Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Crux Of The Problem

In the United States we have many laws. Some of the best ones are found in the Constitution. How many of these laws are enforced? If the good laws were enforced we would not have some of the problems that we face. Instead we have a Congress that simply proposes more laws when faced with an angry constituency. Of course, many of these new laws that are passed will not be enforced. That is the crux of the problem.

One of the best and most important of these laws has not been enforced. The Constitution states that “Congress shall have power to declare war.” If it had been followed to the letter the debacle that is Iraq might not have happened. If Congress had taken the time to deliberate, would we have attacked Iraq? Even a Congress with a Republican majority would have given this more thought than George W. Bush did.

Take our current economic situation. It has come about because of the credit/housing situation and high oil prices. I believe attacking Iraq has contributed to the high cost of oil significantly. I’ve just mentioned the law that was broken concerning Iraq. Several laws were broken when it comes to what banks and lenders did that contributed to the credit/housing crisis that we now face.

From Those Chickens: The Economic Crisis and America’s Poor and Struggling by Michael Blim:

(Parenthetically, where were the Federal Reserve, financial regulators and the Congress when the crisis had begun to show itself in October, 2006? Where are the US attorneys and the Attorney Generals of 23 states, all of whom are equipped with statutory authority to stop predatory lending and impose civil, as well as in some cases criminal penalties on perpetrators?)

Banks made greater profits on sub-prime loans because they could charge working class and near-power households more for their mortgages. They sold them in packages at higher prices to customers eager for extra profits. Everybody made out – except those purchasing the mortgages. Disaster was just around the corner.
In the case of the Iraq War Congress abdicated their responsibility by passing the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.

In the case of the current economic crisis banks and other lenders broke existing laws. If they had abided by these laws our current credit/housing crisis might not have occurred.

Congress reacts by doing what they can do, passing new laws. It makes them look like they are doing something. This is not always the best solution. Sometimes all that is needed is the enforcement of existing laws.

Perhaps we should elevate the Government Accountability Office to the same level of stature as the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the government.

What good are laws that are not obeyed? What happens when the lawmakers themselves break the law? What happens when the lawmakers ignore others who have broken the law? Isn’t this a mockery of justice?

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