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|Position Paper on Congressional Mistakes
Copyright 1992 by
Jay C. Wood
Libertarian for Congress
California 23rd District
Position Paper 2
Two things are wrong with the way Congress currently regards laws and the law making process. First, Congress has
delegated its authority. Second, Congress has passed unenforceable laws. Because of Congress’ action or inaction, the de facto
laws and the de jure laws do not match. This inconsistency leads to a much more serious problem. A deleterious disrespect for
the law has been created.
What is the law? Experience tells us that it is the law when we go to jail because of it. It is the law when our property is taken
because of it. It is the law when we are legally killed because of it.
Lawyers tell us there are two types of laws: de jure and de facto. De jure is “existing by legal right,” which means that a
legislative body passed this law. De facto is “actually existing,” which means that this became law by interpretation.
De jure is the law as it was intended. De facto is the law as it exists. The de jure speed limit is 55 miles per hour (MPH). The
de facto speed limit is however much faster traffic is moving.
We are presumed to be a nation of laws. The United States is said to be a nation of laws and not a nation of men. We are
supposed to be governed by what has come through the legislative process (de jure) not by the immediate whims of governors
(de facto). De jure law has gone through a lengthy legislative process where elected representatives have debated the merits and
demerits of the law. De facto law has not gone through this process.
It is impossible to keep up with all the new laws being written. This plethora of laws is really a fault of our legislators. When
Congress is in session, its members feel required to write and pass laws.
This is not what the “founding fathers” had in mind. They did not foresee the full time, professional politician. They envisioned
employment as a Senator or Representative to be a part time job.
Congress has delegated its authority.
Congress passes very, very complex laws. Laws are no longer measured by the number of words but by the page. We soon
will measure them by the inch if not by the foot of stacked paper.
Only bureaucrats know what is contained in these laws. They are the only people paid to read them. Bureaucrats are also the
most often called witnesses testifying during congressional hearings. The interpretation of a law is delegated to a bureaucrat's
judgment and enforcement of a law is left to a bureaucrat’s discretion. The law is really what some bureaucrat says it is. That
turns de jure law into de facto law.
Notably, the Constitution provides a court system for resolving disputes. The court system is available whenever there is a
disagreement about what the law is and what should or should not be enforced. But the court system is also overwhelmed by the
complexity of the law. A handful of jurors is charged with deciding what several hundred legislators intended.
A perfect example of a very complex law is the Internal Revenue Code, better know as the income tax law. Congress created
the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to collect the tax. But Congress has delegated its authority to the IRS. It accomplished this
transfer by passing such complex income tax laws that no single person knows more than a fraction of tax code provisions and
It is now the IRS’s function to interpret the law and decide how to enforce it. The result is a de jure law which nobody
understands and a de facto law which is selectively interpreted and enforced.
Because Congress has delegated its authority to the IRS that organization has become a law making body unto itself. A very
powerful if not the most powerful organization in the United States today is the IRS. It holds power over every taxpayer. IRS’s
de facto law can cause you to loose all your property and put you in jail. Thus far, the IRS cannot legally kill you.
Congress has passed unenforceable laws.
What is the purpose of passing a law if it cannot be enforced? Usually there is a hidden reason for this passage. Look at the law’
s underlying motives. These could be power, influence, command or control. There are a thousand other reasons including greed.
A very big reason Congress passes a law is the influence of “special interests.” Our system is so large and expensive that our
elected representatives may succumb to the pressures of election and its inherent expenses. Remember that the primary duty of a
politician is to get elected. All else is secondary including the wishes of the electorate. But not secondary to the wishes of the
A perfect example of an unenforceable law is the national speed limit of 55 MPH. If you have driven a car in a 55 MPH zone
you know that the 55 MPH is not enforceable. It can only be selectively and arbitrarily enforced.
Congress creates disrespect for the law.
All children look to their parents for supervision and guidance. What do children see their parents doing when faced with
complex and unenforceable laws? Their role models are conjecturing and breaking the law then escaping through selective
enforcement and interpretation. Some call these loopholes.
There really are no loopholes. Every supposed loophole is there for someone’s specific advantage. These opportunities are
closed only when someone else uses them.
A young child looks out the car window and sees a “Speed Limit 55 MPH” sign. Looking at the speedometer, the child sees the
needle well above fifty-five. Lesson learned. Daddy and/or Mommy is breaking the law. If they break the law, it must be all right
for me to break the law. “Teach Your Child a Crime, Drive 59!”
Congress must reclaim its authority
Beginning with the next session of Congress, our elected legislators must restore confidence in the law. We must return to a
nation of laws (de jure) not a nation of bureaucrats (de facto).
Congress must alter the way it does business. Bureaucrats, currently the determiners and dictators of the law, must become
subordinates of Congress and the American taxpayers who support them.
In 1787, the Constitution of the United States established a legislative branch to make laws, an executive branch to execute
laws and a judicial branch to adjudicate laws. We must return to the original objective of the Constitution. There must be no
more Judicial Law and no more Administrative Law, only Congressional Law.
Congress must retract and revoke all law making capabilities from all other government branches, services and agencies.
Unenforceable laws must be repealed and replaced with reasonable laws if they are replaced at all. Complex laws must be
replaced with understandable laws if they are replaced at all.
Collection of taxes must become the only reason for the existence of the IRS if it is allowed to exist at all. The imposition of a
national speed limit must be revoked and replaced by state laws if at all.
Laws must be understandable and enforceable. If Congress continues to delegate and obfuscate, we will all lose our property,
our freedom and our lives.
|Responsibility Leads The Way To Freedom
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