By Robert G. Kaiser
An eye-opening account of the way Congress at the present time relatively works—and doesn’t—that follows the dramatic trip of the sweeping monetary reform invoice enacted in keeping with the nice Crash of 2008.
The founding fathers anticipated Congress to be crucial department of presidency and gave it the main energy. while Congress is broken—as its justifiably dismal approval scores suggest—so is our democracy. right here, Robert G. Kaiser, whose lengthy and exclusive profession at The Washington Post has made him as prepared and an expert an observer of Congress as we now have, takes us in the back of the sound bites to reveal the protocols, avid gamers, and politics of the home and Senate—revealing either the triumphs of the procedure and (more frequently) its primary flaws.
Act of Congress tells the tale of the Dodd-Frank Act, named for the 2 males who made it attainable: Congressman Barney Frank, great and infrequently abrasive, who mastered the main points of monetary reform, and Senator Chris Dodd, who labored patiently for months to meet his imaginative and prescient of a Senate which could nonetheless paintings on a bipartisan foundation. either Frank and Dodd collaborated with Kaiser all through their legislative efforts and allowed their staffs to proportion each step of the drafting and deal making that produced the 1,500-page legislation that remodeled America’s monetary area.
Kaiser explains how lobbying impacts a bill—or fails to. We stick to employees participants extra influential than so much senators and congressmen. We see how Congress contributors shield their very own turf, frequently with no regard for what could most sensible serve the country—more wanting to courtroom tv cameras than legislate on advanced matters approximately which lots of them stay ignorant. Kaiser exhibits how ferocious partisanship usually overwhelms all different issues, even though sometimes person integrity prevails.
Act of Congress, as interesting because it is enlightening, is an imperative consultant to an essential piece of our political approach desperately short of reform.
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Extra resources for Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn't
The kings struck bargains with the new, emerging urban bourgeoisies to limit the power of the landed nobility and to pursue policies favorable to trade and manufacturing, in return for financial support for the Crown. These states increasingly resembled commerce-based Italian city-states more than warrior kingdoms, although Portugal, in particular, never entirely abandoned elements of the Reconquest mind set. The kings of Portugal began the modern-day overseas expansion of Europe with the capture of Ceuta on the coast of North Africa in 1415 from Islam.
The surplus they produced supported specialists such as court artisans, a military or priestly class, or a state bureaucracy whose job it was to work full time for the general well-being. These systems typically involved reciprocal obligations and benefits, and for the mass of the population the very act of generating the surplus reinforced their commitment to society. The early Spanish reported, for example, that pre-conquest Andean peasants had gone "joyfully" to work the Inca's lands. Where, on the other hand, the people doubted the legitimacy of the demands made upon them or saw these as exploitative, the relationship could be tense and might even become dependent on open coercion.
But no one knew this yet. For another two hundred years entradas (exploratory expeditions) pushed back the fringes of empire, repeating the hardships if rarely the successes of the first generation. War and armed domination unquestionably were work, and the Spanish were their sixteenth-century masters. Despite the undoubted attractions of conquest, the Spanish did not shun peaceful trade and commerce as paths to riches. What those with social aspirations did avoid was direct involvement in artisan work or retail trade, though they were usually willing to rent property for this purpose and even to be silent partners in small-scale commercial enterprises.