Congress Is Broken

National-Debt-GillrayI don’t know many registered US voters who would disagree that Congress is broken. Our legislative branch has had ten months to deal with our “debt ceiling.” This is apparently our pretend limit on the amount of debt the Treasury can issue. I say “pretend” because it seems no measures are being taken to actually insure that we stay under this limit. And everyone gets quite angry at the idea that Congress isn’t moving that limit higher yet again.

So why do we have it? Apparently the existence of a debt limit is something that Congress passed years and years ago, though they fight over it more and more frequently.

And now there’s the suggestion that President Obama extend the debt ceiling by executive order–another indication of how broken Congress is. Apparently, our legislature has given away some of the responsibilities the Constitution reserved for them, or has turned a blind eye to the encroachment of the Executive Branch into the arena of making law.

But that’s not so surprising since the congressmen don’t seem to take voting very seriously. Another news story broke recently showing representatives voting by proxy. Many of them aren’t present at the reading of bills, and from what we discovered with the recent health care insurance law, they don’t read the bills on their own.

In fact, it’s apparently more important to find out what the particular party position on a bill is than how it will actually impact constituents. Next in line after party leadership are lobbyists who have a great deal of input on the passage of bills. Lobby influence, as far as I see it, is little more than legalized bribery.

But Congress argues about things like cutting education funding and Social Security and the like. They never seem to argue about starting from the top and cutting their own salaries.

Oh, peanuts, some say, as they did to John McCain when he declared during his run for office that he would go after pork belly spending to bring down expenditures. Once, people prized a penny or peanuts. But apparently we’ve gotten too rich to be penny wise any more. Now we are happily pound foolish.

And foolish is a pretty good way of describing the way our government looks.

It’s forcing poor people to buy insurance to cover the costs wealthy corporations aren’t willing to spend in order to provide people with “existing conditions” the insurance they need. Has anyone suggested putting a “profit ceiling” on companies that provide vital services to the public–you know, like hospitals and insurance companies and utilities and oil companies.

I’m not sure why we act so outraged that “free enterprise” would be harmed by “government interference.” Do we think the government forcing people to buy insurance isn’t interference? Do we think welfare or FEMA or education funding isn’t government interference? Do we think the “stimulus packages” that supposedly have been digging us out of the Great Recession weren’t government interference?

If the government is going to get in people’s business, then why not do it in a meaningful way? For example, those bank bailouts back in 2008–why didn’t the government simply give every registered voter a million dollars? Now that could have gotten us out of the recession pretty fast, I’d say.

But I’m off topic. The point is, government, and Congress in particular, doesn’t work the way it was supposed to work. I can’t imagine that it will be long before people will cry for an end to all this nonsense and demand a just and reasonable ruler take over the reins of the whole thing. Already I read today on Facebook a call for revolution. Not violent. But an overhaul of government.

One step closer toward the conditions ripe for a dictator who would rule in the way, say the Bible prophecies the Anti-Christ will rule.

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4 Comments

  1. Regarding your last sentence (especially), I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks along that line …

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    • It’s kind of gotten out of favor to talk about the signs of the times, so I don’t want to be too loud about it, but the pieces seem to be falling into place. Of course, Christians living under the reign of Nero certainly must have thought that, too. Mostly I think we need to do what Scripture says, be on the alert, stand firm, be ready to answer those who ask about the hope that is in us.

      Thanks for your comment, Amber. I appreciate you.

      Becky

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  2. That million dollars per voter is an overestimate. At the time of the GFC the Australian government gave almost everyone in Australia $900. We didn’t suffer the worst effects of the GFC.

    Amusingly, I didn’t get the payment. My income is from books I helped produce in past years: royalties, copying payments, educational lending rights. The tax office considers this “passive income”, like it was just bank interest. After all, writers are not real workers, are they.

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    • Could be an overestimate, Ken.I don’t remember how much the bail-outs and stimulus packages actually cost, but I know it was way beyond what average Americans will see in our combined life times. It’s quite ridiculous, I think, that the health of the economy hinges on what we borrow and spend, not what we save.

      I’m glad you were amused at your own situation. I might have reacted in a far less gracious way. Passive or active, it seems income is income. And if writers aren’t real workers, then maybe they should be exempt from real taxes. 😆

      Becky

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