originally posted by: WeRpeons
Unless Americans stand united and demand...
-the elimination of lobbying
-removing Super PAC's
-removing all money donations out of politics
-capping campaign expenses and leveling the playing field for all candidates
-removing the party system that only causes grid-lock and division
-reducing the pay salary and benefits for representatives so they're more in-line with the majority of Americans
-Last but not least, creating a system where voters decide on major legislation that will critically impact their lives instead of relying on
political bargaining and bullying by party leaders.
I don't know about that. I actually disagree with you on several points. I see no reason why I should stand united with you on these demands. I'll
go through them one at a time:
Term Limits - I don't support term limits on Congress. Term limits do nothing to spread out power, as it's really the primary that matters in most
districts, so all we'll do is cycle through candidates. If a politician needs to keep their voters happy in order to keep a fairly nice job, they
have an incentive to deliver for their constituitents. When term limits happen, there's no incentive to deliver for those people... instead the
incentive from day 1 becomes to deliver for corporations in order to ensure themselves a good job after leaving office. While it's true that retiring
politicans have more freedom in going against their party, it's also true that if politics isn't a career, then there's no incentive to deliever for
the people. It's important for a career in government to be viable.
Lobbying - I'll touch on this more later on, but lobbying is how people can influence their politicans with a collective voice. Not all lobbying is
bad. For example, when Jon Stewart got the bill for 9/11 first responders through Congress it was due to lobbyists. Ordinary people cannot hang
around Washington all day, and the people who are supposed to represent us and hang around DC all day cannot due so either because the country is
simply too large.
Super PAC's - I do agree on this point.
Removing money from politics - Unfortunately, it's not possible because money gets lobbyists, and they're an essential part of the system.
Capping expenses - I'm certainly no fan of 10 billion dollar campaigns but I'm sympathetic to fund raising too. Perhaps the solution isn't to cap the
dollars spent, but to negate the need for so much money in the first place by shortening the campaign season. Good luck legislating that though.
Party system - It's here to stay. Even if you were to break it up, we would still have caucuses which are mini parties already, and if you broke that
up alliances would still form. Having official parties where things can be kept above the table and somewhat regulated is the best solution.
Reducing pay - Completely disagree. Senators and Representatives aren't even paid all that well for the hours they spend already. If anything we
should pay them more so they're harder to bribe, and so that we can increase competition for the positions by attracting more talent. The idea that
they need to be poorly paid public servants seems ridiculous to me given the power they have.
Creating a system where voters decide on major legislation that will critically impact their lives instead of relying on political bargaining and
bullying by party leaders - So this is a very big one. The problem in the US is one of scale. According to the Constitution, we're supposed to have
1 representative per 30,000 people. If we were to implement that in the US right now the House of Representatives would have nearly 11,000 members
compared to the 435 we already have. Looking at other governments around the world, 450 people is about the maximum number that can be managed.
If it were merely a matter of space, we could create a digital congress where they meet remotely. But that's not possible, because it's also a matter
of organization. Managing 11,000 people with one leader is impossible. So we would have to create a situation where those 11,000 have limited power,
and instead elect their own representatives down to 400-500 people that actually manage things. So then we've introduced another level of abstraction
between the people and the power, and thereby weakened the concept of voting.
Turning power over to the states doesn't fix this, because then we weaken the federal government to where it can't function, and we create 50
countries where there used to be 1.
We could try to fix the system by adding more representatives but instead having them represent local/regional needs rather than people (for example,
say X people who represent the interest of south eastern US infrastructure), but then we blur the power between states and remove the importance of
I don't know what the answer here is, but it's the underlying issue behind all of the problems in the country with Congress. The design of our
government simply doesn't scale to 330 million people.