Down the rabbit hole we go. Congress used to work together to solve the big problems but the two party system has failed us.
And today, the Republican party is tearing itself apart by the seams.
Congress is dysfunctional because it is full of politicians.
Other reasons include:
- An Entrenched Two Party System
- Lack of Term Limits
- Campaign Contributions
- Special Interests
- Campaign Finance
- Political Apathy and Fringe Elements
The biggest problem in Congress is the unwillingness to compromise. There actually is no way to fix that.
Another huge issue is the legislative process itself. Unrelated riders are tacked on to otherwise solid bills and toxic provisions are amended onto important general appropriation bills. That can be fixed.
Most every state has a constitutional single subject limitation in effect. The U.S. Constitution does not. A single subject limitation is a requirement that any one bill can only address one subject. It can also limit the amendments to any bill to topics related to the bill. This prevents holding appropriations hostage to non-relevant substantive provisions.
Can we convince Congress to save it from itself? It’s not very likely, but it would be interesting to see single subject limitation.
Dan Munro; a contributor at Forbes Magazine says:
Contrary to the view of many – I don’t believe congress is dysfunctional at all – anymore than I think the U.S. healthcare system is “broken.”
We lost our truly representational form of Government decades ago. What we have today are really two elections – the “financial” election (basically for wealthy donors in each party to decide who gets to be on their ballot) and then the “general” election (where citizens get to select from a very short list of candidates that survived the earlier financial election).
This is also why a 3rd party isn’t remotely viable. There are simply no donors with sufficient capacity to compete with the Republicans and Democrats – so we end up with 3rd party candidates that are largely self-funded and can’t really compete financially.
So who gets to be a part of the “financial” election in the U.S.? For the last presidential election it amounted to about 132 Americans. That’s the number of wealthy donors who contributed 60% of all SuperPAC money for their “financial” election. It’s the SuperPAC’s that fund the campaigns of the candidates. As a candidate – your chances of getting elected are directly proportional to the size of your campaign bankroll. As a candidate your fundraising skills are far more important than any “leadership” attributes – so we don’t foster/promote leaders into elected office – we foster/promote great fundraisers. Guess what? We get *great* fundraisers – and the system is self perpetuating because our election cycles are pretty rapid – every 2-4 years. We’ve barely completed one and we’re racing into another one.
This isn’t a broken system – it’s just the way our system of elective government has evolved.
Do we need to change it – can we change it? Absolutely! As Lawrence Lessig suggests – campaign finance reform isn’t the biggest problem facing the country – but it’s absolutely the first.
Here is what Bob Dole had to say about our predicament back in 2013
The Republican Party has changed so drastically in recent years, the current GOP wouldn’t welcome the likes of Ronald Reagan, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole says.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R). (Associated Press)
The current GOP ought to be “closed for repairs” because it lacks a vision and is unable to strike deals with Democrats, Dole said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday”.
The Kansas Republican said he was disturbed by his party’s obstructionist behavior on Capitol Hill. “It seems almost unreal that we can’t get together on a budget or legislation,” he said.
President Obama also deserves blame for failing to reach out to Republicans in his first term and cultivate better relationships across party lines, Dole said.
Asked whether he would be welcomed by the Republican Party today, Dole said, “I doubt it. Reagan wouldn’t have made it, certainly Nixon wouldn’t have made it, because he had ideas. I might have made it, but I doubt it.”
Dole said his party needs stronger leadership. “Somebody has to stand up and say, ‘We’re not going to do this,'” he said.
The comments from Dole, a one-time presidential candidate, reflect widespread dissatisfaction with the Republican Party, even among its own rank-and-file supporters. Nearly half of Republicans in April said their party is “out of touch” with the concerns of most Americans. Conversely, only one in five Democrats said their own party was out of sync. In a January ABC poll, 67 percent of all Americans said Republicans were not doing enough to compromise with Obama on important issues, compared with 48 percent who saw Obama as too stubborn.
According to Irwin M. Stelzer at theweeklyStandard.com all Mitch McConnell has to do is craft a piece of legislation that
- (1) reduces Medicaid costs, or at least their increase, while
- (2) not reducing any benefits, now or ever;
- (3) provides insurance for people with pre-existing conditions at subsidized rates, without
- (4) mandating that healthier people buy coverage, while
- (5) eliminating Obamacare taxes on high earners and
- (6) lowering premiums for everyone without
- (7) subsidizing insurers or bailing them out; and at the same time
- (8) allowing young, healthy people to buy catastrophe insurance while
- (9) preventing insurers from deviating from Obamacare coverage requirements; while
- (10) wringing $1 trillion in savings to use for tax cuts.
Engrave those features on a pair of tablets, bring them down to the senate floor, and voila! You’ve got consensus. Maybe.