Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Congress really is the opposite of progress

No news may or may not be good news … but I'm of the firm belief that nothing getting done in our nation's capital is a great thing.

The other day I read story after story about Republicans in Washington abusing the filibuster to prevent things from getting accomplished. This was – of course – portrayed from the Democrats point of view and assumed that what they wanted to accomplish was a good thing.

Yes, it's true, sometimes government does things right. Every so often they enact laws that make our lives better, easier, more fulfilled, or – most often – safer. But in between all the good laws they pass, they enact a whole lot of unnecessary dumb ones.

My world view tells me that government is a necessary evil, making it both necessary … and evil. Government isn't intentionally evil, I don't think. At least I choose to believe it's not intentionally evil. But the folks running the place need to constantly be “doing something” in order to justify their existence.

It's not all that different from your job, I'd imagine. When the boss is around, you tend to act busy and look like you're doing something, even when you don't really have anything important to do. The reason for this is to make sure that at the next round of budget cuts and layoffs, you get to stick around.

When you're looking busy at work, maybe you keep a fake spreadsheet open, plugging random numbers into it. Maybe you sweep the same area of your shop repeatedly. Maybe you wipe down the cash register over and over. Whatever it is you do, it's probably not harmful to the company.

When congress is looking busy at work, they're enacting feel good legislation that further erodes our freedoms. Now, this may sound like hyperbole to you, but it's true. If you consider that the more you can do, the more free you are, then every law is a restriction on our freedom even if that law is “good for you.”

Also, when you consider that every bill in Congress has a cost associated with it, the more Congress “looks busy,” the more money you're spending on them.

The best thing we've got going for us is that Congress is split into two camps, each wanting the other side to fail at everything. So Democrat's busy work is poo pooed by the Republicans, and vice versa.

One of the most helpful things in preventing the other side from accomplishing thing is the Senate filibuster. See, we are – for the most part - a “majority rule” nation, but there are government procedures that allow the upper body of Congress to require us to be a “60 percent rule” nation. The best thing about that is that it's usually impossible to get 60 senators to agree on anything, meaning nothing gets done.

So when I hear either party complain about “filibuster abuse,” it sounds to me like, “hey they won't let us do whatever we want without proper checks and balances.” And either party preventing the other party from running roughshod over the people can only be a good thing, in my humble but honest opinion.