The 112th Congress has a chance to ride the wave of favorable congressional action to keep stimulating our economy and more effectively regulating financial markets. The Reagan/Bush policies of deregulation are now buried with the tombstone heading of “The Great Recession” and the Obama administration’s return to Keynesian principles has proven to stop the free-fall of the American economy by creating jobs and growth.
However, because the economy functions in a different time span than political opinions, the Republican Party has been given a new seat at the governing table.
At the head of the conservative movement is Rep. John Boehner, whose first move has been to lead a dog and pony show against everything the Democrats have accomplished in the past two years. Luckily for the more than 50 million people who now have health insurance and every student with a government loan to finance their education, the executive branch will get the decisive vote on this breed of conservative politicking.
This is particularly reassuring as the Democrats just ended a holiday season full of gifts for anyone ascribing to the American ideal, passing legislation that recognizes equality for gays and lesbians in the military and extending unemployment benefits, which the Congressional Budget Office recognizes as one of the most economically stimulative efforts the government can take.
Topping off the seasonal festivities was the passing of the START treaty to further Obama’s goal toward nuclear nonproliferation. Hopefully the Democrats can take these successes as a lesson in what they can do when they stand united. The midterms proved that a unified party can win regardless of policy. The political right once again sold the slogan that a government that does nothing is best.
Electing our representatives to do nothing may well be what the American people did, but I highly doubt it’s what they want. Congress faces too many challenges to waste time making strictly political statements like undoing the Democrats’ progressive legislation. This rugged party absolutism led to the 2008 economic collapse, and it cannot happen again.