posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 02:07 AM
Part 2: Representation
So, now that we have an inexpensive reliable and secure method of voting in our Representatives lets focus on how we get them to represent us rather
than the interests of a party or corporation.
The first thing here is to take advantage of technologies like Skype and start meeting virtually. This has two primary benefits. The first is that
it becomes possible to have larger meetings because we don't need a physical space for everyone anymore. The second is that it means our
representatives no longer have to live in DC, they can live in their community while still regularly attending meetings.
So what does that get us? The main advantage is that we can return to a constitutional standard of 1 Representative for every 20,000-30,000 people.
Lets say 1 per 25,000 average. That's 12,400 reps across the country with our current population. With the increase in representation we could
proportionally increase committee sizes to take advantage of everyones differing life experiences, skillsets, and viewpoints. The increase in number
or reps would also have the effect of lessening the cost of elections. Parties and corporations wouldn't be able to afford spending millions to get
1 person elected.
The next part here is likely the most controversial, but it's an important factor. Increase the pay of representatives, however there's multiple
reasons for it. I would propose 5 million/year per rep, tax free. This is equal to ~$200/year per person in their taxes which means the breakeven
point here is 8.7% more efficient spending in order to get our moneys worth based on the average tax burden of $2300. So, the next part is how to
make higher pay translate into higher performance. And there's multiple ways to do that, when all the ways are combined the public gets considerably
better legislation, and more efficient ways of doing things, which makes up the necessary savings to cover their salaries.
The first proposal here is a wealth cap, if we recognize that insider trading exists as a consequence of the job, and that it's very tough to
eliminate we can simply include it as unofficial compensation. Lets assume a member of congress is able to increase their pay by 33% per year through
insider trading, that means they're actually making 6.65 million/year so if we create a cap equal to how many years we're willing to tolerate them
in office. I'm going to go with 12 years as an example. The reason is because 2 Senate terms is 12 years, so if this were applied to senators as
well, everything works the same. So that means the wealth cap is 79.8 million dollars, we can round this up to $80 million. This cap would have to
apply to the person in office as well as immediate family members so that money can't be given away to hide it and would be a maximum on their net
worth. The cap would disappear 12 years after leaving office. It would ideally start lower when first elected and gradually increase in amount and
how many years until it wears off up to the 80/12 after each reelection so that someone couldn't get elected, take a lot of money, and then leave
after two years.
Next would involve campaign finance reform, the reason for this is that while parties are relatively poor, and corporations couldn't afford to back
everyone, high pay combined with inexpensive campaigns gives incumbents too much ability to win reelection so there needs to be a cap on how much can
be spent in any campaign. It also requires a limit on how many PAC's any company/company owner may be involved in as well as a rather small total
that the campaign itself may spend, lets say $1/person or $25,000 total.
After this, each member of congress (or the house in this case) would have to file a public document listing any sources they're receiving money from
that year or in the previous year. This could be amended quarterly. If the rep accepts money from someone not on the list, they goto jail and all
assets earned from public office are seized. There would be no penalty for accepting funds (if it doesn't go over the wealth cap), however being
paid by a corporation or individual while serving in congress would be a matter of public record and could impact their viability future elections.
Change the passage of typical bills from requiring 50.1% of votes to 53% of votes.
So how does this get us better legislation?
Well, first of all in a binary system (R/D, Yay/Nay, etc) humans naturally split votes along the lines of 40-40-20, this has to do with group
psychology and usually holds true without outside influences. In the current system with 435 reps that means most decisions are made by the 87 free
votes, another way of looking at this is by saying lobbying the correct 44 people will buy a bill. Under the new system at just a simple majority
1241 votes need to be lobbied in order to buy a bill. This makes it 28x more difficult (more expensive) to lobby for legislation against the will of
Next comes the 53% change, the reason for this is that smaller areas tend to be more solidified politically on divisive issues, an area of 20,000
people that's pro choice for example is more in the 60-75% range pro choice while a larger sample more representative of the population is closer to
50%. So 53% allows a representative to still easily represent their constituents but it significantly changes the goal posts in congress when moving
against public interest because 1314 votes must now be lobbied, it also creates a situation where more legislation needs to become bipartisan. With
multiple political parties the effect only improves. The overall effect is bribery becomes 30x more expensive and legislation is forced to become a
product of compromise rather than being ideologically rigid.
Next, on the subject of expense is how much money a congressman will accept in a bribe. Due to the nature of the wealth cap, congressmen cannot
simply be given money in exchange for a vote, additionally with the financial disclosure, their voting base can respond to any money given. With the
high rate of pay to each persons rep they're also going to be more critical and quick to dismiss someone who doesn't represent their interests.
These factors combine to make it a poor financial decision to accept gifts from corporations in exchange for votes. This results in legislation that
represents the people rather than corporations. With the rep earning an average of 2.5x as much money and 30x more reps need to be bought we get an
end result of it being 75x more expensive for a corporation or industry to force legislation. This means corporations cannot effectively leverage
their greater access to funds against the public.
After this comes term limits of a sort, because of the caps, a rep will eventually hit the point where they earn no more money in government, and then
have an incentive to get out of government work so that they can earn more money in the future.
Now, another advantage is that with the largely expanded number of elections and lower costs of campaigns, elections are more open to ordinary people
to run (and with the high pay, many will want to run). This means that realistically not every district will result in a Republican or Democrat
winning. In some districts there may not even be one, or at least a competitive candidate. The opens the door to independents or third parties.
While there's no guarantee they would become major parties it would give everyone alternatives and put a stop to the two party system.