Ezra Klein: Pass Laws, Be Productive
By David Henderson
Ezra Klein claims that the current Congress is “one of the very worst congresses we have ever had” and then claims to “prove it.” He gives 14 reasons. Reason #1 is “They’re not passing laws.” What’s his implicit assumption? That passing laws is good. But doesn’t that depend on whether the laws are good? Apparently not.
Reason #1 is not consistent with even his own criteria that he normally brings to laws. Consider his 7th reason: That the House of Representatives has voted 33 times to repeal ObamaCare and hasn’t succeeded. What if they had succeeded? Then that would have counted as a success by his criterion implicit in reason #1. So if we take this criterion literally, repealing ObamaCare would have been good. I think repeal would have been good, but I’m pretty sure Mr. Klein doesn’t.
Or consider the 107th Congress. It didn’t pass a lot of laws, compared to Congresses in recent years. But, eyeballing his graph, I conclude that it passed about triple the number of laws passed in the current Congress. One of the laws passed by the 107th was the USA PATRIOT Act. Again, that counts as a success in his metric because he judges Congress by the number of laws passed. I think it was a bad law. What does he think?