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banyon
03-01-2008, 10:36 PM
Interesting proposal (from an advocacy group)

Return the House of Representatives to the People
thirty-thousand.org

The House of Representatives was intended — by this nation’s founding fathers — to be the peoples’ house. How many of us would call it that today?


The primary purpose of thirty-thousand.org is to conduct research on, and increase awareness of, the insidious degradation of representative democracy in the United States resulting from Congress’ longstanding practice of constricting the size of the U. S. House of Representatives.

The framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights intended that the total population of Congressional districts never exceed 50 to 60 thousand. However, the average size of the districts today is nearly 700,000 and, consequently, the principle of proportionally equitable representation has been abandoned.

The historical trend relative to our federal Representation is illustrated in the charts below. The vertical bar chart illustrates that the total number of Representatives was increased every ten years from 1790 to 1910 (with a single exception). These increases were a direct result of the growth in total population as was intended by the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.


Note that the last permanent increase — to 435 Representatives — occurred after the 1910 census. It has remained that size ever since (except for a four-year period when it was temporarily increased to 437).

http://thirty-thousand.org/graphics/chart_US1a.png

Overlaid on the chart above, for context, is a line graph illustrating the total population of the Unites States (in millions).

Dividing the total population by the total number of Representatives returns the average population per Representative, as illustrated in the chart below.

http://thirty-thousand.org/graphics/chart_US2a.png

As shown above, in 1804 each Representative represented approximately 40 thousand people. Today, the average population of congressional districts is nearly 700 thousand and growing.

In order to restore the House to the people, our total number of federal Representatives will have to be increased substantially. Achieving this goal is essential to extending the ground of public confidence in our government and ensuring the beneficent ends of its institution.

http://thirty-thousand.org/

banyon
03-01-2008, 10:37 PM
Q1: Aren’t the districts supposed to grow along with the general population?

A1: No. Most of the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as well as the states that ratified them, expected that the following principles would always apply:

* The size of the congressional districts should remain relatively small (e.g., no larger than 60,000). Instead, the average district size is approximately 700,000 and growing.

* The number of federal Representatives should grow proportionately with the general population. Instead, Congress has fixed the total number of Representatives at 435 ever since 1913.

* The Congressional districts should be equivalently sized across the nation pursuant to the one-person-one-vote principle. Instead, some House districts are currently nearly twice the size of others.

In fact, Federalist Papers 55 and 56 explicitly promised, without qualification, that there would be one Representative for every thirty-thousand inhabitants. [See “Selling the Constitution” in Section I ]

Q2: What is wrong with super-sized Congressional districts?

A2: As shown throughout this web pamphlet, a variety of adverse consequences have resulted from the enormous expansion of the Congressional districts. Some of these are relatively self-evident while others are far less conspicuous. These adverse consequences include the following:

* The federal House of Representatives is in egregious violation of the one person one vote principle due to the range in size of congressional districts across the country.

* The average continuous tenure of all Representatives serving in the 108th Congress (2003 - 2005) was 10.2 years. Of all the Representatives in the 108th Congress who sought reelection to the 109th, over 97% won. Once elected, Representatives become virtually undefeatable even if their performance in office has been mediocre, incompetent, or worse.

* The candidate who has a chameleonlike ability to appear agreeable (or at least not disagreeable) to the dominate constituency groups is most likely to prevail in an election over candidates who take principled stands. As a result, the diverse views and values of the American people are not being faithfully represented in the federal House.

* The smaller the House, relative to the total population, the greater is the risk of unethical collusion or myopic groupthink. In contrast “Numerous bodies … are less subject to venality and corruption”. [James Madison, 14-August-1789]

* In growing super-sized districts, far too much of the Representative’s time is consumed by campaigning for reelection every two years. Campaigning to a district of 50,000, for example, would require far less time and effort than campaigning to nearly 800,000. Reducing the time spent campaigning would allow the legislator to devote more time to their primary responsibilities (e.g., reading legislation, providing constituency services, etc.).

* Except for those who are independently wealthy, election and reelection campaigns in super-sized districts require that the Representatives solicit considerable sums of money on a nearly continuous basis. Raising the large sums required is not only unseemly and time-consuming, but can also create the appearance (if not the actuality) of corruption and, furthermore, requires a dependency upon lobbyists and other special interests for campaign funds.

* The President and Vice-President are indirectly elected via the Electoral College, the size of which is largely a function of the number of House Representatives. For reasons that can only be explained mathematically, the smaller the Electoral College the less likely it will reflect the popular vote. [Section IX: The Electoral College]

As a result of the foregoing, citizens have been gradually becoming estranged from the federal government and, feeling disaffected, are failing to vote at alarmingly high rates. Low voter turnout creates a political vacuum that is frequently filled by mobilized fringe interest groups which can exert an inordinate influence over the outcome of elections.

The purpose of our federal House should not only be to represent the people, but also to protect the people from the government. As is shown in this web pamphlet, the House of Representatives has devolved into a virtual oligarchy. It is also worth noting that the United States has the second largest House districts in the world (with India having the largest). [Source: Section III]

Q3: What is the Solution?

A3: The solution is to substantially increase the number of Representatives in accordance with the original vision of the Founding Fathers. Thirty-thousand.org advocates the bill passed by the House in 1789: to require there be at least one Representative for every 50,000 people. At the current population level of approximately 300 million people, that formulation would require a minimum of 6,000 Representatives.

As it turns out, one for every 50,000 people is not an arbitrary ratio. With some Congressional districts nearly twice as large as others, the House is in egregious violation of the constitutional principle of one-person-one-vote. Achieving minimal parity among the districts requires that we reduce the population difference — between the smallest and largest districts — to less than 5%. Calculating the number of Representatives necessary to reach this level of parity (for any given population level) is a matter of mathematics. At a current population level of approximately 300 million people, over 6,300 Representatives would be required to bring the House into compliance with one-person-one-vote. If we are not willing to apply this principle to the nation’s supreme assembly, then there is little value in imposing it upon our subordinate ones.

Q4: How did the number of Representatives become fixed at 435?

A4: Because Congress passed a bill in 1929 to do so, as described by one Representative at the time:

“The bill seeks to prescribe a national policy under which the membership of the House shall never exceed 435 unless Congress, by affirmative action, overturns the formula and abandons the policy enunciated by this bill. I am unalterably opposed to limiting the membership of the House to the arbitrary number of 435. Why 435? Why not 400? Why not 300? Why not 250, 450, 535, or 600? Why is this number 435 sacred? What merit is there in having a membership of 435 that we would not have if the membership were 335 or 535? There is no sanctity in the number 435 … There is absolutely no reason, philosophy, or common sense in arbitrarily fixing the membership of the House at 435 or at any other number.”
[Missouri :mizzou: Representative Ralph Lozier, 1928]

For more information on this subject read Why 435?

Q5: Do we need more politicians?

A5: No, we clearly do not; instead, we need more Representatives.

In this context, a “politician” is a person who is more concerned about winning favor or retaining power than about maintaining principles. It is contended here that, as the voting districts became larger, those candidates who are cleverly ambiguous in expressing their positions will usually prevail over candidates who clearly take principled stands. This is because as districts grow larger they become increasingly diverse; in which case it becomes more likely that single-issue opposition can be effectively mobilized against a principled candidate relative to at least one of his or her positions. This process is further exacerbated by high citizen apathy: low voter turnout magnifies the political power of mobilized fringe groups.

However, as districts become smaller the politician’s more discreditable skills (i.e., dissimulation and obfuscation) will become less advantageous. In fact, these skills will likely become detrimental due to people’s innate ability to perceive such guile. Voters in relatively small districts will come to demand that candidates clearly articulate unambiguous positions.

Q6: What about the diverse views and values of the American people?

A6: As explained above, the diverse views and values of the American people are currently being homogenized within super-sized political districts resulting in the election of politicians rather than Representatives. These elected politicians rarely represent or champion clearly defined principles; instead, many function as career conciliators who can derive greater success through mediocrity than by bravely advancing principles.

In contrast, in a larger House the diverse views and values of the American people will find full expression through their Representatives. The House will return to being a people’s House in which the diverse views and values of the American people can be openly championed. Of course, that does not mean that everyone’s positions will prevail; that can never happen, nor should it. However, you will at least hear one or more Representatives earnestly and unambiguously advocating your view (whatever that is). Perhaps in being heard, it will affect the outcome of the matter under consideration. Or perhaps it will not change the outcome at all but, at least, it will have been clearly articulated. Just as importantly, having been competently advocated in that eminent forum, the views expressed may eventually change the minds of others.

Q7: Wouldn’t more Representatives mean a bigger government?

A7: Yes and then no. It is important to make a distinction between governance and government. In this context, governance refers to interaction between the governmental institutions and the citizens; more specifically, governance is the process whereby our elected Representatives make decisions and enact policies concerning social welfare and national interests. In contrast, government encompasses the institutions and bureaucracy that are created and funded (through the governance process) for the purpose of implementing the decisions and policies established by the governing Representatives. It is argued in this web pamphlet that increasing the size of governance would, in fact, ultimately reduce the size of government.

Q8: Wouldn’t it be costly to add all these Representatives?

A8: Regarding the additional cost of a larger number of Representatives, thirty-thousand.org agrees that “The man who would seriously object to this expense, to secure his liberties, does not deserve to enjoy them. Besides, by increasing the number of representatives, we open a door for the admission of the substantial yeomanry of our country, who, being possessed of the habits of economy, will be cautious of imprudent expenditures, by which means a greater saving will be made of public money than is sufficient to support them.”[Melancton Smith; June 21, 1788; Debates in the Convention of the State of New York]

As governance improves — as the number of Representatives increases — the House will be inclined to reduce the size of the government. To put this in perspective, for the sake of argument, suppose that it would cost an additional two billion dollars annually to increase the number of Representatives to 6,000 (this includes both compensation and supporting infrastructure). Though a sizable sum, it must be viewed against total federal expenditures of approximately 2.7 trillion dollars. Thirty-thousand.org believes that this larger Representative body would more than offset their total costs through judicious stewardship: to recoup this additional expense they need only reduce federal expenditures by 1/10 of 1% (i.e., one-tenth of one percent). Because examples of government extravagance and waste are legion, it is quite feasible to beneficially achieve such a reduction in federal expenditures. With respect to extravagance alone, it is estimated that the 2007 budget contains $2.4 billion of blatant pork-barrel spending [Source: Citizens Against Government Waste].

With respect to the Representatives’ numerous staff, thirty-thousand.org believes that the total staff size should not be increased as the number of Representatives increases. The principal justification for the congressional staffs in the first place was the need for Representatives to provide constituency services to increasingly larger districts. In other words, Congress’s solution to the problem of super-sized House districts was to augment their personal staffs rather than partition their federal fiefdoms (by increasing the number of Representatives).

Q9: How would that many Representatives get anything done?

A9: This question can be restated as: would they get even less accomplished than they do already? The question also presumes that a reduction in legislation may somehow be detrimental to the citizenry. In any case, if there were indeed a principle which assured us that a smaller legislative body would be much more productive, then the Senate — consisting of only 100 members — would certainly be a paragon of productivity. However, there is no evidence to indicate this is so. Experience teaches us that once more than a few dozen people assemble, the possibility that all can participate in a productive and meaningful dialogue disappears. Moreover, the notion that we now have a deliberative body, in the historical sense, is largely a myth; that is why those visiting Congress while it is in session usually find the large chambers to be nearly empty. Virtually all work accomplished, in Congress, is performed by various subcommittees and, regardless of the size of the House, ever will it be so.

Regarding the ability of a large assembly to pass legislation, consider the millions of California voters who have, for many decades, voted on hundreds of statewide propositions. In doing so California is, in effect, the world’s largest assembly. It is therefore easy to imagine 6,000 Representatives voting up or down on major legislation which was itself formulated by internal coalitions organized around specific legislative objectives.

Q10: How do all those Representatives fit into one building?

A10: They don’t. As Winston Churchill observed “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” The solution is simply to think outside the box or, in this case, outside of the House chamber.

It is important to consider how the world looked, in 1787, when the Constitution was drafted. Prior to the establishment of the federal post office, in 1789, mail delivery was especially slow and limited. Engine-powered railroad travel did not become possible until the 1820s and telegraphic communication was not even conceived until the 1830s. Consequently, when the Constitution was being drafted, the only way to actually communicate and collaborate was to assemble at one location. And the only way to do that was to travel on foot or by horse.

It is no longer necessary, or even advantageous, to require that all Representatives convene in one location (nor is it explicitly required by the Constitution). Current technology makes available a host of other means for virtually assembling and voting on bills; the broad range of solutions which could be implemented are outside of the scope of this web pamphlet. However, for the purpose of visualizing one practical concept — among many that could be suggested — thirty-thousand.org proposes the creation of additional federal cities. Imagine if four new federal cities were created in four distinct locations around the country (in addition to the one already established in Washington, D.C.). To the extent that assembly was required, it could take place within the regional federal capitol buildings, which could be further interconnected via video conferencing.

Implementing geographically distributed governance — geographically decentralizing the House of Representatives — would also greatly reduce the value of Washington as a strategic military target for our nation’s enemies. As we were reminded on September 11, 2001, decapitation of the federal government is a very real risk due to the fact that all three branches are concentrated in one small area. In conjunction with an adequate succession plan for the Senate and the Executive branch, the distribution of federal Representatives across the nation would ensure the continuity of the federal government regardless of the contingency. In fact, the existence of a decentralized federal governance will itself reduce the likelihood of a military attack against the governing infrastructure.

Q11: Would Congress voluntarily increase the number of Representatives?

A11: If enough pressure was brought to bear, Congress might grant a token increase in the number of Representatives. However, Congress will never voluntarily agree to increase the number by the amount required to return political power to the people. As observed in 1788:

“...the relative weight of influence of the different states will be the same, with the number of representatives at sixty-five as at six hundred, and that of the individual members greater; for each member’s share of power will decrease as the number of the House of Representatives increases. If, therefore, this maxim be true, that men are unwilling to relinquish powers which they once possess, we are not to expect the House of Representatives will be inclined to enlarge the numbers. The same motive will operate to influence the President and Senate to oppose the increase of the number of representatives; for, in proportion as the House of Representatives is augmented, they will feel their own power diminished. It is, therefore, of the highest importance that a suitable number of representatives should be established by the Constitution.”[Melancton Smith; June 21, 1788; Debates in the Convention of the State of New York]

The only way to ensure proportionally equitable representation in the House is to mandate it with an amendment to the Constitution. In 1789, the first congress proposed Article the first to do just that.

Q12: What is “Article the first”?

A12: Contrary to popular belief, the Bill of Rights document drafted in 1789 contains twelve articles of amendment (not ten). Of those twelve, only the last ten were ratified to the U.S. Constitution prior to 1791. As a result, our Constitution’s “First Amendment” had originally been proposed as Article the third, and the “Second Amendment” was originally Article the fourth, and so forth. And, to further confuse matters, the Bill of Rights’ Article the second was not ratified until 200 years later ― as the 27th Amendment ― which finally limited Congress’ ability to increase its own compensation. However, Article the first ― the very first amendment proposed in the Bill of Rights ― was never ratified.

As passed by the House, Article the first would have required there be at least one Representative for every 50,000 people at larger population levels. The Senate’s version required one Representative for every 60,000. However, the would-be first amendment was effectively sabotaged by an ostensibly minor modification made at the last-minute by a joint House-Senate committee. In fact, this modification not only subverted the amendment’s purpose, but it also introduced a mathematical defect which would have later rendered it inexecutable. Largely because this subtle modification was generally unnoticed initially, Article the first was affirmed by every state except Delaware. Had the proposed amendment not been crippled then it might have eventually been ratified (as originally worded) and, as a result, we would now have approximately 6,000 Representatives! [For a complete analysis read “The Minimum and Maximum Size of the U. S. House of Representatives”.]

Q13: How could such an amendment ever come about?

A13: Congress should reconvene a joint House-Senate committee to develop a coherent compromise to the House and Senate versions of Article the first as they were originally proposed in 1789. The resulting amendment should be consistent with the original intent and not impugned by questions of subterfuge or chicanery. Once the amendment is properly worded, the states and the people would be able to finally and unambiguously declare their position on this matter.

However, because Congress will never place such an amendment before the people for consideration, thirty-thousand.org believes it will be necessary for the state legislatures to call a convention (in accordance with Article Five of the Constitution) solely for the purpose of proposing this amendment.

Q14: Who would advocate and support the creation of such an amendment?

A14: Only that small portion of the citizenry who could be described as patriots; that is, those who understand the principles of freedom and liberty upon which this great nation was founded and, furthermore, are willing to make personal sacrifices to defend those freedoms. Unfortunately, most of the inhabitants of this blessed nation take our remaining liberties entirely for granted and naively assume that what is will always be so.

Q15: Who would oppose the creation of such an amendment?

A15: Without exception, every influential political and economic special interest operating in this nation will strenuously oppose enlarging the House to the extent necessary to return political power to the people. The investment in the status quo is extensive and deep. Powerful special interest groups as well as the federal lobbyist industry depend on their ability to influence a very small number of House members (and Senators) in order to affect legislative and policy outcomes. It will become impossible to effect the same level of influence upon the House when it consists of thousands of Representatives, especially if those many Representatives are living back in the real world — among their constituency — rather than being concentrated in the surreal parallel universe known as Washington, D.C.

Consequently, there is a long list of powerful institutional forces that will oppose this amendment: multinational corporations, most industry trade groups, labor unions, the Republican Party, the Democrat Party, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the federal executive branch and last, but not least, most foreign governments. These disparate forces, which normally do not collaborate with one another, will be united in defending the oligarchy in the federal House of Representatives.

Q16: What can I do to help?

A16: Spread the word. Talk to your friends. This is a revolution — a patriotic and constitutional revolution — so it is essential that we find those few people who can understand what is at stake and are willing to work towards advancing this mission.

Communicating this mission to others, and enlisting their support, is a great challenge for the following reasons:

1. The relationship between representation and population is an abstract concept which is not easily explained.

2. Most people, fearing change, will naturally wish to preserve the status quo.

3. As an inherently nonpartisan endeavor, this cause can not leverage existing political organizations (without risking having its mission subverted to serve an ulterior partisan goal).

4. Widespread apathy: the tendency of citizens to shirk civic duties in favor of frivolous pursuits has become nearly epidemic.

5. The inertia of members of the intelligentsia: many of these — primarily in certain sectors of the academic community — are intellectually wedded to the old model and therefore resistant to change, especially one that would disempower the elites and return political power to the people.

6. Most insidiously, many people may now prefer the sense of complacency (however illusional) afforded by living in an elitocracy (i.e., to be governed by those very few of superior abilities who know what is best for the rest of us). Hopefully, these people will take comfort in knowing that the Senate and the Office of the President will (and should) continue to operate as elite institutions even after the federal House is comprised of many ordinary folks.

Given all of the foregoing, the important point to understand is that the primary obstacle to this campaign is not the combination of powerful institutional forces identified above. Instead, the true enemy is public indifference and widespread ignorance.

Logical
03-01-2008, 10:45 PM
Holy Christ by my calculations that would require 4285 House Members, I am pretty sure that is a prescription for pure anarchy. LOL at the thought

banyon
03-01-2008, 10:47 PM
Holy Christ by my calculations that would require 4285 House Members, I am pretty sure that is a prescription for pure anarchy. LOL at the thought

The author estimates 6000 I think.

Also, Logical I think Question & Answer # 9 addresses that, though it unfairly impugns the Senate though which has far different rules as the more likely culprit for a lack of productivity compared to the House.

banyon
03-01-2008, 10:48 PM
“...the House of Representatives will,
within a single century, consist of
more than six hundred members.”
— James Wilson, November 30, 1787
Delegate to the Convention of the State of Pennsylvania,
on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution. November 30, 1787

Rain Man
03-01-2008, 10:53 PM
I'd love to be a congressman. Have you seen the insane pensions that those people get? It's almost like they have the ability to makes laws work to their personal benefit.

alanm
03-01-2008, 11:53 PM
What.. We need to elect more scum sucking lawyers to go to Washington to sit on their asses and accomplish nothing?:shake:

banyon
03-02-2008, 12:00 AM
What.. We need to elect more scum sucking lawyers to go to Washington to sit on their asses and accomplish nothing?:shake:

I believe Question and Answer #5 are for you.

Logical
03-02-2008, 01:23 AM
Ok seriously wouldn't this result in much more pork via earmarks etc?

BCD
03-02-2008, 08:01 AM
I believe Question and Answer #5 are for you.Yeah, like that makes a difference. It would still be more people getting paid to do shit.

BucEyedPea
03-02-2008, 08:58 AM
Re-Post

http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=146901&highlight=Representatives


“Nothing can be more fallacious than to found our political calculations on arithmetical principles. Sixty or seventy men may be more properly trusted with a given degree of power than six or seven. But it does not follow that six or seven hundred would be proportionably a better depository. And if we carry on the supposition to six or seven thousand, the whole reasoning ought to be reversed. The truth is that in all cases a certain number at least seems to be necessary to secure the benefits of free consultation and discussion, and to guard against too easy a combination for improper purposes; as, on the other hand, the number ought to be kept within a certain limit, in order to avoid the confusion and intemperance of a multitude. In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever characters composed, passion never fails to wrest the scepter from reason. “—JAMES MADISON, Writer of the US Constitution


Think about what this would also cost, with their generous pensions and benefits, let alone pay increases and more salaries. The Founders felt that too big an assembly was less productive because it made for more unruliness. Quit F'in around with our Constitution

banyon
03-02-2008, 09:11 AM
Wow I re_posted something from two years ago? I guess it's time I was shot execution style. :rolleyes: Clearly you can't get past your petty greivances with me.

banyon
03-02-2008, 09:21 AM
1. Your Madison Quote is undoubtedly pre-Constitution and we decided to compromise and have two Houses. Your quote doesn't relate to the purposes envisioned behind the creation of the House whatsoever.

2. It's not "f'in with the Constitution", particularly if it is done by Amendment. As an originalist, you should be for this since the 1929 legislation was arguably when the Constitution was "effed with" in the first place. It would re-create what was originally intended.

3. As for the expense for pensions, etc, he argument is that those will be counterbalanced by the savings having representatives who are more accountable to their districts and not inclined to pork barrell. Also, think of your own view of U.S. History and look at the graph showing House membership over time. Did we waste more taxpayer money when we had more representatives per capita or less?

Right now, nothing is working to control this behemoth, but as usual your answer is to do nothing, even though this time it's apparently for personal and not pragmatic or even consistent policy considerations.

StcChief
03-02-2008, 01:00 PM
500-600 reps. sounds good to me.

patteeu
03-02-2008, 01:30 PM
I like the idea. I particularly like this part of it:

With respect to the Representatives’ numerous staff, thirty-thousand.org believes that the total staff size should not be increased as the number of Representatives increases. The principal justification for the congressional staffs in the first place was the need for Representatives to provide constituency services to increasingly larger districts. In other words, Congress’s solution to the problem of super-sized House districts was to augment their personal staffs rather than partition their federal fiefdoms (by increasing the number of Representatives).

Taco John
03-02-2008, 01:32 PM
Do they advocate returning the senate to the states?

patteeu
03-02-2008, 02:36 PM
Do they advocate returning the senate to the states?

I like that idea too. Let's fold both ideas into one big reform.

Hydrae
03-02-2008, 02:38 PM
I just want to know when they are going to apportion my taxes to reflect my representation in Washington. The day my taxes are equated with the number of Representatives will be the day I am willing to start listening to the crap being spewed in our capital. Until then I am waiting for the next Boston Tea Party (no, not to get money for Dr Paul. Taxation without representation is not just something from history I am afraid).

BucEyedPea
03-02-2008, 03:22 PM
I just want to know when they are going to apportion my taxes to reflect my representation in Washington. The day my taxes are equated with the number of Representatives will be the day I am willing to start listening to the crap being spewed in our capital. Until then I am waiting for the next Boston Tea Party (no, not to get money for Dr Paul. Taxation without representation is not just something from history I am afraid).

Execellent point. This also goes to balancing the budget too which has already been in the Constitution, despite pleas and calls for a Balanced Budget Amendment.

patteeu
03-02-2008, 04:38 PM
Execellent point. This also goes to balancing the budget too which has already been in the Constitution, despite pleas and calls for a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Where?

Logical
03-02-2008, 05:09 PM
Execellent point. This also goes to balancing the budget too which has already been in the Constitution, despite pleas and calls for a Balanced Budget Amendment.I rarely agree with patteeu, but where do you find this fact?

Rain Man
03-02-2008, 05:36 PM
Anyone who thinks that expanding Congress won't result in more politicians needs to look at the mayors and councils of small cities.

That said, I like the idea of reducing staff sizes to pay for more representatives. That might be a good tradeoff. However, the pragmatist in me thinks that that'll just lead to less-informed voting (i.e., more straight party voting) by the Congressmen. This country is so big and has so many issues that reducing staff sizes would just mean more vote-trading amongst Congressmen. "I'll vote for your bridge if you vote for my Museum of Pubic Hair."

Taco John
03-02-2008, 05:50 PM
The democrats and republicans would never go for it because the natural result would be increased opportunities for more parties making it into congress.

bkkcoh
03-02-2008, 06:10 PM
Imagine the amount of arguing there would be with 3 times the amount of people in the House.... That would be a nightmare :banghead:

BucEyedPea
03-02-2008, 06:30 PM
pat and ill-logical...it's covered generally under Article 1.8.1 under the "specific and enumerated powers" doctrine which is now dead. This also relates to Congress abdicating much of its fiscal responsibilities in 1921 under Wilson. Re-delegating any powers are unconstitutional. Presidents aren't even supposed to be involved in the legislative process. It makes fiscal responsibility less likely. (Yes,pat, that also covers the VP running by declassifying intel. But that's another debate.)

banyon
03-02-2008, 07:09 PM
That's silly of course. The Founders would never had saddled themselves with the inability to recover from massive borrowing to finance the Revolution. They needed to be able to borrow from the very outset.

Hence the unbalanced budget starting day 1.


The United States has had public debt since its inception. Debts incurred during the American Revolutionary War and under the Articles of Confederation led to the first yearly reported value of $75,463,476.52 on January 1, 1791. Over the following 45 years, the debt grew, briefly contracted to zero on January 8, 1835 under President Andrew Jackson but then quickly grew into the millions again.[42][43]

Link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt)

If we'd have had to pay it all back in year one pursuant to some sort of implied balanced budget theory, there probably would have been 60 Whiskey Rebellions and not just one.

banyon
03-02-2008, 07:11 PM
This also relates to Congress abdicating much of its fiscal responsibilities in 1921 under Wilson. .)

Also it's nice to know that Wilson is so demonized by these Austrian noodleniks that he continued to detroy our country by passing laws after he'd been out of office for two years. :rolleyes:

Logical
03-02-2008, 07:44 PM
pat and ill-logical...it's covered generally under Article 1.8.1 under the "specific and enumerated powers" doctrine which is now dead. This also relates to Congress abdicating much of its fiscal responsibilities in 1921 under Wilson. Re-delegating any powers are unconstitutional. Presidents aren't even supposed to be involved in the legislative process. It makes fiscal responsibility less likely. (Yes,pat, that also covers the VP running by declassifying intel. But that's another debate.)

Ok this is Article 1.8.1The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
I see nothing related to not running a deficit or having a balanced budget. Only that we would be uniformly taxed.

'Hamas' Jenkins
03-03-2008, 02:40 AM
This would probably be the best way to allow for a true emergence of a third, fourth, and fifth party in this country. Of course, since so many people are hopeless inured to binarism, it will never happen.

And to be perfectly honest, having a legislature of 6000 would, IMO, reduce the elites that are in there (which is basically 100% now), and allow for the common man to actually affect change. The cost of campaigning would drop drastically, and the ability of special interests to sway large blocs of votes, as noted, would decrease.

a1na2
03-03-2008, 03:30 AM
Absolutely not, PLUS the pension plan for drawing full pay for the rest of your life after 6 years of service is over done.

To get any kind of pension from the government for service should be to the same rules as with the military. After 20 contigious years of service they could qualify for 50% of base pay, no other monies. After 20 years they could gain 2 1/2% up to 50% at 30 years of service.

Considering the pay scale that they are on that should be plenty, especially since the average American will have a SS pension of $24,000 a year if they were making pretty good money in the years that they were working.

Listing of salaries (http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/97-1011.pdf)

patteeu
03-03-2008, 06:53 AM
Anyone who thinks that expanding Congress won't result in more politicians needs to look at the mayors and councils of small cities.

That said, I like the idea of reducing staff sizes to pay for more representatives. That might be a good tradeoff. However, the pragmatist in me thinks that that'll just lead to less-informed voting (i.e., more straight party voting) by the Congressmen. This country is so big and has so many issues that reducing staff sizes would just mean more vote-trading amongst Congressmen. "I'll vote for your bridge if you vote for my Museum of Pubic Hair."

We need a museum of Pubic Hair!

patteeu
03-03-2008, 06:56 AM
pat and ill-logical...it's covered generally under Article 1.8.1 under the "specific and enumerated powers" doctrine which is now dead. This also relates to Congress abdicating much of its fiscal responsibilities in 1921 under Wilson. Re-delegating any powers are unconstitutional. Presidents aren't even supposed to be involved in the legislative process. It makes fiscal responsibility less likely. (Yes,pat, that also covers the VP running by declassifying intel. But that's another debate.)

What are you talking about? :shrug:

Article 1, Section 8 explicitly authorizes Congress:

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

Rain Man
03-03-2008, 10:57 AM
We need a museum of Pubic Hair!

I'm not saying it's a bad idea....




Actually, the thing I would like most about increasing the size of the House dramatically is the decrease in the cost of campaigning. You almost have to be rich to be elected any more, and I find that bothersome.

patteeu
03-03-2008, 11:01 AM
Actually, the thing I would like most about increasing the size of the House dramatically is the decrease in the cost of campaigning. You almost have to be rich to be elected any more, and I find that bothersome.

I think that makes a lot of sense. I also like the idea of reducing staff and having more of he work done by actual elected officials, although I'm not at all confident that it would work out that way.

BucEyedPea
03-03-2008, 03:03 PM
Reducing staff isn't all what it's made up to be. Since we have gargantuan size govt, with govt being involved in so many areas making our choices for the vast multitudes who can't make them on their own anymore, they need individuals to study things more deeply. It's not a solution. One rep per so many people, cannot possibly be on top of all issues or laws. The solution is to get the govt back to it's limited constitutional role...not go bat-shit neocon.

My daughter told me that a guy spoke at their school from the prison system. Geesh! I couldn't believe it but he said between the founding of our country to 1950 only about a million people were put in jail for breaking some law. From 1950 to now it's a million. One was for a women who stole some meat in a store and got 23 years costing tens of thousands of dollars a year to punish her. She wound up dying in there. Ridculous. But all they had to do was have her pay the store back and do an amends project. This is not sane govt.

J. E. Quidam
03-09-2008, 03:35 PM
“Nothing can be more fallacious than to found our political calculations on arithmetical principles. ... “

That quote is from Federalist 55 (February 15, 1788). Federalist 55 was written by either James Madison or Alexander Hamiliton.

But more relevant is what James Madison said later when he proposed the amendments that were to become our Bill of Rights. I only bring this up because BucEyedPea's quote from Federalist 55 requires a reply.

James Madison proposed an amendment to ensure that the House of Representatives would maintain a minimum size in proportion to the population. In defending that amendment, Madison stated (on August 14, 1789) that:
"I do not consider it necessary, on this occasion, to go into a lengthy discussion of the advantages of a less or greater representation. I agree that after going beyond a certain point, the number may become inconvenient; … but it is necessary to go to a certain number, in order to secure the great objects of representation. Numerous bodies are undoubtedly liable to some objections, but they have their advantages also; if they are more exposed to passion and fermentation, they are less subject to venality and corruption; and in a Government like this, where the House of Representatives is con-nected with a smaller body [the Senate], it might be good policy to guard them in a particular manner against such abuse."

My point is: this is a very complicated subject and I encourage those who are interested to read the entire page at:
http://www.thirty-thousand.org.

(Anyone wanting to see the citation for the above quote can download the PDF report from this web page:
http://www.thirty-thousand.org/pages/QHA-04.htm)

Thirty-Thousand.org is a non-partisan and non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

cmh6476
03-09-2008, 03:42 PM
what I think needs to happen is stop letting illegals have representation. The number of representatives a state is assigned goes off the census, and right now we're counting illegals. I don't see why Cali and Ari and your SW states should get more votes for people that aren't even citizens of this country. We should designate the number on the number of US citizens.

Course, teh Dems would never let that happen :shrug:


Missouri could stand to lose a member following the 2010 census, which would make our Governor's race even more critical as they would have quite a hand in how the dirstrict would be redistricted.

HonestChieffan
03-09-2008, 03:45 PM
Just what we need. Another Nutjob idea that will take time to run off and waste resources on.

J. E. Quidam
03-09-2008, 03:46 PM
The democrats and republicans would never go for it because the natural result would be increased opportunities for more parties making it into congress.

Sir, you are quite correct. Substantially enlarging the federal House would bring the two-party duopoly to an end. And both of these parties will fight this tooth and nail.

But what could be better than two parties? The soviets would tell you that one party is even better!

From Washington's Farewell Address:

"I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy."

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/washing.htm

banyon
03-09-2008, 03:52 PM
Wait, J.E., you're connected with this website?

J. E. Quidam
03-09-2008, 03:59 PM
This would probably be the best way to allow for a true emergence of a third, fourth, and fifth party in this country. ...

And to be perfectly honest, having a legislature of 6000 would, IMO, reduce the elites that are in there (which is basically 100% now), and allow for the common man to actually affect change. The cost of campaigning would drop drastically, and the ability of special interests to sway large blocs of votes, as noted, would decrease.

Well stated!

This point was frequently made during the debates about the size of the house. The term used then, for the common man, was "yeomanry", and the Founders very much feared what would happen to the country if the yeomanry lost control of the House. (Which we have.)

Here is the essential quote on that subject:
“The difference of expense, between supporting a House of Representatives sufficiently numerous, and the present proposed one, would be twenty or thirty thousand dollars per annum. The man who would seriously object to this expense, to secure his liberties, does not deserve to enjoy them. Besides, by increasing the number of representatives, we open a door for the admission of the substantial yeomanry of our country, who, being possessed of the habits of economy, will be cautious of imprudent expenditures, by which means a greater saving will be made of public money than is sufficient to support them.” -- Melancton Smith (June 17, 1788)

Returning control of the federal House to the yeomanry is the only way to end the lavish and wasteful spending of our Country Club Congress (e.g., the bridge to nowhere, etc., etc., etc.)

J. E. Quidam
03-09-2008, 04:03 PM
Wait, J.E., you're connected with this website?

Banyon, thank you very much for starting this thread. This is a grass roots effort in the truest sense of the expression. Thanks to Google, I find these threads as they occur and sometimes chime in.

I probably should have introduced myself initially -- I'm the founder of thirty-thousand.org.

Keep the debate alive!

banyon
03-09-2008, 04:07 PM
Wow, this is Kirstie-Tynes-esque (run a site-search for that :D).

I thought it was an interesting idea and even though this is a football board, there is a fairly sophisticated group of political posters in this forum. Sounding ideas off here, left or right, often plays out and gives you a pretty good sampling of perspectives.

Don't know how busy your effort keeps you, but feel free to stick around and drop in on us. The debates here get pretty lively. :thumb:

J. E. Quidam
03-09-2008, 04:14 PM
OK, this will be my last posting. I don't want to be a nusiance here (and my wife thinks I already spend way too much time on this endeavor).

So I'll wrap up with these thoughts: the size of the U. S. House has been constant at 435 Representatives since 1913. In 1929, this number was made permanent by an act of Congress. During the debates preceding that act, Missouri Representative Ralph Lozier observed:
“I am unalterably opposed to limiting the membership of the House to the arbitrary number of 435. Why 435? Why not 400? Why not 300? Why not 250, 450, 535, or 600? Why is this number 435 sacred? What merit is there in having a membership of 435 that we would not have if the membership were 335 or 535? There is no sanctity in the number 435 … There is absolutely no reason, philosophy, or common sense in arbitrarily fixing the membership of the House at 435 or at any other number.”

The challenge posed by Representative Lozier in 1928 is still valid: is 435 a sacrosanct number or should it be subject to debate?

Again, for those who are interested in this subject, please visit the links below:
http://www.thirty-thousand.org/ (home page)
http://enlargethehouse.blogtownhall.com/default.aspx (press release)
http://www.thirty-thousand.org/pages/Why_435.htm
(see list of articles at the bottom of the page).
http://www.thirty-thousand.org/pages/GeorgeWashington.htm
(explains the name "thirty-thousand.org")

Thanks for reading this stuff.
Please keep the debate alive.

Jeff
Quidam@thirty-thousand.org

Thirty-Thousand.org is a non-partisan and non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

HonestChieffan
03-09-2008, 04:28 PM
The Fedralist Papers sited in the web site as the source of a lot of the information was written primarily by Hamilton with a couple parts by Jay, a couple ny Madison and was one side of the huge debate over not the constitution but more dealing with the establishment of finance and interpretation of the constitution. To assert this is somehow the "word of the framers" is balderdash. 5 peoples opinion stated in what was at the time an opinion piece does not qualify as the ideas and thoughts of the framers of the constitution.

chagrin
03-09-2008, 04:35 PM
I think it would be a good idea to build a "mother-in-law unit" next to the White House for Ron Paul, so when the President does thing Ron Paul doesn't like, Ron Paul can come running out with his little rolling pin and say "hold on there, mister, where do you think you're going to get all the money for this little idea of your? Where are you going to print the money?"

chagrin
03-09-2008, 04:37 PM
Anyone who thinks that expanding Congress won't result in more politicians needs to look at the mayors and councils of small cities.

That said, I like the idea of reducing staff sizes to pay for more representatives. That might be a good tradeoff. However, the pragmatist in me thinks that that'll just lead to less-informed voting (i.e., more straight party voting) by the Congressmen. This country is so big and has so many issues that reducing staff sizes would just mean more vote-trading amongst Congressmen. "I'll vote for your bridge if you vote for my Museum of Pubic Hair."

Welcome to the DC forum, where more Government is better Government

banyon
03-09-2008, 04:42 PM
The Fedralist Papers sited in the web site as the source of a lot of the information was written primarily by Hamilton with a couple parts by Jay, a couple ny Madison and was one side of the huge debate over not the constitution but more dealing with the establishment of finance and interpretation of the constitution. To assert this is somehow the "word of the framers" is balderdash. 5 peoples opinion stated in what was at the time an opinion piece does not qualify as the ideas and thoughts of the framers of the constitution.

What the hell are you bah, humbugging about? Quidam only used another Madison quote to cast doubt on the one BucEyedPea posted earlier and implied was all-encompassing. He then went on to quote several other people who were important contributors as well. Do you have anything at all from the "framers" by way of a quote or document that would undercut this?

banyon
03-09-2008, 04:43 PM
Welcome to the DC forum, where more Government is better Government

There's a pretty fair chance that the more people you put in a place, the less you'll get done. So you would expect the converse. Isn't that human nature?

HonestChieffan
03-09-2008, 04:47 PM
Jefferson was right. Most people do not have the sense to have the right to vote. This country is going to hell in a handcart led by every nutjob who can gather a few followers.

HonestChieffan
03-09-2008, 05:08 PM
If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?
Thomas Jefferson

cmh6476
03-09-2008, 05:25 PM
current budget's for a sitting member are only a little over $1m, that's not an exhorberant amount where you could significantly decrease personnel salaries. Nor do congressional staff really make that much, tons of dc staffers could be making much more money in the private sector. Plus I'm not sure reducing staff sizes is a good idea for the services they provide, you really don't notice till you need them but they are beneficial. It's easy to reearch payrolls:


www.legistorm.com

cmh6476
03-10-2008, 10:06 PM
i feel like i killed this thread :shrug:

whoman69
03-17-2008, 08:12 PM
Do they advocate returning the senate to the states?

I have to wonder what is going to be the great benefit from this every time I see it posted. The legislatures would totally politicize the selections. One was even used as a carrot to turn a justice in the US Supreme Court towards Tilden in the 1876 election. This neutral justice took the proffered seat, and then resigned from the court, thus taking him out of the committee to decide the election. His spot went to a Republican which made the selection of Hayes a mere formality. Do we really want to bring back the system that brought us Tammany Hall? Study your history a little closer.

I trust the people to elect a senator over any legislature anyday.

whoman69
03-17-2008, 08:30 PM
The democrats and republicans would never go for it because the natural result would be increased opportunities for more parties making it into congress.

Yes, they've made so many inroads right now with 435 representatives. I believe right now we have two independents in Congress and neither of those are from third parties. Libertarians, Greens, Reform parties, none of which have elected anyone to anything higher than a county conservation board or state library commission.

whoman69
03-17-2008, 09:01 PM
Right now the only reason to increase the size of the house is to make it fairer to larger states that are losing out in representation. It will always exist to a point. Right now Wyoming has the least number of people represented by one representative while Florida has the most. The only way to drop that is to have the number of representative set by the population of the least populated state serve as the starting point.

BucEyedPea
03-17-2008, 09:42 PM
Right now the only reason to increase the size of the house is to make it fairer to larger states that are losing out in representation. It will always exist to a point. Right now Wyoming has the least number of people represented by one representative while Florida has the most. The only way to drop that is to have the number of representative set by the population of the least populated state serve as the starting point.

Why? It's the people's house and there's hardly any people in wyoming?
They get two for the Senate.