This week, an important event takes place: the US Supreme Court is looking at the Obama healthcare law. Many on the right are hoping for it to be overturned. Barring that, their goal is to one day repeal it; much like they want to repeal Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and so on. When I hear that word, repeal, I get thinking about other laws passed and later repealed. Overall, the record of accomplishment for repeal isn’t very good.
Now sure, everyone cites Prohibition as a law that needing repeal. Yet, most people agree, it was right to repeal Prohibition. When Prohibition passed, there were many people opposed to it; swept up in the excitement, of the day, many believed the promises advocates made concerning what the law would accomplish. The idea of people drinking less is a good one, but this law taught us the folly of trying to legislate and mandate certain aspects of personal choice.
Over the years, many laws passed on various subjects. Child labour laws led to the end of children working 18-hour days in coalmines or textile mills and so on. Minimum wage laws insured that workers made at least a bare minimum of income, and other laws gave them the right to organize and form unions to protect themselves. Banking regulations fixed the disasters that caused the Great Depression. Civil rights legislation dismantled the old Jim Crow laws and helped minorities to build their way out of poverty.
William Randolph Hearst had enormous power. He owned countless newspapers, and was able to manipulate vast segments of the public. Laws passed to break up such conglomerates.
In the last thirty years, some of those laws rolled back; look at the results. Deregulating the savings and loan industry led to disaster. Radio deregulation killed the business. The airlines were deregulated and chaos reigned for a time; airlines went bankrupt, merged, and became larger. Now, some cities have little, if any, competition.
More banking laws repealed, and the great recession and housing meltdown occurred. Media empires grew and now a few individuals are once more able to manipulate people into believing outright nonsense!
We have politicians who call for the repeal of all manner of laws. Union laws must fall to improve the business climate. Child labour laws must fall to allow children to learn a good work ethic; no sense them lounging about school learning useless stuff like history, mathematics or science. What little banking rules exist must fall, only then will Wall Street feel safe about lending money.
After all, we must trust business to do the right thing because businesses would never do anything contrary to our national interests, bad for the environment, or unfair to their workers. Government, on the other hand, is evil and vile, and interested only in destroying the nation.
Yeah, right. If you believe all that malarkey there's a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you!
It seems to me, before we repeal any law, we should ask why it passed, in the first place. Yes, some laws need a second look, such as the “Stand Your Ground” law, here in Florida or the union breaking law in Wisconsin. Still, for legislators to take the trouble to pass the law in the first place means that many people thought it had merit.
Let’s not rush into anything; look at the record of accomplishment.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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