As I was saying ...

Making sausage

Recently, in his column for Newsweek magazine, political commentator George Will reported that 22 percent of Americans give the current Congress a favorable rating. Will asks: "Who are those 22 percent?"

It's easy to be cynical when we watch Congress at work. And it's tempting to conclude the legislative process is so convoluted we shouldn't even bother being involved. Although tempting, that conclusion is dead wrong.

Whether we like how it's gotten there, Congress—in the first half of this year alone—has:

  • Extended a capital-gains tax reduction that is at least partly responsible for recent economic growth
  • Debated immigration reform, which will affect the lives of at least 12 million people and livelihoods of every employer in the U.S.
  • Come close to establishing a platform for associations to offer health insurance programs to members—with resulting cost savings

Would we like Congress to do more and act more civilly? Of course. Would we like the members of Congress we support to listen more carefully to our concerns? You bet. But the unfortunate reality we must face is this: Even if we think things are bad now, they could be much, much worse.

We're now just four months away from congressional elections. We'll all get sick of the campaign rhetoric long before November. Both parties are concerned about poor voter turnout, and we all can expect to receive letters, e-mails and telephone calls encouraging us to vote.

We must vote and more: We must be active participants in the process. NRCA intends to increase its political involvement during the coming months. We want to be sure those members of Congress who understand our concerns return to office. We want to be sure we continue to make progress if only in small steps. And we want to be sure we are known, without question, as the responsible voice of our great industry.

By the way, none of this is new. More than a century has passed since the German politician Otto Von Bismarck said: "Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made."

Bill Good is NRCA's executive vice president.


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