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Julie Smithson

When You Find Yourself in a Hole With a Shovel, Stop Digging! Stimulus Included by Reference and for Other Purposes
By Julie Kay Smithson
Aug 11, 2009 - 10:42:38 AM

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Webster's dictionary recently added some new words and phrases and their definitions. "Staycation" (vacationing near one's home) and "frenemy" -- a person that acts like one's friend, but is not -- have become commonplace in the speech of Americans. They now have an official place in our dictionary.

A phrase common to most, if not all, pieces of legislation originating in the United States Congress, should be added to the dictionary, but it's a bit more difficult to define. Tacked on to the wording of virtually all bills are these four words: "... and for other purposes." It's easy to read the definitions of each of the four words that make up this phrase, but far more complicated to define the actual phrase. Perhaps it's meant to obscure the real meaning of " ... and for other purposes." Anything being added to the mind-boggling number and scope of laws should be viewed with alertness.

"Limited government" has become an oxymoron, because government has become so pervasive that it dares incorporate by reference "future generations," apparently believing that it has the right, somehow, to burden generations of unborn Americans with the debt built by today's politicians and their cronies. The phrases "partners in crime" and "honor among thieves" spring readily to mind -- except that these are "white-collar crimes" that target "blue-collar" American taxpayers and their children, grandchildren, et al.

With the length of some bills being over a thousand pages -- and the penchant for taking a slew of bills that would otherwise never pass muster, lumping them into one bill and calling them "omnibus" -- and the fact that few legislators actually read the bills upon which they vote, people should be dialing 1-202-224-3121 and asking some pointed questions.

The website of one Floridian is called "99 words or less" -- a dandy idea, but only if more legislation is actually needed!

What, exactly, does "... and for other purposes" mean? What other purposes? The bill's text, ubiquitous and couched in run-on sentences and undefinable passages, should include all "other purposes."

It's like the phrase "included" or "incorporated" "by reference." By mere mention of a document, treaty, etc., as being "included by reference" or "incorporated by reference," every single word of that document, treaty, etc., become part of, for example, a court case (think legal citation, such as "Marbury v. Madison") or the teeth of a new law.

"Stimulus" -- something that rouses or incites to activity -- has, in one fell swoop by recent actions of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of American government, become familiar to most Americans. The system of checks and balances appears to have imploded. A closer look at definitions will show that there's a reason for that nagging feeling most taxpayers have that "stimulus" means "something's wrong." Nowhere in its definition or synonyms is the word debt or economic health. When someone's heart receives electric "stimulus," it may -- or may not -- resume beating. The person's health and future are not assured by a jolt, or "stimulus."

The folks at Merriam-Webster are working on new definitions every day, without the dubious benefit of "stimulus." Perhaps, before Congress and the White House can add more "stimulus," such actions should have to pass muster with the dictionary folks, so we can better understand the new words and phrases being used to separate us from our money. After all, we might have other purposes for which to use that money, purposes that might better extricate ourselves from the hole that the giant shovel of "stimulus" seems to be digging ever deeper. Let's stop digging!


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