John Stossel

So I favor any procedural methods that can slow down government's legislative juggernaut. During the health care debate, commentators often referred to the lawmaking process as sausage-making, a reference to this quote, usually misattributed to Otto von Bismarck but spoken by poet John Godfrey Saxe: "Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made."

What those commentators overlooked is that it's the taxpayers who get ground up.

Of course, the filibuster and other stalling methods can be used to stop bills that would advance liberty, like tax cuts and the repeal of restrictions. But I'll play the odds. On any given day, what is Congress more likely to do: violate or expand liberty? As 19th-century New York Judge Gideon Tucker put it, "No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session."

Libertarian science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein had a good idea. One of his novels depicted a bicameral legislature with one chamber needing a supermajority to pass laws and the other needing only a minority of votes to repeal them.

By the standard of protecting freedom and keeping government caged, that's not a bad idea. It should be easier to repeal laws than to pass them.

After all, look at what Congress has been up to lately. Our "leaders" are on the verge of passing a Rube Goldberg-like contraption that would raise insurance prices, compel everyone to buy insurance, increase America's debt, destroy jobs and limit innovation. Low-income people, as usual, will get the worst of it -- despite the politicians' boast that they are "covered."

If any piece of legislation is worthy of procedural burial, this is it. One need not be a fan of Republicans to be pleased that they gave the filibuster a try.

So let's not kill the filibuster. In fact, I have a better idea: Let's extend it to the House.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate