Leaving aside the probability that the content of the tax reform will fail the American people and most of it’s middle class, the bill gets a “F” for process.
When I turned in my thesis, many moons ago, my thesis director found a paragraph that needed to be fact checked, or so he said. He sent me back to Maine, in the dead of winter, in my red VW convertible, to find a librarian in the state capital and check out the nuances of the political plot.
When I got what I needed, spending two nights in a rooming house surrounded by -9 degree temperature, I headed back. Now if I had thought to write my findings in the margin, I would not now have an advanced degree. Instead I went right to the typist and at a dollar a page had the whole damned thing retyped.
So the question arises, how could the so-often called “august” body, the United States Senate, have allowed itself to give illegible pages of chicken scratch to the pages of history? I don’t understand the yes vote of Senator Jeff Flake, already having announced his career ends with this session. Could he not have demanded at least a legible bill for his final act as Solon of the people? How could the heroine for a time Lisa Murkowski voted for a bill that will economically cripple people and animals in her state because the President of the Senate threw her an economic bone that in short enough time will probably turn out to be a Caribou bone or one from a family of Polar Bears with no longer enough polar to survive? Maybe that part she could read. And the pride of Arizona whose thumbs down on ditching ACA because of the process used to try and kill it should merit a thumbs down insignia on his tomb stone, so famous has that act become. What the heck happened to John McCain? He had after all at least one more thumb to give to the country he almost gave his life for. Certainly this was a worse process. There was a bill but the bulk of the members on both sides of the aisle were not allowed to read it, even see it until mere hours before voting on it. Shameful. More than shameful because they put up with it.
There was no process. There is an old philosophical argument in political science about whether once elected is the representative’s job to do what his constituents think best or to do what he/she thinks is best for his constituents? It is not a “how many fairies dance on the head of a pin” argument. It speaks to where and how the rubber hits the road in a representative democracy. We got a clear answer this time. Most Americans, including many of the wealthy, think this bill stinks and will fall well short of its lofty goals when first announced. That’s not healthy. Yet the Republicans passed it.
So forget the tortuously complex content of this 400+ page bill. All one needs to know about the state of American democracy is that the greatest democracy in the world submits legislation to a vote that has as part of its text hand-written margin notes. When scholars down the road of history look for the original documents and discover the problem is not that they don’t understand what they are reading, but that they can’t read what is written because the penmanship is worse than the content, they will know the “august” United States Senate at 2 am, give or take a few minutes had hit its low point.
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