I’ve given up trying to read HR 3200 in its entirety. I’ve given up not because it is too long, but because there is no point in finishing it. In the words of Congressman John Conyers, “What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” However, where Conyers seemed ready to vote it into law without understanding it, I think it should be voted down precisely because it is practically impossible to understand.
It’s not enough to say that members of Congress should read the bill – or even understand it – prior to voting for it. The very fact that it is so massively complex is reason to vote against it, regardless of its content. Interpreting such a law and putting it into practice on such a massive scale would be a nightmare on par with our current tax code.
That said, I will attempt to address some specifics of the bill. To be as balanced as possible, I will accept the explanations of the bill’s proponents, rather than the extreme interpretations of some opponents. When evaluating the impact of the bill, one must consider not only the strict interpretation of its language, but the possible implications that result from it. Even if we assume that the authors of the bill have our best interests in mind, good law should never be dependent on the good intentions of its current proponents, but must guard against (1) potential abuse by future administrations, and (2) unintended consequences.