Many Americans eagerly awaited Congress' August recess so they could use town hall meetings and other public appearances to give their elected officials a piece of their mind. There's just one problem: most of Congress isn't scheduling any town halls. [...]
The think tank No Labels called the offices of all 430 active members of Congress and found that 60 percent of them weren't scheduling town hall meetings. According to No Labels' analysis, more Democrats than Republicans are shutting themselves off from their constituents: 68 percent of Dems and 51 percent of Republicans hadn't planned a town hall during Congress' weeks-long summer break.
But not to worry—you can still meet with your congresscritter, and for only a tiny fee:
Paul Ryan has made himself available during the recess—but for a price. That's right: Ryan and other lawmakers are now charging constituents to attend public events and ask them questions. Ryan wanted $15 a head. Rep. Dan Quayle (R-Ariz.), Politico reported, is charging $35 from attendees who want to ask him questions over a catered lunch at a Phoenix law firm. Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) also wants money—$10 a person—to attend an his event, which is hosted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
I actually think Ryan is onto something here. I have to think "pay $15 to yell at Paul Ryan" could make at least a small dent in the nation's debt, if he were to donate that money to the government (note: he's not).
Why stop there, in fact? This could be quite the government fundraising opportunity. For $15 you can see Paul Ryan, but for $200, you can throw three balls at a dunk tank with him inside. Hitting John Boehner with a cream pie will set you back $1000, but would still be worth it. We'll call it the 'Pie'oneer level. And for each donation of $10,000 towards the national debt, Eric Cantor will spend one night in a cliffside shack built by unskilled laborers working entirely without benefit of building codes.
We can't exactly be surprised that our representatives aren't eager to hold town halls this summer. All-time low approval ratings coupled with (or rather, caused by) the debt ceiling fiasco and the beginnings of a new re-crappening of the economy don't make for good stump speech material. But have no doubt, your voices will be heard. You know, for a small fee.