Reading is mandatory — logic, not so much
If you thought that just because an individual is elected to Congress, they have a certain level of intelligence, you would be incredibly incorrect. It has become vividly clear that anyone who has enough money, an intriguing rap, the gift of gab or a reasonably lackluster competitor can get elected.
I’ve never looked at popularity polls to determine how well a given Congressperson was doing, but there does come a time when it becomes necessary to judge the work of an elected representative. Unfortunately, we have to wait way too long to do something about electing the wrong person. Thus, the name of this very blog. Yes, we can vote every two years on Representatives and every six years on Senators, but that’s not fast enough in today’s sped-up reality and news cycles. Six years is a wait much too long for undoing a bad Senator.
Recent polling is not good for Congress. Last month, a Gallup Organization survey found that only 28% of those researched approved of the job the House and Senate are doing, while 69% disapproved. And I might add that 3% had no opinion. Who are those people?
2001 set the highest mark in the ongoing Gallup polls. That’s when Congress was voting to go to war in Afghanistan and invade Iraq due to trumped up lies about weapons of mass destruction. This underscores the reality that even when we like them, Congress is often doing the wrong things for the right reasons.
And that brings us to the politics of it all. No member of Congress wants the United States government to default. Any member who does should be arrested and charged with treason, but there’s a word that has lost its power and seriousness. When the former president was told that that some of his allies and administration officials had broken the law, he simply pardoned them. There are members of Congress who think investigating the insurrection of January 6th is bad for America. Truth is, Republicans fear becoming tarnished should the public come to fully understand their involvement in Donald Trump’s effort to “Stop the Steal.” Really?
Congressional grifters use information gained from subcommittees and intelligence briefings to shape their investments and give themselves an advantage in preserving and increasing their wealth. Sure, they add rules and polices to help their tribe along the way, but they have never passed legislation that makes it hard or impossible for them to profit from their positions in Congress. If they were serious about making America better, they would pass potent regulations about financial disclosure, term-limits and the amount of political campaign contributions they can personally use. The true reason Donald Trump hasn’t declared his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election is to avoid disclosure of the cash in his campaign coffers. He’s a grifter.
When a member of a party, especially a leader or whip, tells his or her caucus how they are going to vote on a bill before it’s even debated, they are no better than the political bosses of the 1940s and 1950s who manipulated their members and thwarted any discussion on the merits of proposed legislation. Have we really grown from there?
Making law requires intense labor and demands tons of reading. When I was working with a local Little League group in Atlanta years ago, I volunteered to revise and publish the rules of the games. What a mistake! First of all, there were different rules for each level of play and all the rules had to be in-sync with the national rules from headquarters in Williamsport, PA. That project ended up as four packets of fifty pages each.
Well, imagine having to go through 1,500 pages over a weekend. That would be like reading three 500-page books. It’s most likely that the average Congressperson never reads an entire budget bill. They direct their staffs to find the things they ardently object too, or the things that are really good for them. The underlying words and meanings no longer have objective analysis until laws are passed. And this playing with the economic status of the country you claim to love just to shit on the other guy’s party, how many US citizens approve of that?
The demonizing of Joe Biden will happen no matter what he does or says. The media seems to like kickin’ old Joe to the ground right now. Sure, his numbers are down but anyone who says the economy is bad is ignoring three major realities.
First, under Donald Trump, Congress passed a major tax cut by restricting the ways corporations house their money. The corporate tax rate was changed from a tiered tax rate ranging from 15% to as high as 39%, depending on taxable income, to a flat 21%. At the same time, some related business deductions and credits were reduced or eliminated. Yes, stocks soared, and corporations bought back stock, but the disparity between the wealthy 1% and the rest of us grew. Yay, score another one for the rich people!
Second, Trump blew the federal response to Covid-19. It was his “Katrina,” only on a national level. His advisers can take some of the blame, but the more he told us it was nothing, more and more of us realized it was truly something, and that something was really, really bad. You can’t go to a restaurant that is closed, and a restaurant without enough employees provides an unpleasant experience. Just like Obama inherited the financial crisis, Biden was handed the challenge of righting a post-coronavirus tanked economy. Sadly, far-right saboteurs think fighting against the vaccine is good for their political gains even while their opinions are killing us.
Third, forced errors like the Afghanistan evacuation, the rising conflict at the southern border and our selling submarines to Australia are front and center. We need to remember that Trump pulled out of northern Syria and 130,000 Kurds, our allies in the fight against ISIS, were forced to flee their homes and hundreds of them were killed. Trump wanted to invite the Talban to negotiate a peace treaty, but he excluded the legit government of Afghanistan. Why were we so surprised when the Taliban took over?
While all the pontificators and pundits are overanalyzing the “Biden Doctrine,” it might make more sense to keep the government open and pay our bills. Why are we tolerating Republican actions to make America weak? It’s just a budget bill, and not any different than Trump shutting down the government because he thought it would hurt the Democrats. He even called it the “Schumer Shutdown.” Let’s see, how did that work out for him? Oh yeah, he’s not the president anymore.
Let’s focus on just one fact. Joe Biden’s approval rating is 43% while that of Congress is 28%. Who is the fairest in the land?
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