Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I like it...let's jump on board

The issue is the proposed Read the Bills Act by a group called Downsize DC. I wonder if anyone in Congress would read the bill if it ever made it out of committee? :-)

On a more serious note, the group has a perfect point - made famous by Rep. Conyers admitting in Fahrenheit 9-11 that they (congressmen) never read the bills - there are too many words being inserted in Federal (binding) legislation that no one but the lobbyists and a few congress-people know about.

I have long suggested that Congress should not be allowed to spend discretionary or earmark money until they all (as a group) have counted to the amount spent...imagine C-SPAN as 3 in the morning as we see fifteen or more congresspeople counting: "one million, one hundred and fifteen thousand, three hundred and twenty one....one million, one hundred and fifteen thousand, three hundred and twenty two."

I will allow all 435+100 to count simultaneously, but I want a record of how lazy/free-riding certain congresspeople are...if one congress person doesn't count enough for the spending of Joe Barton, perhaps Joe won't count enough for the spending of Representative X...this, in turn, would either a) motivate all sorts of under-counting and hence less spending or b) motivate all the congresspeople to count as much as possible so as to spend as much as possible, but with the nice side-effect that with all the counting going on there will be less free-time to come up with other things to spend money on.

A short-cut is the Read the Bills Act...I will have to think more about the unintended consequences of such an Act. There might be a "devil in the details problem" problem. What I mean is that without the details that make up a lot of the spending bills and other legislation, perhaps the legislations/spending packages will be so general that they could increase graft and corruption.

Nevertheless, at the moment I wish the group well...

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