Congressional malfeasance: The new normal

Purposeful deception while remaining unaccountable has finally been raised to an art form by our Congress Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez

CALIFORNIA May 9, 2013 ― Sometimes it takes years to wake up and finally realize a fundamental change has occurred. Unfortunately, this is the case with the most powerful governmental institution in our nation: Congress. And it’s not a pleasant sight.

Much of the public has become conditioned to politicians shading the truth during election campaigns. This is bad enough, but of greater concern is what’s become normal and apparently acceptable behavior once elected to Congress.

Take the spin tactics routinely employed on important pieces of legislation. Since the public doesn’t (or can’t) read proposed laws for themselves, particularly when the laws are constantly changing, they rely on elected representatives to keep them informed. But ambiguous or misleading sound bites have become the order of the day to curry favor, deflect criticism and divert attention away from any embarrassing legislative details that may have been inserted at the last minute (beware the smooth talker; Proverbs 26:23-26).

But wait; who actually writes legislation? Most is cobbled together by staffers placating every vested interest imaginable. The more detailed, complex and obscure it is, the better. In fact, complexity ensures far-ranging consequences will never be understood. This is business as usual with little hope of ever being simplified.

What about the sheer page count for the average legislation? Does anyone really think lawmakers read everything? What’s the incentive to police thousands of pages of “legalese” for the good of the nation after one’s own narrow interests are taken care of? For gigantic, al-encompassing legislation like Obamacare, no one had time to either read or understand it. Huge political payoffs were included and hidden, and most negative consequences won’t be found out until it’s too late to do anything about them (Proverbs 10:19a).

Even if the legislation is reasonable, the implementing regulations will have the biggest impact. Who ensures “the will of Congress” is really followed when tens of thousands of pages of regulations are created by career bureaucrats (Proverbs 10:26)? If regulations end up causing catastrophic problems, how are they corrected? You guessed it: more legislation. Regulations, not legislation, are the new normal.

What about the crisis of the week forcing immediate Congressional action? It happens because public emotions can be manipulated to shore up otherwise unworthy legislation having nothing to do with the root problem. The Sandy Hook tragedy is a case in point. The proposed gun control legislation wouldn’t have prevented it from occurring. The new normal uses “crises-de-jour” as a cowardly bait and switch opportunity and no one is held to account (using fear mongering instead of doing the hard work; Proverbs 26:13).

Consider legislation that supposedly takes effect in future years: “Raise taxes now and programs will be cut later”; “Give illegals status today and the border will be secured tomorrow”. Accepting a Congressional promise to do something in the future is both naïve and dangerous. There’s little factual basis to believe Congress can be trusted years from now to be restrained by decisions made today. Promises serve one purpose: to gain something now while duping people into believing future Congresses will be responsible (promises are vows to be kept (Ecclesiastes 5:4-7); also, the future is uncertain (James 4:13-15)).

Then there’s the classic sleight of hand called future “budget cuts”. Never mind that the federal budget is automatically re-baselined each year with built in increases. Any claimed future “cut” is really only a small decrease in what has become a “new normal” in unsustainable growth in federal spending.

What about earmarks; have they gone away? What about routine subsidizing of green energy companies that go bankrupt? What about high unemployment being the “new normal” with no governmental blame? What about government taking over large economic sectors because they’re too big to fail? What about the “new normal” of ever expanding federal power, unsustainable entitlement programs, tax increases, and irresponsible debt?

I weep for a nation so lacking in discernment that it has elected fools to govern our lives (Proverbs 14:34). We’re routinely deceived and manipulated by an aloof band of professional ideologues at best and prideful incompetents at worst. The “new normal” believes government knows what’s best about everything, and to challenge its power is not just irrational, it borders on being treasonous.

Thankfully, not all Congressional representatives are malfeasant. But if history is any teacher, the way back will only happen if our nation collapses, or many more leaders are raised up who believe in restraining the federal government to its enumerated powers.

The choice of our nation’s future is ours to make. So far, however, our nation has not chosen wisely.



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Frank Kacer

Frank Kacer has been writing and lecturing on the applications of a Biblical worldview to the contemporary issues of the day since the mid 1990s. Besides his regular Biblical Politics column with the Washington Times Communities, Frank has authored over 100 op-ed columns for Good News Etc. and the popular Christian Examiner. Frank can be reached at frankkacer@hotmail.com

 

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