It could be argued that the spending clause in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution as the first enumerated power of the Congress is the most important purpose of the Congress. But is Congress negligent in their responsibility to carry out this function?
In November 2016 the Congressional Research Service reported that in the last 20 years the Congress of the United States has failed in their responsibility to pass a budget by the start of the fiscal year. In the twenty years before that they only passed four budgets by the start of the fiscal year. That works out to be a 90 percent failure rate for one of their major functions. Instead Congress passes “Continuing Resolutions” until a committee of political party representatives can meet to negotiate a budget. GAO further reports that “Continuing Resolutions” result in inefficacies to agency operations.
In his book “Parkinson's Law,” C. Northcote Parkinson tells us, “The inevitable sequel is the appointment of a Royal Commission, a device intended to postpone the business until after the next election.”
made the following observation about Nazi actions in WWII. “Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.”
Chris Lowney in his book “Heroic Leadership” reminds us that leaders who do not shove off their connections are “…driven by their attachments just as addicts are driven by alcohol, sex or drugs.” We can surely apply his observation on leadership to congress in that politicians are driven by their addiction to their political party over their obligation to their constituents.
In his book, “How Come Every Time I Get Stabbed in the Back, My Fingerprints are on the Knife,” Jerry Harvey tells us that Cover You’re A**, “CYA becomes one of the only shared goals around which members of the organization organize their efforts.” And we “…divert attention from our complicity in contributing to major organizational problems.”
What happens then to “We The People” while our budget process is postponed by a negligent Congress that continues to hide their collective guilt behind committees with fanatical addiction to their political party to cover their a**?
Our youth continue to die from the open flow of dangerous drugs into the country across the open boarders, neighborhoods continue to be overtaken by illegal gang members preying on our teens, and the human trafficking proliferates, continuing to exploit people, including the same women and children the hypocritical politicians profess to support. During 2017, ICE arrested more than 76,000 illegal aliens for dangerous drug offenses. 10 of the 13 members of the notorious MS-13 gang arrested for a recent series of gruesome teenage murders that gripped the town of Brentwood, Long Island, are illegal immigrants. The ACLU reports the U.S. State Department estimate that 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year.
Nothing seems to have changed since my article for The Hill in May 2017 on politicians’ lackluster efforts to fight the growing drug crisis: “The mainstream media headlines continue to divert national attention by prioritizing the war of hypocrisy between the political parties’ 'Knight of the Woeful Countenance' chasing windmills in their theater of the absurd.”
Probably the most insightfully prophetic diagnoses come from an unlikely source, Broadway. Charles Durning said it best playing the governor of Texas singing his song in a musical based on the Broadway hit, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas": “I love to dance a little side step …. and lead the people on.” And we cannot be but struck by the Stephen Sondheim song, "Send in the Clowns" a reference to the old circus practice of sending the clowns into the ring to distract from a disaster.
Are we represented in congress by a bunch of “clowns” that “dance a little side step” to “distract” us and “lead the people on?”
John M. DeMaggio retired after 30 years of service as a Captain from the U.S. Naval Reserve Intelligence Program. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Forensic Science from John Jay College and a Master’s of Science from Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University. Privately consulting in counterterrorism, forensic science, and investigations, he also conducts international counterterrorism training, having retired as a Special Agent in Charge and serving as Co-chairman, Investigative Support and Forensic Subgroup, TSWG, developing interagency counterterrorism technology. He is also an op-ed contributor for The Hill. He previously published “Mitigation of Terrorist Effects on Victims’ Motivation” in U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Center Colloquium. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.