Fuckin' Congress, How Do They Work?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So I saw this photo posted to Twitter the other day:
Scumbag Congress
And it’s the exact kind of thing I should be suspicious of.
Not just because it’s a photo of an unsourced empty room that could ave been taken at any time – I have only this anonymous captioner’s word that this is, indeed, a Congressional hearing.  (Also see: all those annoying photos of “200,000 people showed up to this rally last weekend, and no one cared!” where all the trees are autumn-brown and the photo is actually from 2010.)  No, I’ll believe that this is a Congressional hearing on unemployment.
The question is, which hearing?
I’m prone to believing this because hey, I think Congress is fucking useless when it comes to unemployment, and I’m perfectly willing to believe that no Congressman really cares.  That’s my bias.  But before I mindlessly Retweeted this, I thought, “You know, Congress has a lot of goddamned hearings.  Some percentage of them are pretty useless, just rehashing facts we know before.”
And I thought about my career, and how many stupid fucking “Let’s discuss this issue again” meetings I would have skipped if my boss hasn’t made me go.
The problem with Congress is that, as Joe Schmuck, I don’t actually know what works.  I can bitch all I like that Obama should have gone for single-payer Health Care, but if you asked me, “So who should he have talked to to make that happen?” I wouldn’t have one name.  I know some subcommittees are useless busy work and others get shit done, but I don’t know which ones are the good ones, or even what the difference between “useless” and “funding” means.  I have zero idea how lobbyists work, or how to pressure Congressmen.
I am fucking clueless.
And so when I’m presented with this “evidence” that Congress doesn’t care, well, it fits with my established bias, but I don’t actually know whether this is actually true.  This could have been a photo taken from a who-gives-a-shit rehash hearing where dour people show up to go, “Yeah, it’s bad.”  Is this the meeting where unemployment would have been miraculously solved if all the members had shown up?
Doubtful.  Maybe.  But doubtful.
Now, I’m content in my biases.  I’m pretty sure if unemployment were a major concern of Congress, we’d see a lot more action on it, like the programs of the Depression.  And I’m not saying Congress doesn’t care entirely, it’s just that when you make a list, “unemployment” falls somewhere below gerrymandering and impeaching Obama.
But would this meeting have solved shit?  No idea.  Is my Congressman good at what he does?  No idea.  What metrics should I use to determine how things should get done, and to vote my Congressman out on any other level aside from “Democrat good, Republican bad”?
No idea. And that’s the problem.
I’m part of the problem.  Even if, you know, it’s understandable that I don’t want to acquire so much knowledge about politics that I might as well become a politician.

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