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An institution devoted to reviewing and highlighting legislation that has exceeded a certain time frame.

Legislation is important under certain contexts. It's crucial, then, to keep legislation current. I think it a spectacular idea to commit a non-profit group to holding outdated legislation to current standards.

To quote the U.S. General Accounting Office report to Congress in 1990, through P.J. O'Rourke's "Parliament of Whores,"

"The government established a wool and mohair price-support program in 1954... to encourage domestic wool production in the interest of national security."

How is my proposal any better than the Government Accountability Office? Well, I'm not entirely sure and I suppose this is why I'm proposing it. I feel, though, the the GAO is entirely too big and that a program like this should have a lot more visibility - voters can access an archive of legislation, what it was written to combat, and what the general effects of it are now.

progress indicator
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    Oct 28 2012: If P.J. O'Rourke endorses something it is worth looking at.

    I have heard it said that if you started taking away subsidies from the biggest to the smallest the budget would be balanced by the time you got to the 500,000 dollar level.

    I think what we need is a educating of the populace in economics to where the trend became a Mccarthy era culture in DC to where congressman would start shaking at the notion of corruption. In other words we need to hang a few congressman so the other ones would get the idea that the beltway culture is no more. And "The real goal should be reduced government spending, rather than balanced budgets achieved by ever rising tax rates to cover ever rising spending."
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      Oct 28 2012: Pat, I went to Republician proposed budget cuts and selected House GOP lists 2.5 Trillion in spending cuts. I recall seeing this before but it always opens my eyes. What the heck are some of these allocations.

      If the federal government just allowed attrition to occur in the federal job corps we would save a bundle. Obamacare (FREE) medical is 80 Billion a year and the Obamacare administrative costs are already 900 Million a year.

      Obama commited 25 agencies to Rural Sustainability under a Executive Order June 9, 2011. This is essentially a attack on private land owers. It has been described as Obamas Holodomor. The Holodomor was an event in the Ukraine 1932 - 33 that took private farms away in favor of collective farming by the Russian Government which killed 7 million farmers and families. I also associate this to the Article 21 movement in the UN which is the mother of Cap and Trade and other enviromental socialist program nightmares.

      Sorry about the rant but the sleeping American public will wake up way to late to stop the march.
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        Oct 28 2012: It is the alphabet soup of government agencies that could easily be done without, in fact getting rid of them would be a 2 for 1 deal. Their expense and inane regulations. The constitution intended for much of what these agencies do to be done at the state level at which point some of the regulations would start making sense. Except don't use Calif as an example other than what not to do or what happens to states when they go bad.
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          Oct 28 2012: Good point about the constitutional intention. I do feel as though we've really drifted into a unitary state which can be excessively wasteful.
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        Oct 29 2012: Yea but..

        When you consider that according to what Robert Winner says we have dozens of states that are bankrupt. Part of the reason is as David Hamilton indicates is that in the State of California for every dollar that Calif sends to the Federal government something like 38 cents comes back.

        Even then the Federal government has managed to put us 16 trillion dollars in debt., 5 trillion of that in the last 4 years.

        That does not include the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare that are at least 100 trillion dollars.

        So yes we are very much into centralized government with gargantuan waste.

        What does that mean to you personally? Glad you asked. It means that you, your children , and your children's children are going to have to pay that debt through increased taxes or through inflation and because of the increased burden there will be much less opportunity. If the future politicians cannot do this or will not do this the United States WILL collapse. It will be sudden and it will be dystopian. This does not have to happen but I have seen no reason to think it will not happen.
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    Oct 28 2012: Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors — when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that is does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

    —Ayn Rand

    Do we really need to complicate the web of intrusive government? Man's responsibilites to his self should never be underwritten by a self serving government. If legislation is only good for certain purpose of a certain moment then it has no business being written into law. If a structure is failing let it fail. You will find that the system was fine but the drivers were corrupt. For man to grow, he must learn from his failures and not be propped up by the virtues of his fellow man.
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      Oct 28 2012: I am really confused about the relation between your quote and my proposal. I understand that people are corrupt and things have gone bad but I choose rather to take action than to let the system fail so that a better one can take its place. We can be a touch more proactive than that. I am committed to finding the tiny slivers of things working the right way and promoting it. My promotion, while a small endorsement, can grow to affect those around me who can, in their own turn, promote what they think is outstanding.

      Do you think my proposal would "complicate the web of intrusive government?" I thought it a good idea to take the steps to expose corroded, rusty, decayed initiatives, subsidies, and grants that have gone unnoticed for decades. I agree that legislation voted in for a certain purpose is not helpful. If, in your last statement, you are comparing the government to a single man, then I will have to heartily disagree. For one man to grow, yes he must learn - as a child learns not to touch a boiling pot. But to simplify a system of millions of people to one person is ludicrous; the pain brought on from touching a boiling pot cannot smart the hand of every one of them. It is clear, then, that our government will continue to wearily trudge on, adapting and forever slightly corrupt and wasteful. I don't see any sense in waiting for the revolution to create a new system. My trying to generate a team to fight the excess of government is the very picture of growth. I've seen a problem here and now, so I am trying to implement a solution. Simple as that.
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        Oct 28 2012: Yes we need expose the corruption. But expanding the Government to do so is kind of like having an alcoholic manage the liquor cabinet.
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          Oct 28 2012: I wholeheartedly agree but I am not planning to expand the government. My proposed team would not be funded or managed by any governmental branch. All ties severed.
  • Oct 27 2012: Great idea. It is important to make sure that the non-profit group maintains its independence so that it does not become an attack dog of big business and religious groups and political parties. This is hard to do but not impossible.
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      Oct 27 2012: You are quite right on that. And I know that a cause with money goes a lot farther than a cause without money so non-profit may be a vulnerability. There should be something in the mission statement that underlines the fact that it is a separate entity, committed only to a simple act. The many initiatives that I mean to "recycle" are wasteful because they were written to encompass many acts. The aforementioned mission statement would be the antithesis to that practice, I suppose.
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      Oct 27 2012: And perhaps I'm seeing this group do the legwork to expose bills that have passed out of a window of time to voters who are then able to demand change. They wouldn't be responsible for actually cutting legislation out, simply exposing decayed work to the infamous cockroach treatment of the media.
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    Oct 28 2012: There are groups that track all of these. I went to dumb and outdated laws laws and viewed by state and federal. I went to recommended budget cuts and found a trove of recommend cuts that made a lot of sense.

    Here is a whole new area for you to have grave concerns about if you really want to make multi trillion dollar differences: Subsidies, stimuluses, and Executive Orders.

    I have never heard of an Executive Order being resinded .... and the other two are just plain political money pits.

    The sad thing is that you cannot even blame Congress for these debits as these bypass Congress and Congressional oversight. One of the other areas you should evaluate is Government Grants.

    If you want to start analyzing the government waste I suggest you buy a lot of asperine ... this will hurt your head.

    Good luck. Bob.
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      Oct 28 2012: Thanks for the input. I was pretty appalled at some of the subsidies that go unnoticed, like the mohair price support, but it's good to have a couple other handles on what to tackle. What do you mean you went to dumb outdated laws and recommended budget cuts? Do you mean you googled these as search terms?
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        Oct 28 2012: Yes google them.
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          Oct 28 2012: That is interesting. I will work to get such sites more visible. But these don't exactly satisfy my itch. I was looking to highlight legislation that, more specifically, allocated money. I realize I didn't make that explicit in my question.
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    Oct 27 2012: By the way, I didn't follow up on my quoting O'Rourke. That 1954 program continued on to the 1990s. It has currently changed status, making alpaca a farm animal, and thus open to government grants. It may not seem like a great amount of money, but, in fact, the mohair subsidy allocated "an estimated $923 million over the 1994-98 period," according to the Department of Agriculture. Seemingly just a drop in the bucket of our debt. I wanted to point out, in using this evidence, that there are many initiatives drifting about, granting money throughout the decades because they are forgotten by the public.
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    Oct 27 2012: I wonder what legislation written with a review/expiration date would do to overhead costs. Short term, it would increase senatorial and house committees, expanding that cost. But long term I think it would decrease cost because wasteful projects would get cut.
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    Oct 27 2012: Not to have expiration dates on legislations is something, only a static and not changing society was able to afford. The fact that we don't have them is no coincidence!
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    Oct 27 2012: Excellent idea, but since lobbyists like Abrahamoff came along, it's very difficult. Those crooked lobbyists who buy your representatives get their legislation passed by offering legislation that says, replace SS 05321 and replace it with "whatever the lobbyists wants that the representative will not know what is being done".

    I have traced legislation backwards. It's hard. It's done this way on purpose.
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      Oct 27 2012: I'm always a little wary of the sentiment that government does things on purpose. Government is not so much a machine run by precision gears and masterminds as it is a wobbly table with a short leg -propped up on a matchbook and legos - which holds a banquet of mismatched tableware holding food in various states of decay. I cannot affect any positive change if I unfairly judge that every lobbyist, legislator, and initiative is crooked.
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        Oct 28 2012: Then judge them fairly by their actions or lack there of. If their intentions are noble, this thread would not exist.
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          Oct 28 2012: My point is that there is no "their." Our government is not any one person. There is no "man." There is no "They." To do any good, we must first expel that idea that we are dealing with a uniform entity, working to propel itself in one direction with one set of values and desires.
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        Oct 28 2012: Read Abrahamoff's book. He gives step-by-step instructions for how to corrupt a congressman and how to get the legislation you want passed by using deceptive methods. He also explains how widespread the corruption is: Insider trading (buying or selling stock before proposed legislation that is expected to pass is made public), embezzlement (inserting ear-marks into legislation knowing that the earmark is designed to benefit you personally and knowing that no one will read your earmark), bribery (self-explanatory and massively prevalent), for example. Many examples are given. It's how your government works.

        When the book came out, congress (both sides) said that congress is immune from such laws. Don't you remember the flack?
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          Oct 28 2012: What are you trying to do by telling me this? Are you trying to dissuade me?! I am appalled at the responses I am getting here. This sentiment sickens me and it is everywhere. It is the flavor of cynicism that beats me down. You would have me believe that there is no reason to try; it's all going to shit anyway. I know there is corruption. I am also aware that corruption is just a way to identify a deviation from a standard. We could devote an entire doctorate program to studying the psychology and impact corruption has. I cannot let myself give up because the system is seemingly one giant tumor. A lot of people here today are making a mistake in assuming I want to berate each act of corruption I see or somehow propose incentives to get legislators to forgo corrupt practices. I am not so naive.

          I see clearly that the number one reason why our government continues to fail us is due to the pervasive thinking that there is no use. I call it the Eeyore Syndrome. By putting me down all I can really take from these responses is that somehow you actually want the corruption to persist. Now that can't be... But it does certainly seem to fit the tone. You should be ashamed of yourself. I would be excited to put my weight behind any person willing to take on the problem. We won't succeed unless our attitude is fervently positive. I'm looking for criticisms directly regarding my proposal - a team working to simply make outdated actions visible to the public. I am looking for feedback that can help me make specific changes to the exact functioning of such a group. How can I get high visibility? How do I broadcast our findings? Who can you direct me to to model my work after? What were some of the pitfalls of such a model?
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        Oct 28 2012: It's a two party system giving us a faux representation of intricate opposing ideologies. It's most definately is two entities with a speckle of independents. It's a well orchestrated ebb and flow between Dems and Pubs. These are well defined and well organized political machines. As we become more aware of the corruption and backroom deals the machines will attempt to circumvent our ability to communcate and mount any type of organized attempt to put reigns on their actions. The moment we start pretending these entities don't exist is the moment we become a herd of cattle drinking from straws through our muzzles.
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          Oct 28 2012: I haven't "pretend[ed] such entities don't exist." I have a few other objections to your response, namely the dichotomy of democrats and republicans and their "well orchestrated ebb and flow." But I am realizing quickly how futile it is to contest your attitude. I will simply thank you for taking the time to give me some input. It's good to know how some people may receive my project once functional.
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        Oct 28 2012: You propose a watchdog institution. A wonderful idea. My attitute is pro active while yours is reactive. The real question is why we need a watchdog institution in the first place. We have put so many bandaids on the symptoms while never addressing root causes.

        Of couse it's probably more likely one would get funding by addressing reactive measures. It's much less likely to get funded if it targets fundamental core issues. This could adversly affect the power of special interests who are enjoying windfalls of unbalanced legislation.

        Allow me to offer up a link. I beleive we have such institutions that you speak of:
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        Gail . 50+

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        Oct 28 2012: Bristol, perhaps those who see your optimism have already spent 40 years or so trying to fix that which is so broken. Many of us have been activists and have watched our voice be silenced by money.

        I applaud your willingness to go forth and fight the mighty fight, but as for me, I am working on a way to make changes by coming through the back door rather than the front. I want to cure the illness rather than continue down the road of treating the symptoms. I haven't given up. I've just changed course.

        So I certainly do not belittle you. I admire you.