Laws That Apply to Congress

There is an email circulating that is asking people to support a proposed 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  It is saying that people in Congress get exempted from certain laws and that the law should apply equally.

The text of the proposed amendment is as follows:

Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”

I’m sure that many people will support this amendment, thinking that the politicians in Congress should not be getting away with these things.  However, I think there is something that most people fail to realize.  If this amendment were to pass and be properly enforced, then it would, in effect, abolish Congress.

While the website promoting the amendment addresses specific things like healthcare and Social Security, it fails to understand the key point that makes governments (as we know them today) unique.  The reason that a government is a government is because it exempts itself from the laws that it makes.

If this amendment were held true to its words, then Congress would not be able to tax us, start wars, enforce regulations, or do almost anything at all.  The only way that Congress and the government in general can do anything is because it is legally allowed to do what no individual citizen could do.

If you or I were to steal money or property, it would be called theft and we would be thrown in jail.  If the government does it, it is called taxation.  If you or I were to print fake money and try to use it, then it would be called counterfeiting.  When the government does it (via the Fed), then it is called monetary policy.  When we kill someone, it is called murder.  When the government does it, it is called war or collateral damage.

So as far as having laws apply equally, there is really only one that is necessary.  Tell Congress that they may not initiate force or the threat of force, as it is illegal for the average person.  If just that one thing would be applied equally, then Congress would essentially be abolished, or at least be in a minarchist state.

I don’t think the people proposing this amendment, and probably most of those supporting it, understand the unique feature of government.  Government is unique because it possesses the legal monopoly over the use of force.  Take away this one power and we have a libertarian society.