The Wisdom of Charlie Reese

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years. He is retired. He wrote this column for the Orlando Sentinel. It is appropriate today and every day.


By Charlie Reese

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?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

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.

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.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because the Congress created that problem. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

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.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall.

No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House 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.

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 is in IRAQ, it’s because they want them in IRAQ

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.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.



They, and they alone, have the power.



The people, who are their bosses alone, should hold them, and them accountable.


Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.


We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!









Social Mores

I’m wondering where we are going as a society these days and even as a global humanity.

It seems there are more deceptions, disagreements, and more contentions within our frequent exchanges of thought and action. Daily transactions often end in arguments over innocuous issues. Negotiations over important matters in the chambers of government and corporate boardrooms lack conversational courtesy and compromise.

What has happened to us? Are we so cemented in a blind opinion that we refuse to consider another thought or idea as valid? Are we so busy, so tied to the construct of time, that we cannot read a little more, research a bit more and even change the channel once in awhile to hear another viewpoint?

My career as a reporter, writer, and producer in broadcast television began and was sustained in the era of fairness and strict rules. There were and are always more than two sides to every story, and you were not a good reporter unless you sought out and checked all conceivable sides to the story and reported only the facts as you discovered them. If you didn’t, there was always a reliable, experienced senior editor who demanded you verify your facts and eliminate conclusions or the story did not run.

These old editors were not just sticklers on facts and fairness they were curmudgeons on grammar and spelling. Find that today in the television newsrooms of America.

I see more blatant errors in news stories today than I ever did.

I see more opinion in news stories today than ever would have been allowed in my era and should not be allowed today.

Opinion should be left to the certified experts and not to the reporter of the story. We, as free citizens, have the responsibility to inform ourselves by listening, reading and watching widely.

To listen to only one station, read one newspaper, or read one magazine you are narrowly informed about as much as a flashlight beam lights the whole darkness.

How do we as a society, with a multitude of informational choices, get back to informational accuracy and fairness and back to social and intellectual civility?

I think if society embraces courtesy and civility first, the media will have no choice, but to follow. The media today is a reflection of all social mores. And that’s a shame. The News media today needs to ge back to its foundations and “speak reason to power.”



Every so often a report comes out in some magazine or another about prayer and whether it works or not.

There was one report I read awhile back that prayer didn’t do any good in an experiment on healing. There have been other studies that suggest just the opposite. One comes from Dr. Larry Dossey, the author of Healing Words. He defines prayer as a “benevolent concern for the well-being of another”, not necessarily attached to any dogma.

To some people, a prayer is connected to a religion via faith. To others, prayer is a placebo that makes one feel a momentary good with no effect on the physical body. To those who believe they have been healed or helped by prayer no explanation is necessary, to those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible. No matter what your position, most experts agree that one should not forsake traditional medicine in the quest to be cured by alternative means.

Laughter is also a healer. Laughter may be a way to balance the disease imbalance within the body. Laughter is a conduit through which the intellect slips behind the illusion of the ego and into the knowing dimensions of awareness.

Laughing may be a gift to those who want instant access to that awareness to better understand and accept the experience called life.

There is an interesting footnote to laughter. It’s the same in any culture. Try laughing in a different language.



Families and friends are being split today into a political environment that mimics the contention before the US civil war and the beliefs between the North and the South.

Then, 155-years ago, brother opposed brother and state opposed state in the volatile consideration for the right of slavery.

Today it is not the moral or economic issue of slavery. It is a political issue of concretized belief.

Fortunately, it will not develop into a bellicose contention, but it is harmful nonetheless. On one side is liberal thought; on the other conservative thinking, each side believes their way is the way to and for a sustainable future.

I have friends on both sides of the issue. There are robust and valid reasons on both sides, but our problem today seems to be that we have no common ground, no attack free zone in which to meet and compromise for the greater good. Rhetoric fogs the field of compromise and negotiation.

Contention builds when political and verbal salvos are lobbed into the other side’s comfortable camp and dander rises as rebuttals are necessary.

I am very tired of political rhetoric. I am very tired of Republicans. I am very tired of Democrats. Both of their political diatribes invalidate the democratic principles of our founding fathers. They pledged their lives and their fortunes for the hope of liberty and freedom and equal opportunity. I don’t see lives and fortunes pledged anywhere, by anyone today. All I see is a manipulation of the truth for the aggrandizement of power and wealth.

This is what needs to be changed in America today.