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Don't Expect Americans to Support Poorly Written Laws

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Monday, 16 April 2018 03:47 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In light of the grilling Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook faced on Capitol Hill regarding transparency, consumer protections, and privacy, I was reminded of the passage from the Bible, in the Book of John (8:7), "He who is without sin cast the first stone."

Senator after senator — Republicans and Democrats — lectured, threatened, and pontificated about the need to eliminate "fine print," cast off lawyers, protect consumers — and to be responsible.

They demanded Facebook get its house in order, or Congress is prepared to fix and order it for them — with legislation and regulation.

All this from a body thriving on legalese, fine print, irresponsibility, unaccountability, and self-created crises. The hypocrisy and holier than thou demeanor of the Facebook hearing was stunning. This do as we say but not as we do demeanor was disgraceful.

Our Founding Fathers wrote the documents creating the greatest nation the world has ever known.

They did so employing plain English. Although drafted by highly educated and talented people, they knew that in order to get the public to support their efforts the common, as well as the cultured, had to comprehend it.

There is not a single doubt in my mind that the average American high school student today can fully understand and appreciate the words and the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Amendments thereto — including the Bill of Rights.

The same cannot be said of the healthcare bill passed by the U.S. House. You need a PhD; degrees economics and law to fully appreciate the convoluted and highly technical legislation ultimately affecting every American.

There is no way even the average legislator can fully understand a 1900 plus page highly technical bill, even with the benefit of the extensive staffs they are afforded.

Highly specialized staffers, government lawyers, lobbyists, industry executives, and their lawyers, write these bills, and they are purposely written to obscure their true intent, meaning — and effect.

If as a legislator, you can't understand a bill, how can you vote on it?

If the American people cannot understand a bill, how can they support it?

For starters, I say that no single bill should exceed 50 pages. All bills should be required to meet a "plain language" standard. This would force the drafters to make legislation understandable — and succinct.

Many states have enacted "Plain language" statutes requiring contracts to be, "written in a clear and coherent manner using words with common and everyday meanings . . ." (N.Y. General Obligations Law Section: 5-702).

It's ironic that the federal government enacted the "Truth in Lending Act" which requires certain disclosures be made to consumers; yet there is no requirement for those disclosures to be written in "plain language."

Our Constitution begins with, "We the People" not "We the Elite," or "We the Legislators."

The people need to understand what their government is doing on their behalf.

The only way to insure a more informed and engaged public is to provide them with information they can understand. So, before Congress demands others to be accountable, transparent, honest, and responsible it would be nice if they set the example instead of being a contradiction.

Congress lives in a glass house. I suggest they get their own House and Senate in order before making the same demands on others.

Voters/constituents should demand that Congress be as responsible to them, just as Congress expects private companies to be with consumers.

Bradley Blakeman was a member of President George W. Bush's senior White House staff from 2001 to 2004. He is also a frequent contributor to Fox News and Fox Business Channel. He currently is a Principal with the 1600group.com a consulting company. — Click Here Now.

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BradleyBlakeman
The people need to understand what their government is doing on their behalf. Highly specialized staffers, government lawyers, lobbyists, industry executives, and their lawyers write bills.
congress, facebook, house, senate, zuckerberg
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2018-47-16
Monday, 16 April 2018 03:47 PM
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