Monday, September 03, 2007

Comprehension

Jeff the Baptist on language:

Should I become God Emperor of the Universe, I intend to make edicts to repair some of the great injustices in the World. My first law will be that laws applying to the general populace shall be written in a manner and language that is easily understandable by the general populace. This isn't hard to do, you just grab a bunch of congressional pages (who generally are in the middle of their college education), give them copies of proposed legislation, and ask them whether they can understand it. If not, you must rewrite it. Exceptions would be made for technical regulations which apply to professionals in a given field and not to the general populace as a whole.

There was a short-lived TV drama on a few years ago about a young and dashing US Senator. His first legislative act was to write a bill that would require all members of Congress to do their own personal income taxes themselves and without assistance. I really liked the idea. I'm sure that the tax code would be reduced to one-tenth of its length within a year of the passage of such a law.

I also like the idea of requiring members of Congress to read every word of every piece of legislation that they vote in favor of. Legislative activity would grind to almost a complete halt.

4 comments:

Tom Jackson said...

Go look at readthebill.org; they seem to agree with you:

"ReadtheBill.org believes bills should be posted online for 72 hours for anyone to read before Congress debates them. Founded in January 2006, the organization is non-partisan and philosophically independent of the two major parties."

Dan Trabue said...

Nice. Another change would be that they can't pass anything that they haven't read or can't explain in two minutes.

Also, you can't vote for a war unless you've been in a war or unless you are prepared to resign after your vote and enlist. Age exceptions would be made in my universe to allow these representatives to join up.

Also, you couldn't vote in favor of allowing increased pollution unless you place the offending plant or vehicles next to your house or mouth.

This is sorta fun!

Dan Trabue said...

ooh! ooh! Here's another one: Congressional salary would be the median income of citizens in the US.

If they support Free Trade Agreements, then their salary would be the median income for the nations impacted.

John said...

That sounds like Heinlein's Starship Troopers solution: only veterans could vote. He wrote another novel early in his career in which wars could only be initiated upon a national referrendum, every vote was recorded, and all 'yes' voters were automatically drafted.