Thursday, February 07, 2008

Make Congress Read!

From the inbox. This one is from the Downsize DC Foundation. As you can see from the icon to the left hand side of the blog, I am a member of the "Read the Bills Coalition". Here is another description for why we need to get this bill enacted into law. If you agree that Congress should actually know what the laws that they pass actually say, then I urge you to find out more about this, and take action. - LJ


There are many reasons to downsize DC. A big one, quite simply, is that Big Government hurts the economy:

Most government regulations do not achieve their intended purpose of protecting workers and consumers, but only create unemployment and higher prices.

Deficit spending causes monetary inflation, and worker's wages do not keep pace with higher prices.

Complicated tax laws are grossly inefficient, draining the economy of hundreds of billions in filing costs.

Income taxes make it harder for families to save, and for businesses to expand.

Every dollar the government wastes is one dollar stolen from the private sector, from the people. For example, the cost of one military helicopter used in an unnecessary war is equivalent to that of 400 cars or 10,000 laptops.

Government is not capable of managing the economy. Its options are mis-managing the economy, or leaving it alone. This means that a real economic stimulus bill would reduce the government's role in theeconomy. It would:

Repeal counter-productive regulations.

Attack inflation by curbing the government's ability to borrow and print money.

Simplify the tax codes and cut tax rates.

Cut wasteful spending.

Last week, the House passed the 22-page H.R. 5140 just one day after it was introduced. This "economic stimulus" bill is a fraud:

Instead of regulatory reform that would attract business to America and increase employment, it gives businesses some very temporary tax breaks that won't help them in the long term.

Instead of attacking inflation, it makes inflation worse by borrowing still more money, and counts on a temporary spending spree this summer to revive the economy. Yet the artificially-created demand will likely cause prices to rise even higher.

Instead of genuine tax relief and tax reform that will make the economy more productive, the people will receive a one-time handout that increases the national debt, raises the inflation tax, and increases the debt burden on future generations.

No spending cuts will offset the cost of the package.

You may disagree, and believe this package will at least be a stop-gap that prevents the recession from getting worse. Even so, should a bill that adds $150 billion to the national debt be introduced and passed in just 24 hours? Shouldn't committees study it, and shouldn't the people have a chance to read it and contact Congress with their opinions?

There have been signs of a looming recession for several months -arguably, years - and Congress had all this time to prevent it. Instead, it waited until the last minute to ram through a short-sighted "emergency" bill. That's the way Congress works. And that's why we need the Read the Bills Act.

The Read the Bills Act would not just require Congress to read the bills they pass, it would also require that bills be posted on the Internet for seven days before a final vote is taken. This would give both Congress and the people time to study bills carefully before the vote. If a $150 billion borrow-and-spend bill troubles you, you would have the chance to let Congress know. They wouldn't be able to pass it in a day.

There are no exceptions for "emergency" bills under RTBA, which means Congress could no longer wait until the last minute to "do something." They would instead have to plan ahead. With planning and feedback from the people, they are more likely to write better bills.

Please tell Congress that you object to the $150 billion the House spent in haste. Tell them that they had several months to produce a thoughtful stimulus package. And tell them they would govern better if they passed the Read the Bills Act. You can do so here.

Also, please consider adding your blog or website to the Read the Bills Act Coalition. This will spread the word about the RTBA, and you'll get a link on our blog and a mention in a Downsizer-Dispatch. Details are here.

This week, we welcome two new members to the Coalition:

Pursuit of Liberty

Rich Vermillion

As further ammunition for the Read the Bills Act, we keep tract of the number and length of the bills Congress passes. Although it met for relatively few days in January, the House managed to pass 19 bills totaling 815 pages. The Senate spent most of its time in debate, but passed 3 bills totaling 607 pages. You can see the list of bills at the bottom of the blog version of this Dispatch.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President


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