Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The 113th Congress: A Splendid Argument For MORE Government

Jon Walker of FDL:

Last year we experienced a truly do nothing Congress and it was awful. When Congress didn’t meet its bare minimum requirements the government shut down and the entire economy was threatened. Everything from planning ahead vacations to milk prices becomes problematic.

This year though is shaping up be a do almost nothing Congress. The government funding bill was passed with little fanfare. The farm bill is moving forward. It also looks like the debt ceiling with be raised with only moderate bellyaching and grandstanding from Republicans. Congress is set to do the minimum necessary to keep things running, but nothing more.

America's founders planned for as much as they could in framing our Constitution, but one thing I don't believe they anticipated is monkeywrenching: deliberate misfeasance on the part of one or another political party or faction. At present, the Republican-controlled Congress is in its second session of making government work as badly as possible, perceiving political advantage in the next election in doing so.

Back in the day when I had regular contact with Republicans... that is, when I was doing contract work in the "awl bidness" ... I suffered endless lectures over lunch from people who claimed to favor "less government." Occasionally I would ask them to give examples of the problem they were referring to. Without exception, no one ever mentioned the possibility of monkeywrenching of the sort we see today. But that has become the GOP's sole interpretation of "less government." Mitch McConnell stated at the beginning of Obama's first term that for his Congress, "job one" was to prevent Obama's second term. That having failed, his and other Republicans' "job one" now seems to be to punish Obama... and by proxy, the American people... for Obama's second term. And so they drag their feet (and their knuckles; see Alan Grayson's famous line above). That is the priority of Republican leadership, and far and away the primary source of America's economic problems today. (Obama is not helping matters, but as Stella often says, he's just a Republican in disguise.)

And so the very real economic and other challenges Americans face today continue unaddressed by our government. The clear answer to many of these problems is not less government but more. If Americans want more help from their government, they're going to have to dump the GOP in the next election, particularly the radicals in the House. I'm not placing any bets on that happening.

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