WASHINGTON, December 26, 2013 — The media are at it again. They are bemoaning the lack of action by Congress. As we go into New Year’s, the media will produce a parade of stories about how unproductive this Congress was. A top, recurring story will be the “do-nothing Congress.”
What is the problem with that?
What the left wing media mean when they complain about a do-nothing Congress is that Congress was not activist; it failed to pass a lot of really bad laws.
A favorite congressional buzzword is “reform.” Congress wants to reform the tax code. They want to reform immigration. They want to reform pensions. They want to reform healthcare.
Every time Congress wants to engage in reform it is because Washington has screwed something up. If these geniuses screwed it up the first time, what sane person thinks they will be able to fix the problem with a “reform?”
Congress wants to reform the tax code. The only reason the tax code is broken is because we have had decades of new tax laws passed by Congress that have made our tax system so complicated that even Americans of average income need professionals to help them prepare their taxes.
Congress wants to reform immigration. The only reason Immigration is broken is because for decades now, administrations of both parties have refused to enforce our immigration laws.
Congress passed healthcare reform. Look what the result of that has been: Millions of Americans have already lost their health insurance coverage, and in 2014, tens of millions more will. Given the way things are going, at the end of 2014, there will be more Americans without health insurance than there are with health insurance.
Too much government reform created this problem and the left already has a solution: even more reform.
Congress is obsessed with passing new laws that cause more harm than good. Every reform Congress passes is worse than the problem it sought to cure.
There are solutions, but first we must realize that Congress is the problem. Bad laws are never repealed, they are only reformed. Congress needs to learn, you can’t reform a bad law into a good one. You have to start over from scratch
If Congress is the problem, let us reform Congress. We can start by limiting any law Congress passes, be it anything as all-encompassing as Obamacare to the naming of a post office building, to a five-year lifespan. Every law Congress passes must automatically sunset after five years.
Every law in the United States Code should be assigned a sunset date. Good laws will be reauthorized. Congress has to do this with a number of laws now. Does anyone really oppose reauthorization of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act? The same should be true of every regulation in the Code of Federal Regulations.
Mark Twain once observed that, “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” Congress needs to be a part time body.
Some people argue that the government is too big for just a part time body. If that is the case, that means government is too big.
Two hundred years ago, during the War of 1812, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry sent the famous communiqué, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
In 2014, we can write, “We have met the enemy. And they are Congress.”
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