Monday, February 20, 2012

Issue Fatigue

The Indy Star ran an interesting article about 'issue fatigue', the idea that lawmakers get tired of dealing with an issue year after year, and finally it passes.
Many issues sort of hang around -- sometimes for years -- as advocates try to convince their colleagues that their bills are worthwhile.

In these cases, ideas become law through a combination of determination, familiarity and fatigue.

A statewide smoking ban and the elimination of the state's inheritance tax are issues poised to become Indiana's latest examples.

I found it fascinating as I consider the possibility of Libertarians winning elections and becoming legislators. Would they also experience issue fatigue? I doubt it. If there's one thing that characterizes most libertarians, it's dogged determination. You don't stick around as an ideology centered third party without tenacity.

At a meeting last week of the House Ways and Means Committee, lawmakers were hearing the details of a complicated Senate bill that would cut the inheritance tax by changing the definitions of some beneficiaries, increasing the amount of an estate that would be exempt from taxation and slashing the actual tax rates.

Even before testimony on the proposal could begin, though, Ways and Means members were impatient. They weren't interested in more proposals to cut the tax. They just want it gone.

"Do it and get it over with," Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne, said. "Otherwise we'll be fighting this every year, and philosophies won't change."

Before you get the wrong idea, understand that Moses has been the one trying to get the estate tax cut or even eliminated. Yes, a Democrat trying to cut a tax. Give the man his due on that.

But, why pass it and get it over with? Why not fight it every year, if that's the conscience of the individual lawmaker? If that's the will of the people in a particular district? Libertarians wouldn't shirk the task.

But it is instructive. Once we get in, we need to introduce legislation and doggedly stick to it. If we understand that so many will capitulate rather than deal with things repeatedly, very well. We know what strategy to employ.


Ben Overmyer said...

I have yet to see an example of a politician - any politician - refusing to compromise or relent on minor issues that don't matter much in the face of larger "fires" that occupy current media attention.

A smoking ban is a relatively minor thing in comparison to, say, SOPA.

Everyone is human, and everyone has limits to their attention span, willpower, and tenacity.

I'm not defending Republicans or Democrats - just saying that Libertarians are no more superhuman than the next guy.

Mike Kole said...

Sure, not superhuman. But there is something different about many Libertarians, where compromise is not part of their skill set. Not all, of course, but many.

patriot paul said...

I'm reminded of an article in the Indpls. Star regarding Ed Coleman on the City Council. The Star refused to endorse him because after he changed parties while serving, he was considered an antagonist and did not play well with others on the council, and consequently was defeated and replaced by constituents. No one appreciates their core principles compromised, but you still have to learn diplomatic skills to get along in the sandbox if you want to participate.

Mike Kole said...

Definitely need to find ways to work with the other parties, because Ls aren't going to suddenly want in and be a majority. I think wise strategy is to find issues the majority party wants to advance that fit in with libertarian principles, and work together with that party to pass those items and make them law.