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OMG LOL! Congress now speaking at a 10th grade level

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Surprise! The grade level at which Congress communicates has been incrementally regressing for the last seven years! Currently, some of the people who run the country speak at the level of a high school sophomore, which is down almost a full grade from 2005. Which seems terribly depressing until you consider Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream"  speech, which we can all agree is a pretty mind-blowing piece or oration, is written at the level of a high school freshman (9.4).

The Sunlight Foundation, the non-profit, government-transparency-advocacy group behind the study, makes the point that "what some might interpret as a dumbing down of Congress, others will see as more effective communication." The Flesch-Kincaid readability test, on which this seemingly arbitrary scale is based, measures the length of words and sentences, and not, in fact, the clarity or academic level of communication. Which means we don't need all them $10 words and fancy grammatical correctness you internet people are always so concerned with to express thorough, complex laws and ideas. Granted, though the thought of Congress slowly morphing into monosyllabically-inclined neanderthals slobbering demands all over each other is pretty hilarious, in an era where it seems like English is in palpable danger (see: "YOLO," "cray," all of Hipster Runoff, etc.) it is heartening to know that this scale does not necessarily imply intelligence or intricacy of thought.

Nevertheless (totally $5 word in high school!), this is still pretty satisfying: the political party of a Congressperson is directly related to their grade level. And, as expected, "the drop from the most moderate to most conservative is, on average, almost three whole grade levels, from 13th to 10th grade," and Republicans in general speak at a lower grade level than Democrats, and have since 2006. So, um… keep up the good work, guys?

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