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  • New Frontiers in Irresponsibility

    Posted by David Foster on July 2nd, 2009 (All posts by )

    A week ago today, the House of Representatives passed the very long and complex Waxman-Markey energy bill. This bill included 300 pages of amendments which were added by the Democratic leadership at 3:00 AM Friday morning. It is impossible that any of those voting on the bill could have read and understood this complete bill as amended. (Many of the amendments were apparently of the “subparagraph (c) of paragraph XXII is amended to replace AAAA by BBBB” type, which require careful and undisturbed thought to comprehend.)

    This bill, should it become law, will have enormous impact on the lives of all Americans and on future generations. There was no particular reason why it had to be voted on last Friday, except possibly for Nancy Pelosi’s vacation plans. It says much about the character of the majority of members of this House that they passed it without reading and understanding it.

    What would we think of a financial manager/advisor who invested all of a family’s money into a particular investment without doing serious due diligence–who, for example, put all the money into purchasing a fast-food franchise without bothering to read either the prospectus or the franchise agreement? How about “violation of fiduciary responsibility?” What this House has done is similar in principle, though obviously much further-reaching in its implications.

    Dear liberal and “progressive” friends: When you talk about drastically expanding the role of government in American society, remember that “government” is not some abstract and benign entity. Are you really comfortable having every detail of your life planned for you by people who take their responsibilities with as little seriousness as that demonstrated by the House last week?

    If government by the people is “democracy,” and government by an elite is “aristocracy”…I wonder what the proper Greek would be for “government by clowns”?

     

    13 Responses to “New Frontiers in Irresponsibility”

    1. Ryan Says:

      Sure, its infuriating. Were you pointing out just how infuriating it was when the Republicans were pulling stunts just like this from ’01-’06? Not just liberals and progressives.

    2. Phil Fraering Says:

      Tu Quoque! Tu Quoque!

      You too! Neener neener neener!

      ———————————

      SERIOUSLY…

      I don’t think the Republicans ever came up with the idea of implementing a hybrid between old Roman Empire-style tax farming and the ancien regime royal patent system, with a dash of pre-Counter-Reformation indulgances thrown in.

      The Democrats, just passed it in the house.

      And their defenders are too stupid to realize that these legal systems have been tried before, and generally, for the most part, made people poor and/or kept them that way.

    3. david foster Says:

      Ryan…I’d think that if one believes that Congress has a long-term cross-party track record of bad judgment and irresponsibility…then one would not be in favor of radically increasing the role of government in the lives of Americans…ie, one would not be an Obama/Reid/Pelosi Democrat.

    4. Mike Miller Says:

      And don’t forget there is a “placeholder” in the bill. So they voted to pass a bill that isn’t completely written yet.

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      I wonder what the proper Greek would be for “government by clowns”?

      I think that would be a “coulroarchy”.

    6. Jonathan Says:

      There was no particular reason why it had to be voted on last Friday, except possibly for Nancy Pelosi’s vacation plans.

      It was the perfect time, because of the media blackout on everything that was not related to Michael Jackson.

    7. veryretired Says:

      This is an almost perfect example of “intentions = accomplishments” that I referred to on an earlier thread.

      For the statist mind, whatever is intended by government’s actions is a noble goal, and that goal is reached when the appropriately intended legislation is passed, even if that legislation is literally unfinished by its sponsors, and unread or understood by those voting for it.

      This bill is alleged to control greenhouse gasses and help prevent global warming. Nothing else matters, not even whether or not it will actually accomplish anything it is claimed it will do.

      To vote for it is to be noble, and concerned with all the correct concerns of those who are properly in tune with all the latest necessary concerns. (Pardon me for borrowing the current concerned administration’s favorite word.)

      Similar to a century of farm programs, which have funded the utter destruction of family farming, or several decades of poverty programs which have decimated not only the families they were supposed to aid, but also the neighborhoods, cities, and states the recipients lived in, or the endless mandates which were to make the auto industry’s products safer and cleaner and altogether better, but have instead reduced one of the most powerful manufacturing sectors in world history to bankruptcy, any citizen witnessing this definitively statist action can rest assured that three things will be true regarding this legislation:

      1) actual reductions in evil gasses will be negligible or non-existent;

      2) the actual costs for the implementation of these rules will be several orders of magnitude higher than even the most pessimistic estimates;

      3) when the glaring failures of the program can no longer be ignored or covered up, the proposed remedies will never, ever, question the premises upon which the legislation is based, but will blame the failures on the lack of powers and funding and staffing in the original bill, and propose the need for more of those elements in any revised legislation.

      This is the Smoot-Hawley of the coming major world depression. If anyone is interested, the climax will be similar to the last big one also, only the cast of characters will change.

      History hasn’t ended after all, apparently. We live in interesting times.

    8. Brett_McS Says:

      And yet the Republicans umm and ahh and make some lame gesture of annoyance.

      Bullsh*t. There is altogether too much collegiality in the US Congress. It would be better more like the British Parliamentary free for all, or, as one of the signator callers on the Powerline podcast says “There should be fist fights on the floor of Congress”.

    9. Mike H Says:

      When you talk about drastically expanding the role of government in American society, remember that “government” is not some abstract and benign entity. Are you really comfortable having every detail of your life planned for you by people who take their responsibilities with as little seriousness as that demonstrated by the House last week?

      You seem to be under the impression that “they” believe they will be impacted by these laws in any meaningful way because they are more than comfortable with planning every detail of other peoples lives.

    10. Dr. Weevil Says:

      Ask and ye shall receive. I’ve just posted four possibilities for a word meaning “rule by clowns”.

    11. david foster Says:

      DrW…thanks! I like *onarchy*, but it sounds too much like *monarchy*. Maybe *parisitarchy* would be best.

    12. Ryan Says:

      David: I’m not a Democrat, but you’re setting up a strawman here. Of course its shameful when Congress does these things and the only reason they can keep doing it is because the people are not as engaged in governance as they should be. The answer isn’t “Oh well. Government doesn’t work, lets have less of it.” The answer is to hold public officials accountable with your votes and your speech – and not just when the OTHER party is in office as you seem to be doing.

      But if big government is your objection, isn’t it interesting that it wasn’t the Obama/Reid/Pelosi Democrats that were inflating the size of government in unprecedented ways in 2001-2008? So maybe the GOP should be off-limits as well for those against big government.

    13. Shannon Love Says:

      Ryan,

      So maybe the GOP should be off-limits as well for those against big government.

      It’s been noted. Bush’s “compassionate conservative” certainly deviated from the small government ideal. On the other hand, if you back away from ideals and look at real-world practicalities you have a choice between Republicans who increase the scope of government while paying lip service to the idea of small government versus the Democrats who never met an expansion of government power they didn’t like. Basically, its a sad choice between bad and worse.

      I do think that the Republicans more mature and practical approach to governance makes them a lot less likely to support an fad like carbon restrictions.