Congress Is Dysfunctional, So Send in the Cavalry

Saturday, June 22, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Jon N. Hall
June 22, 2019

Due to the 2018 midterm elections, America no longer has a functional Congress. About the only things getting done in Congress, such as judicial confirmations, are happening in the Senate and don’t require the House. The House, now controlled by Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, might as well go home.

To appreciate just how worthless the new House is, consider the budget. Federal budgets are legislation and originate in the House. For 2019, the Congressional Budget Office forecasts a deficit of $896B. That’s an increase of 15 percent from last year’s $779B deficit, despite a rise of 2.3 percent in federal receipts. But some think the deficit could hit a $1 trillion in 2019.

Having presided over the nation’s first trillion-dollar deficit in 2009, Pelosi is the most fiscally disastrous speaker in history. Voters were warned that she was lying about ever abiding by her promises of PAYGO. Every so-called “moderate” Democrat representative who vowed to not vote for this ridiculous woman to be Speaker of the House (third in line to the president) but who then voted for her, should be “primaried” in 2020, and never heard from again.

House Democrats are an alarming admixture of hoary antiques and feral children. But these two groups have one thing in common: the answer to everything is more government and more spending.

But Congress has been shedding its responsibilities for decades. Congress has ceded over its own authority and duties to the judiciary (by not removing judges who “legislate from the bench”), to the Federal Reserve (by expecting the Fed to keep unemployment down, rather than using fiscal policy to help the economy), and to the bureaucrats of the administrative state (i.e. the permanent government) to create regulations that have the same impact as laws. Congress has also forked over power to the president, such as the power to levy tariffs. There are exceptions, of course, but nowadays Congress is more like a gaggle of effete palace courtiers than a body of serious lawmakers.

On June 14, the American Enterprise Institute ran “Congress should fix itself before reclaiming its power” by Jay Cost, the blurb for which is: “The Constitution requires it to take the lead, but right now it’s too dysfunctional.” Mr. Cost addresses the tariff issue, and also gives us an elegant little history of what Congress used to be and just how Congress has been abdicating its role in the central government. I highly recommend Cost’s article; here’s a taste:

Public opinion is not terribly well formed, and it is easy to overinterpret. But in general it is fair to say that the people have been more likely to support cuts to congressional power than to support expansions — and for good reasons. As a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, I do not like the idea of being governed by an imperial president and his army of unelected bureaucrats. But by the middle of the 20th century, congressional governance had become such an intolerable blend of incompetence and corruption that the “imperial presidency” was arguably… better.

The Rest…HERE

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