Dr. Chris Mageria discusses Congress. Please see below for the transcript.
In this episode of the Magiera minute, I wanted to explore briefly the seeming paradox of the simultaneous popularity and unpopularity of the Congress.
Most polls show that Congress is polling at about an 11% approval. Cockroach is polling at 8%. Makes you think.
But what is interesting is the fact that each individual congressperson is very popular in their own district. Why is that? Well, it all has to do with the functioning of Congress in today’s world.
Consider the three basic activities of a member of Congress. First, there is legislative activity; however, that is very risky. Constituents might be offended by a member’s stance on a bill. Avoiding controversy is the first rule of re-election. Therefore, passing legislation is really the last thing anyone wants to do.
Second is pork-barrel spending. This was a major function of Congressional members in the past but has fallen greatly out of favor. Now there are negative implications to overt pork-barrel spending. However, humans are an inventive species, and the modern Congress has developed many ways around this relative prohibition.
Number three is constituent services. This has become the most prevalent activity for members of Congress today. Constituent services staff now make up just over 50 percent of the average staff allotments for members of Congress. With such an enormous administrative state and a Byzantine labyrinth of rules and regulations, constituents are inevitably entangled by the net of government. Therefore, it behooves the member of Congress to intervene with the agencies in order to help the citizen with their issues. Because of the number of citizens receiving some type of assistance or benefit from the federal government is now enormous, so is the need to intervene.
When you look at it, constituent services actually provide a member of Congress with a double-win situation. A constituent problem is resolved, and the congressman has made a valuable friend. Also, the congressman can now blame the agency for the problem. So, you see, delegating power to the administrative state creates a win-win situation for the popularity of the member of Congress. This enhances the chances of re-election—however, at what cost to Liberty? And at what cost to the taxpayers?
So you see, there is incentive for the members of Congress to not truncate the gigantic administrative state, but to encourage it. However, the federal agencies are slowly becoming less and less responsive to the demands of Congress. It is apparent in modern events that Congressional agencies are stone while in Congress more and more—and cooperating less and less. In other words, the administrative state has gone rogue and no longer follows the Constitution.
And that, my fellow citizens, is precisely the place where I intend to make a difference. By following the Constitution, the administrative state can be brought under control. As was oft said by the founders,” When government fears the people, there is Liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”