Tags: Congress | Investment | Risk | Factor

Congress Is a Major Investment-Risk Factor

By Denis Kleinfeld
Monday, 07 May 2012 08:25 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The members of Congress have always taken the position that their public service is only for the good of the “American People.”

Only recently has a significant number (maybe a majority) of the “American People” started to realize that when Congressional officials say they are working for the public welfare, they’re not.

Most of the legislation and other acts passed by Congress have wonderful lofty sounding names but only created the fiscal catastrophe and debt crisis every investor is now facing.

The fact is that the United States is being driven over the economic edge by the impact of laws and the related regulations and rules which are quite literally incomprehensible.

This was supposed to be cured by the Plain Writing Act of 2010, signed by the president on Oct. 13, 2010.

I bet most of you didn’t even know that the government was supposed to write, whatever is that they do write, in “plain language.”

It seems to me that the legislation requiring writing in “plain language” was to placate the clamoring public who are getting more and more vociferous in blaming Congress for passing bad legislation which the public, and particularly investors, can’t understand.

What is “plain language?”

The act tells us that it is defined as “writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience.”

That seems clear enough, doesn’t it?

Typical of Congress, the “plain language” only applies to “covered documents.”

That gives cover for members of Congress to crow from the rooftops that they are doing something constructive while at the same time making sure that nobody can understand what is really going on or hold anyone in government accountable.

What isn’t covered?

You would think that the first thing to clear up would be legislation and the regulations that also carry the force of law.

Think about it, what if the new healthcare law, affectionately referred to as Obamacare, was written in “plain language?” Or say Dodd-Frank. Or any tax legislation.

To be fully truthful, there was a bill to extend the law to the full text of regulations. The extension bill — introduced by a Democrat — still hasn’t been passed and likely never will.

The Plain Writing Act also contains provisions that there are no penalties to anyone working for the federal government by violating the law; there is no judicial review of compliance or non-compliance with any provision of the act — and no enforceability.

Basically, a law that doesn’t change a thing of importance.

I should mention that a few administrative agencies have revised some of the more innocuous information that the public should be able to understand. Social Security and Medicare information handbooks for example.

As can be seen in the Plain Writing Act, Congress prefers to keep legislation and regulations obscure or unknown as the means to avoid accountability and taking responsibility.

The bottom line is that it is an impossible task to evaluate any impact of legislation passed by Congress on the economy of the United States or any investment without fully understanding the rules of the game.

Investors are coming around to realizing that Congress is a major risk factor.

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2012-25-07
 

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