I “subscribe” to DownsizeDC.org. The organization takes positions that coincide with its name. It seeks to downsize Washington DC. It seeks to lessen the size, scope, and burden of the federal government.
If you sign up on the website, you will get emails (typically 3 or 4 per week, but not more than one a day) that take on different issues. The organization has made it easy to promote its campaigns and to also resist pending legislation that it thinks is bad (which is most legislation coming out of Congress). Once you sign up once, you can just write a short message and it will be sent to all 3 of your “representatives”. This includes your House member and the 2 Senate members of your state.
One good thing is that if you disagree with its position on something or if you just don’t feel strongly about it, then you simply don’t have to send a message. You can send messages for the issues you really care about. While Downsize DC claims to be non-partisan, there is no question that its philosophy is mostly libertarian and attracts mostly libertarians or those leaning libertarian.
The organization has taken a bit of a turn in the last year. While it still encourages sending emails to Congress, it has also emphasized education to a much greater degree, including appealing to morality and what it calls heuristics.
I have always thought that the educational side of Downsize DC is its best feature. If half of the 20,000 plus people who get the emails actually read them, then this is actually a bigger influence in itself than sending letters to Congress. It may seem like preaching to the choir, but the choir often needs preaching to. I have always said that if all people who call themselves or identify themselves as libertarians actually understood libertarianism to a great degree and could espouse their position to others, then we would have a much more libertarian society. I can’t stress enough how many times I see libertarians saying that we need to spread the word and get “active”, when they can’t even defend their own positions and oftentimes don’t even know their own positions.
If you look at the right side of my blog on the home page, I have a button for the “Read the Bills Act” coalition. This is a proposed bill that has been emphasized from nearly the beginning at Downsize DC.
There are actually three big pieces of legislation that Downsize DC has written and proposed. They are:
They may sound a little gimmicky at first, and perhaps they are to a certain extent. But I really believe that these three bills would really change the course of business in Washington DC and, at the very least, slow down the growth of government to a large degree. While there are no guarantees that any of these pieces of legislation would “work” or be followed as written, they certainly can’t do any worse for the system than what we already have.
The proposed acts are somewhat self explanatory. The Read the Bills Act would require, among other things, that legislation be read by any member of Congress voting in favor of it. The Write the Laws Act would require that Congress write all of the federal laws and not delegate this power to federal agencies. The One Subject at a Time Act would require that each piece of legislation address only one issue at a time.
I think these would all be important, but what do you think is the most important one? I have my own opinion. I think the Read the Bills Act would be the easiest to get passed because it is easy to understand and it is a reasonable request that people can get behind. But I think that the Write the Laws Act would actually be the most important with the most long-term impact.
I don’t think many Americans understand that so much of the dictates coming from Washington DC are not laws that were directly passed by Congress. It is usually tens of thousands of bureaucrats and lawyers working for various agencies of the federal government who write the laws because Congress has delegated (unconstitutionally) its power. You can see this with Obamacare where many rules have not even been established yet.
Most of the regulatory burden we suffer from is a result of this. There is no way that Congress could pass tens of thousands of pages of legislation every year. If every new rule coming from the federal government had to go through the formal legislative procedures in Congress, the growth of government would practically come to a halt.
For this reason, I also think that the Write the Laws Act is the one least likely to get passed. But I am glad that Downsize DC still promotes it because it draws attention to a major problem. The people you are supposedly electing to Congress are not even the ones who are writing most of the laws. They are simply delegating their authority and passing the buck. This is why we have the massive bureaucracy that we have today. I encourage everyone to check out Downsize DC and support the organization.