February 26, 2014

The Wall Street Journal worries that Congress is not making enough laws...

... and that it's getting "rusty" because it's "not getting much practice" at the "art of lawmaking."

As if making a lot of laws ever was a way to get good at it.

Moreover, we're about to lose some of our greatest law-artists:
The retirements of Reps. John Dingell (D., Mich.), Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and George Miller (D., Calif.) at the end of this year represent a huge drain of legislative skill in an institution where such experience is in short supply. Taken together, those three men alone – authors of major health, education and environmental laws of the last quarter century – will leave Capitol Hill with 139 years of experience behind them.
Man, it's like the late 80s when we lost Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali! It's so tough to lose one of the greats....



Art! It's dying!

57 comments:

AustinRoth said...

Taken together, those three men alone – authors of major health, education and environmental laws of the last quarter century – will leave Capitol Hill with 139 years of experience behind them.

They say that like it is a BAD thing!

Michael K said...

The Mole People are getting their leader back.

cubanbob said...

The only federal law I want passed is one that sunsets every existing federal law and regulation after twenty years unless each specific law and regulation is re-authorized individually.

RecChief said...

It is always a source of consternation when people talk about an "unproductive" congress. As if we pay them for volume instead of quality.

Laslo Spatula said...

I would like to add to cubanbob's plan with the following: for every law added to the books three must be removed.

Hagar said...

The laws these guys - not to mention Harry Reid - have written may have been devastating to the country, but they sure have guaranteed employment for generations of lawyers!

Seeing Red said...

My dad always said the best congress is a stalemated congress. Less mischief.

Jay said...

The retirements of Reps. John Dingell (D., Mich.), Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and George Miller (D., Calif.) at the end of this year represent a huge drain of legislative skill in an institution where such experience is in short supply.

Right.

Because them presiding over a 1,000% increase in the federal debt isn't enough!

Never mind that government has gotten so big (and ineffective) that it can't inventory its own assets or even collect taxes.

More laws!!!

Henry said...

So Dingell (D), Waxman (D), Miller (D) -- when the ACA came along and some legislative artistry was needed, WHERE WERE YOU? Your whole career led to this moment of greatness, and you guys helped pass THIS.

cubanbob said...

I would like to add to cubanbob's plan with the following: for every law added to the books three must be removed."

Now that we are on a fantasy roll another one to pass is that no branch of any government in the US can exempt itself from any law or regulation, eliminate qualified immunity and that no agency can issue rules that can't be derived from a textual reading of the statutory authority and that congress must cite specifically which clauses in the constitution it derives the authority to pass said law.

Fen said...

If they can't be bothered to read the laws they vote on, they shouldn't be creating any more laws.

Laslo Spatula said...

cubanbob: we can dream. Would make a fine Constitutional Amendment.

The Drill SGT said...

"Reps. John Dingell (D., Mich.), Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and George Miller (D., Calif.)"

" There are fewer centrists in both parties to work with. "

these three leftists are not centrists, they are the key linemen of the Pelosi progressive machine

Laslo Spatula said...

I would like to see the laws Senator Crack Emcee would introduce.

Illuninati said...

"Lawmaking on a grand scale is something of a dying art on the Hill..."

No problem. Reps. John Dingell (D., Mich.), Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and George Miller (D., Calif.) are retiring because they know they are no longer needed. The Obama administration makes the laws now. They don't need Congress.

chickenlittle said...

Now if only we could get rid of the frivolous law suits -- that would be icing on the wedding cake!

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

"The Wall Street Journal worries. . ."

Thank God we have a conservative newspaper to offset the liberal NYT and WaPo.

TML said...

I'd like to go back to when Congress had ZERO years of legislative "experience." Crooks, all of them, in one way or another.

Paul Zrimsek said...

What's the big deal? You pass laws, then you find out what's in them.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Henry said... So Dingell (D), Waxman (D), Miller (D) -- when the ACA came along and some legislative artistry was needed, WHERE WERE YOU? Your whole career led to this moment of greatness, and you guys helped pass THIS.

2/26/14, 9:18 AM

This is the obvious rebuttal. How can liberals keep pushing for more and more laws and regulations when they have screwed up everything they have touched. ObamaCare, stimulus, cash for clunkers.

If time to yell STOP! How dare you ask for more when you haven't cleaned up the messes you've already made?. Have you no shame? No humility?

SteveR said...

Whatever skills those three possess, and that will soon be lost to Congress, are undoubtedly something the country will be better off without.

Firehand said...

Someone once pointed out that Schumer- who these guys probably love- said he had a 'passion to legislate', and that that means "I have a passion to use the force of government to control people."

And we're supposed to be in FAVOR of that?

Nonapod said...

I always think all this nonsense about "years of public service" when talking about these long time retiring Senators and Congress Critters is kinda like thanking a tap worm for its years of service in your digestive tract.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Those three men were doubtless hotly involved in the drafting of Obmacare. That fact in itself is a brutal indictment of their function as lawmakers. Obamacare is an abdication of Congress's proper function of lawgiving - it's a giveaway of that power to the unelected Secretary and her political party, to the detriment of more than half the population of the country who oppose it.

Their retirement should be the occasion of wild celebration and indecent merriment, with hopes for the future liberally indulged in.

Seeing Red said...

The WSJ isn't conservative, hasn't been in a very long time. The editorial page is, sometimes.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Come to think of it, weren't those alleged 'solons' in office during the looting of Social Security via the 'borrowing' of its surpluses for current squandering?

Times for mobs of potbangers at their residences on a daily basis, demanding restitution.

chickenlittle said...

re: All the generic hatred for law:

Disobedience to extant law is a perfect set-up for receiving yet more executive orders. What's lacking is more self-control and of necessity, well-crafted laws.

Tank said...

Dali was a great artist, and great in a way that unsophisticated art lovers (like me) could appreciate.

I have no idea if art is dying, but there sure is a lot crap masquerading as art these days.

Michael said...

A better idea: pay "lawmakers" one million dollars for each law for which they sponsor the successful repeal. Those voting in favor of a successful repeal will receive a one hundred thousand dollar bonus. In short order we will have cleaned out a lot of stupid and unnecessary laws and will be left with those that protected us very well, say, ten years ago. Or twenty. Or fifty.

Expensive? This approach would be cheap at thrice the price.

Oso Negro said...

I keep waiting for Althouse to scoldpost that we missed her sarcasm.

Seeing Red said...

I am for a new law. All congressional & executive branch retires must go into Obamacare.

Andy Freeman said...

>I am for a new law. All congressional & executive branch retires must go into Obamacare.

They don't deserve anything that good.

They should get the VA at best and Indian Health Service typically.

Fritz said...

"The only federal law I want passed is one that sunsets every existing federal law and regulation after twenty years unless each specific law and regulation is re-authorized individually."

Ten.

YoungHegelian said...

@Laslo,CB

I would like to add to cubanbob's plan with the following: for every law added to the books three must be removed.

Gentlemen, gentlemen, don't go with halfway measures! Look to the example of our ancestors & think BIG!

The Cracker Emcee said...

scoldpost

Perfect!

Skeptical Voter said...

So tough to lose some of our greatest law artists---Ms. Althouse is that a hole in your cheek where you thrust your tongue?

Losing Henry Waxman and John Dingell is like getting the news that that positive Wasserman test you were worried about turned out to be incorrect.

Of course Dingell has been around so long that if you had had a positive Wasserman early in his career, you were now well into the advanced stages of paresis.

Ann Althouse said...

"I keep waiting for Althouse to scoldpost that we missed her sarcasm."

Ha ha.

William said...

Henry Waxman looks like the John Q. Public cartoon figure. I don't know much about him, and this might be an unfair observation, but he doesn't look like the kind of guy who's ever had an original or even subversive thought pass through his head in his entire life.

AJ Lynch said...

I'd support a law that required every law include a sentence that stated the total annual cost of the law and the total annual cost per citizen. That would help to put the brakes on our spending.

MadisonMan said...

Ha ha.

Nelson Muntz said it better.

cubanbob said...

Laslo Spatula said...
cubanbob: we can dream. Would make a fine Constitutional Amendment.

2/26/14, 9:22 AM"

Thats why its never going to happen. YH: now that's not only thinking big, it's mega power ball big!

As for Dingell (D), Waxman (D), Miller (D) -- for the more diligent among the commentarial here-here is the following thought experiment: if every law these guys introduced or sponsored were repealed would there be any damage to the country worth speaking of?

Other than passing a budget-one of those pesky things the constitution requires wouldn't it be lovely if the next congress spends most of it's term repealing unneeded or otherwise harmful legislation starting from 1789 forward? Too much fantasy, now its time to get back to reality.

cubanbob said...

AJ Lynch said...
I'd support a law that required every law include a sentence that stated the total annual cost of the law and the total annual cost per citizen. That would help to put the brakes on our spending.

2/26/14, 11:44 AM"

Other than for debt service which is mandated by the constitution I would get rid of the withholding tax. let everyone have to pay quarterly by check. That would most certainly concentrate the public's mind.

Larry J said...

"Now I know what a statesman is; he's a dead politician. We need more statesmen."
Bob Edwards

We don't need politicians writing a bunch of new laws. We need them to clean up and eliminate many of the existing laws and regulations.

Dr Weevil said...

AJ Lynch (11:44am):
"I'd support a law that required every law include a sentence that stated the total annual cost of the law and the total annual cost per citizen. That would help to put the brakes on our spending."

That's a good start. The necessary second part is this: for every 1% any law goes over estimate, 1% is subtracted from the salary (AND pension) of every lawmaker who voted for it. If it goes more than 100% over budget, they are all cashiered and jailed. If it goes 300% over budget - and I'm pretty sure there are plenty of laws that have - all cosponsors are guillotined on the Capitol steps and all others who voted for it have a hand or foot amputated - we'll be kind and let them decide which one.

Lucien said...

Better than nothing is a high standard.

Especially when it comes to legislation.

Marty Keller said...

People who babble about the alleged "good ol' days" of alleged "good fellowship" in Congress that these Democratic operatives embody obviously don't know dingell about history.

From 1932 until the Gingrich revolution in 1994, Congress was, with few and brief moments, dominated by the Democrats. That means that, until W.'s administration, the Republicans hadn't controlled both the White House and Congress for 68 years--three generations.

Thus Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and the first Bush all had to find ways to work with the opposition in order to govern. Dingell showed up in the Eisenhower years, and Waxman and Miller after Nixon's resignation. These people were never under any political compulsion of any kind to cooperate with these GOP presidents, several of whom were elected in landslides.

So of course their way seemed the right way; they controlled the agenda!

Among the horrible effects of this 68 years hegemony was the predictable moral corruption such unchallenged power always engenders; Gingrich was almost always over-the-top rhetorically but his disdain for Democratic arrogance was legitimate and proper.

And of course all this was occurring during the stinking "Hollywoodification" of our national politics, when celebrity became more important culturally than basics like, you know, liberty, personal responsibility, and civic virtue.

Spare me the BS encomia about the alleged "centrism" of these faithful servants of the nanny state, and at least some kind of shame be on the people of Michigan and California who returned them to office decade after decade without even a second look.

cubanbob said...

Doc as Jackie mason joked many years ago the best thing to do is to put Congress on a commission basis: for every dollar of actual savings they would get a commission.

David said...

Janet Hook thinks that. Not sure that the WSJ editorial board would agree.



gadfly said...

Writing new laws brought on by changes in old laws only gets the left upset. Prime example is the Arizona Religious Rights Act which has been done to bring Arizona statues in line with Federal law.

But the left is screaming that the law provides for discriminating against gays and transsexuals - but it changes nothing in this regard.

There are no cases in the AZ courts to demonstrate that a problem exists where service is denied to LBGT types and the new law does not exceed what is permitted under Federal law.

There are enough laws on the books - so let us enforce them or cancel them.

Sigivald said...

Waxman? Skill?

The man is one of the worst hacks in Congress.

Pettifogger said...

I like the pairing of the retiring politicians with Warhol and Dali. These politicians were masters of pop and weird laws. Whatever virtue there may be to such art, it does not carry over into law making.

Sam L. said...

Somebody doped the WSJ's water supply.

Daniel Fish said...

Could it be that Waxman's repellant personality is a reaction to his botched nose-job?

ken in sc said...

Henry Waxman almost single-handedly changed the meaning of the word 'addiction'. Prior to his hearings, scientific writings called tobacco habit-forming but not addictive. Now, not only is tobacco addictive, so is chocolate, sex, and gambling.

FleetUSA said...

I won't miss this trio at all, but what I do miss and what I think is the point would be without the Senate actively legislating and working with the House to compromise legislation in negotiations we have no laws.

Some say no laws are good.

But is this lack of compromise which caused Obamacare to be such of a monstrosity.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Lord Acton 1887

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Wilbur said...

More than a few Americans consider them no better than traitors, deserving of a traitor's fate.