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Congress has always been a place for disagreements and arguing. With today's record low approval rating it seems worth investigating why we have this destructive dysfunction preventing the progress of our great nation. Letting the government shut down rather than compromise underscores there is something fundamentally wrong on the Hill. 535 elected individuals can't be uniquely incompetent so it has to be a process or organizational design flaw.
Congress members must have something good to point to in November that gets them re-elected.
Back when members could get local projects funded as a consolation prize for caving on their passionate national policy positions, Congress could function as one organization as intended. Earmarks were gifts that lubricated compromise but are now absent as bargaining chips in the supposedly-purified congressional game.
Today, Senate and House members feel the need to be viewed as unstoppable crusaders for their righteous policy to avoid lost financial backers and votes. By comparison earmark projects, even bad ones, stimulated the economy, appeased constituents, and by far were a much lesser evil than wasting $24 billion and showing the world our childish leadership defect.