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February 13, 2011

Self-Fulfilling Prophesy: GOP Works to Make Government Unworkable

Posted in: Broken Government

It’s not just an article of faith among many in the Republican Party that the government by some rule of nature/psychology/economics can’t be a solution. This idea has morphed into a commitment to make it impossible for government to properly function, preventing it from ever being a solution. The conservative philosophy about the role of government has transitioned into an active effort to realize a self-fulfilling anti-government prophesy.

You can see this self-fulfilling prophesy at work with two quiet and at first sensible Republican efforts. One is a push for a rule permitting only bills dealing with a single issue and other is the RIENS Act, to give Congress “oversight” of regulation.

As I explained at length the idea of more, smaller, and simpler bills sounds good. The problem is that the prominent Republicans who want the single issue rule — Mike Enzi (R-WY) and John Barrasso (R-WY) — also refuse to change the filibuster rules that cause the problem of large omnibus bills to begin with. You can’t effectively use many smaller single issue bills as long as the filibuster means each bill can take at least 90 hours. In reality their proposal simply makes it even harder and more time consuming to pass anything.

As Noah Sachs explains the RIENS Act follows a similar pattern. The general idea of more congressional involvement in regulation sounds good and benign, but how the bill works would be cripple the ability of the government to regulate effectively. Congress would not only lack adequate time for all the extra votes, but by having regulations automatically end if Congress does vote on them, there’s more incentive for members to obstruct regulation by wasting floor time. It would make responsive legislation and regulation more difficult.

The Republican Party believes that government is incapable of doing a job well, and are therefore against expanding the government. They are committed to “proving” their belief that the government can’t do a good job no matter the cost, even if it means actively working to break it. By actively making government unworkable, they demonstrate government can’t work.

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