Two years ago the Reid-Pelosi Congress went home without passing the appropriations bills to fund the federal government's spending programs. The reason then was that they expected Candidate Obama to win the presidential election and they wanted to pass $400 billion in spending increases without the threat of a Bush veto.
This year they failed to pass budget resolutions as required by law, and have failed to pass the appropriations bills as well.
Hey, why not? Who do you think is in charge here? The people?
This time, of course, the most ethical Congress ever has a different reason for putting off the appropriations bills. The solons know they are deeply unpopular and they don't want any unpopular votes getting into their opponents' TV commercials.
It all goes to show that Joseph Schumpeter was right. Politicians are people who are professionals at winning elections. Everything else they do is by courtesy. Maybe they'll pass a budget; maybe they'll actually record a vote or two. Maybe they'll educate a child or two, maybe they will fix up their ramshackle patronage system.
But for sure they will collect the taxes and print the money.
We know that the American people are getting ready to make the biggest change in Congress in living memory. We just don't know by how much.
And why not? Let's have some fun. Politicians are fungible. You can defeat them here, but the same kind of chaps will get elected over there.
The real problem, Medicare, will still be there after the fun and games and the accusations and the October surprises are over.
Yeah, I know, Social Security and Medicaid are important, but nothing like the problem of Medicare.
Personally, as a senior about to enroll in Medicare, I'd be willing to pay more for my health care and take less of the government's subsidy. But the deal is this: I want to control my health care arrangements. I want the government's cotton picking hands off my health insurance. I want to be able to have a big deductible and I don't want government telling me what should or should not be included in my catastrophic health insurance policy.
Surely that ain't too much?
Meanwhile back to the campaign trail, and let's see how nasty it gets in the homestretch.