OPINION - During the past election season, candidate after candidate spouted the evils of our bloated government in their election speeches and vowed to limit government.
So, have the promises panned out?
Here is the irony of our political system.
• We vote in elected officials who promise to limit government.
• To gain our approval as a hard working politician, they must be productive.
• They write more laws that bloat government and create more restrictions.
• We applaud their list of accomplishments and even pay them for their “productivity.”
• And, then of course, we re-elect them, after they promise to limit government, again.
This is why year after year we have hundreds and hundreds of bills that offer new legislation in the State of Utah.
This is also why last year we had over 40,000 new pieces of legislation enacted in the United States.
Would we be able to fully appreciate an honest politician who gave a candidacy speech like this:
“To get the job, I will tell you what you want to hear; but let’s face it, you want me to pass silly laws that aren’t very necessary so that I will look like I am hard at work on behalf of you, the citizen. I will offer solutions to problems that you didn’t even know we had. Because, without a record of bills passed by me, you will deem me ineffective. So, just vote me in and look the other way. I will remain busy making a name for myself as a career politician and you will be comforted by my campaign speeches as government continues to grow.”
I am guessing this would not get the jubilant applause of a huge audience, but at least it would be honest. I am not saying all politicians act this way, and some in fact are very good at fighting for the rights of the citizens. Yet, once the campaign promises are made, do we hold their feet to the fire and demand that they actually, do, limit government?
According to Adam Brown’s April 4, 2012, article “The Utah legislature passes far more bills than Congress,” “during any given two-year period, Utah’s legislature tends to enact roughly 300 new laws for every 1 million residents. Meanwhile, Congress enacts roughly 1 or 2 for every million residents
Senate Rules Committee Chairman John Valentine said the Utah Legislature so far introduced 483 bills this year. In fact, according to a May 10, 2011, article by Matthew Piccolo published by the Sutherland Daily News and Views on Utah Public Policy, each year we see an increase of 5.3 percent in new bills seeking passage. At what point is enough, enough?
Will there ever be a time when we say, all right, we have enough codes, legislation, regulations and laws? The Founding Fathers started this country with a few documents of governing laws.
After the passage of more than a million laws, are we better off today?
I would love to see a politician do nothing more than spend their time in office repealing laws that are cumbersome and detrimental to our Constitutional rights. Do those politicians exist?
Do we need Hookah Pipe law? Brad Last, of Hurricane, insists that we do. I never realized we had such a rampant problem of hookah pipes in Utah, but 2012 legislation offered a solution to this problem when it passed. Whew! Because I was tripping over Hookah pipes constantly as I ventured into my work place.
Do we need an anti-discrimination bill for gays? According to Utah Sen. Steve Urquhart, it’s long over due and should be law.
How do you criminalize people’s behavior and force them to accept others. Despite the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, we still have racism in America. If someone is discriminatory, how do you prove discrimination? Does this just give special groups more rights than others? Will an employer now feel compelled to hire someone based on sexuality instead of merit because they are afraid of a lawsuit? How is that fair? Can we make people respect people with the threat of imprisonment and fines? Have politicians run out of things to legislate, so now we are busy legislating behavior?
In Utah, do we really need a law to pull someone dying out of a lake? Do we need bills that forbid people to smoke in their cars with kids? Do we need laws that make us celebrate the anniversary of wars? Can we do all of these things without a law in place?
Just our locally elected state representatives and senators from Washington and Iron counties combined are responsible for sponsoring over 30 bills themselves in the 2013 General Session, not to mention the amount of bills that they co-sponsored, which was higher than that. Were all of those bills necessary and needed?
Maybe some were. But shouldn’t we all care a little bit more about the amount of laws that seem to sail through legislation just because politicians think we need them?
What if our own local politicians would have enacted legislation to repeal over 30 laws for this last session? Shouldn’t that be the role of a politician –to be a watchdog and protector for our natural rights by limiting government encroachment? In the next election round, let’s ask our candidates what they have done or what they can do to limit government overreach and then hold their feet to the fire throughout their term. Let’s ask them what bills they would like to repeal instead of promises of limiting government. I’m guessing this would result in much shorter campaign speeches.
Kate Dalley is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are hers and not representative of St. George News.
Twitter: @STGnewsCopyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.