Our Dysfunctional U.S. Congress

By Paul Gable

This week’s vote on raising the federal debt ceiling again demonstrated the U.S. Congress is totally dysfunctional.

It is important to remember that raising the debt ceiling only allows the U.S. Treasury to pay bills Congress has already authorized.

The real work of cutting federal spending must be done in the budget process and Congress passed on that in December 2013.

To force the federal government to the brink of default by grandstranding is nonsensical. But it is an election year.

Below is a comment I saw on the internet that sums up what really drives members of Congress regardless of declared party affiliation:

“Self-interest, Special Interests, and an insane Congressional rewards system designed to elevate its members into an insulated ruling class, have so totally compromised the American political system, as to make membership in either of the two major parties irrelevant as an indicator of a politician’s political actions.

“Their actions are governed solely by the standard of what will best protect their privileged existence. Only when their own selfish interests coincide with the goals and values of their constituents, do we see politicians vote for what is truly in the best interest of the nation as a whole.

“This will not be reformed from within, because these selfish, corrupt individuals will never vote themselves off their ride on the gravy train.”

While Congress generally has an approval rating in nationwide polls of somewhere around 10%, over 90% of those seeking re-election in the November 2014 general election will be returned to office by the voters.

It’s really not the fault of members of Congress that things stay the same in Washington and they are the only ones truly benefiting from the system. We, the voters, allow the status quo to continue by returning to office members who know nothing about governing, but everything about self-serving.

Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms…”

The U.S., of course, has a representative democracy, not a pure democracy but something happens to those we vote for when they get hypnotized by the trappings of power in Washington. We must do a much better job of choosing those we wish to represent us if we want to maintain any type of democracy at all.

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