Congress and The Election

In 2010, there was a midterm election. The Right took a seat majority from the Left. Reactions varied; some claiming to be totally unsurprised, others were more honest. Even in the face of what many termed ominous for President Obama, to his credit regardless of the validity, he took the blame. Some have appointed this stumbling block the reason behind the lack of faith in the European markets still rampant today. This lack of resolution in how the Euro will fare amidst bailouts and austerity is mere speculation and arguably ridiculous.

Image of US Capitol via Wikimedia Commons

Contrary to rhetoric, the 112th Congress has passed some occupational legislation in attempts to put some inertia into the United States economy, though these pieces are seen as too little too late. What they have been focusing on overwhelmingly now more than in the past is abortion, contraception, and the rights of women. Where they begin, where they end, and when a group of cells becomes a person. No doubt you have seen the protests and counter-legislation to make the playing field equal, but the story is larger than this.

With Congress returning to session midway through September, which happens to fall directly before the national election for our new Commander-In-Chief, it’s important to analyze what lessons can be learned from 2010. During the Debt Ceiling debacle of 2011, some noticed that congress (specifically the House of Representative) took a recess before the decision was made, leaving the Senate with a mound of work. This work would yet again prove fruitless as by this point the House was infamous for its stonewalling nature. Unwilling to make any accommodations for the betterment of the country overall, combined with back-burning any economical legislation for more ‘values’ oriented bills has resulted in a predictable backlash.

However, no one predicted how large that backlash would be. Vacation time, poor leadership, a deaf ear, and unyielding attitudes have caused this congress to be rated the worst in the history of polling on opinions of congress. Now as Americans, we are faced with another election, though much bigger than the last. Not only will we have the opportunity to change the dynamics on a local level, but on the national level as well. Ads will ascribe falsehoods to both parties in various ways.  More money is being thrown at this election than ever before, though exactly how much is unknown now nor will it be due to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United allowing outside Super PACs (Political Action Committees) to withhold their donation amounts. Some records will be open but the largest amounts will go obscure of exactly the influence from whence they came.

What is tangible is congress. Congress is one of the checks in our ‘Checks and Balances’ system inherent in our government, along with the President and the Supreme Court. Many take notice of the President, fewer notice congress or recognize the size of its influence on policy such as the fact that all tax proposals must begin in the House of Representatives if they are to be passed and implemented.

This November, examine the policies (financial and otherwise) and their results — and then, rather than just measure your own discontent, remember the do-nothing congress.