Brinkley radio commentary

DAVID BRINKLEY NBC NEWS—NEW YORK

“…give up some of its power. ” 

RADIO COMMENTARY, 3uIy 28, 1977

David Brinkley, with a few comments about an Idea now afloat In Washing­ton. It will sink probably without a trace, but it’s interesting anyway. Senator Abourezk of South Dakota offers a Constitutional amendment to allow for pub­lic initiatives. That is, if enough of the public signs a petition to do this or that, Congress would have to do it. A way for the American people, If enough of them agree, to pass a law …. or repeal a law. Or whatever.

It would be somewhat like the system In California and a few other states — settling public questions by public vote rather than by votes in the legislatures. The idea behind it, as I understand it, Is that Congress is so heavily dominated by pressure groups and lobbyists . . . has come to be so self-centered and so Intent on reelection . . . that it’s time to return some power to the public to decide for themselves such questions as how much of their money Is going to be extracted from them by law.., and how It is going to be spent.

Well, as one who is and always has been distrustful of large, self-serving organizations such as government bureaucracies . . . and as one who is sick and tired of pious, self-righteous, patronizing rules and instructions from Washington of heavy-handed bullying of the public about how much of their own money they’re allowed to keep … I must say Abourezk’s Idea does have a cer­tain appeal. There are many serious questions to be asked. And some aspects of it are highly dubious. But I do believe we need some way to get a rein on government and bureaucracy.

This idea may not be it. But even if It were, Congress would never pass it. It would have to give up some of its power. Nobody should hold their breath wait­ing for that. David Brinkley, NBC news, New York.

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