In regards to still more Congressional investigations of sports activity, DW writes:

Mish, you should talk about this stupid use of Congressional intrusion into sports. The country is falling apart and they have time for this. Next they will be reviewing instant replay call.

What DW is referring to is a Congressional investigation into alleged spying by the New England Patriots on other team signals as reported in Congress whistled in the backfield.

When there is a war raging, an economy teetering and election for the highest and most powerful office in the land, is sports scrutiny really the best use of time and, I say this gently, brainpower? Really? Never mind the media attention and all the wasted space and air time that the inquiry is receiving.

Congressional inquiries and investigations should be reserved for things Congress can actually control and do something about. Voting irregularities comes to mind, as does misappropriation of government contracts. How about refining the exaggerated role of presidential power that has occurred over the past eight years? All of these involve public officials, public money and are within the public domain. Congress’ job is to regulate the public good. It is not there as a regulatory body to wantonly oversee the private sector.

My reply to DW:

DW, yes the country is falling apart. However, I approve of this Congressional madness. In fact I wrote about it in advance.

Please consider Congress Threatens Oil Producers where I wrote about legislators investigating the use of “Truck Nutz”:

Some might think that legislators have better things to do than debate “Truck Nutz”. Not me. I would like to see state and national legislators spend more time debating “Truck Nutz”, flag burning, baseball steroids, the nation anthem, and motherhood and apple pie on the general principle the more time they spend debating frivolous topics of no economic importance, the less likelihood they will do real damage somewhere else.”

DW I would prefer to not be so cynical. but please consider recent legislation on homebuilder bailouts, bank bailouts disguised as homeowner bailouts, and very recently, House Backs Farm Bill With Numbers to Beat Veto.

The House overwhelmingly approved a $300 billion farm bill on Wednesday afternoon, making it probable that the measure will become law despite President Bush’s anticipated veto.

The House result, with 100 Republicans joining 218 Democrats to vote for the bill, made good on the predictions of the bill’s chief shepherd, Representative Collin Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat who heads the House Agriculture Committee.

Although it is called a farm bill, the huge, five-year piece of legislation contains not only aid for farmers but also money for land conservation and rural development — plus money for food stamps for the needy, a priority for many urban lawmakers. It might be an exaggeration to say that the bill contains something for everyone, but the variety of benefits is a key to its strength. It includes, for example, tax breaks for racehorse breeders, a bonus sought by Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, who is from Kentucky.

A big sticking point is how much money would go to wealthy farmers. Married farmers with joint incomes of up to $1.5 million a year and individuals who make more than $750,000 could qualify for some crop subsidies.

Minutes later, in a display of how the farm bill has split some lawmakers who are usually allies, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the Republican minority leader, attacked the bill as crammed full of special favors, like aid to a Vermont ski resort, that were “airdropped” into the language.

“I don’t think taxpayers should have to bankroll this boondoggle,” Mr. Boehner said.

Legislation Represents Everything Wrong

This farm bill represents everything wrong with Congress. Since when do farmers making more thqn $1.5 million deserve tax breaks? What about horse breeders? What vital US economic interest is that? Since when do Vermont ski resorts belong in a farm bill?

The farm bill that just passed wasted $300 billion the country does not have and cannot afford. This $300 billion boondoggle is political pandering at it worst. The US desperately needs a balanced budget amendment or a return to a gold standard that will enforce some sort of fiscal sanity.

Until that happens, whenever Congress wastes time investigating sports I am all in favor of it. It’s better to waste time, than to waste both time and money. Investigation of sports is apt to only do the former. Congressional bills on anything economically relevant are likely to do both.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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