Reinterpreting the U.S. Constitution: Congress is not the government …

A clearer line of separation between the government of the United States of America and American society is needed and a starting point is a reinterpretation of the U.S. Constitution.  The “democratization” of the American republic and the transition from an agrarian, self-employed society to an industrialized, corporate-capitalist model has incentivized politicians and policy makers to offer to the electorate policy packages marketed as prescriptions for the market failure that ensues when the factors of production are concentrated in fewer hands and the electorate owns and controls less real wealth. 

Public policy packages are expensive as attested to the growth in the U.S. government’s debt load and the number of government agencies that came along with that growth.  Congress is a core architect of packages designed to win and secure electoral support and votes.  Congress has leveraged the public’s perception that Congress is a necessary and integral component of governance when in reality, even as holder of the purse strings, Congress’ governance role is limited and contrived. 

Congress has created a committee structure through which it exercises oversight over the executive and administrative branches; an authority not supported by the written Constitution. Congress has gone beyond its primary responsibility for authorizing the funding of the government into managing American society via a quid-pro-quo with the electorate where Congress passes spending packages that create new programs managed by special interests in return for the vote. This patronage system has Congress and the public believing, under the guise of democracy, that Congress actually governs.

American society having, at least in theory, selected this form of public administration should not be afraid to put Congress back in check. This should begin with changing the narrative around Congress.  Congress is not a part of the government.  It is not a branch of the government.  Congress does not administer a portfolio of public resources.  Congress is at best the body that contains the individual representatives to the government where such representatives represent the primary funders of the government i.e., taxpayers and bondholders.

Democracy and ego have created a body of individuals whose primary mission is to expand their importance and unfortunately their need to expand their self-importance drips into the lives of the individuals in society.

Unfortunately, the electorate itself does not have the discipline to send to Congress representatives willing to limit their duties to adjusting the purse strings or voicing electorate concerns regarding public administration of public resources.  The electorate’s calls from time to time for the Congress to “do something” or “get work done” demonstrates that the electorate is stuck in the narrative that Congress is a governing body. 

More work has to be done to clear that narrative from the subconscious.

Alton Drew

23 April 2022    

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