“In 2011, after Republicans took control of the U.S. House, Congress passed just 90 bills into law,” the paper says. “The only other year in which Congress failed to pass at least 125 laws was 1995. These statistics make the 112th Congress, covering 2011-12, the least productive two-year gathering on Capitol Hill since the end of World War II. Not even the 80th Congress, which President Truman called the ‘do-nothing Congress’ in 1948, passed as few laws as the current one, records show.”
The newspaper’s analysis is correct — in everything but its fundamental principles.
First, the paper presumes that passing new legislation is “productive.” It refers to “partisan divisions and legislative failures.”
But that’s not how Americans see it. Blocking bad legislation is every bit the “legislative success” that passing it is — indeed, a far greater success.
Take one example. Many pundits have blasted Republicans for standing in the way of Obama’s jobs legislation. But let’s look at the legislation itself. The American Jobs Act couldn’t even win over many Senate Democrats. That’s because it’s little more than a rehash of the failed 2009 stimulus act. Much of the bill was devoted to shoring up public sector spending in states that are broke — in other words, transferring tax money from frugal states (such as Texas) to profligate states (such as California) without our consent. No wonder the bill failed to pass even the Democrat-controlled Senate.
That’s just one example. There’s plenty of bad legislation on Capitol Hill that needs to be stopped.
USA Today doesn’t see it that way, of course.
“When Democrats controlled both chambers during the 111th Congress, 258 laws were enacted in 2010 and 125 in 2009, including President Obama’s health care law,” it points out.
It’s like when Politico.com complained that Obama’s Jobs Council hadn’t met recently.
“President Barack Obama’s Jobs Council hasn’t met publicly for six months, even as the issue of job creation dominates the 2012 election,” Politico reported last month. “At this point, the hiatus — which reached the half-year mark Tuesday — might be less awkward than an official meeting, given the hornet’s nest of issues that could sting Obama and the council members if the private-sector panel gets together.”
But that’s exactly what the council should be doing, if it wants to help job growth. The bottom line for many businesses is that uncertainty about out-of-control government intervention and regulation is what’s slowing job creation.
The best thing Congress can do, then, is as little as possible.