Charlie Reese's Final Column

This is Charley Reese’s final column for the Orlando Sentinel… (I have never heeard of him but a member forwarded this  to me and it makes sense to me so I am positng it here)
He has been a journalist for 49 years.
He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN.

Be sure to read the Tax List at the end.

This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be. The article below is completely neutral, neither anti-republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It’s a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!

545 vs. 300,000,000 People
-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 that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
*Sender adds this side note; Thomas Jefferson said in 1802: I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

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? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He 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 are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan …

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s becausethey 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.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

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!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

What you do with this article now that you have read it… is up to you.

It might be funny if it weren’t so true.

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

Accounts Receivable Tax                  Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax                      Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax            Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes                           Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax                 Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax                       Gasoline Tax (now 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax                 Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax                       Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax                              Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax              Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax            Property Tax
Real Estate Tax                       Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax                 Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax                  Sales Tax
School Tax                              State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax Telephone Fed. Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax         Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes                           Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax                    Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax                      Workers Compensation Tax


  1. Steve on September 29, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Great summary…..Thank you.

  2. danny lowry on September 29, 2011 at 11:30 am

    we need 545 “charlies”

  3. Cliff Krager on September 29, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I would like to nominate Charlie Reese for inclusion on Mr. Rushmore. If you read his column and still don’t get it it’s because you are willfully ignorant. Why you don’t understand it without Charlie explaining it to you bothers me no end. Grow up, throw up, turn of TV and man up. We have the mess we have because you will not pay a teeny bit of attention needed to get it right.

  4. Joseph Brown on September 29, 2011 at 11:43 am

    how do we start, I’m in!

  5. Brent on September 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Awesome last column-CNN should be so clear and concise
    Well done Charlie

  6. Mike on September 29, 2011 at 11:52 am

    This type of mismanagement exists because the privileged class of politicians have been able to create lifelong employment for themselves and their friends and the public and it’s institutions allow the abuse of power to continue unchallenged.

  7. Mike on September 29, 2011 at 11:56 am

    The account does not balance

  8. George on September 29, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I agree 110% Allen. It truly saddens me that our Congress can’t solve any of our problems; I believe it all due to individual ideology and corruption rather than working for the common good of the American people. And the reason we have gotten into the state that we have is that we have not made our Congress accountable and punishable for their negligence, corruption and mismanagement. We have not made limits to their terms in office, limits to their pay and benefits, or implementing campaign finance reforms, the latter of which is plain, outright bribery. The American People I hate to say this, have a lot of blame to take for we have been asleep at the wheel and allowed the foxes to get into the henhouse. Yes, our problems are not insolvable and we can change anything if we have the courage to do so. When will it happen?

  9. Mike on September 29, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Simply put we need an overhaul

  10. art on September 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Wonderful article…..lets vote them out now! get new people in office.

  11. MIKE LOOS on September 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    A wake up call for all of us. At least use your vote.
    & vote for new blood.

  12. Morrill on September 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    The underlying problem in the country is personal, corporate and federal debt. Absent from popular opinion, the personal debt that we the people have placed upon ourselves is many times larger than the federal debt, as huge and debilitating as it is. Collective personal debt has hit the wall in the sense that we are now maxed out. We can’t have “consumer confidence” because we can no longer borrow the money we are accustomed to spending. Without our spending the corporations, small and large, cannot sell to us. Without customers they can’t hire. This is the primary cancer – our acceptance of unsustainable personal debt. The 545 we placed in DC are metastatic disease. I agree with the article, that we should replace them with human beings. I especially with Jefferson’s statement about the FED: “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” But I don’t hear anyone putting cause and effect together when it comes to personal debt, the underlying problem.

  13. Jim on September 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    It saddens me that you would not do your due deligence before sending this out.
    Charlie retired in 2008 and his “545 to blame column has been around in various forms since 1995.”
    Doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in your research.

    • Genius on September 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      And it’s still relevant.

  14. Ken Everhart on September 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    The only solution is term limits. Without term limits this mess will only get worse. Since a vote in congress is the only way to get term limits, we can talk and vote all we want but nothing will ever be done. The USA can never be the great country it once was.

  15. michael morneault on September 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    One of the best articles I have read. Makes me want to get on my horse and shout “To Arms, To Arms, We the people are coming.” Best wishes Charlie.

  16. Tedd on September 29, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Great column. We need term limits and campaign finance reform before anything will change. The foxes have been guarding this hen house for way too long. Just don’t be surprised if at this late date they are unwilling to spit out the chicken without a fight.

  17. Mike on September 30, 2011 at 2:38 am

    The only way to solve this problem is to only vote for candidates that are not incumbants. When only a few new people get into office they are railroaded into the fold and lose their ability to change anything. Too many people are suckered into believing what an incumbant says he or she is going to do.

  18. Dennis on September 30, 2011 at 7:57 am

    These 545 are a cancer on our society. What a disgrace they are, all for the almighty dollar.

  19. Stephen on September 30, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Don’t be fooled in thinking that Government/regulation/taxes is the problem of everything as this colum and the responses suggest. Keep in mind that the free unregulated markets only care about money. It’s time again to start caring about people. Money is not the end all, peoples well being is. I’m not saying that things don’t need changing, they do, but not the wholesale destruction of Gov’t.

  20. Morrill on September 30, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    The notion that small government, fiscal responsibility and free markets are somehow selfish, i.e. worse for the people’s well being than the opposite – is exactly the lie that you need to swallow in order to support big irresponsible government. The truth is that big government handouts enslave the poor psychologically, and eventually ruin the economy – which also hurts the poor and middle class. It’s obvious. Look at Europe! When will fiscal conservatives start making this point to the good people on the left who think they are taking the high road – that they care more about people than the fiscal conservatives? This is utter nonsense. Fiscal conservatives care about the poor and the middle class as much as anybody. We just do it from a more long-term and informed perspective. I am frankly tired of being looked down upon by my colleagues on the left, as if I were a selfish uncaring pig. It’s time for the truth to be shouted at self-righteous fiscal liberals who preach at us but refuse to open their eyes to the evidence debunking economic and fiscal liberalism around the world.

    By the way, Thomas Jefferson’s insightful words have been around a lot longer than the quoted article. Are we going to criticize the Option Genius for drawing our attention to Jefferson, too? Good ideas are timeless.

    Great point about term limits, whoever said that!!!!

  21. Lana on September 30, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    My uncle once said we should vote everyone out every election and start over with new everything/everyone.
    Get rid of their elite retirement plan and let them
    get along on Social Security like the rest of us.

  22. Kenneth E. Turner on September 30, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I love it!!! “…big government handouts enslave the poor psychologically and eventually ruin the economy….” Let me just ask you one thing. Are you laughing your ass off as you spout this self-rightious crap? And look at Europe you say??? Are you refering to them living longer and generally having a higher standard of living? Hmmm? Apparently you have yours and you ARE a selfish uncaring pig. But remember the old saying,”there but for the grace of Joe Pecie (or your particular god) go I (meaning you). You need to be knocked down through no particular fault of your own and actually need a little safety net action (HANDOUTS as you like to call it) and then tell your wife that you’re going to refuse to take advantage because you don’t want to be enslaved. F***ing idiot.

  23. Kenneth E. Turner on September 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    ….oh yea, and frankly, Charlie’s nonsense of everything being just dreamy and perfect a hundred years ago is really quite particulerly idiotic.

  24. Annie Moss on December 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Anyone ever hear of a Constitutional Convention? If the people want to make a point and take their power back, maybe it’s time to think about a movement for such a convention.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.