Wonder Why Good Bills Are Stalling in the Roundhouse Despite Heavy Activism Supporting Them? It Ain’t a New Phenomenon
The chart above shows in green the proportion of Americans who support a variety of very progressive policies and legislation. Yet, as this article describes and as our experience at the Roundhouse reinforces (especially in relation to energy and the environment), the level of support for these policies has little to do with what our national and state legislators pass into law. At the end of the excerpts from the NY Times Op-Ed are two videos very worth your review.
From the NY Times: “About 75 percent of Americans favor higher taxes for the ultra-wealthy. The idea of a federal law that would guarantee paid maternity leave attracts 67 percent support. Eighty-three percent favor strong net neutrality rules for broadband, and more than 60 percent want stronger privacy laws. Seventy-one percent think we should be able to buy drugs imported from Canada, and 92 percent want Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. The list goes on…..
“For Congress to enact a proposal just because it is supported by a large majority, the argument goes, would amount to populism. The public, according to this way of thinking, is generally too ill informed to have its economic policy preferences taken seriously…..
“It is true that policymaking requires expertise. But I don’t think members of the public are demonstrating ignorance when they claim that drug prices are too high, taxes could be fairer, privacy laws are too weak and monopolies are too coddled…..
“In our era, it is primarily Congress that prevents popular laws from being passed or getting serious consideration. (Holding an occasional hearing does not count as “doing something.”) Entire categories of public policy options are effectively off-limits because of the combined influence of industry groups and donor interests. There is no principled defense of this state of affairs — and indeed, no one attempts to offer such a justification. Instead, legislative stagnation is cynically defended by those who benefit from it with an unconvincing invocation of the rigors of our system of checks and balances. Click here to view the full NY Times op-ed.”
Paul & Roxanne