Get PJ Media on your Apple

A ‘Do-Nothing Congress’? That’s a Compliment!

Anchors aweigh—a bored Congress can get into far more trouble than bored sailors on leave.

by
Stephen Green

Bio

January 27, 2014 - 12:00 am
Page 1 of 2  Next ->   View as Single Page

anchors_aweigh_parody_on_brick_wall_1-25-14-1

“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”
—Gideon J. Tucker

The 113th Congress was publicly chided by Washington’s chiding classes for not getting much done last year — that is, for not passing very many laws. Indeed, 2013 was the “least productive” Congress in 66 years.

Isn’t it nice to read some good news for a change?

It might be a wonderment to some of us who never served in the military, why so much time and effort and care is given to seemingly little things like shining shoes and polishing brass and picking up litter. Sure, it’s nice to have shined shoes and polished brass and a clean base, but shouldn’t those guys (and gals) be out there practicing with their rifles and tanks and aircraft carriers and stuff?

If that last paragraph gave you Sudden Column Topic Change Whiplash, bear with me for a moment longer — we’ll get back to our Do-Nothing Congress here momentarily.

For all of recorded civilized history, militaries have been largely comprised of fit young men. Now I can tell you from personal experience that even fit young men in civilian life (or even not-so-fit young men) will get themselves into all kinds of trouble when they’re bored. In the military, the problem is exacerbated by elements not always found in civilian life, such as trained aggression, easily available “camp followers” (women), cheap liquor, nice paychecks, low living expenses, and of course heavy equipment such as tanks and aircraft carriers.

If you let a crowd like that get too bored very often, there’s going to be trouble. You can’t keep them in the barracks all the time, and training is too expensive to go on all the time — not to mention all the wear and tear on the heavy equipment. So it’s a smart military which keeps a major peacetime focus on those “little things” like keeping their uniforms sharp. General George S. Patton, a fierce warrior to be sure, was also a martinet right down to his bones. He famously insisted soldiers in his Third Army wear their ties at all times, even during seemingly unimportant events like the relief of Bastogne.

At least if the movie version of Patton is to be believed, and I do.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
You forgot one Steve.

● Congress shall pass no laws that exempt themselves from any rules and regulations.

The first exemption to be taken away is the one exempting themselves and their staff from insider trading. This may make the job just a bit less lucrative. *Any* law that I can go to jail for breaking should be one where 'they' can also be sent to jail.

I would only call that a great start. There are lots more examples of this inequality between We The People and the so-called 'ruling class'. They have forgotten their place in American life and need to be reined in.


46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's the thing that gets me: NOWHERE in the Constitution is it written that Congress MUST author, debate, edit and vote on laws every time they are in session. It is perfectly acceptable under the Constitution for both houses to meet for one day, decide there is nothing that needs their attention, and adjourn for another year, to be called back in case of emergency (declaration of war, emergency ratification of Presidential appointments, etc.).
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
As twittermeister Iowahawk put it, “A ‘do-nothing’ congress is sort of like a ‘do-nothing’ arsonist.”
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (24)
All Comments   (24)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
And this is one of the reasons that Texas is the most productive state in the Union. The Texas legislature only meets for 140 days on every odd number year. Only the governor can call a special session and the special sessions are limited to 30 days. At it's formation Texas was heavily populated with peoples from the Tennessee and Carolina regions. And with them they brought a strong distrust of government. They understood that the best government was one that couldn't pass laws on every waking whim.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Legislative service like jury duty or the draft. Get called, do your duty, go home.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Remove/deactivate all air conditioners and devices that create effects similar to air conditioners from all government offices and other federal venues in and within 50 miles of D.C.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hold it right there, cowboy.

I was a sailor for almost 13 years. ON DUTY, I and my shipmates performed our duties in an exemplary manner, as witness that we helped force the Soviet Union and its evil empire out of existence. Its when we were on the BEACH that things may have gotten a little less disciplined and, well, certain liberties may have been taken.

With Congress, its when they are in session, supposedly performing their official duties that the stupid emulation of a completely unwarranted stereotype assigned to sailors takes place. Put down liberty for congress and let them go get drunk (Ted Kennedy, any one?) and our problems with an underemployed, over educated, overpaid group of lawyers suddenly becomes bearable.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy B Dubya
Lot to what you say but you picked the wrong Senatorial sailor to send out drinking. That's how Kennedy killed Mary Jo Kopechne. All the muttering since then leaves her dead in a case that would have gotten any ordinary soul five years for manslaughter.
And the Dems fawned on him until he died, and fawn on his memory now. Pfaw!
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
How about this: every bill that is proposed in congress, each party has to write a test for. The test may be as easy or as difficult as the authors on either side desire, but must be contained strictly to verifiable facts, such as wording, legal meaning, etc. The test can be up to 100 questions. Any congressman not passing both tests is not permitted to vote on the bill.

I figure there are only two situations in which a bill will get passed:
1) When the bill is so obviously necessary that no one wants to make the gating very difficult.
2) When the bill is so simple that even a congressman could memorize it in its entirety.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
May I add one element, Bill? Require the member to show what article of the Constitution requires this action. Not permits -- that isn't supposed to be the standard -- where does the Constitution require Congress to do thus and such?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think that the sponsers, cosponsers and congresscritters that vote for a bill should be personally liable for any cost overruns that the bill causes for the American taxpayer. If a bill is scored as revenue neutral, but after passage it ends up costing the taxpayer a million dollars, then the representatives (along with the President that signed it into law will personally owe the government those monies to be paid pack from their income (salaries, speaking fees, campaign contributions, etc). That might put a stop to passing bills they have not read.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
They're already liable, and the penalty for screwing up is SUPPOSED TO BE losing the next election. That doesn't happen often enough to make it a serious threat to anyone, though.

Mere job performance isn't the only criterion for electing or re-electing Congress-persons. There's money, there's psychology, there's tribalism, there's tradition, there's flattering lines of BS. Crappy, messy, smelly human nature, in other words.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd like to see Congressional salaries adjusted: reduced by percent of current deficit as part of budget (i.e. right now around 30%) and also by adding up rate of inflation and unemployment (right now about another 10%), then add back current growth of GDP (about 2%). And tie their staff salaries to this formula also, since the staff are usually more dependent on their pay than the members themselves are.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd have a sunset provision for every law, it gets repealed after, say, 25 years. If Congress is busy reenacting laws against murder, bank robbery and such, then they aren't doing other mischief. And I'd include Cabinet Departments. You want to reauthorize State or Treasury, well then you're to busy to cook up CFPB. And if EPA is acting to high handed, well then maybe let it expire.

Regulations, I'd give 15 years.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
25 years? Make it annually. And require 1 day of "debate" for every 100 pages of a bill. Eventually Congress will be spending all of their time reauthorizing existing laws, so they won't be able to bother us anymore.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gladly pay them a Million dollars a year each less one dollar per word of laws passed and regulations proposed. You go negative and you go home. Rebates allowed for repealed laws and revoked regulations.

Also allowing a self defense plea to anyone attacking a politician or bureaucrat.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only idea I could think of - and I haven't run any models to see how this might've impacted various decisions, is permitting the constituents of a congressman to vote on each bill.

Or rather, they can vote on every bill - but they aren't voting up or down on the bill. They're voting if their congressman gets to vote. If a quorum of votes are cast, and the majority says Yea, then their congressman doesn't get to vote. Oh, and their pay is docked by a certain amount - say 3%. It requires a lot of effort to constrain your politician, but if there are more than 30 bills that come up that voters don't trust their congressman on, things will start to look pretty unfortunate for them. Hell, allow their salary to tun negative as a tax-- er... penalty. Whatever. Make it hurt.


This would likely have a much bigger impact in the Senate than the House. It would help dismantle super-majorities, Though it might have more potential to hurt the minority party than majority - so I'll have to think it out further. But this would have the added effect of providing incentive for the GOP to campaign to blue voters. Granted, same incentive for Dems to campaign to red voters - but they do that anyway... constantly.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
You forgot one Steve.

● Congress shall pass no laws that exempt themselves from any rules and regulations.

The first exemption to be taken away is the one exempting themselves and their staff from insider trading. This may make the job just a bit less lucrative. *Any* law that I can go to jail for breaking should be one where 'they' can also be sent to jail.

I would only call that a great start. There are lots more examples of this inequality between We The People and the so-called 'ruling class'. They have forgotten their place in American life and need to be reined in.


46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All

2 Trackbacks to “A ‘Do-Nothing Congress’? That’s a Compliment!”