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Fixing the US Congress, Ideas Thread

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by downtown, May 13, 2011.

?

I think the following ideas are good ones

  1. Repeal Citizens United to give less political power to unions and business

    50.9%
  2. Increase the size of the house

    26.4%
  3. remove redistricting power from statehouses

    49.1%
  4. find ways to depoliticize the office of Speaker more

    18.9%
  5. Institute a Merit-Pay system for Congress

    11.3%
  6. Elect a certain number of members "at large", or nationwide

    20.8%
  7. Institute term limits

    35.8%
  8. I have another idea, explained below

    37.7%
  9. I don't think there is anything wrong with Congress

    9.4%
  10. elect downtown, duh.

    41.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    Ummm proportional representation and limits on campaign contributions.
     
  2. Skwink

    Skwink FRIIIIIIIIIITZ

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    I suggest we revert to a Roman Republican government.
     
  3. civver_764

    civver_764 Deity

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    I think simplifying the job itself would be a much better solution. The corruption just isn't worth it.
     
  4. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    I agree on Proportional Representation, though if it were up to me, I'd add a third house for it. Than government would have an even harder time getting things done, which is a good thing.

    I think 2-4 years probably isn't enough time to really get to know the job, but I see no reason to limit it to 18, its ALMOST unlimited at that point anyway, except a select few. I'd support a limit of 8, that way its the same as the Presidency.
     
  5. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    The member of Congress should only get support from the people they represent.




    Not quite. 2 parts of covering the same thing.



    Too many districts are drawn to benefit one party over the other. This does not allow people to have their views represented.




    It's a mistake to balance the budget in every year. But over time the budget does need to be balanced. A rolling balanced budget means that for any 10 years in a row, the budget averages out to balanced.




    Members of Congress do take time to master the job.
     
  6. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    I find it kind of restrictive to free enterprise to forbid donating to congressmen freely. What kind of a punishment would you use for that?

    The only difference I saw was "Except your local representative" was removed in #2.

    How would we accurately draw them without bias? It seems to me that means they should all be the same size in population, or as close as possible. But how do you do that?

    Utlimately, we should probably just pick a way to do the districts, and leave them as is forever. That way, there would be no redrawing to benefit parties.

    Why is balancing it every year a mistake? I think a better philosophy is only spend what you have.

    By year 18, you are pretty much already corrupt. I agree 4 years isn't enough time, but isn't the senate or house easier than the Presidency? I think 8 years is enough.
     
  7. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Members of Congress represent the American people. Not businesses.




    Banning organizations should be specified so that no future activist judge finds a loophole.



    Maybe it can't be done entirely. But the less bias the better.



    Representation changes as the Census tells us that the population changes.


    It makes recessions much worse. For no real gain.



    Whatever. ;)
     
  8. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    True. I'm not sure if I agree with the solution, but I agree with the point.

    Obviously, nobody disagrees here.

    True.

    Not going into debt?

    Is that a word of agreement, or agreeing to disagree?
     
  9. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Durring a recession, not having debt makes the recession worse.



    I don't agree, but not strongly enough to argue it further.
     
  10. Miles Teg

    Miles Teg Nuclear Powered Mentat

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    I honestly don't think the legislature is as broken as people seem to think it is. I mean, we just passed a Medicare-sized piece of controversial legislation last year. That's hardly broken in my eyes. Mind you, there are a lot of problems, but I don't think that it's because anything like a crisis yet. That's not going to stop me from weighing in of course.

    Downtown Ideas I Like:

    1. Fixing Gerrymandering: This should be obvious. Either appoint a national non-partisan committee to draw up districts, or have each state make their own. Either way, get it out of the political field.

    2. Repeal Citizen's United: Citizen's United probably didn't ruin the country like some lefties think it did, but it's still a bad judicial decision. Junk it.

    Downtown Ideas I Don't Like:

    1. Term Limits: I'm probably going to rant about term limits later in this thread, but for now I'll just say that whenever you have a legislature you have some guy who's been there for 20+ years calling the shots. Personally, I'd like that guy to be an elected official.

    2. Increasing the Size of the House: Personally, I think legislatures work best when everyone knows who everyone is. That means voters know who their guy in congress is, and those guys in congress know each other. Increasing the size of Congress would make that harder.

    3. Depoliticizing the Speaker's Office: Not necessarily a bad idea, but I don't see what it would do. The senate has the president pro tempore, who's about as nonpartisan as an elected member of the majority party can be, but it doesn't really change anything. Gingrich's changes had more to do with the power of the speaker's office. The partisanship was just a byproduct of his own sunny disposition.

    Other stuff that might work:

    1. Breaking the Filibuster: The current 60 vote Senate is basically the result of a loophole from the 70s. I don't think the Senate should be completely majoritarian, but maybe we could reduce the number of votes required to break a filibuster, or something.

    2. Fix the Nomination Process: Right now, the Senate has to unanimously approve a nominee for any politically appointed post, or the nomination languishes for months. Make it a simple majority vote
    3. Fraternization: Call it a pet theory of mine, but I think part of the partisanship problem is that congressmen aren't as close-knit as they were before air travel became safe and cheap. It's hard to demonize someone you break bread with.

    4. Get rid of the debt ceiling: It just causes headaches. We got along just fine without these annoying votes for decades.
     
  11. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    Hire a Japanese nationalist pilot, crash into Congress during a sitting, killing all members present. Elect real people.
     
  12. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    OK fair enough.

    I'm not sure I agree with it either, I've never strongly thought through if term limits should exist or not, although I do like the idea now that I think about it. But I do think 8 years is enough time to learn the job.

    That said, after thinking about it, John Mccain has been in congress for over 30 years, and I'm sure there are some other ones. So you are correct, 18 years would get rid of the oldest congressmen.
     
  13. metatron

    metatron unperson

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    That's not a very convincing argument.
    You could have a house with only 3 seats (to push it to the extreme). Everebody would know their congressman (and probably the other two as well) and those three guys would probably know each other. :mischief:
    On the other hand if there was one district per 100,000 (or less) citizens instead of one per 700,000 people would still know their congressman. That's not just a theoretical claim but somewhat evident, historically...
    That sounds great in theory, but often turned out to be somewhat dangerous when people actually tried it...
    I mean the latter part. The former is more vicious than dangerous. People tend to have rather funny ideas about the "real" in "real people".
     
  14. Junius

    Junius Prince

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    Well Citizens United http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission is a very recent decision so you can't blame it for the current state of Congress. Also if i may take an unpopular position, it is the correct decision. You can donate to candidates, but not as part of a group? It does appear to violate the first amendment. Why would you lose your free speech rights when you join together with others?

    Honestly i'm not sure anything is wrong with the procedures. Its hard to pass a bill. It should be. It was designed that way. As for proportionality, again, it was designed this way on purpose. Population matters, but not too much. Each state is equal in one chamber and the larger states have more say in the other. The founders feared the tyranny of the majority as much as that of one man.

    The institution of Congress is fine. If there is a problem we as americans probably need to look in the mirror. We elected these people. If they are overly partisan, and that seems to be the consensus, they are reflecting what it is that got them elected in the first place. If we want our represenatives to change we have to change ourselves.
     
  15. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    Corporations and unions aren't just any groups. They receive special protections from the state (limited individual liability for investors in a corporation, government enforced bargaining rights for unions). At the Framing, corporations were very unfavored entities and seen as creatures of narrow grants of privilege from the state. It would likely seem strange to the Framers that state-chartered entities should have the same degree of liberty as an individual or an unincorporated association of people. If you want to donate as a collective, do it as an unincorporated association.

    I would think it within the power of the legislature to limit the rights of entities that only come into existence through applying for a state charter. I do not see how a non-activist Court overturns that power of the legislature in such a matter.
     
  16. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    It worked for Jack Ryan in the Sum of All Fears. :(
     
  17. Junius

    Junius Prince

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    Thats a good post and you made a good point. However my personal problem with it is you take citizens, who make up unions and corporations, and you end up limited their free speech rights. I think the concerns are understandable, but overblown. Some states already allowed this is state elections and we have yet to see the doomsday scenarios predicted. We can agree to disagree.
     
  18. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Switch from a winner-take-all system to a ranked voting system that encourages minor party candidates.
     
  19. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    No people have their free speech rights limited at all. All of them can individually have their say. What is limited is having many people drowned out by the economic power of a few.
     
  20. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    There is no restriction of foreigners owning corporations, but there are limits on foreign donations to campaigns. Also, corporations and unions are given special protections against other citizens. If you as a citizen are the sole owner of a corporation and your corporation breaches a contract with me, I can generally only sue and collect from the corporation. As a citizen, you are protected from me prevailing against you as an individual in such a situation. This is true even if your corporation doesn't have the assets to pay me in full for the lawsuit. If you want to strip that government protection away, then we can start talking about giving rights to corporations under some sort of association-of-citizens theory.
     

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