Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute wrote a very good article and I agree with most of it. However, I do take exception to just one part. He is right to get on to USA Today for calling this current Congress the most unproductive since they only passed 61 bills. Dan rightly pointed out that in the first two years of Obama’s term the Democratically controlled Congress turned out lots of law but they included some very bad laws like Obamacare.
How I differ with Mitchell on this one point. In 2011 the Republicans in Congress failed to block the debt ceiling proposal and only 66 brave Republicans in the House voted against it. As a result we have continued to run trillion dollar deficits which in my view (and Dan’s too) makes this Congress the dumbest and most unproductive ever. Dan has actually shown how government involvement in deficit spending can actually hinder economic growth. and Dan did an excellent video series on restraining spending in government and I have included the You Tube clips of those in this post.
Here below is a list of those 66 brave Republicans that voted against the debt ceiling increase listed below in August of 2011.
Full House roll call
By: Associated Press
August 1, 2011 08:46 PM EDT
The 269-161 roll call Monday by which the House passed the compromise bill to raise the debt ceiling and prevent a government default.
A “yes” vote is a vote to pass the measure.
Voting yes were 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans.
Voting no were 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans.
X denotes those not voting.
There are 2 vacancies in the 435-member House.
Democrats – Sewell, Y.
Republicans – Young, Y.
Democrats – Giffords, Y; Grijalva, N; Pastor, N.
Democrats – Ross, Y.
Republicans – Crawford, Y; Griffin, Y; Womack, Y.
Democrats – Baca, X; Bass, Y; Becerra, N; Berman, Y; Capps, Y; Cardoza, N; Chu, N; Costa, Y; Davis, Y; Eshoo, Y; Farr, N; Filner, N; Garamendi, Y; Hahn, N; Honda, N; Lee, N; Lofgren, Zoe, N; Matsui, N; McNerney, N; Miller, George, N; Napolitano, N; Pelosi, Y; Richardson, N; Roybal-Allard, N; Sanchez, Linda T., N; Sanchez, Loretta, Y; Schiff, Y; Sherman, Y; Speier, Y; Stark, N; Thompson, Y; Waters, N; Waxman, N; Woolsey, N.
Republicans – Bilbray, Y; Bono Mack, Y; Calvert, Y; Campbell, Y; Denham, Y; Dreier, Y; Gallegly, Y; Herger, Y; Hunter, N; Issa, Y; Lewis, Y; Lungren, Daniel E., Y; McCarthy, Y; McClintock, N; McKeon, Y; Miller, Gary, Y; Nunes, N; Rohrabacher, Y; Royce, Y.
Democrats – DeGette, N; Perlmutter, Y; Polis, Y.
Republicans – Coffman, Y; Gardner, Y; Lamborn, N; Tipton, N.
Democrats – Courtney, Y; DeLauro, N; Himes, Y; Larson, N; Murphy, N.
Democrats – Carney, Y.
Democrats – Brown, N; Castor, Y; Deutch, Y; Hastings, N; Wasserman Schultz, Y; Wilson, Y.
Republicans – Adams, Y; Bilirakis, Y; Buchanan, Y; Crenshaw, Y; Diaz-Balart, Y; Mack, N; Mica, Y; Miller, Y; Nugent, Y; Posey, N; Rivera, Y; Rooney, Y; Ros-Lehtinen, Y; Ross, N; Southerland, N; Stearns, N; Webster, Y; West, Y; Young, Y.
Democrats – Barrow, Y; Bishop, Y; Johnson, Y; Lewis, N; Scott, David, Y.
Democrats – Hanabusa, Y; Hirono, Y.
Republicans – Labrador, N; Simpson, Y.
Democrats – Costello, Y; Davis, Y; Gutierrez, Y; Jackson, N; Lipinski, Y; Quigley, Y; Rush, Y; Schakowsky, N.
Democrats – Carson, N; Donnelly, Y; Visclosky, N.
Republicans – Bucshon, Y; Burton, N; Pence, Y; Rokita, N; Stutzman, N; Young, Y.
Democrats – Boswell, N; Braley, N; Loebsack, N.
Democrats – Chandler, Y; Yarmuth, N.
Republicans – Davis, N; Guthrie, Y; Rogers, Y; Whitfield, Y.
Democrats – Richmond, Y.
Democrats – Michaud, Y; Pingree, N.
Democrats – Cummings, N; Edwards, N; Hoyer, Y; Ruppersberger, Y; Sarbanes, N; Van Hollen, Y.
Republicans – Bartlett, Y; Harris, N.
Democrats – Capuano, N; Frank, N; Keating, Y; Lynch, Y; Markey, N; McGovern, N; Neal, N; Olver, N; Tierney, N; Tsongas, Y.
Democrats – Clarke, N; Conyers, N; Dingell, Y; Kildee, Y; Levin, Y; Peters, N.
Republicans – Amash, N; Benishek, Y; Camp, Y; Huizenga, Y; McCotter, Y; Miller, Y; Rogers, Y; Upton, Y; Walberg, Y.
Democrats – Ellison, N; McCollum, N; Peterson, Y; Walz, Y.
Democrats – Thompson, N.
Republicans – Harper, Y; Nunnelee, Y; Palazzo, Y.
Democrats – Carnahan, Y; Clay, Y; Cleaver, N.
Republicans – Rehberg, N.
Republicans – Fortenberry, Y; Smith, Y; Terry, Y.
Democrats – Berkley, Y.
Republicans – Heck, Y.
Republicans – Bass, Y; Guinta, Y.
Democrats – Andrews, Y; Holt, N; Pallone, N; Pascrell, Y; Payne, N; Rothman, Y; Sires, Y.
Republicans – Frelinghuysen, Y; Garrett, N; Lance, Y; LoBiondo, Y; Runyan, Y; Smith, Y.
Democrats – Heinrich, Y; Lujan, N.
Republicans – Pearce, N.
Democrats – Ackerman, N; Bishop, Y; Clarke, N; Crowley, N; Engel, N; Higgins, Y; Hinchey, X; Hochul, Y; Israel, Y; Lowey, Y; Maloney, N; McCarthy, Y; Meeks, Y; Nadler, N; Owens, Y; Rangel, N; Serrano, N; Slaughter, N; Tonko, N; Towns, N; Velazquez, N.
Republicans – Buerkle, N; Gibson, Y; Grimm, Y; Hanna, Y; Hayworth, Y; King, Y; Reed, Y.
Democrats – Butterfield, N; Kissell, N; McIntyre, N; Miller, N; Price, N; Shuler, Y; Watt, N.
Republicans – Coble, Y; Ellmers, Y; Foxx, Y; Jones, N; McHenry, Y; Myrick, Y.
Republicans – Berg, Y.
Democrats – Fudge, N; Kaptur, N; Kucinich, N; Ryan, N; Sutton, N.
Democrats – Boren, Y.
Republicans – Cole, Y; Lankford, Y; Lucas, Y; Sullivan, Y.
Democrats – Blumenauer, N; DeFazio, N; Schrader, Y; Wu, Y.
Republicans – Walden, Y.
Democrats – Altmire, Y; Brady, Y; Critz, Y; Doyle, N; Fattah, Y; Holden, Y; Schwartz, Y.
Republicans – Barletta, Y; Dent, Y; Fitzpatrick, Y; Gerlach, Y; Kelly, Y; Marino, Y; Meehan, Y; Murphy, Y; Pitts, Y; Platts, Y; Shuster, Y; Thompson, Y.
Democrats – Cicilline, Y; Langevin, Y.
Democrats – Clyburn, Y.
Republicans – Duncan, N; Gowdy, N; Mulvaney, N; Scott, N; Wilson, N.
Republicans – Noem, Y.
Democrats – Cohen, N; Cooper, Y.
Republicans – Black, Y; Blackburn, Y; DesJarlais, N; Duncan, Y; Fincher, Y; Fleischmann, N; Roe, Y.
Democrats – Cuellar, Y; Doggett, Y; Gonzalez, N; Green, Al, N; Green, Gene, Y; Hinojosa, Y; Jackson Lee, Y; Johnson, E. B., Y; Reyes, N.
Republicans – Barton, Y; Brady, Y; Burgess, Y; Canseco, Y; Carter, Y; Conaway, Y; Culberson, Y; Farenthold, Y; Flores, Y; Gohmert, N; Granger, Y; Hall, N; Hensarling, Y; Johnson, Sam, Y; Marchant, Y; McCaul, Y; Neugebauer, N; Olson, Y; Paul, N; Poe, N; Sessions, Y; Smith, Y; Thornberry, Y.
Democrats – Matheson, Y.
Republicans – Bishop, N; Chaffetz, N.
Democrats – Welch, N.
Democrats – Connolly, Y; Moran, N; Scott, N.
Republicans – Cantor, Y; Forbes, N; Goodlatte, Y; Griffith, N; Hurt, Y; Rigell, Y; Wittman, Y; Wolf, Y.
Democrats – Dicks, Y; Inslee, Y; Larsen, Y; McDermott, N; Smith, N.
Republicans – Hastings, Y; Herrera Beutler, Y; McMorris Rodgers, Y; Reichert, Y.
Democrats – Rahall, Y.
Republicans – Capito, Y; McKinley, Y.
Democrats – Baldwin, N; Kind, Y; Moore, X.
Republicans – Duffy, Y; Petri, Y; Ribble, Y; Ryan, Y; Sensenbrenner, Y.
Republicans – Lummis, Y.
Although this line is attributed to many people, Wikiquote says that Gideon Tucker was the first to warn us that “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”
This cartoon about Keynesian economics sort of makes the same point, but not with the same eloquence.
I don’t think it’s a case of media bias or inaccuracy, as we saw with the AP story on poverty, the Brian Ross Tea Party slur, or the Reuters report on job creation and so-called stimulus.
But it does blindly assume that it is productive to impose more laws. Was it productive to enact Obamacare? What about the faux stimulus? Or the Dodd-Frank bailout bill?
Wouldn’t the headline be more accurate if it read, “This Congress could be least destructive since 1947″?
Here are the relevant parts of the USA Today report.
Congress is on pace to make history with the least productive legislative year in the post World War II era. Just 61 bills have become law to date in 2012 out of 3,914 bills that have been introduced by lawmakers, or less than 2% of all proposed laws, according to a USA TODAY analysis of records since 1947 kept by the U.S. House Clerk’s office. In 2011, after Republicans took control of the U.S. House, Congress passed just 90 bills into law. The only other year in which Congress failed to pass at least 125 laws was 1995. …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.
To be sure, not all legislation is bad. Now that the Supreme Court has failed in its job, Congress would have to enact a law to repeal Obamacare. Laws also would need to be changed to reform entitlements, or adopt a flat tax.
And some laws are benign, such as the enactment of Dairy Goat Awareness Week or naming a federal courthouse.
But I’m guessing that the vast majority of substantive laws are bad for freedom and result in less prosperity.
So let’s cross our fingers that future Congresses are even less productive (and therefore less destructive) than the current one.
Here is list from Wikipedia of the recent federal budgets:
- 2011 United States federal budget – $3.8 trillion (submitted 2010 by President Obama)
- 2010 United States federal budget – $3.6 trillion (submitted 2009 by President Obama)
- 2009 United States federal budget – $3.1 trillion (submitted 2008 by President Bush)
- 2008 United States federal budget – $2.9 trillion (submitted 2007 by President Bush)
- 2007 United States federal budget – $2.8 trillion (submitted 2006 by President Bush)
- 2006 United States federal budget – $2.7 trillion (submitted 2005 by President Bush)
- 2005 United States federal budget – $2.4 trillion (submitted 2004 by President Bush)
- 2004 United States federal budget – $2.3 trillion (submitted 2003 by President Bush)
- 2003 United States federal budget – $2.2 trillion (submitted 2002 by President Bush)
- 2002 United States federal budget – $2.0 trillion (submitted 2001 by President Bush)
- 2001 United States federal budget – $1.9 trillion (submitted 2000 by President Clinton)
- 2000 United States federal budget – $1.8 trillion (submitted 1999 by President Clinton)
- 1999 United States federal budget – $1.7 trillion (submitted 1998 by President Clinton)
- 1998 United States federal budget – $1.7 trillion (submitted 1997 by President Clinton)
- 1997 United States federal budget – $1.6 trillion (submitted 1996 by President Clinton)
- 1996 United States federal budget – $1.6 trillion (submitted 1995 by President Clinton)