*They actually read the Constitution. Well, here’s an encouraging sign. When the members of the new Congress took their seats for the first time last week, the very first thing they did was to read the U.S. Constitution. Out loud. On the floor of Congress. It’s the first time in history this has been done. The biggest question for the future, of course, is how many of them were listening?
*A lot of Democrats joined in. It wasn’t just Republicans who participated in the reading, by the way. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who was the subject of today’s Straight Talk, said she was thrilled to read the 1st Amendment. While Representative John Lewis, the civil rights leader from Atlanta, read the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.
*There’s always one in the crowd. When Representative Frank Pallone Jr. read the part of the Constitution that states, “no person, except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States,” is eligible for the Presidency, a protester in the gallery shouted out, “except Obama!” Guards quietly and courteously led him outside.
*The biggest issue the new Congress must confront. Let’s wrap up today’s tidbits about Congress with some sobering statistics. The national debt currently stands at $14.01 trillion dollars. That works out to more than $125,000 for every taxpayer in the country. Add in debt by states, local governments, households and financial institutions and the total is a staggering $55.5 trillion. That’s $680,000 for every family in America. And how much savings does the average family have to offset this? A meager $7,918. Who’s going to come up with the other $672,082?