Sunday, April 10, 2011

Enough with the Congress Bashing

We Americans love to complain about the government. The latest version is Congress bashing, apropos of the last-minute horse-trading needed to avert a government shutdown. Nick Kristof is typical:
This isn’t government we’re watching; this is junior high. It’s unclear where the adults are, but they don’t seem to be in Washington. Beyond the malice of the threat to shut down the federal government, averted only at the last minute on Friday night, it’s painful how vapid the discourse is and how incompetent and cowardly our leaders have proved to be.
I say, enough already. Not that I am very impressed with the performance of our Congress, but they are they way they are because the voters insist on it. It is the voters who think the budget can be balanced by cutting waste and foreign aid, not the leaders of Congress. The average American voter thinks that 1) his taxes are to high; and 2) we should be spending more money on education, highways, cleaning up the environment, preventing crime, and a long list of other things, while guaranteeing health care to everyone and fighting terrorists around the world. When they acknowledge this, pundits usually say it is the job of political leaders to explain the facts to the people. Why? Why isn't it the job of the citizens to inform themselves?

There is an old saying that people get the government they deserve, and while it is not strictly true, it applies in this case. Americans are short-sighted and greedy, so we have a short-sited, greedy government. It will change when we change, and not before.

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