The United States is coming out of its worst recession in more than 50 years, the unemployment rate is near 10 percent, and more Americans are living in poverty today than at any time since 1994. We're fighting a war in Afghanistan, we have to clean up the BP oil spill mess in the Gulf of Mexico, and our infrastructure -- roads, bridges and the like -- is literally collapsing.
So what's the Congress doing about all of this? Holding hearings on HR 5034, the bill to tighten the three-tier distribution system. They should be ashamed of themselves. More, after the jump:
The real bad guys in all this? The House of Representatives, and specifically the Judiciary Committee, which has scheduled a hearing on HR 5034 next week. The Republic is in crisis, and chairman John Conyers (D-Michigan) and ranking member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) are going to waste taxpayer money -- which we don't have -- on a hearing for legislation that will make absolutely no difference in the lives of the vast majority of Americans. As has been noted here many times before, the average American drinks about one bottle of wine a month, and 40 percent of us don't drink at all.
I am not naive. I have been writing about politics for 30 years, and I know how the system works. The distributors pay, and so Congress listens. But that doesn't mean it's right and it certainly doesn't mean it's good government. At some point, the people we elect must exercise the keen judgment that they keep telling us that they have. Their job is to govern, not to raise money to get re-elected. That they have not exercised that judgment with HR 5034, which is irrelevant to all but a few of the rich and powerful, is inexcusable.
The Congress has not yet passed a food safety bill, despite almost a decade of deaths and illnesses from contaminated green onions, spinach and most recently eggs. But they can find the time and money to hold a hearing on HR 5034. How is this morally justifiable? Is it any wonder that the public considers members of Congress to be less ethical than used car salesmen?