A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

Do Nothings and Know Nothings – NYTimes.com

In Economy, Nonsense, Politics, Really?!?, Style on May 5, 2012 at 10:54

Do Nothings and Know Nothings

What we got with the 2010 election was a group that creates its own facts. They deny the elemental fiscal math that the United States will never balance its books without raising somebody’s taxes. And they deny elemental science, going so far as to vote as a group that global warming caused by man essentially does not exist.

Perhaps it’s better, then, that the 112th has passed fewer laws than any Congress in at least 40 years. What do they do with their time? Take a look at Eric Cantor’s 2012 House calendar. Half of April, half of May, and nearly every day from August all the way to Election Day, members of Congress are off on something called “constituent work week,” also known as “recess,” or junketeering, fund-raising, vacationing or campaigning.

On the rare days when Congress is in session, somebody in the People’s House will rise to say they are following the will of the people. But on the big issues, this is preposterous. A big majority of Americans want taxes raised on millionaires who pay a lower rate than their secretaries. A CNN poll in April found that nearly three-quarters of the public favored the so-called Buffett rule.

If Congress were representative of the public, you’d see some of that will of the people in the vote. Yet all but five of 234 Republicans present voted against this basic act of fairness. And in the Senate, it couldn’t even get past the filibuster threshold to allow for some debate, let alone a vote.

Just now, Republicans say they want to prevent student loan rates from doubling, which will happen soon if the Do Nothings do nothing. They passed a bill in the House, but it raids health care to pay for it, ensuring a veto. This balancing would be fine if Republicans were consistent. They aren’t. The Bush tax cuts will end up costing $2 trillion over a decade, but this huge debt is treated as a trifle by the reality-denying majority in Congress.

I would add one other big consideration to all of the above: these people in Congress, and this mess, are the voters’ fault. We put Democrats in control in 2008, and they’d no sooner started to govern when we put Republicans in charge. We get the Congress we deserve, and when Republicans gained 63 seats in the House in the 2010 elections, voters took a chance with a sustained temper tantrum.

At least in 2010, the insurgents were an unknown commodity, produced by the faux populism of talk radio and the Tea Party. If this majority is voted back in, we’ll have nobody to blame but ourselves for a democracy that, at this moment, no longer has the will to self-govern.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s