TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE — Forget Congress. It has become a joke.
Trusting it with the American future is like trusting Donald Trump to retire from bombast. Perhaps I exaggerate, but a screech or two for help is needed because we are right now witnessing a degeneration that bodes poorly for all of us, even for leftists screeching to make things worse.
The thing is, voters gave us a Senate half Republican and half Democrat, even though the Democrats have a vice president who can cast the winning vote in a tie. After all, she is also president of the Senate, can preside any time she likes and ought to be doing so daily, seeing as how she is otherwise hard to find.
The Democrats also have a bungling president betraying his promises. His supporters thought they were electing a moderate even though Sen. Bernie Sanders found an empty space in his thinking and parked his destructive dreams there.
What has happened is incredible. President Joe Biden and his ideological buddies rounded up a host of big, complicated issues that the left has long wanted to resolve with careless laws and stuffed them in a single bill. It went through a couple of rough moments and finally became a conglomeration that is still disgusting but sufficiently improved to infuriate progressives.
Biden’s idea had been to soothe the intransigence of two moderate Democratic protesters saying no, no, a trillion times no to suffocating expenditures made necessary by welfare and climate change proposals that were also wisely questioned. Progressives are the new obstructionists whining at going from an understated cost of $3.5 trillion to $1.85 trillion noted by chicanery specialists to actually be about $4 trillion. It’s spectacularly inflationary without even taking note of a separate $1 trillion infrastructure bill.
Our president and his win-all, take-all cronies are caught in a squeeze he really, truly ought to address by doing something sane, intelligent, principled, democratic and coalescing, namely persuading Democrats to put each separate policy issue up for a vote by itself.
Done the right way, there would be debate and intense examination, a step-by-step process. A legislator would more likely know what is really in each bill without having to say he or she will vote for it because of fondness for three other bills in a package reflecting a party’s druthers.
Legislators should debate others with contrary views, introduce amendments, perhaps compromise with the other party. A two-party system of progressives and conservatives is a good thing largely because either one can go too far in a given direction if there is no hindrance.
Even though I am dead-set against the overall bill even in its new form, I also believe there is value in some of the individual proposals if they were thoughtfully detailed or just maybe left to the states. After all, not all states are the same and central planning can be doomsday in this supposedly federalist society.
Climate change legislation should definitely be separated from social issues. Welfare is very much of the moment because right now millions of workers are staying home at least in part because governmental contributions make it more comfortable than commuting. That means they are not available for helping to fix broken supply lines and produce more products, top COVID recovery issues especially assaulting the poor.
Wanting to terrorize the wealthy for the sin of inequality, the left has also begged for absolutely ruinous tax measures, not knowing something basic: We have the most progressive tax system in the developed world. The costs of the new proposals are made to seem less than they are because it’s falsely said the laws will last just a few years instead of decades.
Congress has been decaying because of transferring its duties to regulators, letting staffers mostly figure things out, going along with legally amiss executive orders and putting partisanship above honest reflection. Republicans are guilty, too, but it hardly follows that we don’t need attentive citizen voters serving as a kind of oversight committee.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send emails to email@example.com. © 2021 Tribune Content Agency.