THE QUALITY SOLUTION FOR LAWS AND LAWMAKING
Can the flaws of the traditional method of lawmaking and the ineffectiveness of the laws of government be corrected? The answer is yes -- emphatically YES!
The solution is quite simple. All we need to do is expand the concepts and practices of QUALITY to encompass laws and lawmaking. Quality programs will "weed out" non-productive laws and upgrade the lawmaking process, enabling the body of laws to solve societal problems efficiently for the benefit of the people.
Of significance, quality programs will cause the bodies of laws of government to be perpetually self-correcting in the direction of optimum outcomes for human rights, living standards, and quality of life. The result will be the ascendancy of governments to the status of true democracy. Th rationale for quality programs for laws is decribed in an editorial at the bottom of this page.
Quality for lawmaking has three components:
1. Quality Design (QD) standards. To learn more about QD standards for laws, click here.
2. Quality Assurance (QA) standards. To learn more about QA standards for laws, click here.
3. Quality Improvement (QI) standards. To learn more about QI standards for laws, click here.
Click here to learn more about the basic concepts of quality.
POWAY CHIEFTAIN EDITORIAL, September 16, 2009
Lawmaking is devoid of quality controls
by David G. Schrunk, President, Quality of Laws Institute
There is a famous saying attributed to Otto von Bismarck: “Laws are like sausages — it is better not to see them being made.” That comment was true in the 19th century but it is only half true today. You see, the sausage industry now observes high standards of quality for every stage of meat production, and sausages are safe for public consumption.
The same cannot be said for laws. The lawmaking industry is devoid of quality controls and it repeatedly places the public at risk through the creation of defective, unnecessary and even harmful laws. The traditional method of lawmaking (used by all governments) simply has not kept pace with advances in the design and quality assurance practices of every other productive industry:
• It does not require design expertise for the creation of laws.
• It does not require a basis in knowledge(!).
• It does not adhere to any proven problem-solving methodology.
By every measure, the traditional method of lawmaking is actually incapable of solving societal problems. It employs speech making and debate, and observes elaborate parliamentary protocols for the creation of laws. However, the result of this outmoded process is the enactment of poorly designed laws that rarely, if ever, solve problems such as poverty, illiteracy, and burgeoning government debt.
As more laws are created with every legislative session, a greater share of public resources is diverted into non-productive “pork barrel” and special interest projects. More ominously, the increasing chaos of laws causes governments to enforce laws selectively in a drift toward arbitrary rule.
The solution to this mess is simple: Quality. All that’s required is for governments to apply the same generic quality programs to laws that are now used by every other productive industry such as medicine and manufacturing.
How would this quality approach work for laws?
First, clean up the existing laws. An independent quality assurance (QA) program for laws would objectively analyze the performance of every law. Laws that are found to be ineffective, outmoded, purposeless, conflicting, harmful, redundant or unenforced would be identified and referred to the legislature for repeal. The elimination of these non-productive laws would substantially reduce the size, cost, and complexity of the bodies of laws.
Second, apply a quality improvement (QI) program that would simplify and improve the performance of the remaining laws.
Third, adopt quality design (QD) standards for new laws. QD standards would block “pork barrel” projects and require law-designers to observe knowledge-based, problem-solving principles for the creation of each new law:
• Identify/analyze a societal problem.
• Create a model of a law to solve the problem.
• Test and refine the model for efficacy.
• Document all sources, methodologies, and observations.
• Implement and monitor the law.
These quality programs would more than pay for themselves through the savings and increased value that they would bring to government. For example, several hundred billion dollars would be saved just by the repeal of unnecessary federal subsidies, tariffs and trade restrictions. The simplification of federal and state laws (e.g., tax codes) would likewise produce substantial economic gains.
Of significance, quality programs would greatly enhance the ability of federal and state governments to meet their obligation to serve the best interests of the people. Quality programs would also, predictably, improve public respect for government and the rule of law.
What, then, is preventing governments from adopting quality programs for laws and lawmaking? Nothing, really — and it’s not too late. In fact, governments should readily accept the concept of quality-for-laws since they already promote and enforce quality programs for all other useful products and services through the regulatory agencies, e.g., FDA, EPA, NRC…
High standards of quality are now applied to surgical procedures, nuclear reactors, and sausages (etc., etc.) to protect the safety and well-being of the public. Shouldn’t we have equivalent standards for laws, for exactly the same reason?
Poway resident David G. Schrunk is president of the Quality of Laws Institute (http://www.qualityoflawsinstitute.com) and author of “The End of Chaos: Quality Laws and the Ascendancy of Democracy.” He can be reached at email@example.com.