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A legislative agenda for 2014

By Scott Tibbs, January 2, 2014

The U.S. House of Representatives has been criticized (especially by Rachel Maddow) for reaching "new levels of futility" by passing so little legislation in 2013. As of December 4, the Boston Globe reports that Congress had "only" passed 55 laws in 2013. But is that really a bad thing?

Did we really need fifty-five new laws? Did we really need fifty five new ways for the government to spend money, regulate our lives and businesses, or make more things illegal? Did we really need to add to the gargantuan federal code, not to mention all of the regulations that federal agencies will need to write to enforce these new laws?

As I pointed out on Twitter last month, the problem with full-time legislatures is when there is a problem the legislators feel the need to "do something" about it, even if that means passing laws against things that are already illegal.

Lost in all of the discussion about the number of laws passed is whether the laws that were passed were a good idea, or if they were ineffective or even counterproductive. The discussion advanced by the simpletons in the news media ignores the policy implications of these laws, and only addresses whether more laws were passed. It is a childish perspective that is unworthy of the public square.

What we really need is a moratorium on passing any new laws, and only focus on what laws are outdated, counterproductive or no longer useful. Those laws should then be repealed. That is most necessary at the federal level, but it should also be considered at the state level. Imagine a four-year period where Congress and all fifty state legislatures pass no new laws and only work to repeal bad ones.