Power & Market

Congress Can’t Be Bothered with Voting on the Largest Spending Bill in History

It seems that a great many Americans pine for dictatorship. How else to explain the outrage over the fact that a member of Congress has requested that the Congress actually vote on the largest spending bill in human history? It seems the preferred method of lawmaking now is to have a small number of politicians decide law without the annoying formalities of legislative votes.

The current controversy centers on the fact that Rep. Thomas Massey from Kentucky things Congress should have a recorded vote on the massive kleptocratic bill currently working its way through Congress.

As it is, Washington’s most powerful politicians want to use unanimous consent to pass the bill. This means a small handful of members of Congress can show up, say “aye” when prompted, and the bill will pass. Indeed, even if some members show up and say “nay,” the chairman can still just declared the vote “passed” based on his or her own opinion of which way the voice vote went.

On other words, what Washington’s “leaders” want is a rubber stamp.

And a rubber stamp legislature, something we have long seen in countless despotic regimes throughout history, is apparently what many Americans want.

One need only peruse the social media responses to Massie’s opposition to a rubber stamp to see just how little respect there is for the concept of the rule of law. Many of the responses are repeatable here, but a they could certainly be said to be in line with John Kerry’s intellectually stunted comeback: “Congressman Massie has tested positive for being an asshole.”

Of course, who could expect anything more to the point than this. Obviously, people like Kerry aren’t going to argue “I firmly believe members of Congress ought not be required to accountable for their votes.” He won’t say “the basic tenets of representative government mean nothing to me.”

But that’s what opposing Massie’s effort means.

“Why, this is an emergency!” is the claim made by those who think it perfectly fine if a small group of millionaires passes legislation in the shadows — legislation designed largely to prop up the asset prices of billionaires so they can keep being billionaires. Meanwhile, regular people will get one or two month’s worth of rent payments. And then they’re on their own in the worst job market since the Great Depression.

Small and medium-sized business will suffer the worst, but the “good” news is billionaires will be able to use their new windfall to buy up the assets of small businesses while increasing the market share of America’s mega firms.

Of course, if members of Congress cared anything at all about ordinary people, they’d be passing massive amounts of deregulation, and huge cuts to the government’s regulatory agencies which have made the cost of doing business in America skyrocket in recent decades. They’d bring all the troops home, end all the wars, and use the savings to give Americans a tax cut. Such a move would greatly increase the ability of small firms to compete against the billionaires. It would make it easier for people to at least scratch out a living during these hard times we’re now entering. It would allow markets to provide the sort of innovation and flexibility this country now badly needs.

But none of that will happen. The US government functions primarily under the delusion that “too big to fail” is a respectable governing strategy. Of course, if you’re not too big to fail, you’re out of luck.

But Congress has another reason why they shouldn’t have to vote: they’re too scared to emerge from their mansions and penthouses to show up in Washington to vote. They’re afraid they might get sick. If this is really the case, it’s hard to see how these people could function at all if they weren’t already rich and powerful. They’re fortunane they have underlings and staffers to run all their errands for them and protect them from the larger world. On the other hand, any member of Congress can easily avoid showing up for a recorded vote if it comes to that: resign immediately. They won’t be missed.

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