Posted by: Frank | May 22, 2009

Why Don’t We Fix It?

This afternoon I was listening to a CNN report that included a segment on the new Credit Card bill that has been passed by Congress. The segment included comments from the credit card industry representatives claiming it would do more harm than good, particularly for people with good credit, but basically said the bill was too politically positive to be voted down. So popular was it that an un-associated guns right provision was added, presumably knowing that the bill would not be voted down because of it. In my mind this is an example of what is wrong with our government, that unassociated, special interest backed items are snuck into bills that aren’t going to be voted down because those items were tacked on.

Our representatives could have voted the bill down, and Obama can veto it, but neither is likely to happen because too much work has been put into the bill they want, so they chose to live with the extra item. The problem is that this type of settling is exactly how we get excessive government spending and stupid laws that favor special interests at the expense of the average citizen.

It would seem to me that this problem would be simply fixed by not allowing these additions to bills. A bill should have a stated purpose and all provisions of that bill should only support that stated purpose. In this case a bill stated to regulate the credit card industry should not include a provision that allows you to have loaded weapons in parks. If you want that gun rights item, write and pass a separate bill. What we need is transparency in how bills are written so that these extra items cannot be tacked on.

Past Presidents have complained about this situation and have called for the power of a “line item veto.” That would allow a president to approve or veto each provision of a bill separately. Obviously, the powers that be (lobbyist backed special interests) have not allowed this and both parties are at fault. I recall both Republican and Democrat Presidents calling for a line item veto. If Republicans wanted a line item veto they could have put one in when they had control of the House and Senate and likewise for Democrats. The truth is, neither party wants to change how they write bills because this is how they pay back people who put them into office and insure they will continue to be re-elected.


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