The “Simple Contract” and How to Reverse the Economic Crisis

John C. Rankin (June 5, 2009)

State and federal law are out of control, increasingly complex and destroying religious, political and economic freedom. Complexity allows dishonesty to fester in dark unknown corners until it bites you. Simplicity, openness and truth go hand in hand.

In my book, The Six Pillars of Honest Politics, I have detailed proposals to reduce Connecticut law (and this can be done with other states as well) from 17,000 pages to 33 (including a simplified Constitution), and the U.S. Code from 48,000 pages to 24 (including a simplified Constitution).

At the state level where it especially matters (and secondarily at the federal level), I have reduced all business law to a simple paragraph.

There would be only three types of legal contract:

  1. The “simple open contract” is 50 words or less;
  2. The “regular open contract” is 51-100 words; and
  3. The “closed contract” is 301 or more words.

The law would only require that all legal contracts be specified as to which type they are.

It is very hard to lie in less than 50 words, and thus the marketplace would drive businesses to do the “simple open contract” perhaps 90 percent of the time. The “regular open contract” is suitable for more details in certain cases, and the “closed” contract is suitable for large business deals where lawyers and accountants are represented on both sides.

If we think about it, and imagine every contract we ever sign, from credit cards to cell phones to used cars to property leases to stock sales, we would not be in the mess we are today if such a law had been the norm. The dishonesty of top-down government and top-down business would be overcome quite largely. Burdensome government bureaucracy would disappear, and the marketplace would explode with new jobs. If one state made this law, it would become a nationwide magnet for new businesses, and other states would then compete…

All that is needed are biblically accountable legislatures. The idea of the “simple contract” would have broad and eager support among the voting population.