Apr 012011
 

No legislation without representation!

The following text is borrowed from Downsize DC, and I agree with it. I’d like to add to it, though. Let’s make it a constitutional amendment! Downsize DC suggests an amendment as a response to a court challenge of the act. I say skip the BS and go straight for the good stuff. What do you think?

Help us pass the “Read the Bills Act” (RTBA)

Part 1: What RTBA does and why

Most Congressmen are lawyers, and many others are businessmen. They know what “fiduciary responsibility” is. For Members of Congress, fiduciary responsibility means reading each word of every bill before they vote.

But Congress has not met this duty for a long time. Instead . . .

  • They carelessly pass mammoth bills that none of them have read. Sometimes printed copies aren’t even available when they vote!
  • Often no one knows what these bills contain, or what they really do, or what they will really cost.
  • Additions and deletions are made at the last minute, in secrecy.
  • They combine unpopular proposals with popular measures that few in Congress want to oppose. (This practice is called “log-rolling.”)
  • And votes are held with little debate or public notice.
  • Oh, and once these bills are passed, and one of these unpopular proposals comes to light, they pretend to be shocked. “How did that get in there?” they say.

There’s a basic principle at stake here. America was founded on the slogan, “No taxation without representation.” A similar slogan applies to this situation:

“No LEGISLATION without representation.”

We hold this truth to be self-evident, that those in Congress who vote on legislation they have not read, have not represented their constituents. They have misrepresented them.

And since Congress has repeatedly committed “legislation without representation,” strong measures to prohibit these Congressional misrepresentations are both justified and required.

To this end we have created the “Read the Bills Act (RTBA).” RTBA requires that . . .

  • Each bill, and every amendment, must be read in its entirety before a quorum in both the House and Senate.
  • Every member of the House and Senate who plans to vote in the affirmative – to vote for tax increases, for spending bills, for the retention or creation of programs, in support of laws and regulations – must sign a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that he or she has attentively either personally read, or heard read, the complete bill to be voted on.
  • Every old law coming up for renewal under the sunset provisions must also be read according to the same rules that apply to new bills.
  • Every bill to be voted on must be published on the Internet at least 7 days before a vote, and Congress must give public notice of the date when a vote will be held on that bill.
  • Passage of a bill that does not abide by these provisions will render the measure null and void, and establish grounds for the law to be challenged in court.
  • Congress cannot waive these requirements.

The effects of these provisions will be profound . . .

  • Congress will have to slow down. This means the pace of government growth will also slow.
  • Bills will shrink, be less complicated, and contain fewer subjects, so that Congress will be able to endure hearing them read.
  • Fewer bad proposals will be passed due to “log-rolling.”
  • No more secret clauses will be inserted into bills at the last moment.
  • Government should shrink as old laws reach their sunset date, and have to be read for the first time before they can be renewed.

And all of these things will enable a larger DownsizeDC.org to more effectively lobby Congress for small government.

Part 2: Our Strategy for passing RTBA

Our plan for passing this legislation is simple, but powerful.

  • We have submitted a copy of RTBA to every member of Congress.
  • We are asking every member of the House and Senate to sponsor this legislation and work for its passage.
  • We are mounting a campaign to recruit thousands, and perhaps millions of Americans to lobby Congress to support RTBA.
  • We are promoting this campaign with a variety of tactics, from Internet networking, to media interviews, to whatever it takes.
  • We will run targeted radio ads, letting citizens know that their Congressman is failing to support this badly needed reform.

The need for this reform is so self-evident that nearly every person in America should support it, and few oppose it. We see no reason why we should not be able to overwhelm Congress with calls to pass this legislation.

  • We dare Congress not to pass it. The more they resist, the larger and stronger we will grow.
  • We dare anyone to challenge it in Court. The more the lobbyists attempt to defeat this reform, the larger and stronger we will grow.
  • We dare the Courts to declare it un-Constitutional. If they do, we will grow larger and stronger as a result — probably big enough to begin a campaign to amend the Constitution to forbid “LEGISLATION without representation.”

There is simply no reason that any normal, tax-paying American should oppose RTBA. And the more the “powers that be” resist these reforms, the larger and stronger we will grow.

We win either way. And thus, we believe, we will win in the end.

Part 3: A Call to Action

To send your message to Congress in support of RTBA click here.

May 212010
 

Rand Paul (photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

Recently the Republican nominee for one of Kentucky’s senate seat, Rand Paul, dared to question the 1964 passing of the Civil Rights Act (or did he?). This instantly made him a Very Bad Person™ in the eyes of progressives (not that having Ron Paul for a father is winning many popularity contests). Paul seemed to be defending the austro-libertarian contention that government intervention against prejudicial discrimination in the private sector is antithetical to the natural rights to freely associate and freely use private property.

Frederic Bastiat (public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Frederic Bastiat wisely said in Economic Harmonies, “Government acts only by the intervention of force; hence, its action is legitimate only where the intervention of force is itself legitimate.” The question at hand is whether or not governmental force is justified in forbidding discrimination.

Continue reading »

Oct 092009
 

I’m nearly done listening free MP3s of “What Has Government Done to Our Money?” by Murray Rothbard. I find myself becoming increasingly outraged about the fraud committed against the American people through modern banking. I also find myself surprised and angry that I didn’t know more about this before (e.g., via news media) and that activists for social justice either don’t know or don’t care about these problems.

Sound money – ending the Federal Reserves, insisting on 100% reserve banking, and returning to a commodity-based currency – is typically regarded, by insiders and outsiders alike, as primarily a paleoconservative or right-libertarian issue. Buzzwords like “gold standard” and “free market” are instant turn-offs to many on the Left. That must stop, and we must find power in combining our numbers. We must find a way to convince the progressive Left that central banking, fractional reserves, and fiat currency are fraudulent and harmful to society, particularly its most vulnerable, the poor and those on fixed incomes. We must also convince them that

How do we go about doing that? Any ideas?

BTW, if you’re a progressive (or anyone else not previously interested in sound money) who followed a link to this post, please read or listen to “What Has Government Done to Our Money?” and leave a comment to let me know your thoughts. How do you feel about central banking, fractional reserves, and fiat currency? Do you think you could find enough common ground to work with libertarian? Why or why not?

Sep 182009
 

I’m often challenged in political arguments with progressives, particularly on Twitter, to define socialism. My opponents claim that I’m abusing the term. I’m inclined to see such a claim as an example of conversational terrorism, but it happens often enough and I care enough about productive dialog that I’ve decided to relent and offer a definition. I might not have done so entirely to my satisfaction had I not been listening to an audiobook version of Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law” this morning. I offer here his laudably simple and clear definition.

Continue reading »

Get Adobe Flash player