January 26, 2006

Congress and the English Language

Allen Sloan is simply shocked to discover that the 2004 Republican tax cuts known as the "American Jobs Creation Act" didn't actually create any jobs. Stunning, I know. But this is an interesting thought:
Congress should thank its lucky stars that federal truth-in-labeling laws don't apply to names it accords to legislation, because almost every dispassionate analyst agrees that the American Jobs Creation Act didn't create jobs in the United States.
Why don't federal truth-in-labeling laws apply to the names of legislation? We could make this real simple: If a law doesn't do what its name claims it will do—cf., the "American Jobs Creation Act" cutting taxes for the wealthy; the "Healthy Forests Restoration Act" gutting our forests; the "Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act," destroying Medicare, etc.—then the law is instantly repealed. Either that, or the member of Congress or president responsible for the name gets put in jail for three weeks. And at worst we get a long trial hashing out the actual effects of these bills; a free civic education for all! In practice, no one would actually be punished, since it's easy to come up with a vague name, but it would put a stop to what's no doubt a pet peeve of the tens if not hundreds of people who track these bills.
-- Brad Plumer 4:40 PM || ||