Continued from page 1

That is why when regular order is followed and laws are enacted as they have been for 200 years - both in Congress and the executive branch - hundreds of highly specialized staffers have to be called upon to explain what broad-brush numbers will mean in real life. What does cutting $100 billion from hospital reimbursement under Medicare mean, precisely, regarding how treatment will be provided or not provided? What does a $700 billion reduction in defense spending over the next decade mean, precisely, about our Navy’s ability to protect the South China Sea from Chinese efforts to dominate it?

Each time we have one of these secret deal negotiations instead of regular order, the magnitude of the proposed change in our way of life gets bigger and the process gets more exclusive and more sloppy. This is not only bad legislating, it is dangerous to our constitutional process.

The Roman Republic eventually gave way to imperial dictatorship during the 1st century B.C., as the Senate yielded to generals and strong men more frequently to fix the various financial and land distribution problems that the senators lost the will and capacity to fix themselves.

If we don’t use our congressional representative rights, we will eventually lose them. A warning.

Tony Blankley is the author of “American Grit: What It Will Take to Survive and Win in the 21st Century” (Regnery, 2009) and vice president of the Edelman public relations firm in Washington.