Sunset Every Federal Law?
Philip K. Howard, author of Life Without Lawyers, has a thought-provoking essay
in the Atlantic about how to repeal old laws in order to make room for
new policies that will unleash American ingenuity and discretion:
Fixing what ails America is impossible, indeed illegal, without a legal
spring cleaning. The goal is not mainly to “deregulate” but to restate programs
in light of current needs and priorities.
As a practical matter, this requires Congress to authorize special
commissions to make proposals, area by area. Using the base closing commission
model, these proposals would be submitted to Congress for an up or down
Going forward, Congress should incorporate sunset provisions in all laws with
budgetary impact. The goal is not to end good programs but to impose a
discipline that is essential for a functioning democracy that must constantly
make tough tradeoffs.
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