Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New laws and one that is a 'must'

I'm not really in favor of creating more laws - in fact, my general opinion on the subject is that many of the laws we have right now are redundant and should be repealed.

As an example, look at the push to ban texting while driving and use of cell phones in the car. Both of these situations are more readily addressed by a single law already on the books, known by many names in different areas, but in Ohio as "Operation in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property" (ORC 4511.20). We also have a 'failure to control' section that covers just about everything a driver could do. So you see my point.

But too many politicians - and the voting public - judge the performance of an elected official in office by how many new laws they pass. And there are a couple introduced recently that, while good, shouldn't have to be a law. You know - like citing the section of the Constitution which grants Congress the authority to pass a bill or the one that would require Congress to be subject to any law they pass.

Swept into office on a sea of discontent, Republicans in Congress are working on cutting the spending of our federal government - and rightly so. Of course, for every penny they want to cut, there are multiple groups getting a portion of that penny who are arming battle stations to retain their access to other people's money (OPM).

And this is where I believe we actually 'need' a new law. I want a law that prohibits any person, organization or recipient of government funds from lobbying or advocating on behalf of the funding they (or any other persons, organizations or recipients) receive. The law would include prohibiting these entities from hiring a lobbyist to advocate for such spending on their behalf. Ideally, this new law would apply at every level of government.

Just think about it - no crowds of people coming into city councils, state houses or congressional hearings telling how they'd all be dead if it weren't for OPM handed out by the politicians. No tearful stories to pull on the heartstrings, no parents pimping their children for dollars, no lobbyists taking up the limited time of politicians leaving them plenty of time to actually read the bills they're voting upon.

With this law on the books politicians would have to judge programs and spending based upon total actual outcomes - not just individual stories that may, or may not, be representative of all. They'd also have the ability to properly prioritize the limited dollars they have without being accused of being heartless or callous or uncaring because they didn't bow to the emotional pressure of people who just want OPM.

What got me thinking about this was the recent effort by National Public Radio (though they no longer refer to themselves as such, preferring their brand: NPR) to fight their proposed cut in funding, which, according to this article is less than 10% of their overall budget. It seems to me that if every person who wanted that particular line item of funding to continue just contributed to NPR, they wouldn't need government funding in the first place. Besides, if they're such a terrific asset, it really shouldn't be necessary for the government to fund them, as the market surely will.

But NPR and other such groups are going to spend hundreds of man-hours and untold amounts of money to continue feeding at the public trough - money that would be better applied supplanting the public funds they are losing.

People dependent upon the largess of government shouldn't get to demand even more.


skeeter1107 said...

I would like to see politicians not accept financial support from any organization where there is a management/worker relationship.

In other words, a politician can't accept financial support from any group where they have a collective bargaining relationship. ie. The Mayor can't accept monies from the Police Union.

Roman said...

I have thought for a long time that no matter how good/great of an idea is, is should not necessarly be made into law.

All laws passed should "sunset", and have to be justified and passed into law after a reasonable time, each 10 years or so.

Too many laws on the books were made so elected officials could point to something they done to curry favor (votes. The law need not be enforced and/or effective. A good example is the Saturday Night Special Law in Toledo. I cannot remember any time it was used as a crime fighting tool.

Word verification for this comment: "change".

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