Thursday, September 27, 2012

How About THIS Idea??

   " The Mystery of Government is not how Washington works, but how to make it stop."
                                 
                                                                                                     P.J. O'Rourke
 

 

When our founding fathers wrote our constitution, they identified only three federal crimes: treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the total number of federal crimes numbered in the dozens. Today, there is literally no reliable, definitive number, since the federal code is over 27,000 pages long. In 2011 alone, 40,000 additional federal laws were placed on the books by our elected officials. Ignorance of the law may not be an excuse, but it sure ought to be a mitigating factor! The best guess that I could find while researching this business was 1,298,000 federal laws…give or take a million.

When Moses descended from Mount Sinai all those years ago, he brought with him the Ten Commandments. Soon, the Levitical laws and rules had ballooned the original ten to over 600. By the time Jesus came along, that number had been blown up by a torrent of rules and regulations handed down by the Pharisees, prompting our Savior to say this:

…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
                       
                                                                                Matthew 22:37-40

It is claimed by apologists for the present system that our politicians are simply responding to the demands of the citizenry for protection against bad men with bad intent. We are to blame for the ponderous size of our federal code. We the people have demanded rules and rules we now have, rules that cover every possible activity of daily living from the size of our toilet paper to the size of our Big Gulps. So how come the existence of over a million rules has not brought with it safety, consensus, and the pursuit of happiness?

Here’s an idea. How about we declare a one year moratorium on the passage of any more laws? How about we give every elected official a year off, with pay? They all work so hard. I know because every one of their commercials tell me so: “ Eric Cantor. Working hard for working families.” “ Tim Kaine has been working for Virginia for years, creating well-paying jobs for Virginia families.” It sounds exhausting! Why don’t we give all of them some well-deserved R&R? Let’s see what would happen if we went 12 months without passing any more laws. Could the Republic survive 12 months if our Senators and Congressmen, Assemblymen and City Council members stayed home? We could put everything on auto-pilot. Keep funding levels where they are. Of course the bureaucrats would still have to come to work to keep the government functioning, but how about we give our law-makers a year off from all that law making?

It would be weird hearing no speeches on C-SPAN. Meet The Press would probably have to shut down. Fox News and MSNBC would have to find something else to scream about. Poor lobbyists would be out of work too, since there wouldn’t be anyone to lobby. Imagine. Maybe after a whole year apart, our elected officials might actually miss each other. Republicans and Democrats might discover that the other guys weren’t all that bad after all. Maybe absence would make the political heart grow fonder and perhaps less rude and obnoxious. And maybe after a year without our government trying to pass laws to help us, we will all relearn how to help ourselves, and each other. Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, the cooling off period will do us all some good. Harry Reid will finally have time to work on his stamp collection. Mitch McConnell can devote some time to his passion for oil painting. Hillary Clinton will have the time to hit up the gym to lose that fifty pounds she’s packed on traveling the world. A year without campaign commercials might just be the tonic America needs.