Politics is a difficult game, not only for politicians, but also for the American people. Politicians seem to care more about being re-elected, and getting paid by lobbyists, than standing up for what they truly believe in. Countless bills are pushed, or pork-barreled, through Congress and many of them lead to problems no politician had even imagined, because no one took the time needed to actually analyze what the consequences of the bill might be.
During his quest for the republican nomination, Rick Perry, a Tea Party favorite, and the current governor of Texas, pledged to repeal, should he have become president, the most controversial piece of legislation of the 21st Century, the Affordable Care Act, with an executive order on his first day in office. The Affordable Care Act was a signature bill that Barack Obama campaigned on in 2008, and signed into law in 2010.
Ron Pollack, the director of Families USA, recently talked to John Stossel about the bill. Pollack denied that the law would have any unintended consequences. However, as a direct result of the new law’s more stringent stipulations, companies like Humana dropped their child-only coverage plans, and Principal Financial dropped out of the healthcare market completely. The projected price tag of this bill was $800 billion when it was signed, but the Congressional Budget Office has now updated the cost of the law to $2 trillion.
Michele Bachmann, another candidate who dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, stated during the Sept. 7 debate that, “… issuing an executive order will not overturn this massive law."
Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts and the leading Republican candidate for the nomination, pledged to give a waiver to any state which does not want to be a part of the federal program. The law, though, stipulates that a state can only opt out of the law, starting in 2017, if they provide coverage that is equal to or better than the federal program.
The most recent bills which carried unintended consequences were the Stop Online Piracy Act, and its sibling Senate bill, the Protect Intellectual Property Act.
SOPA and PIPA sparked much disdain from the Internet community. The bills would have, had they not been tabled, essentially given the government a blacklisting power, which would prevented any American from visiting a site that contained as little has one piece of copyrighted material. Individuals who posted more than five pieces of copyrighted material could have gotten up to 10 years in prison.
For example, a person posting an album of Michael Jackson’s would have gotten 10 years in jail, which is longer than Conrad Murray’s prison sentence, the doctor who was convicted in the death of Michael Jackson.
Wikipedia “blacked out” their website in protest of SOPA and PIPA on Jan. 19, and Google blacked out their logo. Even GoDaddy, a website-hosting service, publicly changed their stance on SOPA and PIPA after most of its largest customers threatened to switch providers if they continued to support it.
Many representatives and senators received thousands of letters from their constituents who were equally as angry as the tech companies.
Both bills were written with good intentions, which were to help media companies protect their property online from piracy and illegal downloading. Hundreds of millions of dollars are lost because of sites which host copyrighted material, and distribute it for free. The bills pitted Silicon Valley against Hollywood, because Hollywood threatened to cut off all donations to any politician who voted against either of the bills.
Even Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida and co-sponsor of PIPA, withdrew his support for the bill after issuing a statement saying, "Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences."
Though his withdrawal was well received, it is a prime example of how politicians alter their stance in the face of opposition on issues they previously wholeheartedly supported. Given that he co-sponsored the bill, he should have been well aware of any unintended consequences before he proposed it, but it seems he didn’t show any regard for them until the public was alerted and angry.
Even with a current 6 percent approval rating, members of the Congress consistently turn their backs on their morals and only worry about the next election, and Rubio is a prime example of this.
Since the beginnings of government, the ruling class has always harmed their constituencies through their greed. The American government is no exception, and many of the problems Americans face today are a result of the unintended consequences of laws which were passed before all the potential ramifications were considered and understood.
These laws will continue to pass and go against what Americans stand for as long as money keeps flowing out of lobbyist’s pockets and into the politicians'.