stop taking your call or become rude, then ask to speak to the Member’s district or state director
13. If the answer is the Member will consider supporting The FAIRtax, then ask if they would be willing to participate in an in person meeting or Zoom call to learn more about The FAIRtax and have any of their questions answered
14. Always keep notes of your conversations with the Member’s office so you can list the calls and the dates on social media and other postings which will reach the Member’s constituents
15. If the Member’s office isn’t being responsive, try to attend a meeting or event where the Member will be present. If you can’t go yourself, get a friend to go in your place. Have your list of dates and non-responses with you. With everyone else in the meeting watching, document your fruitless efforts to get an answer for the Member. He or she will almost certainly claim to be unaware of what was going on in the office and will promise to get you an answer. Ask directly if the Member supports The FAIRtax
It’s interesting in this high-tech world, the best tool for FAIRtax Advocates who don’t have much time but want to help, is to use the telephone. A real person has to answer the call and do something with it.
The local office is tasked with providing constituent services to make everyone think their representative deserves to be sent back to D.C.
I have been told by several Members of Congress if they receive calls from even a handful of constituents who are persistent, they often have a staff meeting to craft an answer.
We don’t need to be rude, but we do need to be persistent if we are going to overcome the pressure from the Ruling Class and their minions in D.C. These are the people who don’t want any fundamental changes made to the income/payroll tax system because they are using it quite effectively to reward themselves greatly. These are also the people who have the money to get your Member’s attention. The only way to overcome this financial pressure is to raise the concern of opposing The FAIRtax will put the Member’s re-election in jeopardy.
The Members know a small, energized minority can often change the outcome of an election because often a relatively small number of eligible voters will actually show up and vote.
Thomas Jefferson said, “A majority is one man with courage”. All of us can help overcome the influence of the Ruling Class and their minions in D.C. if we are willing to devote only a few minutes a week.
It will take a dedicated effort from all of us to ensure we get REAL tax reform, The FAIRtax, and not the fake tax reform we got in 2017. Without constant pressure from the people, the Ruling Class and their minions in D.C. will win. They have the dollars but even more importantly, we have the Votes!
If you are ready to take a very significant step toward wresting control of your government back from a small group of corrupt people to make it possible for all of us to prosper, Go to our Homepage NOW, sign up to "Get-Updates", join with us to TAKE BACK CONTROL!
Demand Congress to pass The FAIRtax—the only “Fair tax”!
The author George Bernard Shaw said these words in a play he wrote, You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?”
Isn’t it time for us to ask, “Why not?”
President Trump, “Embrace The FAIRtax, the only real tax reform! Stand up to the Swamp. They will oppose you anyway because they see you as a threat. What have you got to lose?”
The truth is the truth! Remember, if we don't continue to tell the truth and demand a change, then George Orwell's "1984" quote may foretell our children's future: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever"
Thank you for staying FAIRtax strong!
Yours In Liberty! Yours In Freedom!
Chairman, Americans For Fair Taxation
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