Jeff Jacoby writes There oughta be a law? Don’t be so sure
Boehner rejected the planted axiom that making laws makes lawmakers productive.
“We should not be judged on how many new laws we create,” he said. “We ought to be judged on how many laws that we repeal.”
Actually, Congress gets even lower marks when judged by Boehner’s preferred metric. So far this year Congress has passed 15 laws; it hasn’t actually repealed any. While the House has voted more than 30 times to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act, there is no chance that the Senate will go along. “Stop taking meaningless repeal votes,” President Obama needled Republicans in a speech on Wednesday. “Repealing ObamaCare and cutting spending is not an economic plan.”
On becoming president of the Massachusetts Senate in 1914, Calvin Coolidge offered his colleagues some timeless advice: “Don’t hurry to legislate. Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation.” Making laws, Coolidge knew, is no proof that lawmakers are productive. As he wrote to his father, a Vermont legislator: “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”