Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tied up with red tape while the room fills with red ink.

Thanks to a generous reader, I just finished Papa Married a Mormon, which is the recounting of the author's family history on the Utah frontier in the latter half of the 1800s. In it was one quote, spoken by an older brother to his younger sibling who'd traveled from Pennsylvania to join him out in the West:
"I didn't travel thousands of miles to get away from Papa's and Mamma's preaching, only to have you take their place. I don't honestly know if you can make the grade out here or not. We are an uncivilized, unprincipled, immoral and irreligious people, not counting the Mormons. The one thing we cherish most is our individual freedom to live any kind of life we choose, and if we choose the road to Hell, we don't want anybody trying to save us. Tou try to live another man's life in this country, Tom, and he'll take yours. You try to reform one man or one woman, and even if you succeed, all other men and women will hate you for it."
Imagine for a moment that you are sitting down with a group of average Americans from, say, the first decade of the 20th Century. And you try and tell them that, within the lifetime of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the federal government would regulate by fiat everything from the size of their toilet tanks to the chemical composition of the paint on their child's bicycle. The ones that didn't think you were joshing would laugh you out of the room.

As the Silicon Graybeard said in a recent post:
We are strangling in a bureaucracy with a Code of Federal Regulations that has grown like a bacterial culture. A nation that was founded by a constitution that fills about 14 printed pages in today's technologies, passes financial reform bills that go over 2000 pages, health care bills that go almost 3000 pages, and more. Each bill creates hundreds of new regulations, which are so poorly written they have to be refined by hundreds of court cases. The court cases effectively create new law and new regulations. Since congress is in session every year and passes at least one new law every year, the total number of laws and regulations increases without limit and everything eventually becomes illegal.
We need a House of Repeal.

24 comments:

aczarnowski said...

A house of repeal? Yes please!

Now where's my copy of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress?

LL said...

It makes you want to pull a John Galt, doesn't it?

jimbob86 said...

"We need a House of Repeal."

Damn straight.

perlhaqr said...

Ayup. At least half of those fuckers in Congress (and probably a great deal larger of a percentage in "government" in general, counting all the regulatory agencies) have never worked a god-damned day in their lives, not at anything where they were making anything or selling anything, where they were required to make a profit to stay in business, and so they have no idea whatsoever of what's required to do so.

They make it bloody well impossible to get anything done, and then wonder why the economy sucks, and then think the solution is to pass more laws that'll end up making it even harder to get anything accomplished. Fuck. If they'd just stay out of the way, there's still enough uncorrupted America left to get things back on track. Instead they gotta have Golden-Egg Laying Goose liver pate for dinner, and when it starts running out, they print more money to pay for the last bit of it.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Would someone please build a Time Machine so I could go back to the Constitutional Convention with a laptop and show our Founding Fathers the Flaws they wrote? I know it would create a Parallel Universe, but Damn It, it's either that or a Constitutional Convention. And since that takes 2/3 of the States to start, and 3/4 to Ratify, and we know many of the People's Republics like Kalifornia and Assachusetts won't play.... Sigh! Where did I hang my Browncoat?

Nathan said...

We don't need a Constitutional convention. We need our government to follow the Constitution as written, and we need our citizens to wake up and maintain some vigilance over what their elected representatives are doing to them.

Although I'll geek for an amendment to require all bills in either house to require a 2/3 vote for passage -- which is the whole point of a House of Repeal. As Heinlein put it, any law that garners at least a 1/3 vote against is probably a bad law to start with.

McVee said...

I agree. Note how big business has shown it's ability to create WTF?!? moments too tho. Sometimes it's even simple cr@p; local bank (multi-state player) has big flashy signs mentioning a free book for kids about math. I ask the teller if I can get two. She tells Me that they have none. Will you get more I ask? She replies She is unsure whether they will get more. I politely suggest perhaps they should take the signs down till they do. She tells Me they are not allowed too. Great.

Nathan said...

I'll also note that the reason I don't want another Constitutional convention is because the first one followed its instructions so well...Not.

If you think for one minute that any new Constitution coming out of a convention today would not be larded with all kinds of things that don't belong in it, I think you are seriously naive. Everything is in play at a convention. That 14 page document will turn into a full-length novel by the time our modern "statesmen" are through with it.

Bram said...

After the Revolution, there WILL be a House of Repeal - and Term Limits. And a whole lot of other things that will hopefully take the statists a couple more centuries to circumvent.

perlhaqr said...

McVee: I'm less about Big Business in my rant and more about Small Business. There have been (off-hand) at least 5 businesses I haven't even bothered trying to start once I figured out just what a complete PITA it would be.

Maybe it's Premature Galt Syndrome, but I have to figure I'm not alone in that.

Joseph said...

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting down with a group of average Americans from, say, the first decade of the 20th Century. And you try and tell them that, within the lifetime of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the federal government would regulate by fiat everything from the size of their toilet tanks to the chemical composition of the paint on their child's bicycle. The ones that didn't think you were joshing would laugh you out of the room.

I'm guessing most would ask first what a toilet tank is or where they'd get all the money to buy their kids bicycles.

Come to think of it, that's kind of why things have gone as they have. Americans as a whole have what they feel is too much to lose and choose to give up those things that don't cost monetarily.

Alan J. said...

LL, screw John Galt and the horse he rode out of town on! I'm tired of hearing that the only solution is to run away from the problem instead of fixing it. Remember, soap box, ballot box, jury box, cartridge box - and although there are days when I'd like to load up the rifle, warm up some tar, and gather up some rope - we're a long way from the cartridge box solution. I prefer the Tea Party solution of finding good candidates to elect and working to change the system for the better. Although I'd certainly vote for a Department of Repealing bureaucracies as well.

McVee said...

@perlhaqr; no, I understood. Just a general observation overall. I'm pretty much disgusted with govt and big business in general. I had begun my day with that petty sh!t and it just went downhill from there. :)
Seems Govt is not really interested in improving the situation, they're more interested in keeping the power they currently have through the use of regulation etc. Laws are for the little people.
Best.

Anonymous said...

I'll settle for requiring all laws to have an automatic sunset provision--say no more than ten years and preferably less. Then it has to be re-enacted from square one.

Second thing--actually coequal--would be to purge all of the progressives from BOTH parties, and start getting the political class to think and function as Americans.

cap'n chumbucket

Sherm said...

I read that book about 45 years ago. The sentiments expressed were not much different from those in the other books I was reading at the time such as The Virginian. The breakdown in such thinking parallels the breakdown of the family. You don't get taught to "be a man" if you don't have a man in your life.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Huh. The author of the Great Brain series. I loved those books in 6th grade.

John A said...

I have long felt, with an anonymous poster above, that most if not all laws should have a "sunset" provision. Hopefully, legislators would have little time to meddle with what housepaint colors are acceptable if they first had to review and re-pass earlier laws.

Stranger said...

An amendment requiring two thirds of the States to approve any Federal tax increase, and allowing any Federal law to be repealed on a vote of half the States plus one would do everything necessary, without the risks inherent in a Constitutional Convention.

TheGraybeard said...

What scares me about a constitutional convention is the knowledge of who turns out rent-a-mobs at the drop of a hat. Every leftist/statist organization you shake an acronym at will be there, while the rest of us who work for a living will be working, and before you know it, we'll have a list of "rights" that you'll never be able to get rid of.

No, I don't know how to get out of this one, but a House of Repeal sure sounds good.

Anonymous said...

Reserving the right to go off topic;

"We are an uncivilized, unprincipled, immoral and irreligious people, not counting the Mormons."

Shows what he knew...

Joseph said...

A small percentage of those turn-of-the-century people (the "progressives") would applaud. The rest would be astounded that those crackpots actually won.

Anonymous said...

A large part of our problem today is that we add more and more government programs but no one really watches to see if these programs accomplish anything, have completed their tasks, have become outdated or ineffective, or, as is too often the case today, become hopelessly corrupt.

No offense but neither Congress nor the president have any real interest is resolving these issues so long as the various service employee unions contribute to their re-election. Short of a massive rejection by voters, there is little hope that Congress will perform their constitutional duties. Forunately, Congress has largely ceded the ability to solve the problem to the President. This is not entirely unreasonable. FDR used to establish goals and timelines for his prgrams and frequently make adjustments when things didn't work as expected. Later president's have forgotten this necessary requirement of management.

The President needs to appoint a Bureau of Government Efficiency whose task it is to find programs & agencies described in the first paragraph and pull their funding. It's as simple as that. Congress could, of course, countermand a particular decision as could the President and maybe even the courts. Such a move would be fraught with peril. Who wants to risk their political career to publicly defend waste & corruption?

BuGE will also have the ability to revoke legislation that is outdated, ineffective or largely ignored. Congress can pass all the laws they want. Nothing says the President has to enforce them short of Congress impeaching the President. Today's Congress impeach the President? I don't think so.

To be sure that BuGE does their job, they will have no budget. Their only budget comes from the money they take from other agencies. As the size of government shrinks, so too will BuGE.

By the way, agents of the BuGE will be known as BuGErs and agencies that have been shut down will be referred to as BuGEred. (Every pun intended.)

Ken said...

Bureau of Sabotage. ;-)

Anonymous said...

"...grown like a bacterial culture." Yes, sort of. I prefer: "Growing and metastatic, like a malignant melanoma." I was talking to a 16 year old recently who did not understand why there should be such a thing as capital punishment in this era of enlightened, progressive society. I explained to her very calmly that's like saying a person has no right to destroy a malignant tumor that is in their body, because, heck, that tumor is just trying to live its life like all other living things... She got my point and seemed to rethink her position (until her next text message came in, anyway). I use the same analogy for gov't out of control. It's more like metastatic melanoma than anything else I can think of. Spreading rapidly and ultimately fatal to its host (we the people) unless dealt with decisively and preferably at an early stage. I would shed the same number of tears for elimination of malignant government as I would for a malignant tumor. Maybe tears of joy. Yeah. Kentucky Jones