Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Stunting Leviathan's Growth (continued)

We asked in previous posts (see Stunting Leviathan's Growth) if there were more effective ways of restraining government and reducing the incentives of politicians to violate the Constitution.

In addition to my previous recommendation that a maximum of one law per week (26 laws per year) be introduced and prominently displayed in the Sunday paper, I received another good suggestion (from Russ Nelson) that each law should be read aloud and only those who were present during the reading could vote on it. Here's another thought to ponder.

We've all heard the phrase "too many cooks spoil the broth." Just as each cook adds a little bit of salt, each politician adds a clause here or there to help the special interests who support him. Once enough politicians add to a bill, instead of being the original law, it is filled to the brim with clauses supporting special interests. No one can be held responsible for the content of the law because everyone has contributed to it, just as no one cook can be held responsible for ruining the broth. How can incentives for politicians to act responsibly exist if no politician may be held accountable for a law?

In addition to the limit on the number of laws to be introduced, the twenty six laws must each be sponsored by a single politician, not two or three or more. This politician will be solely responsible for its content. No other politician will be allowed to add to it, although others may make suggestions for changes to it before it is introduced. Should the Supreme Court rule at any time that the law is unconstitutional, the sponsor will be immediately removed from office. This creates the incentive for the politician to first make sure the law is constitutional and consult all sources available prior to sponsoring a bill. Legislation will not be introduced in haste, in response to a tragedy that people think the government should have prevented, without first demonstrating that the new law will accomplish its goal within the bounds of the Constitution.

The obvious problem with this system is that the Supreme Court then has the ability to declare laws of one party unconstitutional and allow the laws of the opposing party to hold. Therefore, it is important to allow the state to elect new representation to replace the politician removed from office and it would be advisable to allow reinstatement by a majority of Congress and executive approval to ensure a balance of power.

Over the long run, it may be impossible to completely restrain Leviathan; however, measures to slow its growth allow a longer period of truly limited government to exist.

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