Do-nothing Congress

October 3, 2012 


In the election of 2010, the Republicans took control of the House, and with this change came a dramatic decline in legislative productivity. The 112th Congress turned its back on governance and adopted a strategy of zero tolerance for compromise.

For the 112th Congress, arguably one of the worst, House Republican demands delayed, obstructed and nullified efforts to address the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression. Nonnegotiable demands led to the debt ceiling fiasco and the downgrading of U.S. securities.

A grand bargain on a debt reduction package was left on the table because John Boehner lacked the support of a rebellious Republican caucus. Recently the farm bill was kicked down the road.

In October 2010, the approval rating of Congress dropped to 9 percent.

Those in the 112th Congress are rewarded for their abysmal performance with a six-figure salary, let go on "recess" for 26 weeks a year, and 85 percent will glide back into office holding their heads high. To help U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings when he returns to face the morass left by the dysfunctional 112th, I suggest reading An Essay on Bargaining by Thomas Schelling, the Nobel laureate economist. It doesn't contain a single equation.

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