Jimmy Hatlo was the famous San Francisco cartoonist who wrote the strip, “They’ll Do It Every Time.”  It was among the most popular strips from about 1929 until Hatlo’s death in 1963.  The strip often focussed on the things that people in power did that caused problems for the rest of us.  The strip kept running until 2008.  Hatlo was so popular that he attracted imitators, the most successful of which was “There Oughta be a Law.”  It was written by Harry Shorten and Al Fagaly.  It ran from 1948 until 1984.  Both strips were funny but in a way which made you think that you might be guilty of the same thing as the strip’s characters.

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There Oughta Be A Law

There Oughta Be A Law

A typical There Oughta be a Law strip showed someone not living up to their responsibilities or not respecting the rights of others or just being pig-headed.  The panel usually concluded with  someone shaking his or her head and saying “There Oughta be a law.”  The cartoon got its material from its readers.  It regularly solicited its readers to submit their pet peeves and used those as the basis of each strip, giving credit to the contributor of the idea.

So, in a roundabout way, Jimmy Hatlo, through his imitators Fagaly and Shorten is responsible for today’s belief that every transgression warrants a law and all problems can be solved by just writing another law.

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President Obama and his Democrat controlled Congress fully believed they could fix everything that was wrong with our health system.  They thought there oughta be a law so they created a law and were able to pass it.  Now, like most laws written to solve a problem, Mr. Obama and the Democrats are hard pressed to really understand the problem, let alone solve it.

I wonder, and time will tell, if instead of creating a huge law, building new bureaucracies, and radically changing the country’s health care system, what might have happened if they had taken off the books about a dozen existing laws that have proven to be counter productive instead.  Here is an example of a law, not unlike Obamacare, that proved to be an overreach as I believe Obamacare is already proving to be:

The Volstead Act of 1919 – it was the huge law of its day to promote public health, just as the ACA (Obamacare) is today.  It was the implementation of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.  You know of it as Prohibition, as it was the Federal Law that outlawed the consumption of Alcohol.   During the almost 14 year experiment, the unintended consequences of the law created huge problems for the society that far outweighed the ‘health benefits’ envisioned by those who passed the law.  Not the least of these unintended consequences was the fact that the law led the people to disrespect the law and the lawmakers.  The law was filled with special exemptions and exceptions – loopholes to allow the powerful to continue to have access to the liquor they wanted.  At one point, the American Medical Association began to lobby against the law and then they presented a bill that would remove the limits on the amounts of various spirits that could be consumed by any individual.  The AMA questioned, in public, the Legislator’s ability and qualifications to let them determine the therapeutic value of any substance for the health of the average person.  All this is not unlike the ACA.

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The 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act were repealed by the 21st Amendment to the Constitution in 1933.  Will this be the fate of Obamacare?

What do you think?

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