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Is a Do-Nothing Congress Worth Steroid Hearings?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

For every conservative who is irritated that illegal immigration has never really been addressed...

For every liberal who can't understand why the big oil companies and their unbelievable profits haven't been reigned in, or forced to accelerate development of new refineries or energy alternatives...

For every family wondering how their house ended up being worth less than the cost of the amount of money they had to borrow to purchase it...

For every American, there should be one raging question today...

No, it's not whether baseball star Roger Clemens had HGH shot into his rear end, or if his former trainer is lying. Instead, the question should be, "What possible use do we have for a blowhard Congress that ducks every critical issue that impacts all our economic and personal well-being in favor of putting on silly shows designed to create television ratings for its own members?"

I know, I know: We don't want kids copying their heroes by using steroids.

We also don't want them copying a lot of other things that the famous and the not-so-famous are doing in their lives.

But is this really the only useful thing that Congress can take authoritative action on?

The chickens on Capitol Hill ran away from fixing the immigration issue last year because it became too hot of a political potato. They gave the FairTax short shrift, never really delving into a policy change that could potentially save us from our antiquated and unfair tax system.

When the roof fell in from a housing boom that we all knew would go bust and trigger an anemic economy, Congress's answer was not to fix the system, but to hand out $600 stipends to Americans that will come -- here's the real shocker -- close to election time. Then their effect will disappear from the economy in the blink of an eye.

The last political leader to offer pure political bribery of the public was presidential candidate George McGovern in 1972, when he proposed giving every American $1,000. He was laughed into political oblivion. Now the solution for which he was labeled a liberal nut is the policy of a Republican president and a Democratic Congress. Go figure.

At least McGovern's amount, based on the value of $1,000 in 1972, amounted to a tangible sum that could have turned some families' financial problems around. But it was labeled a government "handout" and a quick fix. Today, this paltry stimulus package that Bush and the Congress put together amounts to the same thing.

If anyone wonders why voters are crawling out of the woodwork this year to vote in the presidential primaries, they need look no further than Washington, D.C. This "Beltway Bubble" simply doesn't get it. I read their esoteric writings on public policy. It's all hogwash because none of it will ever translate into action. I hear the elected officials shucking and jiving as they try to run the clock out on this year's Congressional calendar.

Congress was among the last to recognize the housing disaster, to see the economy flattening out, and to recognize that Iraq might not be the dominant issue in the political campaign.

And why? Because they all live in Washington, D.C., and the only people they talk to are one another. Only when they find a policy they can comfortably confront, like steroids in baseball, do they spring into action. (Then there's the case of Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. He apparently feels the compelling issue of the day is whether some NFL teams are spying on other NFL teams.) Please give us a break.

We waste money like there's no tomorrow. We tax people until they are blue in the face. Our big cities have homeless people roaming the downtown streets at night. Our kids still have a competitive disadvantage against the rest of the world when it comes to education. We have a serious drought that threatens an entire section of the country. Our air-traffic control system is becoming dangerously archaic. And that's just for starters.

But instead, we have a government, Democratic and Republican, that's hell-bent on eradicating the world of steroids. An admirable cause were it not the equivalent of catching a snowflake in a blizzard.

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