Sunday, April 11, 2021

Congress Steadily Degenerating

 I doubt this will surprise anybody, aside from those who might have hoped that Dems retaking formal control of both houses of Congress, if by narrow margins (with that margin shrinking in the House due to the 2020 election).  But I have a more direct source for this conclusion.

I received a visit today from niece and her family at our house about two hours southwest of Washington.  She is Erica Werner, a longtime reporter for the Washington Post who has covered economics issues that Congress deals with.  She has been high enough up at WaPo that when some of the major budget issues were being debated and passed, she was the lead author of the top front page story for several days in a row there.  She also covered the passage of the ACE at Congress back when that happened.  Anyway, she has been reporting on Congress for quite a few years and knows the people there inside out and really up close.

So she was visiting us because she is moving from Washington this coming Thursday, April 15, and was basically saying good-bye as well as having her young daughters see some family stuff we have.  She is moving to Pasadena where now widowed dad lives and where she lived when young. Will report for WaPo on various west coast things.  A major reason for the move involves family health issues I shall not get into here, but a loudly and publicly stated reason for the move is that she has declared she is "sick of Washington."

So during this visit I questioned her more closely on this.  One thing that really upset her was the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. She was fortunately not there when it happened, but apparently several of her colleagues who were there were severely traumatized, something that has not been reported on publicly, although we have heard about some members of Congress and especially their staffs that were.

But she admitted one more factor that has been building up. She has become disgusted with Congress itself, that it is getting worse and worse, just steadily degenerating.  Her bottom line: every time a member leaves they are replaced by somebody worse, and these new ones have been getting really bad.

So there it is, from somebody who really knows Congress up close.  It is degenerating to the point she wants nothing to do with it anymore and is leaving town.

Barkley Rosser


The Sophist said...

Dr Rosser,

First, I'm sorry for your niece's family's health issues, and the travails they cause your extended family. Life is hard, and we all get old, and then life comes and hits our loved ones.

Second, though: does your niece feel this way about Congresscritters on both sides of the aisle? I ask b/c .... well, it's my impression that the Dems are getting better. But I could be sadly mistaken, and so .... well, perhaps as professional, she could weigh in on this.

If, as I suspect, she's talking about the GrOPers .... well, yes, I have to agree with her. And it's a symptom of the possible demise of our Republic. It's horrifying to contemplate. Ugh.

But maybe she means something that would be .... even worse. That's why I ask.

Sandwichman said...

Good question! Can I second it? said...

Dems not getting worse, but small improvements not enough to offset worsening of GOPs.

AXEC / E.K-H said...

Economic policy: new rhetoric, old agenda
Comment on Barkley Rosser on ‘Congress Steadily Degenerating’

The correct designation of the U.S. political system is Oligarchy and not Democracy.#1

It is not exactly a sign of Barkley Rosser's political smartness that it took the visit of a niece to realize the obvious: “But she admitted one more factor that has been building up. She has become disgusted with Congress itself, that it is getting worse and worse, just steadily degenerating. Her bottom line: every time a member leaves they are replaced by somebody worse, and these new ones have been getting really bad.”

The fact is, though, that Congress is just playing its role in the system. This is easy to see by focussing on economic policy.

The 3-sector Profit Law Q≡(G−T)+(I−S)+Yd states that the greater part of macroeconomic #Profit is actually produced by public deficit-spending/money-creation.#2 Growing public debt guarantees the permanent self-alimentation of the Oligarchy. This is rather old stuff but the COV19 pandemic makes it plain to everybody.#3, #4

The Profit Law implies Public Deficit = Private Profit. COV19 is a godsend. More deficit-spending/money-creation will result in a profit explosion. With their crisis policy, all that President Biden and Congress are doing is playing their proper roles in the oligarchic order.#5

The role of the state is to produce sufficient macroeconomic profit. The Oligarchy, in turn, uses the opulent deficit-produced free lunches to nudge the state’s legislative, executive, judiciary institutions in its favor. Academic economics plays a supporting role as a propaganda arm of the Oligarchy.#6, #7

No surprise here for those who have been paying attention and do not need a niece for coming to grips with political reality.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Newsweek, Marianne Williamson, The United States of Oligarchy

#2 Profit

#3 Keynes, Lerner, MMT, Trump, Biden and exploding profit

#4 The U.S. economy hangs on the state ventilator for its survival

#5 Deficit cheerleaders ― the Oligarchy’s useful idiots

#6 Economics, MMT, and the corruption of science

#7 MMT ― now official doctrine

Kaleberg said...

The idea that Congress has been getting worse and worse has many advocates. For example, John Boehner himself recently published a book making that argument. Since he is a long time partisan left winger - that's sarcasm - he dumps the blame on the Republican party. For once, I agree with him. The Democrats, in contrast, are their same old selves, though it is sometimes painful to watch.

The press hasn't been much help. They still rarely call out a bald faced lie, and when someone lies repeatedly to them, they keep publishing the lies with a straight face, never doubting their credibility. I'm sure the precarious state of the press hasn't encouraged more direct reporting.

Anonymous said...

John Boehner did not bring up for a vote the immigration compromise that had got through the Senate or the post Sandy Hook gun bill - both of which likely would have passed. So he was part of the problem and contributed to the growing disillusionment and lack of faith in the legislative process also was not willing to come up with a fiscal agreement with Obama forcing the sequestration Of course, he was herding cats and was very happy to retire to get out of crazy town as he puts it.