Thursday, July 30, 2009

Finally some candor from a member of congress. Michigan Democrat John Conyers (chairman of the House Judiciary Committee) admitted to the National Press Club he had not read the 1100-page healthcare bill. That, he said, would take him two days and two lawyers present to interpret.
Unfortunately, Conyers is not alone in his reading habits, or lack thereof. He shares this inability to read what Congress proposes with the other 435 members of the House, both Democrat and Republican. Never mind, the bill represents an overhaul - for better or for worse - of one/sixteenth of our national economy.
If the behemoth bill is such a challenging read, perhaps a better course for Congress and the members therein, would be to write a bill in far simpler language; less legalese; more understandable English. Of course, that could have the effect of swelling the unemployment rolls if we did not utilize the services of hundreds of attorneys on the Congressional payroll, who write such bills with a little help from a myriad of lobbyists, each inserting their special interest requests. And because there are special interest requests in such bills, they must, of course, be hidden in opaque language. Therefore the need for lawyers to both write and interpret.
Never mind, it is taxpaying Americans who pick up the substantial tab for the salaries and expenses of Congressmen who don't read, and the lawyers who write such unreadable bills.
I suggest anyone, incumbent or otherwise, who is running for the House or Senate, take a standardized reading test. If they pass that hurtle, then they take a pledge to read any proposed legislation. How about that for a job requirement. Maybe then they will do less harm.

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