Over the last 100 years or so, Congress has steadily and willingly given up some of its most important powers. The Constitution gave Congress many specific powers and duties, some of which made that body our primary bulwark against some of the most dangerous forces the history of human governance had seen up until the American Revolution (Pointless Wars, Tyranny, Usurpation of basic Freedoms, Monetary Policy Malfeasance, Approval of the President's Cabinet Members, and Reckless Spending).
Amongst these critical powers were the sole power to spend our money and to handle our monetary policies, the sole power to declare war. Let's examine briefly how Congress has handled these critical duties over the last 100 years:
1) With the Federal Reserve act of 1913, Congress willingly gave up the power to control our monetary policy. I personally believe that was an unconstitutional act. Regardless, with that act, Congress voluntarily relieved itself of one of its most important burdens/duties.
2) When was the last time we had an officially declared war? It was WWII! Yet the U.S. has been in plenty of actual wars since then! There was the Korean War, The Viet Nam War, the Gulf War, (we significantly contributed to) the war in Kosovo, the Afghanistan War, and the Iraq War. How many thousands of soldiers' lives were lost in these undeclared wars? Congress, in each case, pulled an Obama before anyone had ever heard of him, and essentially voted "Present". Since WWII, Congress has routinely left questions of war to be decided only by the President. They've completely abdicated this crucial, and Constitutionally critical power.
3) Congress has allowed the stable of unconfirmed "special advisers" (Czars) hired by our Presidents to swell beyond the small few most reasonable people might find acceptable. The count is over 30 and rising. The current President has hired multiple Marxist, Maoist, or other self-described "Communists" or Socialists as Czars! There's Van Jones, Cass Sunstein, Anita Dunn, John Holdren, Mark Lloyd, Carol Browner, and Ron Bloom. The list goes on. I bet there are more to come. Bloom's opinion on Capitalism? He said, "We get the joke. We know that the free market is nonsense......We kind of agree with Mao that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun." Anyway, that's 8 (EIGHT) radical Czars advising our President that I can think of off the top of my head! These people are crafting policy details on a daily basis, and we will have to live with/suffer through the results of what they decide. Yet, we never got a chance to vote for any of them, and our representatives never even got to give them the once-over. There is no way to recall any of them. Heck, we don't even know how much they're being paid. With this particular group of radical extremists Obama's brought in, does anyone think any of them would've been confirmed by a reasonable Senate if they had gotten a chance to vote on them?
These Czars are handling issues like how the FCC will manage content of broadcasts. Here, again, Congress has entirely abandoned another of its duties.
What kind of Congress are we left with? Obviously, they were designed to be our representatives. But if they've completely ceded some of their most important powers, then it leaves that body as an empty shell that does not represent us on important issues. It's a shell into which big-time money now pours. We've always known they're a bunch of lobbyists, basically. But taking a look at the power they've given up over the last 100 years gives us yet another angle from which we can view how that situation evolved. They voluntarily gave up their key powers! As a result, they are nothing more than a bunch of shallow playboys and celebrity-like lobbyists shilling daily for their corporate pimps. Why would they need to worry about anything serious? They're free of that burden now.
The end result? Lots of Power has left Congress's hands, and has concentrated in two main places; the Executive branch, and the Special Interests. It's no wonder the people feel like they have no real representation.
Big-time HT: NL
ADDENDUM: Other trends that Congress has allowed to increasingly erode its power include Presidential Signing Statements, and Executive Orders.