Sunday, March 23, 2014

My American Lawmaker's Creed

In 2011, I composed this My American Lawmaker's Creed.  I wish to discuss a refinement, which has concrete application to my campaign platform.

Lawmakers are frequently confronted with a matter in which the people have general interests on opposite sides at the same time, and in which a very small group of persons have a special, one sided interest.

I discuss this in the fourth paragraph of my General response section of My response to Birmingham Business Alliance questionnaire. In that paragraph, I specifically discuss patents and that there are general societal interests that patent life be sufficiently long to entice inventors to expend efforts and resources to invent things that are valuable to society, but that patent life not be excessively long and give inventors more than is needed to entice their efforts. The inventors have a special, one-sided interest in patent lives being long, so they have long protection and more profits from their patents. In this situation, I go on to say that Congress should disregard the special, one-sided interest of inventors and make its decision based on balancing the general societal interests of giving sufficient incentive to inventors but not reward them more than needed to entice their efforts.

This configuration of general interests, and one sided, special interests, is also manifested in the matter of the questionnaire of the National Association of Realtors, which I discuss in An example of what's wrong.  There are several general societal interests which are implicated on different sides of what the questionnaire asks about, including to have a healthy real estate sector of the economy (which can be aided by things such as the mortgage interest and property tax deductions and attraction of investor dollars through securitization and distribution of mortgage loans), to have a simpler or "fairer" income tax code, and to afford investors and homeowners protection against the making and marketing of unsound mortgage loans.  These general societal interests should have predominant weight, compared to the special one sided interest of realtors to have provisions of law that will maximize the buying and selling of homes and the collection of real estate commissions by the realtors.

For ten years or more, I have done a lot of work regarding plaintiffs' lawyers.  I view plaintiffs' lawyers as a prime case in point of there being general societal interests on two opposite sides, which are in need of balancing.  On one side, there is a general interest in people receiving compensation when they are injured by wrongdoing of others and also in deterrence of wrongdoing, and, on the other side, all liabilities, judgments and settlements come out of the pockets of someone in society, and the same need to be closely looked at to evaluate whether anything is going on that is skewed or insufficiently justified to support the taking of moneys from one set of pockets and putting them in another set of pockets.  The plaintiffs' lawyers have a one sided special interest in maximizing the quantum of liabilities, judgments and settlements, which are a source of fees for the plaintiffs' lawyers. Applying what I have said above, I consider that lawmakers who set rules about liabilities and about the determinations of the same should do so virtually exclusively on the basis of balancing the two generalized societal interests that are on the opposite side and should disregard the special, one sided interest of the plaintiffs' lawyers.

The work I have done regarding plaintiffs' lawyers has been very instructive to me about the immense difficulties in having legislative bodies and lawmakers undertake their job in the manner I consider proper, to wit, balancing the general societal interests on both sides and disregarding the special, one sided interest of plaintiffs' lawyers.  It has been illustrative of the potency of one sided special interests of a small group seeking very huge rewards (on a per capita basis), and the weakness of the force to vindicate the more important general interests, which are small (on a per capita) basis.  Further that potency of the one sided special interest is unopposed or only weakly opposed by numerous actors besides lawmakers who have a presence.  These other actors include judges, state attorneys general, regulators, prosecutors, ethics and compliance officers, defense attorneys, and even academics.  (For more information, I have set out in much detail my work regarding plaintiffs' lawyers in a separate blog How To Combat Plaintiffs' Lawyers.)

There are hundreds of potent one sided, special interests, which are hard at work in Washington, and their fundraising, campaign contributions and other activities are significant contributing factors to the defects in governance that my Congressional campaign is about.

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