Charter Member of the Sub-Media

May 25, 2004

Fixing Our Nation « Politics As Usual »

So what's wrong with our nation?

Lotsa stuff. The only problem is, ask 10 different people, and you'd get 10 different answers.

Some people want us to be more Green. Some people want us to be more libertarian. Some people want anarchy. Some people want us to return to traditional values. Some people want every-increasing freedom, more programs, higher taxes. You name it, there's probably someone who supports it.

So who is right? Tough question. Aside from the obvious answer: "Me." heh.

You see, I feel there is an underlying series of problems bringing about all this chaos and polarization and dispute and invective. In fact, I think there are three main problems.

1) The series of checks and balances is breaking down.

2) There is little incentive for anyone in government to be concerned with our nation's long-term welfare...doing so gets you defeated.

3) Not enough people vote.

Our forefathers came up with a dang good system. It is flexible, balances out most powers, and has helped us avoid many problems encountered by other nations, all while slowly allowing increasingly more inclusive groups of people unprecented levels of freedom, prosperity, and equality. That's pretty amazing.

But I really fear the system may be breaking down, as different special interests exploit cracks in the system in pursuit of their agenda.

My proposed solutions?

1) Repeal the 17th Amendment, which would give more power to state legislatures and get people more interested in that level of politics.
1a) Further, I propose we add another house to the Supreme Court, say 5 people who are elected for life. Any Supreme Court decision would have to hammer out a compromise between these two groups, just like the Senate and House of Representatives have to hammer out compromises, thus balancing population with states. The appointment system was supposed to get politics out of the Supreme Court...can anyone look at Bader-Ginsburg and/or Scalia and insist politics doesn't affect things? Or how about the Democrats' push in 2000 to throw out the Constitutionally-mandated separation of powers on the justification that if President Bush wins the election that he would pack the Court with pro-life judges? Or how about the whole Senate confirmation fiasco since then when a minority party prevents the Senate from even voting on the justification that they don't want a pro-life judge or conservative Hispanic on a Circuit Court? I admit, how we balance the court is less important to me than finding some way to balance it. Right now, the checks/balances system toward the Federal Court system isn't responsive enough to the people.

2) Extend the Presidential term of office to 10 years, and allow two terms.
2a) If it seems advisable and doesn't seem counterproductive, allow a "no confidence vote" once every two years; if the President doesn't survive it, a new election must be held within six months with pre-selected candidates, rather than automatically being handed to the opposition party.

3) Index the salary for members of Congress to the number of people on welfare: less people on welfare, higher salary; more people, lower salary. That should diminish the practice of buying votes with government entitlements.

4) All government programs (except medicare, defense, and social security) must sunset after five years (or other set term). They can be reinstated, but only by a majority vote by both houses of Congress.

5) Everyone who votes gets 5% off the following year's taxes. That should also help determine when dead people's names are used to stuff ballot boxes.
5a) after a person votes, they can take a test regarding candidates, issues, and propositions. If they pass, they can take an additional 5% off the following year's taxes (to encourage people to study the issues)

6) All members of Congress must wear a patch on their clothes to show from which lobbies they have accepted gifts, money, or dinner. Thus, it will be possible to tell at a glance who is accepting the most influence.

Posted by Nathan at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)

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