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March 27, 2006

(RTBA+22,545) x 3 = 67,353

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

March has been a productive month. We’ve so far recruited 975 new supporters and sent 32,520 messages to Congress. With 4 days left we’ve already had our third best month for recruitment, and our second best month for messages to Congress.

We’ve been aggressive and worked hard to achieve these results. Thank you to everyone who helped. Strange thing is, it would be really easy to do even better.

After working for nearly 20 years to make government smaller it’s come as a real surprise to me to learn that the easiest thing to do may also the most effective.

  • Send about 30 messages on an issue to a Congressional office and that office starts to pay attention.
  • Send 30,000 messages to all of Congress on something like the “Read the Bills Act” and two different Congressman put forward their own watered-down versions in an attempt to place themselves in front of the growing parade.
  • Recently a Congressman changed his position on a major piece of small-government legislation because his constituents were hammering him about it.

I’m not going to name the legislation or the Congressman today because it’s an issue we’re looking at ourselves. We may have more to say about it later. The key point is that this Congressman saw which way the winds were blowing in his district, and changed his mind.

How far are we from changing minds in Congress? I don’t know. But I’m fairly certain we’re a lot closer to doing that than to replacing the actual people who sit in Congress. Electing a new majority is hard, perhaps impossible. But telling the existing Congress what you want them to do is incredibly easy. So easy in fact that most taxpayers don’t even bother.

Perverse isn’t it? Most of us don’t tell our representatives what we want, and guess what, we don’t get it. Whose fault is that? My friend Michael Cloud recently wrote a great essay for the Advocates for Self-Government about this problem. It’s called “The Danger of the Easy.” You can read it here.

Anyone who has ever worked for smaller government has almost certainly done a lot of hard things. Like running for office, collecting signatures to get on the ballot, going door-to-door, speaking in front of small crowds, raising money, filling out campaign finance reports, and on and on and on. And, oh yeah, trying to convince people. It’s all tough stuff. By contrast . . .

  • Convincing people that Congress ought to read the laws it passes is easy.
  • Filling out a form to send a message to your Representative and your two Senators takes about 3 minutes to do the first time.
  • Sending repeated messages about the “Read the Bills Act” takes about a minute more each time you do it.

And I can guarantee you that every message Congress receives about the “Read the Bills Act” concerns them. They know how popular this idea could become, and how easy it would be for taxpayers to innundate them with demands to pass this legislation. Too easy.

And that may be the biggest hurdle we have to overcome. The fact that it’s easy. Easy to do, but also easy not to do.

We are currently at an all-time high for subscriptions to the Downsizer-Dispatch — 22,545. That’s wonderful. We’re glad to have all of you watching what we’re doing. But we would all be happier still to have all of us doing what we’re doing.

If every subscriber took the three minutes to fill out the simple form to send a message to Congress asking them to pass the “Read the Bills Act,” 67,635 messages would flood Capitol Hill at the speed of light. And you might even be able to hear the collective sigh from the Halls of Congress all the way on the West Coast.

It’s easy. It takes 3-minutes. It’s powerful. Congress notices. And when was the last time Congress noticed anything you did? Don’t let it be too easy to stop you. To send a message to Congress demanding passage of the “Read the Bill Act” click here.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Perry Willis
Communications Director, Inc.

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