There's something rather charming about the way the United States Senate names its bills. Granted, there's something laughable about it too, but let's focus on the entertainment for now. Here, for instance, are some of the first ten pieces of legislation Harry Reid plans upon bringing to the Senate floor in the new Session:
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
- Middle Class Opportunity Act of 2009
- Homeowner Protection and Wall Street Accountability Act of 2009
- Cleaner, Greener, and Smarter Act of 2009
- Restoring America’s Power Act of 2009
- Returning Government to the American People Act
- Stronger Economy, Stronger Borders Act of 2009
Well, that was easy wasn't it! By the end of the year the United States will have recovered, the middle-class will have opportunity restored (what about the poor old working-class?), Wall Street will be accountable and every home will have its own firearm (are you sure that's what they mean?), everything will be cleaner, greener and, above all, smarter, Captain America will ride again and the people will have their government returned to them (by whom?). Not content with that, there'll be a stronger economy and stronger borders!
Once all that has been achieved they'll be able to cancel the next three years and just go home. Right? On the other hand, this sort of blowhard triumphalism has a certain consequence: folk look at Congress and see their representatives promising all these marvellous goodies and miraculous cures and then they look at their own circumstances and discover that though there may have been some, marginal improvement in their circumstances, the promised political rapture still seems some way off. No wonder they may feel that they're being cheated by Washington and, consequently, they may hold Congress in some contempt.
Memo to politicians: don't promise massively more grandiose treats than you have any right to expect you'll be able to deliver. If you do, don't complain when the punters come to despise you.