Sunday, January 27, 2008

The More Things Change

During my daily reading, I came across this quote at The Agitator:

“I am suspicious of this railroading of bills through our House of Representatives, and I refuse to vote for a measure unseen and unknown. … I want the RECORD to show that I was, and am, against this bill and this method of procedure; and I believe no good will come out of it for America. We must not abdicate our power to exercise judgment. We must not allow ourselves to be swept off our feet by hysteria, and we must not let the power of the Executive paralyze our legislative action. If we do, it would be better for us to resign and go home-and save the people the salary they are paying us.

“I look forward to that day when we shall read the bill we are considering, and see the author of the bill stand before the House and explain it, and then, after calm deliberation and sober judgment- after full and free debate-I hope to see sane and sensible legislation passed which will lift America out of this panic and disaster into which we were plunged.”

He followed the quote with an admonition to click through, for the who & when.

I figured it was Ron Paul. Probably about the Patriot Act. Or the Patriot Act II. Or the war funding. Or Medicare Rx coverage. Or maybe the current economic stimulus package that's on Rush Order. I couldn't think of many lawmakers, or any really, who talk like this these days. So I clicked the link...

...and ended up reading the answer at Downsize DC. I'm a big fan of this group, though they tend to get overshadowed by Reason, Cato, and Mises when I'm looking for answers. Downsize DC is a grassroots group working to get a law passed to make mandatory a certain amount of time before a vote on new or changed bills, in order to ensure everyone has had time to read through the entire text.

While reading through the papers we sign is a habit for most of us Regular Joes and Janes, we apparently have a Congress full of people who don't even bother to skim the content of the bills which have so much power over the lives of millions. Even worse, this has been the status quo for quite some time. That speech I quoted earlier? It was made by Rep. Ernest Lundeen from Minnesota in March, 1933 upon passage of the Emergency Banking Relief Act.

Different Congress, same legislative B.S.

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