Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is Congress Economically Illiterate?

NEW YORK, New York -- I noticed something strange when doing my part to save the global economy from oblivion. Congresspeople, by and large, have not traditionally cared or thought much about the economy.

That statement, of course, begs two questions: 1) What ass goes around with this Jebus complex, and why?; and 2) How could you say something like that about the people who brought us Freedom Fries?

All things in turn.

After growing exasperated as craven Democrats sold out mass transit so that I can put $500 I don't need in the bank, I decided to write my Senators and representative to ask that they not give in to Republican ideological tax-cut demands.

Of course, Senator Tracy Flick doesn't have any functioning web site at the moment, so there was no way to write her. But the stranger thing was that none of the New York Congressional delegation that I looked at had any option available to speak out on the economy. When you write a Congressman, you usually have to fill out your name, address, etc., and then select the topic of your query from a pull-down menu. Time and time again, Congresspeople's pull-down menus included "Immigration," "Defense," and "Education." But nobody had an option for "Economy," and a minority had "Fiscal Policy" or "Taxes" or anything vaguely related to the economy -- even Chuck Schumer, legendarily beholden to Wall Street, doesn't seem to think that much about the economy, judging by the sorts of comments he expects to get from constituents.

Try it yourself here by searching for your Congressperson's contact page.

I guess the point is that Representatives and Senators don't expect to hear from constituents about the economy and may simply not really know or think much about the economy in the broadest terms themselves. Quite possibly that's why the US, unlike other countries, has never engaged in debate about adopting a competitiveness policy or taken measures (like school reform or granting more H1B visas to skilled workers) that would improve our economy. Perhaps it will also mean Congress fails to pass the stimulus bill that prevents 7% employment from reaching 15% (so I say as a strip porno noodie lounge advertises on CNN in prime time -- as sure a sign of recession as they come).

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