Bad Bills Are Like Bad Relationships: We Don’t Need A Break, We Need A Break-Up
Just about all of us have been there. Dating someone — and it isn’t working. You don’t get along. The person doesn’t give you what you want. You aren’t happy.
You each try to change the person, hoping a tweak here or there will suddenly, magically make it work. It doesn’t.
You’re friends don’t like the person. Heck, THEIR friends don’t think you two are right for each other. They all flood you with advice. For most of which you didn’t ask — but the sheer numbers and volume force you to listen.
But their good counsel — and intentions — only make you stand by him or her more steadfastly.
Things between the two of you continue to be terrible. So you decide to take a break and get away from each other. Tou plan to check back later to see if either or both of you have miraculously become different people, who now work together.
You reconvene, and (shocker) nothing’s changed. Things are still just as miserable.
Finally, you realize your friends — and his or her friends — are right. That they are all only trying to help. That it’s a bad deal — and you now know that the sooner you break away, the better everything will be.
So you end it. Hey, it happens. A lot.
So too is it with bad legislation.
A fundamentally bad bill just isn’t right. Your friends and congressional colleagues — with good advice and intentions — tell you it’s bad. But no number of amendments can make it work.
You dig in and push harder. They push back harder still. All the while, things with the bill aren’t getting better — they’re getting worse.
So you decide to take a break.
This is exactly where we are with Virginia Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s woefully misnamed Innovation Act. Which is a massive legislative overreaction to a tiny private sector problem. A nuclear bomb dropped to kill a gnat.
The Innovation Act is fundamental transformation of the constitutionally-protected patent process, that doesn’t go through the Constitutional amendment process. All under the (intentional or accidental) false flags of “litigation reform” — to deal with “patent trolls.”
But “patent trolls” are almost always nothing more than people with patents — defending them against patent thieves. The patent holders usually have to sue to do that, and this “litigation reform” makes it exponentially more difficult for them to do so.
This terrible bill was slated for a vote this month. It — thankfully, rightly — received great and growing bipartisan opposition. (Which is your friends AND his/her friends telling you the thing is bad.)
The conga line forming to amend the bill wended all the way to K Street and back — to which Congressman Goodlatte thankfully, rightly objected.
So the congressman has decided to postpone a vote until after the August recess. This is taking the relationship break — “We’ll see each other after the summer and see how things are.”
But things won’t be any better in September. The Innovation Act will still be too big and too far-reaching — too much government.
We need not a break, but a break-up. When Congress reconvenes, it should do so without ever again contacting the Innovation Act.
It’s just not right for us.