Congress has never been popular, and I suppose we shouldn’t expect it to be useful. There are no term limits, so it can become a lifetime career, and the salaries and benefits are so extremely generous that the main objective of every non-legislating legislator is getting him or herself re-elected. But Congress is a big budget item – not far short of a billion dollars in 2020, including salaries and benefits. A billion doesn’t sound like much these days, when trillions are being tossed around. But I can remember when a billion dollars was worth something and, to me, a billion in exchange for nothing does not sound like good value for money. If the IRS ever catches up with our tax returns for 2020 a generous refund is the very least we should expect. That’s true, as far as it goes. But while we are paying for government, we are also paying for politics — that is the theatrical performance that goes on in the political foreground while the government is getting real things done behind the scenes. At the front of the stage we find Congress, and we may ask, as we prepare to pay our taxes for last year: “what did the 116th Congress do for us in the 2020?” The short answer is: virtually nothing, other than presiding over a huge increase in spending and the national debt. Permanent gridlock has transformed Congress from a Legislature into a theater where the show never changes or improves. The two parties are no more able to have a rational debate than two football teams in the middle of a game.
Copyright: David Bouchier
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