Friday, June 21, 2013

Eye Recommend --- The Literal, Physical Size of a Bill Never Matters

As Congress continues debating immigration reform, Mr. Benen points out that size doesn't matter.
"Every time a conservative talks about the length of legislation, an angel loses its wings...

...One (conservative) group has weighed the printed (immigration) bill and said it comes to 24 pounds.  That doesn't include the 448 pages of amendments that have been filed to try to change the measure.

When opponents of a bill are reduced to talking about the literal, physical size of the legislation, they've completely given up on the pretense that public policy matters.  If opponents of immigration reform want to debate the merits of the proposal, great.  But focusing on pages and pounds is the absolute worst form of debate...

...What's more, there's something about the nature of legislation that folks sometimes forget.

If you've ever seen the physical page of a bill in Congress, you know that it doesn't look like a traditional printed page.  There are huge margins, a large font, and everything is double-spaced.  Legislation may look enormous, but be fairly manageable."
I found this fact interesting.  Did everyone know this but me?
"For example...the immigration bill is about 1,075 pages.  In terms of the number of words, it's about half the length of Sarah Palin's first book.  And while I confess that I did not read 'Going Rogue,' I think it's fair to say it was not an endless tome."
I'll admit, I looked up the size of Ms. Palin's book and, if this comparison is true, the immigration bill would be about 216 pages of mass market type.  Someone who is being paid to debate and create laws should be able to handle that reading assignment.
"So why does this talk persist?  I think it speaks to the post-policy anti-intellectualism that often plays a role in conservative commentary.  Big bills must be bad bills because they're, you know, big."
I know I would like to read some intelligent opinions from both sides to help me reach my own verdict.  Let's hope that the immigration debate becomes more substantive than too-big-to-support.  

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