Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What if?

What if in order to get a bill passed it had to first pass the "average joe understanding test."

This test would be quite simple. An average male or female American would sit in congress and listen to congress explain EXACTLY what a bill would do. In addition, that average American would then sit and read the bill in its entirety before it is voted upon.

If in either case the American cannot understand the bill then the congress people go back to edit the bill to make it more understandable.

Then, instead of reading the bill to the same American, a new average American is brought in and the same process repeats. This is done until an average American has no misgivings about understanding what the bill will do.

Of course, Mr. or Ms. Joe would not necessarily agree with the bill. But that is a totally separate issue solved through exercising the right to vote.

Instead, we Americans would have something no living American has ever had before: An ability to understand the laws that are passed by congress.

Now some of you are saying to yourself, "we can't understand everything, some issues are too complex." To that I say, I don't think I believe that. I cannot think of one instance where a law needs to be complex to get the job done of TRULY helping Americans and protecting their rights. Please, provide one if you can think of it.

Others of you are saying to yourself, "This could never work." If that is the case, my next option is to say that for the next five years congress can only repeal legislation. No more new legislation can be done. Call it a legislative fast using a cleansing juice diet complete with its own enema.

And if you don't like that idea either, can we at least start fresh and replace the entire congress?

What, you don’t like that idea either?


merrilykaroly said...

All joking aside, I think these are some terrific ideas.

Ricky said...

What if just like we Americans participate as jurors as our civic duty, we also had to participate in bill/law proof reading to accomplish this task. Nice idea...

However, what if the law is based on something complex like, for example, GINA (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act) that was recently passed. This includes how businesses and insurance companies can't use DNA sequences to discriminate insurance premiums or job promotions. And the person in charge or proof reading is 80 years old and doesn't understand what DNA is or how it could be used against someone? Then they have to scrap it completely or teach the person Biology from the last 20 years... then what?

Josh said...

Well the initial stipulation is that the participant be an "average American," and I suppose that if someone is to the point that they can't learn new information that wouldn't include them...

But, I bet it's possible to explain DNA to coherent 80 year old. It may take more effort. But I'm sure an amazing high school science teacher could do it, and do a dang good job at it.

Just like in jury duty a judge could exclude those prospective participants that may not be in a position to participate as needed. In the example you gave the judge may not select an 80 year old who doesn't appear to have the ability to understand how DNA could affect a case. But again, I think most things can be explained in a way that most anyone would get it. It just may take more work on the side of the explainer.

Spencer said...

I like it, though I don't really like laws anyway, they really just create more loopholes and work arounds in the system. While I'm sure laws such as GINA are established with good intent the essence of them is lost because of the complexity. It's a bit like texting and driving, while I think it is totally stupid and should be illegal I don't think we need a law to spell out that very problem, can't we just agree that texting while driving is reckless? Do we need a law to say that taking DNA samples and discriminating against policyholders is wrong, if we already have a bazillion anti-discrimination laws?

On a separate note I think "anti-discrimination" laws are stupid. wouldn't we be better off to just tell the companies to be honest? Let them discriminate, just make them be honest about it, and then if people really have a problem with that they can shop elsewhere. I don't like the idea of a government agency telling a business who they can or can't take on as customers, or really who they must take on, it's as if the government thinks they operate by some higher, more altruistic, moral code than any business out there. Anyhow sorry for hijacking. See ya in a few weeks