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Set an expiration date on laws, so we have to explicitly decide to keep them

The world is changing so fast now that it is very difficult for the regulatory world to keep up. We write laws that take forever to be implemented, and it seems like as soon as the law is passed, Congress is arguing about how to repeal it. Furthermore, we have laws on the books that do not come close to applying anymore.

So, I propose we set an automatic expiration date on all laws of no more than seven years. Some laws (I’m looking at you, tax code) already have shorter expirations on them, and that is ok. But if no expiration is set, then it automatically must be voted on again in seven years.

Seven years after what? Since some of the laws take a while to roll out, and one of the intents of this plan is to see how the law is working before deciding its virtue, we need to wait to start the expiration clock until it is mostly implemented, maybe 75% rolled out.

And, when the expiration date comes, Congress can vote to renew or just let the date pass by, after which the law is no longer in effect.

Hatched on Tuesday, February 04, 2014