(Speaker of the) House Rules

cryA couple days ago the 535-member Vaudeville troupe known as “Congress” voted to raise the debt ceiling of the United States – a ridiculous process not endured by any other nation in the world except Denmark which has an almost unreachable limit. Not that huge U.S. debt is such a great thing, but raising the debt limit merely authorizes the Treasury to pay for things Congress already appropriated. If the U.S. must play charades with a debt limit, then it should be raised before Congress spends money, not after. This arcane, useless law provides a platform for a lot of grandstanding, and every time the limit comes close to being breached, the economy gets fucked. The whole thing is a goddamned embarrassment.

Anyway, prior to the most recent vote to increase the limit, there was a thing called the “Boehner Rule” (pronounced BOH-ner for fun), named after Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio. In short, the rule states that there must be dollar-for-dollar spending cuts for every dollar raised in the debt ceiling. That didn’t happen this time, which calls into question the wisdom of naming a rule after yourself, then breaking it. Boehner also broke the “Hastert Rule,” another Speaker of the House declaration named after Dennis Hastert. It states that all legislation must garner a majority of the majority to be passed. That didn’t happen either. The vote to raise the ceiling was 221 to 201 in favor, but only 12 percent of the voting Republicans (the majority party) went for it.

Maybe it’s time to ditch these pompous rules which are promoted as though they are on the same plane as a mathematical formulation like l’Hôpital’s Rule, Cramer’s Conjecture, Euler’s Formula, or the Pareto Principle. The concepts embodied by “The Boehner Rule,” “The Hastert Rule” and “The Bush Doctrine” are too simple-minded to be dignified with a lofty title.

Still, given the venality of politicians, I can only imagine more, not fewer, rules are in the offing.

The Rangel Rule (Named after NY Congressman Charlie Rangel.)
Forgetting to pay property taxes on Caribbean condos may not disqualify members of Congress from re-election by an adoring constituency.

Corollary to the Rangel Rule
Same shit goes for forgetting about illegally occupying too many rent-controlled apartments in Manhattan.

Lemma to the Corollary to the Rangel Rule
Illegally using the House of Representatives parking garage as free storage space? Fuck you. See the original Rule.

The Vitter Conjecture (Named after LA Senator David Vitter.)
All legislation must comport with “Family Values,” and “Madam” may be considered a member of the Family.

The Waxman Rule (Named after CA Congressman Henry Waxman.)
Neither domestic nor military spending may exceed the size of Waxman’s nostrils.
waxman
The Romney Doctrine (Named after former governor of MA, Mitt Romney.)
But first be a corporation who needs corporations…

The Pelosi Principal (Named after CA Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.)
Any decrease in the debt ceiling must be offset by an increase of equal value of Botox.
pelosi

The Ayn Rand Paul Law (Named jointly after Author Ayn Rand and KY Senator Rand Paul.)
Three laws must be repealed for every one repealed.

The Cruz Conjecture (Named after TX Senator Ted Cruz.)
41 > 60

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