Modest Legislative Reforms

Aron and I have been discussing some simple reforms that would go a long way towards reducing graft, corruption and complacency in Congress. While by no means complete, we think that they could help the average American citizen greatly by handcuffing Congress.

  1. Federal legislation shall become a zero-sum game. For each new law passed, an old one must be dropped/nullified. Make the Congresscritters choose if passing that “DMCA for the new millenium” is worth dropping some environmental protection act.
  2. The entire tax code must consist of no more than 1,000 words.
  3. “No Legislation Left Behind”: all laws passed MUST be comprehensible to a C-average graduating high school student, chosen via lottery from one of the continental 48 states. If they can’t understand it, the law must be taken back into committee where Congressmen must consult with 10 randomly-selected high school students from the D.C. public school system.

Feel free to add your own.

One Reply to “Modest Legislative Reforms”

  1. Two pet ideas of mine:
    1. The entire output of a two-year session of Congress should be limited to 600 pages, 8.5×11, 12-point Times Roman font, double spaced. This would largely eliminate special resolutions, earmarks, private legislation, and hiding new federal bureacracies inside ten-volume appropriations bills. It would also have the generally-desirable effect of forcing Congresscritters to use small words, and not too many of them.
    2. For every law passed, an independent testing agency shall create a standardized test to establish whether a person has read and understood the legislation. This test shall be created as a part of (although separate from) the drafting of the bill, and before any legislator can vote for the bill, they have to pass the test. They are permitted to vote against the bill without having to take the test. All attempts at the test and individual scores are published immediately. (As a second part of this, the collected tests from a session should also be given to judges, peace officers, and anyone else who enforces the law, as part of continuing legal education. Failure to pass all of the tests should mandate a period of re-training prior to resuming normal employment.)

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