88 See id at 5 noting Congress tendency toward spending see also FIORINA supra

88 see id at 5 noting congress tendency toward

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88. See id. at 5 (noting Congress' tendency toward spending); see also FIORINA, supra note 64, at 73 (discussing ability of individual legislators to spend while avoiding responsibility for overall budget problems); MAYHEW, supra note 64, at 128, 144-45 (same).
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DEPAUL LAW REVIEW Congress' glaring inability to work together to solve a snowballing national problem-the budget deficit-was never more evident than during the budget fiasco of October 1990. 89 This experience demonstrates two lessons. First, while everyone knows that the budget is sorely overburdened with hundreds of spending programs of varying importance, individual representatives are com- pletely unwilling to examine which or how many of these programs must be jettisoned. The reason is clear. Some group, somewhere, is counting on each of these programs. And several members of Congress probably used their influ- ence to help each group get its program. In turn, these legislators were com- pensated electorally." Representatives are simply unwilling to critically ex- amine the programs upon which they depend to get reelected. They also hesitate to examine other legislators' programs, because "what goes around comes around"; that is, each individual congressperson must cultivate the goodwill and support of other members to get her particular programs. Thus, the reelection incentive ultimately thwarts responsible fiscal policy. 9 ' A second lesson learned from the 1990 budget fiasco may be even more serious. Apparently, members of Congress as a collective body are willing to protect their reelection empires by deceiving the general public about how bad things really are. 2 B. Instruction Revisited? An eighteenth-century commentator complained that state legislatures were composed of "plain, illiterate husbandmen, whose views seldom extended far- ther than to the regulation of highways, the destruction of wolves, wild cats, and foxes, and the advancement of the other little interests of the particular counties, which they were chosen to represent."" Although upon first impres- 89. See generally George Hager, Deficit Deal Ever So Fragile as Hours Dwindle Away, 48 CONG. Q. WKLY. REP. 3574 (1990); Janet Hook, Budget Ordeal Poses Question: Why Can't Con- gress Be Led?, 48 CONG. Q. WKLY, REP. 3471 (1990). 90. It is no answer to say that many lobbyists and PACs donate to the campaigns of many different representatives, regardless of their party affiliation or stand on the issues. This practice is clearly designed to build goodwill and merely feeds the general free-spending attitude in Congress. 91. If current fiscal policy reflects popular selfishness and an unwillingness to do with less, this attitude may also reflect a belief among people that government is incapable of responsible long- term leadership; thus, short-term selfishness is the only reasonable course of action. See, e.g., Charles A. Radin, At Core, Say Analysts, U.S. Suffers Crisis of Confidence, BOSTON GLOBE, July 2, 1990, at 1.
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