Posts Tagged ‘United States Congress’

The Public Has Spoken – Sort Of

Once you understand public choice theory, watching politics unfold becomes less of a frustration and more a source of amusement.

I just heard President Obama lay out his near term agenda. He was elected by a decent majority and will fight for the issues for which he campaigned. The people have spoken, and the people want a Democratic agenda implemented.

But the House of Representatives was also just elected. It is firmly Republican. The people have spoken, and the people want a Republican agenda implemented.

Same voters. Two conflicting agendas.

Some pundits say that voters want compromise. I don’t understand how you compromise between raising taxes and lowering taxes, for example.

I can only conclude that what voters actually favor is gridlock. This restrains both Democrats and Republicans and preserves the status quo. The last several presidents, when given a compliant Congress, have moved the country in unhappy directions. Gridlock forces politicians to take a “timeout”¬†and allows only actions which are broadly acceptable to voters.

voting day in a small town

voting day in a small town (Photo credit: Muffet)

Don’t expect a lot to happen in a gridlocked political system – the public has spoken and inaction seems to be our preference as a nation.

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Government Shutdown Phase 1

It’s coming down to the wire, but I don’t see anyone other than politicians and media types getting too excited. I see more annoyance. In all the media yakking, an important point is often overlooked: Congress shouldn’t be doing this now. This budget exercise was, by law, due last year when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Through sheer ineptitude, the Democrats failed in their most elemental responsibility of governance. Now the GOP gets to fix the mess the Democrats left behind. And it’s not looking pretty.

But this is a warm up exercise: the real battle will be the 2012 budget. There are two proposals: Obama’s and Ryan’s, and they couldn’t be more different. It’s hard to imagine what a compromise would look like. We could be looking at a *real* government shutdown next year.