How many times in the last few years have you read an article about how polarized our political process has become? More than you can count likely and the same comments are heard on all the news broadcasts on almost a daily basis and have been like that for several years. It is as though we have entered some new era of political disputation on a level never seen before to listen to the wisdom of the pundits. Of course it goes without saying that the same discussions of polarization always immediately are followed up with some ponderous words and even polling data that allegedly show how badly the majority of Americans seek compromise. The word dysfunctional is then tossed at Congress because they haven’t passed a lot of new laws during a particular session.
First of all why is it considered a good thing that Congress is passing new laws? Don’t we really have enough of them already? Aren’t we literally drowning in laws at the Federal level and in all those departments, agencies, bureaus and centers and such? No one can ever accurately give the number of Federal criminal laws on the books at the moment. Some have estimated them to be at least 70,000 separate criminal statutes but no on really knows. It would take several thousand pages to list the various department, sub-departments, agencies and bureaus of one kind or another in all the Cabinet level departments plus the independent agencies created by special act of
Congress. Again do a Google search or whatever you like and you will find it is impossible to get a complete listing of these different entities funded and run by the government at taxpayer expense performing Lord only knows what function much less whether that function is useful or necessary.
In the economic field consider the different organizations we have at work, at least nominally at work compared to the private workplace, studying, analyzing and recommending policy for the economic growth of the US. There is the GAO which monitors and supposedly audits government operations for waste and efficiency (don’t laugh, I know that efficiency is an oxymoron when it comes to Government work). Next up how about the Council of Economic Advisors. Then here is the OMB, the Office of Management and Budget. That is followed by the Federal Reserve which has an army of economists and actuaries and statisticians. Hey, how about the Department of Commerce in addition to those. Then there is the Department of Labor and its separate BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics). And lastly there is the Department of the Treasury. Shouldn’t the Treasury be advising on almost all these matters? If not then clean house and hire competent people. Those entities are mere proof of duplication and redundancies gone mad. You know what is sad is that is not even the complete list for that one category. And some liberals complain that Congress has ‘t passed enough laws.
If compromise means we have to pass new laws then I am agin it. How about compromise agreeing to eliminate the useless and wasteful laws on the books now. Wouldn’t it be grand to have a new Cabinet Department of Elimination who sole purpose was to bring to the attention of the people these useless and wasteful laws bureaus and programs. I mean do we really need a bureau still regulating grape production?
We have faced much more severe polarization in our past than we confront today. At the beginning of our nation we had great divides between the Rebels who supported and won the Revolutionary War and the Tories who continued to support the King and England to the bitter end. Many of those Tories had their property taken by force or only marginal legal process. Remember that a third of the population then were Tories from Maine to Georgia. That is a very large percentage of angry folks. Setting aside the issue of slavery there was tremendous hostility between New England and the South from independence to the War Between the States over trade policy and the open seas. The merchants and the farmers had very different views of economy. Indeed it was the New England states in the early 19th century that first seriously proposed secession from the Union over trade policy, not the Southern states. In the late 19th century that was open antagonism between the rural and farm country and the urban and eastern cities. Thus the appeal and abhorrence of William Jennings Bryant by those respective sections and demographics of the country.
Don’t believe the history you read by journalists. If you actually read real history you will be quite aware that there was open hostility for most of FDR’s reign. He said awful and threatening things about business. He was a vicious politician and pounded his political opponents without mercy and tried to institute and complete government take over of the entire economy with his NRA, National Recovery Act, that thankfully was rightfully found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and that is when he strove mightily to pack the Court with Cronies which also failed. As much as he was loved by many he was reviled by more than 40% of the people, again not an insignificant slice of the population. He only came to appreciate Business when the War came and he realized he desperately needed them to win the War.
Soon we will discuss the acrimony existing at the birth of the nation and Reconstruction by the North.
We’ll survive the current discord and division, that isn’t the question. How we survive and with what freedoms is the issue. Even the Germans survived the Nazis and the destruction of the War. That was pretty severe polarization among themselves and the rest of the world to boot.
“A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence” David Hume, Scottish philosopher. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com