Allow me to be blunt: if we required our elected officials to read, understand, and be conversant with the bills they voted upon, Congress would not be able to enact more than a fraction of a percent of the legislation it currently considers, and the legislative branch as we know it would collapse. More later — soon, I hope — on whether that is a consummation devoutly to be wished.
Today I only have time to point to one glaring example, ably documented by Walter Olson at Overlawyered: a recent draft of the vast and fluctuating health care reform bill in the House included buried and unannounced terms that would result in a bonanza for lawyers and a surge in officious litigation. Specifically, the draft contained qui tam provisions (to nonlawyers, provisions letting private persons sue on behalf of the government without prior government approval) that would permit lawyers to sue anyone they claimed was responsible for Medicare incurring costs — from the guy who runs over grandma's foot in the parking lot (thus causing her to use Medicare to get treatment) to the companies that sold grandma gin, cigarettes, and fatty foods for the last half-century. Read Walter's post to get a sense of it; its scope can hardly be exaggerated.
Meanwhile, contemplate this: what does it say about our society that it is impossible — absent a revolutionary reboot — for our elected officials to read and understand the laws they vote upon?
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Hate Speech Debate on More Perfect Live - September 5th, 2017
- Popehat Goes To The Opera: Un ballo in maschera - August 19th, 2017
- Department of Justice Uses Search Warrant To Get Data On Visitors to Anti-Trump Site - August 14th, 2017
- America At The End of All Hypotheticals - August 14th, 2017
- Lawsplainer: Why John Oliver Is Anti-Diversity Now - August 11th, 2017