America has too many laws, and the laws we do have are tedious, overly complex and sometimes not only impossible to understand, but impossible to comply with. Our elected officials pass laws in fits of whimsy, responding to the latest scare headlines, demands from interest groups or data from polling firms. Reason, freedom or constitutional authority rarely enter into the debate. ...Kudos to FoxNews for so frequently carrying articles by bloggers.
Consider, for example, the position Congress found itself in last year after passing the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (search), that Rube Goldberg-ian hunk of legislation that was supposed to flush the corruption out of politics:
Although Congress generally exempts itself from most of the laws it passes, this law applies specifically to Congress. The same congressmen who voted for the bill were now required to abide by it. Faced themselves with the burden of complying with the complex, inches-thick laws they pass for others, both parties were forced to hold education sessions with specialty lawyers explaining to them what they could and couldn’t do under the new law. A lawyer who taught the Democrats told The New York Times that his seminars elicited “a sort of slack-jawed amazement at how far this thing reached.” A lawyer who taught the Republicans said: “There's an initial stage where the reaction is, 'This can't be true.' And then there's the actual anger stage." Democratic Rep. Henry Matsui, who championed the bill, told the Times, “I didn’t realize all that was in it.”
That’s how much careful consideration Congress gave a bill it passed that applied to itself. Now imagine how little thought and care goes into bills it passes that apply to everyone else.
The answer, of course, is none.