Manning: The System Isn’t Broken

Many Americans look at what is happening in Washington, D.C. and ask two simple questions, “Is our system broken, and why can’t these politicians just get along?” In fact, these are two of the most frequent questions I get when doing radio interviews across the nation, particularly during the call-in…

Many Americans look at what is happening in Washington, D.C. and ask two simple questions, “Is our system broken, and why can’t these politicians just get along?”

In fact, these are two of the most frequent questions I get when doing radio interviews across the nation, particularly during the call-in portion.

As tough as it is to believe, the system is not actually broken when the Congress is fighting with itself and with the President, in fact, that is exactly the outcome our founding fathers intended when they built it.

There is supposed to be tension between the House and the Senate, and there is definitely supposed to be fighting between Congress and the Executive Branch.

The House of Representatives was given the constitutional responsibility of being where all spending bills must originate.  The Founders wanted the body closest to the people, who faced election every two years, to hold the purse strings of government.   The same House was proportionally elected whereby each Member represented approximately the same number of people, with every state guaranteed at least one House Member.

Until 1913, Senators were appointed by their respective state legislatures, two to a state in staggered six-year terms.  This insulation from the voters was designed to create the ultimate insiders club, to serve as an offset to the constant political demands in the House.

The Senate was also set up to defend parochial state interests as individual senators’ power was directly tied to the desires of the politicians in their home states.  Additionally, one of the great constitutional compromises was to protect the small states’ interests from being overrun by the large ones by offsetting the proportional representation in the House by giving each state equal representation in the Senate.

Just as the House has primary responsibility on money and tax issues, the Senate has sole responsibility in serving as a check on the Executive Branch through the ratification of treaties and the confirmation of political appointments among other powers.

American history is replete with examples of massive, almost heroic long-time congressional battles that somehow lose their passion in the stale retelling in school books.

(To continue reading this piece, press the “Read More …” icon below).

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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Stinkbait October 4, 2013 at 10:26 am

The founding fathers intended opposing sides of issues to at least, gawddamnit, talk with each other – i.e. Reagan/O’Neal, Clinton/Gingrich, et al.. Our democracy is unraveling before our eyes – thanks, in no small way, to the extremist loonies on both sides of the aisle.

nitrat October 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Please name every ‘extremist’ Democrat in Washington?

idcydm October 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm

You only need to name one, how many times has the President said he will not negotiate? That to my mind is being just as extreme as the Tea Party. I can’t include Harry, he’s just carrying the President’s water.

The Colonel October 4, 2013 at 10:35 am

More “constituent service” from your Administration – I wonder how much it cost to have the “essential National Park Service personnel” move more barricades to the memorial and wire them together. Interestingly enough, the WWI memorial just had 1 sign posted on a nearby sidewalk saying it was closed. http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/wired-shut-barricade-wwii-memorial-reinforced_759193.html

This whole thing is about political power, if the Dimocrats wanted to end it all they have to do is meet in the middle.

Smirks October 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Where was “the middle” before the shutdown? Defund? Delay? Those are Republican demands that the Democrats obviously have no reason to even entertain, especially since defund legislation has been considered many times before all of this. Why does it necessitate a shutdown to reach this hallowed “middle?”

How about Republicans fund the government in full and then negotiate changes? At least if they tried, for instance, just removing the medical device tax 42 times they could say they were being reasonable, unfortunately those 42 times were full repeals or defunding reform. Again, where is this mystical place you refer to as “the middle?”

(Of course, we’re ignoring the fact that this tax helps pay for some of the provisions of Obamacare, and that by removing it without a sufficient replacement, we add to the deficit.)

There are enough votes for a continuing resolution to pass in the House that funds everything including Obamacare, but thanks to the Hastert Rule, Boehner gets to continue obstructing such an effort. You’re absolutely right, it is all about political power, the power that Boehner does not want to lose as Speaker of the House by pissing off members of his own party.

He’s damned if he does (by the Tea Party) and damned if he doesn’t (by the moderates). My guess is that Boehner will let the shutdown continue for a week or two, then give in and blame it on the Senate.

The Colonel October 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

If at first you don’t succeed, kick the Administratioon in its nuts and try, try again…
Since the Administration has given all of its cronies a pass on implementing the ACA, why couldn’t they give the American taxpayer the same pass an postpone implementation until they were freaking actually ready to implement. Have you missed the numerous stories of how badly the roll out has gone? They’ll need a year to get their collective heads out of their collective asses to make any of this work. Republicans are doing what their constituents want or have you missed that far more oppose Obamacare than support it. Why is it that the middle ground with liberals is always, always, always what they want?

Tom October 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Well if we are listening to the people through polls, how about this one released yesterday from CBS.

“Fully 72% of Americans disapprove of shutting down the federal government over differences on the Affordable Care Act; just 25% approve of this action. Republicans are divided: 48%approve, while 49%, disapprove. “

William October 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Interesting, so you are willing to listen to the polls.

Where do you stand on increasing taxes on the top 5% American income earners to pay for Medicare and Social Security, which polls show 65% of Americans support.

Where do you stand on not changing or cutting Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, which polls show 63% of Americans support.

Where do you stand on requiring insurance companies to cover all preexisting conditions, which polls show 70% of Americans support.

Or how do you feel about this National Poll from yesterday?

“Regardless of how you personally feel about the 2010 health care law, what would you like to see Congress do when it comes to the 2010 health care law: uphold the law and
make it work as well as possible, OR, try to stop the law from being put into place by cutting off funding to implement it?” Options rotated
Make it work as well as possible. 56%
Stop by cutting off funding 38%
Stop in other ways 1%

Unsure/ No answer 5%
So maybe as people learn more and more about this law, their opinions are not so clear. Maybe as they realize that most of what Republicans have told them about the ACA is a lie, the more their opinion changes. Maybe that is what Republicans really fear.
By the way did you miss the fact public opinion is changing because you only get your information from Fox News.

? October 4, 2013 at 9:41 pm

“I wonder how much it cost to have the “essential National Park Service
personnel” move more barricades to the memorial and wire them together.”

While I’m not into the 2 party paradigm thing, I thought the exact same thing myself.

Doesn’t it cost money to keep people ‘out’? lol

Even further, what’s the problem with people walking about the various parks without the men in green there? No only is it cheaper, the statist might get lucky and some asshole might deface something and justify their existence.

Nanny state abounds.

Bill October 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

“I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line. I understand that there may be some other members who are deferring their paychecks, and I think that’s admirable. I’m not in that position.”
— Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), in an interview with WTVD-TV, on needing to be paid during the government shutdown she supported.”

Yea, tell that to the thousands of people you have furloughed. They will understand your plight more than your teapublican cohorts. I’ll bet you hate everyone’s benefits except your own. As the Colonel said yesterday, if you need your check to pay bills there must be something wrong with you.

You should do something significant to show support like Sanfraud and Mick, and agree to pick up your check later.

vicupstate October 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Partisan division is nothing new, but if it gets to the point of causing a default on the debt, that is without precedent and IS prima fascia evidence of dysfunction.

katfay October 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Load of crap. Post conclusion “system is working as it should” ignores fundamentals of org performance, gov gross systemic malfunctioning and failure to meet mission writer doesn’t understand.

True – one facet of gov org original design spec is still working – built in conflict using collective power. Writer and most citizens focus on emotional attachment to political rhetoric and ignore requirement gov orgs fail to meet, so fail to function.

Citizens must act with individual authority WITHIN mechanism we created to rule ourselves. Or, as is happening today, we are ruled by the autonomous power and might of an org that we don’t control.

Performance of all real orgs, including gov orgs, can be predicted according to basic principles (process, measuring, etc.) Org operators (politicians) use unwritten dishonest processes (nepotism, cronyism). Honest written processes are warped with imbibed self interest of operators. Gov org can’t help but deliver towards imbibed interests.

Political conflict is irrelevant to root cause of gov org break down. Break down is because first requirement isn’t met.

idcydm October 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm

There is nothing wrong with our government, just the people we elect to run it.

The People Are Getting Angry October 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm

The system is not broken. We have the laws on the books to put many of these pig shits we elected in prison. But the fact of the matter is, the laws are not followed and are not ENFORCED.
I say it is time to form mobs and go on witch hunts. Lord knows these corrupt politicians in South Carolina deserve it!!!!!! Everyone I talk to are plain old sick and tired of them all and want their heads!


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