One of the greatest things about the last eight years is the acknowledgment of congress' abdications of power. Content to pad their wallets, dole out goodies to their friends, and retire to a cushy job at a lobbying firm, congress has legislated itself into nothing but a skin tag on the Washington mall.
Forget ancient history, just the last three months have starkly illustrated the purely ceremonial role congress now plays.
According to Bloomberg, the federal government (including the Federal Reserve) has made $7.7 trillion dollars in bailout commitments. Congress, however, was only allowed to vote on $700 billion, just 9% of a daily-increasing total. Congress' final verdict on that vote was irrelevant.
The Wall Street Journal noted, as an afterthought, the incredibly helpful change the Treasury made to the Tax Code allowing banks to write off more bad debt from acquisitions than before. I guess the Treasury felt that the legislative branch would just muck things up if they were allowed to legislate a change in the law. At any rate, congress doesn't seem to mind; only nine congressmen have even questioned the propriety of the Treasury making law.
Maybe you've heard that the empire has negotiated a new treaty with Iraq, allowing troops to remain beyond Dec 31. I don't see it scheduled for ratification on this congress' schedule, though congress is required to ratify all treaties. It seems that if we just call it an agreement instead of a treaty we won't have to interrupt the BCS hearings.
But, wait! Here's a straw they can grasp to justify the next congress' pay raises vice dissolution. Since they can't get Karl Rove out of the Fox News studios, at least they can humiliate the Big 3 CEOs and make them drive their own cars to the hill when begging for handouts.
Will they pass the Detroit Downpayment? Of course they will. It's a forgone conclusion. If the “nays” were to carry, the Bush administration will make the loans anyway. Then how superfluous will congress look?
Rage, rage against the dying of a light.