HE SAYS:

In the news recently there was the incredible announcement that 2012 will see 40,000 new laws that have been enacted by the Federal Government and various state legislative bodies.  I am sure that some of these laws are worthwhile as I am equally sure that some of them are unnecessary but harmless and some may even do more harm than good.

I can now rest my case after I had accused local, state, and federal legislators of over legislating in order to justify their existence to their constituents in “A Law For All Reasons”.   Even though I have not read many of these new laws, I believe it is safe to say that I have been somewhat vindicated in my assessment that year after year more and more laws are being enacted and, eventually, every facet of our lives will be controlled by one law or another.   This is some proof that there is no such thing as overkill when our lawmakers start coming up with laws for all reasons.

In addition to being an intrusion into our daily lives, both the good and bad laws will require the resources of public and private entities to implement them, law enforcement to enforce them, courts and judges to interpret them, juries to decide if those accused of violating them are guilty, and, of course, there will be the inevitable process over time of repealing, revising, or expanding these laws.   These are some of the problems with enacting more and more laws every year.   Each new law is not the end of the problem being addressed, it is just the beginning of a time consuming and costly burden on society that may be justified if the law is worthwhile but is a complete waste of resources for those laws that are useless or harmful.

Unfortunately, not all problems with our society can be solved by simply passing more and more laws and, sometimes, they just become an expedient and illusionary resolution.   Of course, we need laws to put everyone on notice as to the basic rules deemed necessary to make our society function properly.   However, where I think we have gone wrong is that our legislators have come to believe that even if a small but vocal segment of their constituents feel that there is something wrong in our society they must pass a law not necessarily to solve the problem but to ensure their re-election by keeping their constituents happy.

Ultimately, our laws lose their credibility if they are passed in a transparent attempt to satisfy any and all reasons or, worse yet, for no reason.

On Monday, Joe reflects on the fact that we all become just a distant memory in “Just A Picture On The Mantel”.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

HE SAYS:

You would not be surprised to hear that a widget company would need to make widgets in order to justify its existence.   Likewise, local, state, and federal legislators need to keep legislating in order to justify their existence to their constituents.   Year after year more and more laws are enacted until, eventually, every facet of our lives will be controlled by one law or another.   There is no such thing as overkill when it comes to dreaming up laws for any and all reasons.

There are now laws that are named for a particular victim or situation and one starts to feel that, eventually, we will all have a law named after us based on some travesty that has befallen us.   I am not suggesting that some of these laws don’t serve a valid and useful purpose, but, I am suggesting that not all problems with our society can be solved simply by passing more laws, particularly, laws created as a knee jerk reaction to the public’s emotional response to one tragic event.  It just becomes an expedient and illusionary fix.

More importantly, the reasons why some people do the terrible things they do can’t be adequately explained and will not change no matter how many new laws are enacted.   For example, in response to the shooting in Tucson, Arizona all we have heard is what can we learn from this episode?   Maybe, all we can learn is that sometimes bad people do bad things to other people.  When a national tragedy like this happens, there always seems to be a rush to pass more laws in the belief that it may prevent this from happening again.   We all breathe a sigh of relief that we have legislated this kind of problem away until it happens again and then, of course, we will pass more laws.

Every society needs laws to put everyone on notice as to the basic rules deemed necessary to make that society function properly.   Where I think we have gone wrong is that we feel laws should be used as some sort of panacea to appease the emotions of the public.   Our legislators have come to believe that if something happens that upsets a vocal segment of their constituents, they must pass a law not necessarily to solve a problem but simply to keep their constituents happy.   Usually, there are already sufficient laws on the books to cover the situation but nothing is more cathartic to the public and more conducive to job security for politicians than passing another law.

Ultimately, our laws should be enacted to address real problems and for good reasons and not just to keep our legislators in the business of placating the public.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?