Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taking the bad with the good

It's time for another installment of "things I would do if I were president, which are probably indicative of the fact that I'm the farthest thing from a politician you can imagine". In this episode, a voting strategy I would adopt, publicly and vocally, to try to put some sort of limit on the amount of absolute garbage, pork, largess, and corrupt money funneling which gets passed through our Congress. I'm philosophically aligned, in this, with Ron Paul, who voted against the bill containing his own amendment because he observed it was also filled with tacked-on corrupt garbage and pork, just because the other despicably corrupt Senators knew it was likely to pass. So, without further ado, this would be my plan, in bullet-point form:

- I will veto any bill which contains any provision which I consider harmful to the American people, no matter how beneficial other provisions might be. In doing so, if there are beneficial provisions in the bill, I will ask Congress to pass the beneficial provisions as separate distinct bills which I can approve.

- I will publish a web site, visible to everyone, with the offending provisions of any bills I veto enumerated, along with explanations as to why I consider them harmful.

- On the same site, I will publish all the provisions I consider beneficial which have been proposed or offered but not yet passed, to encourage Congress to pass them in an unencumbered manner.

- When possible and clear, the site will also list the primary supporters and detractors for both the damaging and beneficial provisions, such that the American people can get a sense of which members of Congress are offering helpful legislation, and which are offering malfeasance, corruption, pork, and/or simply bad ideas.

For this, I'm certain I would be labeled the great obstructor, or something similar, and very little legislation would pass, at least for a while. However, something like this would likely have significant enough long-term benefits to our mess of a legislative process, that even four or eight years of passing absolutely nothing would have positive benefits overall. Then again, as I said, ideas like this (along with a healthy aversion to public exposure) are why I'm not a politician, and am unlikely to ever become one.


  1. Sounds like 'line item veto', which should have been passed a long time ago. Then, if something gets passed that shouldn't be passed, the one to hold responsible is the person at the top.

  2. This is actually probably better than Line Item Veto, which I was previously a proponent of, but I don't think would actually have the desired effect. Consider that even with something like LIV, Congress would just craft legislation which didn't take effect unless it was passed in its entirety (giving more work for lawyers). On the flip side, presidents would likely abuse LIV to strike specific provisions in creative ways, to advance their own agendas. In both cases, the American people don't get what they really want (that is, simple bills passed which most people can agree are good, without all the pork and garbage which is tacked on in the current process).

    With this approach, you don't need to change the current process, and/or the balance of power in government. If it worked, you'd eventually get the same effect without giving anyone in government additional leeway to abuse and corrupt the legislative process (they exercise plenty already, imho).