There is an old saying that Congress has workhorses and show horses. While the latter group grappled for air time, the workhorses would learn all of the ins and outs of a particular area. They would then be the ones to craft legislation.
While there still are some workhorses, more and more legislation is based on political dogma. These beliefs are never scrutinized to see if they are based in reality. Whether legislation is beneficial is less important than whether or not it is ideologically pure.
The entire premise of the Affordable Care Act was that the main problem was evil health insurance companies. This doesn’t square with the facts. The bulk of people under sixty-five are covered by self-funding employers and Medicaid. Medium and large companies pay the claims themselves and hire the insurance to handle the administration. Provision after provision is based on that bias.
This incorrect thinking applies to both parties. The fundamental premise of the Republican tax bill is that tax cuts pay for themselves by stimulating growth. This doesn’t make any sense. It larger tax cuts get more revenue, we would maximize revenue by eliminating all taxes. There is just no way to make up the loss. If McDonald’s taxes are cut in half, they are not going to be able to double their business. To make matters worse, most employers will use the savings to increase profits.
This reliance on dogma coupled with a refusal to compromise is not a healthy trend. Bill Clinton was the last president that tried to appeal to moderates. Since then each president has moved farther from the center, been more divisive and relied on the base to win. After they don’t produce the utopia they promised, the other party takes over. My guess is that the next president will be a Bernie Sanders socialist.
Those of us in the middle hope that someday a moderate will come to the rescue. Until then, the country will continue to suffer.