Friday, June 21, 2013

Block Bad Bills

The past several years have seen some bad bills passed through congress. Most, if not all of these legislative atrocities, should have fallen victim to executive veto. Instead they were hailed, lauded, and championed by the seated president.

One such bill was the so-called "Patriot Act". While used responsibly, it allows some necessary sharing between military intelligence agencies, such as the NSA, and civilian law enforcement, such as the FBI. When used irresponsibly, it violates the US Constitution and leads to tyranny. The conservatives who voted in favor of it did so in order to better protect the US from international terrorists. The progressives who did so were looking forward to the day when they, again, held the reigns. Those who didn't see the abuse coming under the party of government intrusion failed to adhere to the first rule of legislation:  "The party of this administration won't always be in charge. So, how can the other side abuse it?"

Well, US Citizens found out. As you do your little teasing emails to your friends about that boy or girl who winked at them in the club, some NSA geek is scratching his head not getting the joke, or laughing himself to abdominal cramps. It can make one wonder if Anthony Wiener actually believed his "private" sexts and R-Rated pictures were really "private". He was in congress. He should have known better.

Then there was the "Dodd-Frank" act. The bill was allegedly meant to make housing more affordable to lower-income families. Instead, it led to false hope. Those low-interest rates were temporary. Once that five-year period expired, they skyrocketed. That led to the Fed dumping the prime rate into the basement. Housing values plummeted. They should have recovered in 24 months. Instead, they continued to drop for years. Between values dropping and those interest rates skyrocketing, many people, including many who were not within the Dodd-Frank demographic, lost their homes, their savings, and their jobs. Only now is the housing market starting to recover.

Next was that fiasco known as the "Stimulus Act". The only thing that stimulated to grow was government incompetency, the deficit, and the national debt.

That brings us to the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act". Obamacare has not protected a single patient. In fact, it has started to limit treatments available to people. It has caused providers to drop medicare and medicaid patients. It is causing outlandish inflation in insurance premiums. This was one of those long "comprehensive" bills that would have served better if it were broken down, bit by bit. Some parts were good. Most of it was bad. The bad is so bad it actually keeps the good from over coming to fruition.

Comprehensive bills, vague bills, and bills with more holes than a loaf of sourdough bread are just plain stupid. There needs to be a constitutional amendment that forbids "comprehensive bills". That same amendment should also limit bills to a length no longer than the US Constitution's original articles.

That leads us to a few bills on the table that fail the "common sense" test. Any bill that fails this test will also fail to adequately govern or enact any compassionate act of "social justice". One part of the "common sense" test is simple. In legislation, it must be good for one person AND every person. If good for only one small group or collective, it violates the 14th Amendment. The smallest minorities need protection. The smallest minorities are individual people, not some special collective.

No demagogues propagating an alleged "compassionate intent" of a bill will ever overcome the laws of common sense and consequence. In other words, you cannot put off consequences forever. Eventually, the dam will break and the resulting deluge will be more catastrophic. Further, no "compassionate legislation" will ever be effective if it fails the "common sense test".

One of these bills is the so-called "Farm Bill". The farm bill is meant to deal with farming subsidies, increasing the propensity (opportunity) for prosperity for the agricultural-based businesses. Instead, it pushes for increasing food subsidies. Those subsidies actually harm farmers and ranchers. It requires more taxes levied on taxpayers then redistributing that stolen money. Those given the EBT cards under the SNAP program then buy food with it. The problem is that stores are reimbursed less than the normal market value. The producers make less. They then require some form of government handout. It's a downward spiral.

Those who wonder what SNAP has to do with agriculture, the answer is quite obvious. The subsidies are tied together and both managed by the USDA. That's right, the USDA governs food stamps, instead of HHS. HHS controls condoms and abortions. The IRS controls healthcare (Medicare and Obamacare). 

To top it off, there are ten states that currently have more people on SNAP than they have employed. This includes states such as California. California has businesses fleeing to places such as Texas, where "right to work" and no income tax have helped maintain a healthy economy. Meanwhile, California has so many EBT cardholders. Yet California is a huge food-producing state, as is Texas. Soon, however, California may find itself without enough residents to harvest the food that is grown.

Another such state is Illinois, known for growing corn, barely, and wheat. Illinois also has its share of dairy farms and other agricultural commodities. Yet, despite the amount of food the state produces, they have more people on SNAP than they have employed. Imagine if they had to harvest that food in order to earn their "fair share"!

One key "selling point" behind the "Farm Bill" is the provision that stays the execution of a law passed in 1949. Should a bill fail to be passed that would delay that 1949 bill's execution, the price of milk could double, or more, overnight. The 1949 bill calls for government confiscation of milk products, among other "bad ideas". The laws of supply and demand will cause the price to skyrocket. The 1949 bill failed the "common sense test". So does the so-called "farm bill".

Then comes a bill with the built-in word of warding: "comprehensive". The only comprehensive bill we need is a comprehensive bill that repeals Dodd-Frank, the Patriot Act, the income tax amendment (16th), Obamacare, and adds the Balanced Budget Amendment to the US Constitution all at once. It can be called "the comprehensive common sense test application act". 

The absolute worst sin involved in "comprehensive" bills is that they are usually not thoroughly read, comprehended, or discussed. That leads to a legislature passing laws it never intended to pass. the consequences are that free people will be made to suffer tyranny.

The comprehensive bill to be wary of is the "comprehensive immigration reform bill". Like Obamacare, its "comprehensive" nature makes it self-defeating. The bill does not reform immigration. It complicates the process instead of streamlining it. Instead of curbing illegal immigration and better rewarding legal immigration, it does the exact opposite.

The bill needs to be broken into 3 or 4 parts, each passed as its own bill, separately. First, the border needs to be secured. Second, legal immigration and visa applications need to be streamlined and made a better option. States such as Texas need guest workers, especially during planting and harvesting seasons. Third, violations need to carry stricter consequences. This third bill should make identity theft carry stricter punishments. It should increase penalties for human trafficking and drug smuggling. It needs to have punitive clauses for those who employ illegals, to include jail time rather than just fines that can be written off as costs of business. It should also include a federal requirement for proof of citizenship in order to register to vote.

The last bill should deal with those illegals already here. The previous need to be done first. Only after the above are enacted should this be addressed. There are no simple answers, here. Some of the people need to be kicked out. Others need to be jailed, then kicked out. Still others need to be jailed for a very long time. But there is, in reality, a majority that don't necessarily deserve those more punitive actions. A better solution would deny amnesty, put in place a plan for permanent resident status, forever deny citizenship (unless they honorably serve 4 years in the military), and never grant the right to vote. Also, unless they go the military service route and earn citizenship, they should never receive any government subsidies such as SNAP or Section 8 housing subsidies.

Regardless, the longer the debate continues, the more amendments to an already complicated and ineffective "comprehensive" bill will be filed. Each of those causes self-contradiction and makes the bill more and more worthless. The few good amendments that were suggested have all, thus far, not passed.

How do we block bad bills?

The answer is simple, get involved and make your voice heard. It's all fine and dandy to sit around the bar or the table and complain. Take your rhetoric where it belongs. Pick up the phone and call the office of your elected representatives. Be professional. Tell them your concerns. Then let them know that if they vote for that bill, they are going to lose votes when they run for re-election. You may even inform them that, in some cases, they may face petitions for recall elections. Also, send emails, sign petitions (read them carefully), and send snail-mail letters. Elected officials and their staffers know that for each letter, phone-call, or email they receive, there are at least 10 other voters who think similarly. That number may be closer to 100. So, speak for yourself! In doing so, you may also be voicing the views of one who is too timid to speak up. The next step is to urge others to do the same.

Also, tell them that any bill labeled as "comprehensive" starts out as bad, and will just get worse with age.