The U.S. Congress just passed President Obama's trillion-ish dollar "stimulus" package. The more the public heard about the bill, the less they seemed to like it, so the Democrats rammed that puppy through as quickly as possible with as little time as they could manage for the public to digest it. They only released the final text of the bill one day before the vote.
But the damned thing's over 1,000 pages. It's not just that there was not sufficient time to debate or consider the bill. As Representative Tom Price (R-Georgia) put it succinctly, "it is physically impossible for any member [of Congress] to have read this bill."
I find it difficult to believe that even a good liberal honestly thinks this is an acceptable way of doing business. Even if you think that deficit stimulus spending is a good idea for our economy — as if the years of Bush deficits don't disprove that idea — surely you can't think it a good idea to commit to a trillion dollars of spending before anyone has even read the bill.
Here's what I would consider to be a truly (i.e. not facetious or satirically) modest proposal to ever so gently insert some small and simple measure of sanity back into our legislative process; this seems important enough to merit a constitutional amendment. Some smart lawyer might improve upon my layman's language, but how about something real simple like:
It shall be the inviolable right of any member of the Senate or House of Representatives to have the full text of any bill read aloud on the floor of Congress before a final vote for passage.
Obviously this would play somewhat into the hands of right-wing types with something like this bill, but that's only because the process is so severely out of control. If you think the government should drop one septillion dollars into subsidizing electric cars/glorified golf carts, that's fine. I think we just did that, but who knows? No one has read the thing.