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Opening Arguments

In praise of dinosaurs

The Wall Street Journal, as a sidebar to the sotry about Dave Camp's ambitious plan for reforming the tax code, laments the lack of "big legislation" these days:

When Rep. Dave Camp (R., Mich.) laid plans to unveil a big tax reform bill this week, it was as if he was operating in some kind of time warp. No one seemed to have told the Ways and Means Committee chairman that Congress isn’t doing much legislating any more. And it hasn’t been for some time.

Having enacted just 72 laws in all of 2013 – one of its least productive sessions ever – Congress is not just gridlocked. It is getting rusty at the art of legislating.

The retirements of Reps. John Dingell (D., Mich.), Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and George Miller (D., Calif.) at the end of this year represent a huge drain of legislative skill in an institution where such experience is in short supply. Taken together, those three men alone – authors of major health, education and environmental laws of the last quarter century – will leave Capitol Hill with 139 years of experience behind them.

I hasten to point out that this is not from the sensibly conservative editorial page and is probably what passes for insightful analysis in the liberal newsroom. But still . . . Praise is due to these entrenched dinosaurs (139 years total!) who helped make big governdment what it is today? Thank God Congress is "getting rusty" and too bad it didn't happen a long time ago.