For the last few years, I've had this sense that everything I learned as a kid about how America's government works is completely wrong. But I had no idea how bad things actually were until I saw one simple graph.
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Last week, congressional leaders struck a deal to avert another government shutdown and put off our next completely avoidable, 100% self-imposed budget crisis until next September. The deal gained the backing of the White House, survived populist revolts in the House and Senate, and was signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday night.
There's just one problem: The bill is absolutely packed with riders that have nothing to do with the budget and everything to do with paying back special interests and opening more channels for political money to flow directly to the two major political parties.