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Congress Should Pass the Laws We Know are Needed

As the US Senate appears close to a compromise on DACA and border security, we are once again reminded that the major challenges of our day are not black boxes that deny any solution. They are clear roadmaps to the changes that need to be made. The lack of action, the lack of deals, stems entirely from the recalcitrance, more often than not by Republicans.


Children need healthcare. Kids get sick a lot. Colds and strep and chicken pox. Some have asthma or other chronic conditions. Everybody knows that kids need to go to the doctor. The US Congress knows. But they don’t act. States have to start planning to deny new applicants and pare back services.

It’s a no-brainer. Pass it.


The president has rescinded temporary protected status for Haitians, Sudanese, Nicaraguans, and now for Salvadorans. The law was being stupid, but in hold-my-Diet-Coke fashion the president has made it stupider (and went on to add insult to injury).

An updated TPS law would set forth a clearer understanding of the stakes when admitting peoples’ affected by disaster of whatever kind. Either they come for a strict and limited time, without the sort of extension can-kicking that created the current masses under threat, or they come with a pathway to permanent status.

There should be no more of this nonsense where the law basically designs a trap for hundreds of thousands who left a tough break, only to be haunted by its ghost ten years later in the form of a cruel presidency.

The Wall

Don’t build it. If you’re going to build it anyway, it should only be in concert with DACA and full immigration reform besides.

Other Issues

There are plenty of regulatory changes needed, with Congress empowered to force them through new legislation. To hear Republicans tell it so often, there’s not a business in America that can open for the day without submitting forms first. But rather than turn those alleged instance of misregulation or overregulation into changes to the law, they simply let them continue unabated. They should fix ill-fitting regulation. Democrats may quibble over whether a given law protects enough, and that’s where compromise is needed, but generally they should welcome streamlining regulations because it strengthens the argument that sensible regulation is possible.

And so on. The problem is not that we don’t know the right moves. It’s that these Republicans have chosen to Norquist themselves up the river by pledging fealty to idiocy. They can’t compromise, they can’t do what needs to be done. They have no business being there. Work requirements for Medicaid? How about some work requirements for Republican legislators.

When Non-informational Regulation Matters

A look at the times where non-informational regulation may be important.

In an earlier post I claimed that informational regulations were sufficient.  There are at least two examples of where they fail in the current system, however:

  1. Low-competition fields
  2. After-the-fact changes

If you can’t switch vendors, then the information won’t help you very much.  It might spur a cooperative or new alternative to be created, but if the government is failing to prevent monopolies from existing, then that may be difficult to initiate.

Changes to existing behaviors may also preclude information being sufficient, as well.  For example, if you already bought a good and it is then revealed that there is a defect, you would be stuck with the good.  Your recourse might be to file suit, but if you are left in a bad way until the resolution of such a suit, it would be very harmful.  An injunction might bring relief.

The question still remains, if one assumes an immaculate judicial system and that the government does actively work to keep barriers of entry low (eg, it doesn’t act in collusion with service providers to raise such barriers), would these problems go away?  I believe they would, but will continue to examine the original claim and tune the full description and argument.

Are there other circumstances that I’ve overlooked (I believe there’s at least one that slips my mind at the moment)?