Sometimes, before you can progress, you must first take out the garbage.
This is certainly true of America’s vast library of laws and regulations.
The solution? Repeal.
Congress needs to go into a session devoted to repealing existing laws and regulations.
The reasons for such a grand garbage disposal were handily supplied, yesterday, by John Stossel, who argues in “Complex Societies Need Simple Laws,” that we must “end the orgy of rule-making at once and embrace the simple rules that true liberals like America’s founders envisioned.”
Stossel isn’t saying anything new or shocking. The great legal scholar Richard Epstein wrote a book devoted to just this argument, and the classical liberal thinker Herbert Spencer defined the point of view in 1850 — his classic Social Statics derived law from a principle that should remain static, allowing the rest of complex society to develop dynamically from that simple standpoint.
Free societies need understandable, universal laws. As Stossel puts it, “[n]o legislature can possibly prescribe rules for the complex network of uncountable transactions and acts of cooperation that take place every day.”
Oddly, Stossel doesn’t mention the word repeal.
It’s certainly not a word you hear much in the current Republican primary campaigns. Only one current contender for the GOP nomination seems committed to exercising veto power — the illustrious “Dr. No” — and he is not leading in the delegate count. A Dr. Veto as president could cajole Congress into mass repeals.
Which I bet could have mass appeal.
Unfortunately, we’re not going to get this from our current president, or contenders Romney, Santorum and Gingrich, or the leaders of either party in Congress. These politicians know, really, only one thing: Adding to the mess.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.