Death by committee

I have been posting excerpts from my latest draft “Guaranteed Income: Chronicle of a Political Death Foretold.” Here is an excerpt from Act III, the concluding act of my political morality tale, which also introduces the villain of my story–another Southern Democrat, Senator Russell B. Long (pictured below below the fold):

“The third act of a dramatic work usually features a climax or showdown, followed by the resolution of the story’s conflict situation.[a] The showdown, in turn, is the most consequential moment of the story—the sequence in which the conflict is brought to its most intense point and where the dramatic question posed by the story is answered, leaving the protagonist with a new sense of who he really is.[b]

“Once [the guaranteed income bill] was approved by the House in April of 1970, Nixon’s guaranteed income bill went to the Senate.[c] The fateful showdown will thus take place in the august halls and stately corridors of the United States Senate—moreover, this conflict will consist of a titanic intellectual battle between competing political principles and conflicting ideological worldviews—between social liberals committed to the cause of eradicating poverty, and fiscal conservatives opposed to government hand-outs and guaranteed minimum incomes. Victim of these powerful and irreconcilable political forces, the bill would languish in committee for months until its final defeat on November 20, 1970.[d]

“Why does our guaranteed minimum income story end this way? What happened between April 16, 1970, when H.R. 16311 sailed through the House, and November 20, 1970, when the guaranteed income bill died in committee? It turns out, however, that most commentators and scholars have been asking the wrong question.[e] Instead of asking, what killed the income bill, we should be asking, who killed it? Among the leading culprits is the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the junior senator from the State of Louisiana, Russell B. Long. He delayed consideration of the bill for months on end, tenaciously outmaneuvered supporters of the bill on the floor of the Senate, and defeated the bill in the waning days of the 91st Congress….”[f]

[I will post an excerpt from my epilogue in my next post.]

Image result for russell b long quotes

           [a]  See Trottier, op cit, at p. 16.

           [b]  Id. at pp. 16–17.

           [c]  Congressional Quarterly, op cit., at p. 2.

           [d]  Id.

           [e]  See, e.g., Kornbluh, op cit., at p. 136; Neuberg, supra note 9; Moynihan, op cit., at p. 385; Burke & Burke, op cit., at pp. 186–87.

           [f]  See generally Alan Ehrenhalt, Senate Finance: The Fiefdom of Russell Long, 35 Cong. Q. Wkly. Rep. 1905, 1905 (1977).

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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