Uneasy Riders: The Case for a Truth-in-Legislation Amendment

Utah Law Review

Authored Article

The electorate's frustration with congressional "gridlock"-the perceived paralysis of governmental operations occasioned by divided government and partisan bickering-has become a cliche in the literature on American politics.' However, as Jonathan Rauch noted, the description of "gridlock' during the late 1980s and early 1990s was inaccurate, since "the number and page count of laws enacted. . remained well in line with the post-1970 norm."'2 This fact led Rauch to conclude that the real issue was not "the quantity of activity, but how effectively a given amount of activity solves problems on net."3 The real root of public dissatisfaction, then, seems to be a distinct, but related feeling that what does get through Congress is either merely legislation designed to service special interest groups that ensure lawmakers are reelected, or unnecessary spending measures for members' home districts.

This article first appeared in the Utah Law Review in 1999.