Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"If I could amend the Constitution"

Interesting list of changes here. They missed a couple of my favorites. Laws passing Congress these days are so long, so wordy, and written in legal gobbledgook so dense that no one, not congressmen, not congressional staff, not reporters, and certainly not citizens understand what the new law means. Take the current 1100 page health care bills. The Congressmen themselves admitted that they hadn't read them.
With giant unreadable bills, the citizens are being sold a pig in a poke. We don't know what's going down, and we don't know if we should support it or oppose it. Plus, bills so wordy are in fact micromanagement of the the government. Congressional laws should spell out general principles, in language citizens can under stand, in documents short enough to be read in less than 6 months.
Was is just me, I'd limit the length of bills to a single page, type written, single spaced. That might be a little extreme. As a compromise we might be more generous and state that no bill shall exceed the length of the US Constitution.
Or, an incentive to brevity, we could require that all bills be read aloud before a quorum of House and Senate before a vote can be taken.
My second improvement is taken from the old Confederate States of America constitution. Bills shall address one, and just one, topic, that topic to be in the title of the bill. This would prevent the underhanded business of "riders", the attachment of some special favor legislation to a "must pass" bill such as a defense appropriation bill in wartime. The rider by itself lacks the votes to pass, so it gets lashed to something that has to pass as a way of getting it thru. The old time Confederates understood this trickery and outlawed it.

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