Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dump Congress…let Hannity, Matthews, Madow, and O'Reilly look for productive work

It's likely that most have heard of the Ten Commandments; it's unlikely that most have heard of the Ten Thousand Commandments. The former, at one time, were used a guideposts to living a "moral" life. (I place quote marks around moral since morality, like so many quaint customs, is no longer seen as relevant to modernity). The latter is the title of a report issued every year and which tracks Congressional action (sic) and compares it to the issuance of "rules and regs" by a host of federal agencies.

For the most recent year Congress managed to enact 72 pieces of legislation. Federal agencies, lead by the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Interior, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency slipped through 3,659 new rules. Total annual agency "rules and reg" cost to taxpayers: $1,863 trillion - to give that number some perspective, individual income taxes for the same period totaled $1.234 trillion.

(As an interesting aside, I checked through the different agencies and their rule making activity - right there at the bottom was the "Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board" with one (1) reg enacted.)

In addition to the enacted rules and regs, there are an additional 2,500 "proposed" regs awaiting a final go-ahead. There are also over 24,000 "public notices" regarding many of our daily concerns. Among these are issues of health care, education, energy production, finance, land and resource management, etc. It is imperative to understand that all these issues, as well as those under agency rules and regs, are written and implemented by groups of nameless, faceless, and unelected individuals  - many of whom have agendas of their own, many others who are otherwise unemployable relatives of known vote-gernerators.

These duties were originally deemed responsibilities of the Congress - yet Congress has a chosen to cede its legislative authority to these agencies (There is little use in appealing to the Constitutional relevance anymore, as it is being re-intepreted under a "living document" penumbra. As a result, it can mean one thing to a "wise Latina", and something quite different to an Irish dipsomaniac, or an Albanian dwarf, or a left-handed pole vaulter.)

Nevertheless, it is very apparent that, measured by productivity, our Congress is home to a bunch of shameless underachievers. However, that legislation which they do manage to enact is so horrendously written, so lengthy, and so sweeping, that no member that I am aware of ever read (or understood) the complete text of the Homeland Security Act or the Affordable Care Act. Complete texts of each bill (both of which ran to thousands of pages) were available to our congress people only hours before they voted and passed them.

(There are groups actively seeking to make it mandatory to provide ample time for all bills be read before being voted upon. Apparently, it's considered impractical.)

A final observation: members of the legal profession dominate in both houses, yet it's impossible to find a lawyer who won't insist that you MUST carefully read any legal document BEFORE signing it. Yet these clowns merrily ignore their own cautions and saddle us with legalisms that, to this day, remain undisclosed.

Congress ought to be disbanded. Members of both houses have shown their loyalty is to the party  leadership, and not to their constituencies. They leave the really repulsive rule making and regulation writing to legions of non-descript paper-shufflers, thereby immunizing themselves from charges of bad government.

Congress doesn't work because its members don't. 535 additions to the unemployment roles will go all but unnoticed, except by the madmen and women who populate the networks and make public discourse so ugly and incomprehensible.