Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gridlock ain't what it used to be ...


For those who think next week's congressional elections are incredibly consequential and that we'll see dramatic changes if the Republicans get to 51 seats in the Senate, consider this:
  • Every bill signed into law by president Barack Obama since 2011 was first passed by the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives.
  • Every dime spent by the federal government since at least as early as 2012 (and some of the money spent in 2011 -- the budget theoretically runs a year ahead but there are always "emergency supplementals" and "stopgap spending" bills) was first appropriated by the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives.
Since taking control of the House in the 2010 elections, the Republicans have had it in their power to stop any Democratic proposal or measure in its tracks.

Therefore, to the extent that the existing political, economic, etc. situations depend on the actions of the federal government, the Republicans own those situations just as much as the Democrats do.

All things considered, I do prefer "gridlock" -- if one party controls the White House, I want the other party to control at least one house of Congress but fall short of controlling veto-proof majorities in both houses.

But frankly, gridlock ain't what it used to be. The two parties get along far too well in my opinion. And both parties tend to roll over far too easily for the president, especially so far this century. I'm pushing 50 and I'm having trouble remembering an election as obviously and completely inconsequential as this one.

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