Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Legislation As Medication

Refining my earlier post Regulate Congress, I am preferring this more specific analogy. When you go to your prescriber, there is an explanation of any new medication, usually on a 2-sided sheet. Or perhaps, the prescriber gives you the verbal description and your pharmacist gives you the sheet. If you throw the sheet away after reading, you can go on the net and find a similar printout.

We need something equivalent for legislation. What are the expected benefits? What are the potential side effects? There is an advantage with this analogy that everyone is familiar with the idea. Also, it rhymes. Most important of all, it forces lawmakers into a mode where they have to think in terms of exceptions, rare occurences, and delivering services. Just think if they had to write In rare circumstances (footnote reveals: in Rockford Illinois and the Norfolk Virginia) this legislation has been shown to increase personal bankruptcies.

But there are so many pieces of legislation passed. Hopefully, not any more.

But some legislation is so complicated it can't be summarised. Tough noogies. That's the kind of crap every other industry has to go through all the time. Just do it.

As Texan99 pointed out, why would Congress ever pass such a thing that hampered them so much? I think we are starting with the states, and looking at constitutional conventions to make this happen.


David Foster said...

A salesman who worked for me was fond of the phrase "In sales as in medicine, prescription without diagnosis is malpractice."

Applies in politics as well. Many politicians, especially those with intellectual pretensions, go around with a pocketful of prescriptions they picked up in their college days, and go around handing them out without worrying too much about the "diagnosis" step.

Retriever said...

I think your idea is elegant, and would be very useful.

jaed said...

Although the phrase "Constitutional Convention" makes me shudder. A deep, heartfelt shudder.

moen faucets said...

David - nicely said.

Too little thought goes into diagnosing problems these days from among our elected leaders.

Sabio Lantz said...

That was fun. I will vote for such a bill !

BTW, Google translate tells us the above Chinese comment translates to say:
"Maturity is the ability to adapt to life in the fuzzy"

I guess translation algorithms have a way to go -- or that commenter has some interesting thoughts.

Texan99 said...

I like the full disclosure idea. I think what I was trying to say is that the Constitution was supposed to be the document that placed a limit on the nonsense Congress could pull. But that's an academic or ironic point, because the Constitution's power to limit can be undermined in the absence of strict-constructionist Supreme Court justices. Government can stay limited only if the voting public insists on it, using all the kinds of influence at their disposal.

Sam L. said...

"But some legislation is so complicated it can't be summarised."

Then, clearly, it should not be so legislated. We want laws we can understand. Anything too complicated has far too much room for chicanery--which will be there.