Christmas – It’s not Just for December 25 Anymore

You may remember that the Congress passed a $287,000,000,000 transportation bill last month. What you may not have known is that a tort reform measure was slipped into the bill.

Transportation bills gives “pork” a bad name. Historically, they have been filled with local projects of questionable value. But now we have a Republican-controlled Congress that never misses the opportunity to give a get-out-of-litigation-free card to some special interest group. This gift in this bill – the elimination of vicarious liability for auto rental and leasing companies for 16 states and the District of Columbia.

In these states – Tennessee is not one of them – the leasing company was liable for the acts of the lessee. The cost of insurance was build into the cost of the leasse. No more.

Christmas in July. What about that states’ rights thing?

And while I am complaining about the transportation bill, don’t you think that given the devestation of Katrina it would be wise to rescind the entire bill, save only those projects that have already started? Katrina will cost the federal government $200 billion or more. We don’t have the money to spend. It seems to me that we should cut somewhere, and one place we can cut is this recently passed bill. I see no reason to continue to pile on the national debt when we can simply bear the pain right now by eliminating a bunch of the projects in this bill.

To be sure, some of those projects are sorely needed. But, just like a family that has to make (what should be) an easy decision about chosing between paying the mortgage and going to Disneyworld, we as a society need to make choices about how we spend limited tax dollars.

The folks in the Gulf need help and we should give it to them, but we should not put that help on a credit card and let our grandchildren get stuck with the payments, especially when we have yet-to-delivered Christmas presents in the closet and the return receipt in our billfold.

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