Liberty Is Brevity

Fox News, in their report on the impending House vote to repeal ObamaCare, mentions that “several moderate and conservative Democrats contacted by Fox News on Monday night said they wanted to first evaluate the Republican proposal hitting the House floor before deciding how they might vote.”  It shouldn’t take them long to evaluate it, because Eric Cantor’s bill is only two pages long.

Jeff Emanuel at Red State reproduces the bill in its entirety following his commentary.  You can read it without scrolling your mouse, if you’ve got a decent monitor.  It’s the first time I’ve read legislation without my eyes glazing over.  It reminds me of the first COBOL program I wrote in school.  Yes, I’m old.

A lot of ideas for government reform are being discussed in these early days of the 112th Congress.  How about a rule to limit the size of legislation?  I’d like to see representatives forced to answer a pop quiz about any bill they’re expected to vote on, with the number of questions determined by the size of the bill.  Failure to pass the quiz with a solid B+ means they can’t vote, and if too many of them are disqualified, the bill is withdrawn.  I’d also withdraw it instantly if the “authors” of the bill can’t pass the quiz.

Among the many inherent flaws of Big Government is the impossibility of securing “the consent of the governed” for 2,000-page bills nobody reads.  We long ago passed the point where an average citizen has any hope of understanding legislation, and reached the point where the same could be said of legislators. 

It’s been painfully obvious from the start that no one “evaluated” ObamaCare.  It was not a carefully designed solution to a complex problem, considered by representatives with an honorable determination to be held accountable for their votes.  It was an act of faith in Big Government, and a miserable denunciation of American citizens.  The disposition of our health care was removed from private hands, and given to the State, by a bill so tortured and half-baked that it can fairly be described as open-ended. 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could have been two pages long, stating that the government shall have unlimited power and funding to distribute health insurance as it sees fit.  The net effect would have been no different than the desk-cracking monstrosity we got, passed by “representatives” who could not answer a dozen random questions about it at gunpoint, in defiance of the clear will of a strong citizen majority.

If ObamaCare had been condensed with Cantor levels of efficiency, maybe our professional political class would have more readily noticed that its central mandate is flagrantly unconstitutional, saving us thousands of lost jobs and billions of wasted dollars. 

Gigantic omnibus bills, encrusted with earmarks and riders, make a mockery of the very concept of self-government.  I doubt any voter is conscious of more than a tenth of the issues his representative has voted upon… and I doubt most representatives fully understand half of the votes they’ve cast.  In that environment, voting becomes an act of faith, instead of reason.  We should be unwilling to extend that level of faith to a confused and frustrated State.  They write books of legislation to rule us, but they only need index cards to serve us.