The Wonder of Divided Government

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Last week, Congressional Republicans and Vice President Joe Biden came to an impasse over the debt crisis.  House Majority Leader Eric Canter (R-VA) announced that he was pulling out of the negotiations over deficit-reduction because he refused to countenance tax increases.  Senator Jon Kyl walked out the door with him.  “We’ve reached the point where the dynamic needs to change,” Cantor said.  “It is up to the president to come in and talk to the speaker.  We’ve reached the end of this phase.”  Biden tried to play it as a victory, even though it was a clear defeat.  “As all of us at the table said at the outset, the goal of these talks was to report our findings back to our respective leaders,” Biden stated. “The next phase is in the hands of those leaders, who need to determine the scope of an agreement that can tackle the problem and attract bipartisan support. For now the talks are in abeyance as we await that guidance.”

Gridlock.  Stagnation.  Stalemate.

It’s a beautiful thing.

In fact, it’s exactly with the founders intended.  The Constitution was designed specifically to prevent precipitous and dramatic action.  As David Rivkin, a Department of Justice lawyer with the Bush Administration, writes, “The Framers achieved … stability by generally requiring a high level of consensus in support of governmental action.  Accordingly, the Constitution deliberately makes achieving ‘legislative accomplishments’ difficult.”

The problem arose, however, when in the early 20th century, progressives like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson dismissed the Constitution as archaic and obsolete, upset that it prevented enough from being done.  Wilson suggested, “Justly revered as our great constitution is, it could be stripped off and thrown aside like a garment, and the nation would still stand forth clothed in the living vestment of flesh and sinew, warm with the heart- blood of one people, ready to recreate constitutions and laws.”  Since then, government has done just that – stripped the Constitution off and thrown it aside like a garment.  But the more we have strayed from Constitutional principles, the less we have stood forth as a people, and the more we have decayed in entrepreneurialism, manly spirit, and strength.

Both political parties have strayed from Constitutional principles.  Republicans have spent as well as Democrats, embracing the “living Constitution” in order to forward their political agenda.

The American people have responded the only way we have known how: by dividing the government against itself.  From 1930-1970, we had split government – meaning one party in control of the presidency, and another party in control of either the House or the Senate – just four times.  From 1970 onward, we’ve had it no less than 14 times.  The press can’t understand it.  Why would Americans vote for Republicans in Congress and Democratic in the presidential races, or more commonly, vice versa?  Why wouldn’t they embrace one party or another?  Why the seeming schizophrenia?

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  • Amused

    Oh what a farce ! What an exercise in partisan propaganda ! We had a crash , the Great Depression for the same reason we have our current financial debacle . Greedy Banks , Greedy Investors , without seperation of Investmant Banks and Commercial and Savings Banks . A law was passd to prevent this very thing from happenning again . So what happened ? That Law was repealed ! And here we are AGAIN . In 2008 legislation was attempted to correct this bad practice , so far Wall Street has furiously lobbied against it , and for the most part has been successful , the legislation has been walked back and watered down . " A Beautiful thing " ??? Let the US default and see how "beautifull things will be .In Fact we will see serious effects BEFORE the August deadline .Every SANE ECONOMIST in the country agrees this will be a financial disaster .The only thing Shapiro gets right is , that BOTH PARTIES are to blame .Historically , the only recoveries that took place , did so after TAX INCREASES .

    • tagalog

      The Great Depression was caused by a variety of factors, many of them involving government regulation of the economy, and shortsighted economic policies, including banking regulations, the Smoot-Hawley tariff, and several other disastrous government schemes that resulted in long-term catastrophe, exacerbated by the New Deal.

      The greed your post refers to seems to relate to some of those government regulations. But the biggest corporate greed thing that contributed to the Great Depression was the pump-and-dump tactic of greedy investors that led directly to the 1929 stock market crash, an event that did not have to result in over a decade of economic disaster, that could have caused its transitory damage and been left behind within a year or two.

    • adamjw2

      Please provide sources for all these claims. If you want to be taken seriously, please provide facts.

    • voted against carter

      You are an idiot. STOP proving it with every statement you make.

    • tagalog

      The only recoveries that took place did so after tax increases? Well, Social Security was enacted into law in 1935; it increased taxes, but most people who have looked at the Great Depression can't find any relationship between the tax increase of Social Security and an improvement in the economy of the U.S.

      It's true that the economy took a short upturn in 1936, but that was the year when the U.S. Supreme Court found the New Deal constitutional, and the economy took a dump for another 5 or 6 years.

      You could just as easily say that the rise of fascism and Nazism ended the Great Depression in Europe about 7 or 8 years earlier than it ended in the United States. The Third Reich ended unemployment in Germany and Mussolini made the trains run on time in Italy.

      Some historians believe that the Second World War created a false economy in the U.S., propped up by the government putting the great majority of the unemployed in uniform, giving them jobs in the armed forces and paying them a pittance and providing civilians with work in the defense industry, that extended the Great Depression in the United States to at least 1945, when the postwar boom in housing took our economy out of the doldrums.

    • coyote3

      You don't address the issue, gridlock is a beautiful thing, tee hee.

  • Amused

    A Man of infinite wisdom once said " A house divided will not stand " ……it would seem we continually REJECT that Wisdom . And the price we pay for that , will NOT be "a beautifull thing " .

  • Wesley69

    While not stopping it totally, divided government has slowed down the Obama tranformation of this country. And that is a VERY GOOD THING.

    If there were solid majorities in both the Senate and House for the Democrats, we'd have Cap & Trade, Card Check, Net Neutrality, Tax Increase, More Spending. Not that the Republicans are not big spenders. That's the reason our financial house is in disorder.

    • voted against carter

      Bingo! have a cigar!!!

      • Wesley69

        A cigar for stating the obvious???

  • Amused

    All those things you mention had nothing at all to do with the 2007-2008 economic meltdown which came after two Republican Administrations . Say what you will about Clinton , he left office with a surplus . The "guru " of Republican Conservatism himself , Ronald Reagan , grew big government by 18 % and tripled the deficit in his two Administrations . And if you think any recovery will take place without tax increases , then you're no student of history . This should surprise no one , since the primary aim of politicians , besides their partisan bickering and brinksmanship , is SELF-PERPETUATION ,above all else , even the better good of the country .

    • voted against carter

      Making stuff up does NOT make it true. Sorry.

      You are an idiot. STOP proving it with every statement you make.

    • Chris Nichols

      Please explain to me how giving the government, which produces nothing, more money via taxes, will produce more jobs and wealth? You can provide historical examples of this , you now, since your such a student of history and all.

    • tagalog

      Yes, the two Republican administrations of George W. Bush, whose economic policies were known to be misguided from the very first and who did not respond to those who pointed that fact out. George W. Bush, with considerable justice, has been characterized as a big government conservative (and in some corners as a RINO). That's why we should look at the tax policies of his father and him, and NEVER but NEVER vote another Bush into any high elective office.

      Our nation can survive a humiliating and expensive period of time recovering from a default on its debt; what it can't survive is the deliberate self-blinding of our elected lawmakers, who, like drug addicts, are willing to do anything, ANYTHING, to retain the ability to keep on spending no matter how deeply into debt they sink us and our children.

  • Asher

    Make no mistake about it, these Socialists in the White House will push forward with a Radial agenda to Collapse our economy, Allow illegals the rights of every Tax Payer in America who is entitled to rights, and destroy the Oil and Coal Industry, keeping us on Arab terrorist oil, unless the Republicans tell them No No No! A Stalemate will be alright until we vote these Socialists out of Office!

  • Ghostwriter

    For nm18,here is a list of Islamic governments:
    1.Iran.
    2.Saudi Arabia.
    3.Afghanistan under the Taliban etc.
    Not exactly places I want to live,are they?

  • chris nichols

    How old are you 12, 13. How is a cap and trade system going to create economic opportunity? The worst economy to ever enjoy 4.5% unemployment. OF course he did spend a lot. It amazes me how leftists turn into fiscal conservatives all of a sudden when Republicans are holding the purse strings, then say nothing when their Messiah triples their 8 years of spending in 4 months. Of course a cap and trade system which places more onerous costs and restrictions on business will surely get us out of this 9%, actually closer to 20% unemployment right. Super genius.

    • Chris Nichols

      Excuse me, I meant to say the Bush years were the worse economy to enjoy 4.5% unemployment. I was being sarcastic of course, probably couldn't figure that out by yourself.

  • coyote3

    Now you just made it worse, more made up stuff. No proof that the economy was "caused" by the Bush years, (anyway Bush was liberal). Moreover, by whose criteria is card check irrelevant. You just decided that? That's almost funny

  • coyote3

    There may, indeed, be. A step in the right direction would be decrease the taxes of the oppressed, the top wage earners, who pay most of the income taxes now. Then increase the taxes on the lowest end, by eliminating the earned income credit.

  • Amused

    And may I add , that "spending " ,is to ingratiate their own political careers , as the spending is connected to lobbying donations for their special interests , and pork for their districts .And when it comes to voting on this , it is strictly QUID PRO QUO , not fiscal responsibility or any concern for the good of the country nor the people. And while some dimbulbs here think a default "won't be such a bad thing " , there will be many many more Americans who will suffer for the sake of their STUPIDITY

  • Asher

    So Far The Left has not come up with concrete-workable ideas to make the economy better, bring back jobs, and start drilling for oil which would bring down gas prices, and help get us off Arab Terrorist oil. All the Left does is play the blame game against the Republican party, ( who is not perfect) but at least they got off their buts and put together plans for Healthcare, the Debt ceiling, A cap on spending, Renewable energies, and creating jobs. 3 years into his Presidency Obama and the Democrats are still blaming Bush, this is so rediculous and shows how incompetent, and incapable of doing anything productive the Left really is.

  • coyote3

    Boy! Yes, Bush was, and is, a liberal. That is not something that is "so now it's BUSH WAS A LIBERAL.:" He was always a liberal, he did a few conservative things, but so do a lot of liberals. I have consistently said he was a liberal. "….brainwashed nimrods?" Maybe by some definition they are, but from most accounts, so far, they are winning. Especially, on legislative issues at the state level where it counts.

  • Madelene Dense

    French TGVs have been using 300 km/h (186 mph) as their standard cruising speed for many, many years now, and they’ve recently started to go faster on scheduled routes. Germany has TGV-type trains on its high-speed network.

  • http://www.dancingbearbotanicals.com/index.php?action=profile;u=56746 Bebe Kempel

    If you keep exposing your body to something that it can’t handle, it can respond by being able to handle less of everything else too. Processed starches and sugars can cause digestive problems in someone who is under stress, even if they have no problems with it under more relaxed circumstances. For example, I can eat whole grains without problems, but white flour can give me horrible heartburn, and I’m especially sensitive when I’m under stress.