The ‘Olympia Games’: Quantity doesn’t mean quality

Feb 7, 2018

I’m not a big watcher of the winter Olympic Games, which are upon us again, but I do know that most of the events are scored or judged in terms of more points and less time elapsed.

Here at the winter Olympia Games, the Senate’s new majority hopes to score points by saying it has accomplished more in less time than our Republican-led Senate majority did last year. Last week my counterpart in the Senate Democratic Caucus told reporters how “30 bills in 19 days is unprecedented,” meaning the legislation her side had already pushed through the Senate.

“More” is important to a lot of Democrats. More taxes. More spending. More government. More regulation. That’s obvious from the bills they’ve introduced or supported. Take the so-called “essential health coverage” bill passed by the Senate majority this afternoon; the name hides how it’s aimed at imposing, at the state level, one of the worst features of Obamacare.

Personally, I’d prefer more jobs and more infrastructure over more labor-union conscription of people caring for family members (Senate Bill 6199, better known as the “most disingenuous and cynical bill in Olympia”). A reporter asked yesterday for my reaction to how the new Senate majority is celebrating the number of the bills passed early on. I replied that our side is more concerned with quality over quantity – and when we propose policies, we make sure there is a way to pay for them also.

(click on the image)

Maybe 30 bills through the Senate in 19 days is unprecedented. That by itself is no compliment. The massive tax package the Democrats passed in 2010, when they also had full control of Olympia, was unprecedented. The shape-shifting energy-tax proposal that has already been declared part of this session’s budget package is unprecedented.

The number of bills passed in the Senate so far is less meaningful than how many of those bills check boxes on special-interest wish lists. If the leader of the Senate Democrats wants to call attention to something, why not highlight her side’s quick action on legislation welcomed by those in the liberal donor class? They’ve been holding IOUs since 2012.

Speaking of quantity, the majority pushed 79 bills through Senate Ways and Means in 11 hours yesterday, just to make them eligible for full Senate votes in the coming week. They include even more measures that Bernie Sanders would love (free college for a 2.0 GPA!).

Let the games continue.