Politicians often don’t read the bills they pass. And what they do read they often don’t trouble themselves to actually understand.
There’s plenty of evidence for these claims in the cap-and-trade and healthcare debates. Lawmakers have been much more concerned about hurtling to the finish line than with making sure they can understand and explain what they’re foisting on the rest of us.
Some say they gotta rush because, otherwise, the economy would fall over the cliff. But what if what’s in these Tolstoy-novel-sized bills is what pushes the economy over the cliff?
Well, if lawmakers don’t read the murky and complicated, important bills, do they pause over the simple, unimportant ones? Heck no. Yet you can tuck poison into any bit of legislation. No matter how seemingly trivial.
Back in the ’70s, a Texas lawmaker named Tom Moore decided to play an April Fool’s joke on his colleagues. He sponsored a resolution to commend one Albert de Salvo for his impact on community and country.
The resolution talked about how DeSalvo’s “devotion to his work has enabled the weak and the lonely . . . [to] achieve and maintain a new degree of concern for their future.” How the state of Massachusetts had “officially recognized” DeSalvo’s unconventional “population control techniques.” The lawmakers passed the resolution unanimously.
Just one problem. DeSalvo was the serial killer otherwise known as the Boston Strangler.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.