“Opening minds and angravating liberals since 2001”
“I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.”
My Friends and Fellow Shills and Shells:
A good friend a long time reader from Bangkok emailed me the other day. He commented that there should be some kind of disclaimer on any bill passed by Congress. We shall get to that…
But first, there are soooo many of you out there who are complaining that this president or that attorney general or the other cabinet secretary or the random Member of Congress is not upholding their oath of office.
Virtually every oath of office, just like being sworn into the Military, refers to upholding and defending the Constitution and swearing said allegiance to God. Typically, one raises his hand to God or places it on a Bible and swears that the words of the oath and your fealty are true.
Lemme refresh your memories. Recall some five or six years ago when I brought to your attention, many for the first time, the words of one of Biff’s pals and later a Czar, Cass Sunstein?
(I am sick and tired of his creep and his foreign-born bride, Samantha Power, who is the US Ambassador to the UN.)
Anywho, this Cass-hat said “by the year 2020, the Constitution as we know it will be largely irrelevant.”
And everyone laughed.
And it is becoming true.
And don’t you just want to spit those few times the Left actually tells the truth!
Let’s walk back a little.
You apply for a job, you pass the interview and get the gig. On your first day at work you go through some kind of orientation, fill out paperwork and the rest of the first day events.
Now, before anyone is dismissed and sent to their offices, they are all told to stand, put their hand on a copy of “Silent Spring” and swear to Rachael Carson that they will not create anything which might adversely affect the environment.
Sure, you do it. After all, you are a diesel fitter at the bloomer factory. There is very little if at all anything in your job description with respect to the environment. Second, you have no idea what is in that book and have even a smaller idea who Rachel Carson might be.
So, too, is it with our Liberal/Socialist/Marxist friends and they have as much as told us!
They do not believe in the Constitution.
They do not believe in God.
(Someone prove me wrong.)
So, swearing to something that they do not believe in to a Deity they do not think exists is the EXACT same as swearing on a book to some enviro-wacko nut who is responsible for millions of deaths.
(Yes, Rachael Carson may be the biggest mass murderer in history after Margaret Sanger. She is largely responsible for having DDT banned. Long story for another day but that was the “global warming” type hoax of the 60’s.)
Without further ado, from my pal Howie in Bangkok, a most excellent exegesis to amplify on the above. More to come!
(Take this seriously people. And If you wish to comment please do. Howie expressed an interest in feedback, please do noyt let us down.)
People must learn to understand what politicians are doing TO them under the guise of doing something FOR them.- hbm
Thanks for the quick reply. Let me clarify. I don’t want to stress anything as a warning label. I want a detailed “Harmful Impacts Statement” in each piece of legislation, just like each piece of legislation contains information on who benefits. Any warnings about who is responsible are much lower priorities, and may not be needed. I’ll get back to “Warning Labels” at the end of this email.
Harmful Impacts Statement
I am talking about requiring a paragraph in every piece of legislation that explains what foreseeable harm it will cause, who will be harmed, and how long it will take before people can feel the harmful impacts. I believe that legislation, like physicians, should do no harm, but there are instances when avoiding some harm might not be possible.
- Legislation never tells us what we can expect in the longer term or who will be impacted besides the people in groups specified in the legislation itself. That is insufficient for understanding the effects of the legislation. We say, for example, that this law will improve the lot of the poor. A law never says it will help the poor only in the short term, or that in the long term it will hurt the poor because of the inflation the new law will cause. But that is what the legislation should say.
- Many or most people do not understand that they are affected by legislation even if their name or their group is not cited in the legislation. “Oh, I’m not poor, so this doesn’t affect me.” This is nonsense of course, but it causes people to care less what gets passed…and when the consequences come back to bite, they are clueless why things got worse for them. For example: legislation causes inflation, and a tiny bit of inflation will not be noticeable to most. However, the aggregate inflation over time of thousands of laws, rules and regulations is the reason that cars cost 5-6 times what they did before the inflation of many decades. Inflation is a tax that hurts the poor the most because it makes necessities cost more. The poor are the most harmed by inflation. So when things start getting bad for the poor again, they scream for more increases in the minimum wage. (COLA increases are also minimum wage increases, but I won’t go into that now).
My concept is that every piece of legislation must contain a paragraph detailing the foreseen harmful impacts of the legislation on all groups, not just on the target group.
I got the idea from reading Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson”, and W.E.B. Griffin’s military historical fiction books in which he talks about a military “dog-robber” (general’s aide-de-camp). In one of Griffin’s books, the scenario is this: A general’s aide is briefing his replacement. He tells the replacement ‘…when the general is talking to you, it is more important to listen to what he doesn’t say than what he does say.’
Now, every time I read something, I ask myself what is missing, not what is in front of me.
I have read many pieces of legislation and ask myself what is not being said. Then I got the idea that legislation does not say what harmful effects it will cause, and that is a terrible omission.
Known and foreseeable impacts of any legislation should be included. It is a severe flaw in the method that politicians use when they write legislation. The people should have the right to know what harm legislation will or is likely to cause, and they should not have to wade through thousands more pages of CBO guesses, which are based on the assumptions of the party that holds the chair of the committee that submits the bill, and should never be called bi-partisan.
Henry Hazlitt said (and this is the basis for the whole idea)
“Economics really means to look at BOTH the short term AND long term impacts of an act or policy AND being able to trace the impacts of the act or policy on ALL groups, not just one or two. ” [emphasis mine]
Why should this be limited to the study of economics? The legislation itself has economic impacts, so it should tell us 1) the foreseeable impacts, 2) good and bad, 3) on all groups 4) over the short and long term. Since politicians write legislation as if it fixes something (which is not what laws do, but that’s another story), the politicians should be required to tell us what the legislation is likely to break. And approximately when. All legislation has costs paid for by re-distributed wealth, so the people need to know that sooner or later their wallets and other aspects of their lives will be affected by any new law. Some will benefit and some will be harmed. Some will be both harmed and benefitted. For example, people think that if they earn more than minimum wage, they will not be impacted by a minimum wage increase, but we know this is not true.
The “Harmful Impacts” paragraph which I would require in each piece of legislation, must explain the following:
- The short and long term harmful impacts of the legislation.
- Who will be harmed in the short run and the long term?
- What form will the harmful effects take?
- When are the harmful impacts likely to be felt by each impacted group?
The economics “ripple effect” ensures that there will be short and long term impacts that affect many people who are not directly targeted in the legislation. Technically, the ripple effect can affect everyone in the world in some way].
Minimum Wage examples of Harmful Impacts
Lets take a very simple example: Minimum wage increases.
“The true minimum wage is Zero” – Thomas Sowell.
1. A minimum wage increase law seems to tell us that people getting the minimum wage need to be helped. So we know who benefits (at least in the short term).
2. As we well know those laws never tell us who gets harmed, or when. But there is harm done, even if not so easily identified:
- Unskilled, low educated, inexperienced people (including the poor) who have never worked are likely to be priced out of the job market. This not only keeps them from earning anything, but it also prevents them from getting experience, skills and workplace knowledge putting them behind many of their age group peers, and turning to illegal activities, including violent crime, becoming illegitimate parents, etc.
- People who just got minimum wage jobs are likely to get fired first, when a minimum wage increase makes their labor services no longer unaffordable.
- It is hard to prove that someone did not get a job because of the minimum wage increase, but it should be possible to get a study done asking companies for estimates of how many they will not hire when the minimum wage is increased and how many they will have to fire.
- The “Harmful Impacts Statement” in every piece of legislation will show people that money that is being used for harmful legislation could have been used by the private sector for other purposes, like job creation to provide knowledge, skills and experience to limit the time anyone needs to be on the lowest available wage level in the first place.
- If you read this article, http://mises.org/daily/6665/How-SpecialInterest-Groups-Benefit-from-Minimum-Wage-Laws, you can see that the impacts of special interest groups (aka cronyism) on the economy are hidden and need to be exposed, as well. They cause reductions of competition and thus higher prices to consumers, and we are all consumers.
An additional warning label would be more of a disclaimer that there will be UNforeseen impacts that cannot be determined at the time the legislation becomes law. It could also say that one or more of the foreseen or unforeseen problems can change at any time. It can also state that special interest groups will cause more harmful effects and that the public can only hold politicians responsible for harmful effects by making good voting choices.
No politician will accept anything that holds him responsible for anything. So trying to make a politician responsible for his actions at other than voting time is a waste of time. The people need to be made more aware that they (we) are responsible when bad choices are made.
In summary, this long screed is really about alerting voters that legislation has harmful impacts as well as benefits.
It may even make some people aware that some legislation should not be passed (in fact most legislation should not be passed).
If people know that legislation has so many harmful effects, and that the benefits are generally only short term, more people might read the legislation to see how hard they are likely to be hurt. Conceivably, it could lead to less legislation.
If the people can learn to understand harmful effects, more Americans might wake up to how the politicians are harming them personally.
Next topic: All laws should be complete in themselves and no law can be modified in any way after being signed into law except with the consent of congress. (that’s for another day…but I will say that if this were required now, it would probably have taken another 4-5 years to write Obamacare, which probably would not have been completed. We would have known what was in it before it was passed.
WELL DONE, HOWIE!!!