"Congress Isn't Gridlocked—It's Just Totally Irresponsible": Gillespie and De Rugy in The Hill


Reason columnist and Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy and I have a piece in Congress' paper of record, The Hill.

Here's the headline and a snippet:

Congress isn't gridlocked — it's just totally irresponsible…

…today's Congress is more than happy to pass legislation when it suits members' interests. In just the past few months, for instance, the ostensibly gridlocked Congress reauthorized the Export-Import Bank program that gives money to foreign companies to buy U.S. goods; extended sharply reduced rates for government-subsidized student loans; re-upped the Essential Air Service program that subsidizes airline service to rural communities; and voted against ending the 1705 loan-guarantee program that gave rise to green-tech boondoggles such as Solyndra and Abound. None of these were party-line votes — all enjoyed hearty support from both Democrats and Republicans.

What we're actually witnessing — and have been for years now — is not gridlock, but the abdication of responsibility by Congress and the president for performing the most basic responsibilities of government. Despite the fiscal crisis that Washington knows will occur if it fails to deal with unsustainable spending and debt, it hasn't managed to produce a federal budget in more than three years.

To their credit, House Republicans have drafted, voted on, and passed a budget, but they are busy now trying to worm their way out of the very spending cuts — the sequestration deal — they insisted on as a condition for raising the debt limit last summer. 

One of the most egregious failures of the president's budget was that it, as in his previous budgets, offered no serious plan to stabilize the largest entitlement programs. Instead, the president and congressional Democrats lambasted Republicans for actually addressing the problem in their budget….

Simply put, this is no way to run a country.

Read the whole thing.

Read de Rugy and my cover story in the latest ish of Reason: "Generational Warfare: Old-Age Entitlements vs. The Safety Net."


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  1. I dont even know what to say anymore about the federal government. In my mind and in my heart it is no longer the legitimate government of this country. No budget in three years? They cant even perform the most basic constitutional requirement. It is lawless and oppressive and thieving. The stench of corruption is so thick it makes my eyes water. Sociopathic officials parade around mocking the constitution with a smirk on their face…on camera no less. Busty senators call for revision of the first amendment on the senate floor and no one blinks. Numerous calls for ‘rebalancing freedom and security’ go out and except for here, no one complains. What the fuck? The goddamned attorney general funnels guns to criminals in the hopes of people being murdered in broad daylight and when confronted about it tells everyone to go fuck themselves? Am I dreaming this shit?

    I just dont have a clue what to do about it.

    1. There’s nothing you can do. Eventually a strong man will come along and put the pretense aside.

    2. Great rant.

    3. Wait, “busty senators”?

      1. ya, I was wondering about that too.

      2. They’ve all had a bust made of themselves.

      3. Mantits count.

    4. I have this same rant pretty much every day now.

      This is no way to run a country.

    5. We all know what needs to be done.

  2. You’re going to hurt Congress’ self-esteem with columns like this.

  3. The little dude getting robbed by grandma looks like he could be Nick’s son.

  4. Oh, sure, it’s easy to criticize Congress. They’re lazy, craven and self-serving, often to the level of corruption. They’re out of touch with their constituents, they pander to the point of contradiction, they’re entitled beyond what public service should entail-

    Wait, what was my point here?

    1. It’s easy to criticize Congress because they serve no useful purpose.

  5. Was it Voltaire that said ” Every now and then you have to shoot an admiral to encourage the others.” ?

    1. I’m pretty he was ridiculing the execution of Admiral Byng who was being scapegoating by the Admirarlty.

  6. “Read the whole thing.”

    Don’t tell me what to do!

  7. Tree of liberty, watering, yada, yada, yada.

  8. The collapse of Congress has had seriously destructive effects on our system. Deferring to almost anything the executive does, delegating powers that have no business being delegated, not standing up for the prerogatives of the branch, not to mention the continuous shitting on any concept of limited government. . .yes, we’re screwed.

    It’s hard not to view this refusal to pass a budget and to address an economic cataclysm that’s looming as the beginning of the end of America’s second national government.

    1. It’s hard not to view this refusal to pass a budget and to address an economic cataclysm that’s looming as the beginning of the end of America’s second national government.

      Yes it is quite frightening. It makes the possibility of some strongman taking over the US and dispensing with the constitution (whether officially or not; Hitler never officially abolished the Weimar constitution after all) much more likely. We only have to chose whether we want a Mussolini, a Hitler or a Stalin.

      1. Mussolini, I guess. Free pizza for everyone!

        1. At least the TRAINZ!!! will run on time.

  9. I’m surprised I haven’t heard Nancy Pelosi say something like “We have to pass a budget to know what’s in it.”

    We don’t know what we’re spending money on exactly, all we know is we don’t have enough.

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