If you don’t like the law, just wait

We now face the prospect of seeing the Patient Protection Act of 2010 being repealed. The Republican party leaders, following the lead of the Tea Party insurgents, promises to repeal the act less than one year after it was enacted and 3 years before its major benefits and controls take effect.

Is this a rational way to govern? Are there other laws that we can just wait out?

I would think that, under good government, once a law is passed the citizenry should make the appropriate adjustments to conform to the law. What we see instead is a concentrated effort to nullify the law — the political leaders are encouraging people to ignore the law in the expectation that it will be repealed in its entirety in only a few more months.

Is that leadership? Is that good government? Is that government at all?

In any given year, hundreds of laws may be passed by Congress, by state legislatures, by local municipalities and councils. We now see the major national leaders of a major national party declaring that any law passed by any governing body can be overturned before it takes effect. They let everyone believe that, rather than plan for the law’s effects, people and businesses should continue with business as usual, as if the law had not been passed at all.

This is a dangerous principle to instill. It suggests that government isn’t serious — that, at the end of the day, any law passed, however closely or legitimately, can be treated as "just kidding".

 

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