If this National Review article is accurate, the stimulus bill is worse than I was imagining. It’s not that I’m against every piece of it, but wrapping up countless unrelated projects under one bill and/or pushing it through Congress as an “emergency remedy” is a terrible way to create laws.

This is how we got the Patriot Act and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000.

Although the right is ablaze over this, I think I’m a little too cynical to believe that there’s a good/evil party boundary in this. I fear it’s in times like these that both parties will “reach across the aisle” and push through pet projects via a monumental bill to tell citizens they “did something about the recession”. It’s the minority party’s role to “oppose” and break out their own pens to fair it up.

If the Senate Reps oppose this with the same zeal, they’ll win some respect from me. If it passes, for years to come we’ll be discovering wonderful new treasures similar to the Enron loophole and unregulated credit default swaps, and plenty of junk both parties are opposed to. We’ve already found a revival of the Byrne grants frequently abused in our drug war.

I don’t see how any elected official can look us in the eye and say, “all this is what we need and we need it immediately, there’s no time to read the fine print.”

New general rule: the level of debate and time for press scrutiny of a bill should be proportional to its scope. Maybe there should even be some limitation of scope within a single bill.

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