The word accountable was first used in the managing of money. We put our money into an “account” which literally means “to count” money. To find out how much money a person has, someone must count it and it is in this way that they “account” for it. To account for someone’s money when buying and selling, a ledger is kept that contains three columns. One column shows the dollar amount that is spent, a second column shows the money that has been received, and a third column shows the balance or difference between the first and second column. It is by allowing auditors to look at these account ledgers that banks and businesses can be held accountable for how they have managed their money.
This same principle applies to those whom we elect to represent us in government where we, the people, are the auditors. In one column we see the promises they made to us. In the second column we see the way they voted on certain bills, and in the third column we see the difference between their promises and their actions.
Unfortunately, in today’s world the concept of accountability always seems to be about the other person and never about ourselves. This is why Congress can hold us responsible for our actions but doesn’t feel that they must be held to the same standard of accounting for their behavior.
But they are the stewards of OUR money which they collect as taxes to spend on things for OUR benefits. They are also the stewards of our liberties and our economic prosperity. If they see that no one is auditing their books, they have no incentive to keep them in balance, in which case, they will “cook the books” in their favor.
What the Tea Party wants is to conduct regular audits of our government representatives. We want to have them account for their actions so we know that what they are doing is for our good instead of for their personal benefit.