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article imageWhen irresponsibility rules — Do-nothing Congress goes fundraising

By Paul Wallis     Aug 4, 2014 in Politics
Washington - A new Pew research study shows that this Congress has done less work than ever. Averaging 5.6 hours per day, your friendly local congressperson makes $174,000 per year, and only worked 135 days last year, like a seasonal job.
Apparently, they have more on their minds currently than their usual tourist season jobs in Washington. Now, more time is being spent on fundraising than legislation or other congressional duties.
The New York Times commentator Charles M. Blow:
“Republicans and Democrats in Congress are holding at least 100 fund-raisers in Washington in the days leading up to the August recess, according to fund-raising lists obtained by ABC News, with senators who aren’t even on the ballot in 2014 holding events.”
Legislating is only a hobby for members of this Congress. Their full-time job is raising hell, raising money and lowering the bar of acceptable behavior.
Comments from NYT readers ranged from vitriolic to genuinely worried. Reader Ian MacFarlane commented that Congress does in fact represent the American people, because
“…We are becoming an ignorant, frightened, intolerant and uncaring people who live within a political system closed to actual thought; petulant kids who think we are adults. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Mr. MacFarlane has succeeded in defining a contradiction which has been in plain view for nearly two decades- The lack of actual thought. This is Jock City, where suits are sex and you don’t even need a vocabulary to be elected team captain. Congress has become a self-sustaining problem. Like the financial sector, it has disconnected from Main Street, which it apparently despises and considers harmless and irrelevant, unable to interfere with its operations.
Legislation affecting America’s social and public issues is dispensed like occasional aid packages. Health care is discussed, insanely and erratically, as though Congress were doing the public a big favor- with the public’s own money. Mean, cheap, cheeseparing is combined with rabid rhetoric, ridiculous filibusters and grudging mentions of the public.
Whichever side of politics you’re on, you lose
Being a liberal commentator should theoretically give me a free, easy ride when criticizing Congress. It doesn’t. The “me too” approach of most so-called liberal politicians on the Democrat side is hardly appealing. They’ve obviously accepted the status quo, and they’re part of this dank, stinking silence before the November mid-terms, a fact that hardly endears.
Western politics as a whole is taking a lead from Congress in three ways:
1. Congress has shown the West’s politicians that they can get away with murder, underperform, throw tantrums, ignore and mismanage crises on an hourly basis. They’ve also shown that politicians can earn even more pocket money by acting as golf caddies for legislation to attract corporations. If the legislation goes in the hole, it’s money well earned.
2. Congress has also proven to the world that you can make even more money being irresponsible and stupid than being corrupt. In cases of corruption, at least something actually happens. Here we have an entire group of people who having been elected focus on getting re-elected.
3. Congress has also shown that being out of date, out of touch, insane, implausible, futile, self-obsessed, incapable of comprehension of anything and having no idea of public duty is no obstacle to being elected. Other western politicians, notably in the English-speaking countries, have been quick to get on board.
Western quality of life has been going straight backwards under the current political ethos. Nowhere is this more so than in the United States, where even the theory of the first line of the Constitution is now barely understood, let alone considered relevant. The pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness is now so expensive and so difficult that most people have to see these things on TV as some sort of Promised Land.
As fully functional, fully funded obscenities go, Congress acts as a reflection of a society which really doesn’t think at all. The theory of representative government of the people, by the people, for the people is just that- A theory dating back to the Gettysburg Address.
You’ll see more real idealism in graffiti than in Washington. The Liberty Bell has been replaced by occasional tinkling sounds from speech writers.
You can’t call it a democracy where:
Legislators don’t legislate
Representatives don’t represent
Laws don’t work
…And the public is cordially invited to go to hell on a daily basis, whenever anyone can be bothered to show up to do the work of government.
In 2012, a Rasmussen survey showed that 95% of Americans despise Congress. 48% thought Congress was corrupt. This cut no ice at all with Congress, which then proceeded to screw up core legislation on a regular basis. Even massacres of kids didn’t get gun control legislation through the constipated governing body.
“So a few kids die- That’s no reason to antagonize our donors.”
Health care fared no better.
“Health? Who needs health, when we can fund contracts with that money?”
The minimum wage debate showed more interest in staying onside with donors than economics, real costs of living, or anything else.
“People don’t need money. They need middle-aged, inept, evolutionarily challenged nobodies getting paid a fortune to tell them that.”
Congress has become a sycophant’s paradise, a shelter for cowards, cretins, the facile, and the talentless. This “pseudo-America” doesn’t understand big ideas any more. It doesn’t even know, or care who or what it is as long as it makes money.
Change comes when problems become unbearable. The slow death of American democracy is a result of poisoning from within.
More about Us congress, 2012 mid term elections, gettysburg address, US Constitution, Americans despise Congress
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