In theory, Washington should be making good economic policy, even if it means going home to districts and explaining hard decisions. That's why we have Washington rather than a weekly election. Instead, it slavishly follows popular whims. In 2003, when growth was sound, Republicans in Congress passed a massive expansion of Medicare that was entirely financed on the deficit (not to mention tax cuts that were funded the same way). In 2009, amidst a crippling recession, Democrats are paying for every last dime of their health-care bill and delaying implementation so the price tag looks smaller.