Is a ‘Do Nothing’ Congress Really a Serious Problem?

Today’s Omaha World Herald reprints the article “Get-nothing-done Congress is disrespectful to democracy” by the Baltimore Sun writer, Andrew Yarrow.  Mr. Yarrow says that “the 112th Congress, which ended in 2012, passed fewer bills than any Congress in recent memory, and the current 113th Congress is on track to do just as badly.  …  What Congress does do often seems patently ridiculous.  …  We need to … ramp up public pressure to get something done, rather than just fight.”
But is the problem just to do something, anything, or is it rather to do something worthwhile?  And what if there is a fundamental disagreement, as there is today, about what is worthwhile?  One party thinks that the way to boost the economy and speed up the recovery is to increase artificial stimulus (government spending) and to pay for it by raising taxes on the rich.  The other party is appalled by the $6 trillion in deficit spending racked up so far by the current administration and wants to slam on the brakes.  Each side is working as hard as it can to prevail, especially by discrediting and embarrassing the other side.  How do you resolve a dispute like this?
There is really only one person who has the clout and visibility to get this done and that is the President.  But when the President is the divider-in-chief, spending much of his time and effort proposing unsound economic and fiscal policies, intended primarily for short term political gain, what is the other party supposed to do?  Acquiesce by passing new laws that will just make things worse?  Or by standing firm on principle and hoping that the general public will be able to understand and appreciate its opposition to bad policies?
This is the situation which we are currently in.  It makes for a difficult and unpleasant time.  The economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession on its own.  Let’s hope that this trend continues and that we can muddle through our present political predicament.

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