Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why I Don't Like Politics...

I recently blogged about why I think the Waxman-Markley climate-change bill is a bad idea. (The House, by the way, approved the bill last Friday.) As I mentioned in the previous post, I don't think that climate-change regulation is undesirable per se. I instead think that (a) the costs of this ill-conceived cap-and-trade scheme will outweigh the benefits and that (b) a carbon tax is far preferable.

Anyway, the breakdown of how members of the House voted on this bill reminded me of the vote on the stimulus package. No Republicans voted for the stimulus bill, while only eight Republicans voted for Waxman-Markey. These outcomes are stark examples of why I hate politics.

I find it very hard to believe that virtually all Republicans thought that both the stimulus and the climate-change bills were terrible. It is thus seems clear that, on these important issues, Republicans voted strictly along party lines. If party membership determined their congressional votes, members of Congress did not necessarily vote according to what they felt would be best for our country. And that, in my view, is a major problem. (To be fair, I'm equally certain many Democrats simply voted along party lines.)

The two-party system does more harm than good. The parties largely determine how members of Congress will vote on each issue. If party members stray, their reelection funding source may be cut off. With Waxman-Markey, conservative bloggers are absolutely livid about the eight Republicans who voted for it, saying that they have betrayed the principles of the Republican party (you know, the principles that President Bush and Congress upheld so firmly over the last eight years - principles like low government spending and limited government interference).

Maybe it seems silly that I'm upset about the backlash against Republicans who voted for Waxman-Markey, since I'm not in favor of the bill. But I would much prefer politicians who vote on the basis of what they think is best. Sure I may disagree with their votes, but at least I'm disagreeing with their ideas - not with what the party thinks best.

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