Your Tax Dollars At Work

Please note – this piece is entirely non-partisan. I’m not condoning or criminalizing Joe Wilson’s actions in yelling “You lie!” at President Obama during his big speech before the Joint Session of Congress last week – but I am certainly saying that Congress’s actions today are a disgraceful waste of time, money, and thought.

In case you missed it, the House voted to officially “rebuke,” Representative Wilson, which means, well, jack shit. Here is the wording from the actual resolution:


Raising a question of the privileges of the House.

Whereas on September 9, 2009, during the joint session of Congress convened pursuant to House Concurrent Resolution 179, the President of the United States, speaking at the invitation of the House and Senate, had his remarks interrupted by the Representative from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson; and Whereas the conduct of the Representative from South Carolina was a breach of decorum and degraded the proceedings of the joint session, to the discredit of the House: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives disapproves of the behavior of the Representative from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson, during the joint session of Congress held on September 9, 2009.

Now, in case you don’t understand what that means, the elected officials of our country spent time today debating and then voting to decide that it “disapproves” of the behavior of Mr. Wilson. Seriously.

They didn’t spend time talking about how to recoup the hundreds of billions of dollars they’ve sunk into AIG, FNM, FRE, C and BAC.

They didn’t discuss exactly what might be the best way to dispose of the Citigroup stake that Treasury has expressed interest in selling, and they didn’t discuss the possibility of removing the guarantees that the government has given Citi on $300Billion in crappy assets.

They didn’t spend time talking about how to move forward with the monumental health care bill, or if maybe it might be time to think about alternatives to continuing to extend unemployment benefits while desperately hoping the economy improves.

They didn’t debate a second stimulus plan, or even consider that since the mainstream party line is that the recession is over and that things are getting better, maybe we don’t need the stimulus after all.

They didn’t talk about the risks to our plan to continue to roll over an ever increasing mass of national debt on the gullible Chinese.

They didn’t discuss a potential backup plan in case the “delay and pray” strategy for economic improvement fails.

Instead, they spent their time debating and then voting to make sure that everyone knows they disapprove of Representative Wilson’s actions… And??? Are they going to kick him out of the House? Are they going to fine him? Are they going to put him on trial for treason? Are they going to send him to Gitmo? If not, WHY THE FUCK DID THEY NEED TO WASTE TIME ON THIS?!?!!?

Again, without passing any judgment at all on Wilson’s actions, I can agree 100% with his quote today:

“When we are done here today, we will not have taken any further steps toward helping” the nation deal with urgent challenges, said Wilson, of South Carolina. “It is time that we move forward and get back to work for the American people.”

The American people saw Obama’s speech, and Wilson’s interruption. It was said that in the 24 hours after the event, Wilson’s campaign donations ramped up, but that his opponent’s donations increased twice as much. The people are capable of evaluating the action on their own – we do NOT need our elected officials spending their time on utter crap like this, unless they are doing it to enforce actual consequences as a result.

In related news, this Dilbert cartoon sounds like a better use of time and money than what Congress is currently doing:

edit: the entire roll call for the resolution is here. Shame on Barney Frank for taking the time to show up and vote “present” but not being able to make a decision on something as monumentally inconsequential as “disapproving” or Wilson’s actions. Kudos to Maxine Waters (that is the first, and possibly the last time you will hear me commend Waters) for not bothering to vote at all.


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