People complain about Congress not getting things done. Well, if we want Congress to be more effective we should just give them more vacation time.
Allow me to explain. This past Saturday marked the start of a five-week recess for Congress. Let’s leave aside the question of why the same term is used to describe a break taken by congressmen and kindergarteners and consider more important matters. For the past few days members of congress (and in particular the House) have been working their butts off. The GOP House scrambled to pass a border security bill. Congress passed a bill to pay for highway and transit projects and sent it to the President. Usually you only see this much activity when a sex scandal needs to be contained.
The primary motivator here is fear. Representatives don’t want to head home only to face angry constituents who are about to lose funding for their highways. They don’t want to face hostile crowds worried that if more Central Americans cross the border we’ll one day be replacing The Star-Spangled Banner with a Ricky Martin song.
So, more vacations would mean more time facing the voters back home. Which is terrifying and motivating. Any kid whose ever walked home bearing a report card full of D’s knows the motivational power of fear.
Fear isn’t fun, but it works. It’s worth a shot.