One meme that I've been hearing a lot recently is that Congress is "dysfunctional", but I don't agree. Let's look at some evidence though:

  • Congress hasn't passed a budget since 2009
  • Supercommittee superfails to make even superficial budget reforms
  • Obamacare enacted using procedural gimmicks and against public will
  • No ability to tackle soaring "entitlement" deficits
  • No Congressional authorization for Libya war

These aren't even complaints about good versus bad policy... they're evidence that Congress is completely and hopelessly gridlocked. However, I don't think think that this gridlock is a sign of dysfunction... I think Congress is working as intended.

What? Yes, that's right. Our Constitution separates powers in the government to purposefully make it hard to do stuff. That's a feature, not a bug. Congress is gridlocked because the electorate is gridlocked: we don't want to give up our "entitlements", but we're also slowly realizing that we can't keep borrowing to pay for them.

Either taxes go up a lot, or entitlements get slashed. Which will it be? Congress can't act until there's a relatively broad mandate for one road or the other. Until that time nothing will happen, and it's not Congress' fault.

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