The joy of a do-nothing Congress

If no man's life, liberty or property are safe when Congress is in session, what's the problem with a do-nothing Congress? Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON, December 26, 2013 — The media are at it again. They are bemoaning the lack of action by Congress. As we go into New Year’s, the media will produce a parade of stories about how unproductive this Congress was. A top, recurring story will be the “do-nothing Congress.”

What is the problem with that?


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What the left wing media mean when they complain about a do-nothing Congress is that Congress was not activist; it failed to pass a lot of really bad laws.

A favorite congressional buzzword is “reform.” Congress wants to reform the tax code. They want to reform immigration. They want to reform pensions. They want to reform healthcare. 

Every time Congress wants to engage in reform it is because Washington has screwed something up. If these geniuses screwed it up the first time, what sane person thinks they will be able to fix the problem with a “reform?”

Congress wants to reform the tax code. The only reason the tax code is broken is because we have had decades of new tax laws passed by Congress that have made our tax system so complicated that even Americans of average income need professionals to help them prepare their taxes.


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Congress wants to reform immigration. The only reason Immigration is broken is because for decades now, administrations of both parties have refused to enforce our immigration laws.

Congress passed healthcare reform. Look what the result of that has been: Millions of Americans have already lost their health insurance coverage, and in 2014, tens of millions more will. Given the way things are going, at the end of 2014, there will be more Americans without health insurance than there are with health insurance.

Too much government reform created this problem and the left already has a solution: even more reform.

Congress is obsessed with passing new laws that cause more harm than good. Every reform Congress passes is worse than the problem it sought to cure.

There are solutions, but first we must realize that Congress is the problem. Bad laws are never repealed, they are only reformed. Congress needs to learn, you can’t reform a bad law into a good one. You have to start over from scratch

If Congress is the problem, let us reform Congress. We can start by limiting any law Congress passes, be it anything as all-encompassing as Obamacare to the naming of a post office building, to a five-year lifespan. Every law Congress passes must automatically sunset after five years.

Every law in the United States Code should be assigned a sunset date. Good laws will be reauthorized. Congress has to do this with a number of laws now. Does anyone really oppose reauthorization of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act? The same should be true of every regulation in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Mark Twain once observed that, “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” Congress needs to be a part time body.

Some people argue that the government is too big for just a part time body. If that is the case, that means government is too big.

Two hundred years ago, during the War of 1812, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry sent the famous communiqué, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”

In 2014, we can write, “We have met the enemy. And they are Congress.”


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Judson Phillips

Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest Tea Party Groups in the country and the number one national tea party site on the Internet.

A lawyer by profession, Judson has been involved in politics since his teens. “Ronald Reagan inspired me,” he says.

Judson became involved in the Tea Party movement in February 2009 after hearing Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC.   “I heard there was going to be a Tea Party in Chicago inspired by Santelli, but didn’t know if anyone was doing a rally in Nashville where I was based.  Finally I emailed Michelle Malkin and asked her if there was a Tea Party in Nashville.  Malkin sent an email back saying, ‘No, why don’t you organize one?’  I did.”

The first Tea Party in Nashville was held late February 2009 which drew a crowd of about 600. Judson then organized the Tax Day Tea Party in Nashville, which drew over 10,000 people into downtown.   It was at this time that Tea Party Nation was formed.  Later that year, Judson decided to bring activists from across the country together, so he organized the first National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, which featured Alaska’s former Governor and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin as it’s keynote speaker.

He currently manages the Tea Party Nation website, writes several daily columns and is working on more projects than any one person should.  He is a frequent guest on cable and broadcast news shows, including on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and others.

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