08 October 2017

A Simple Proposal for Making Congress Sane and Effective

Budgets are the clearest expression of values. Right now they are negotiated slowly and if a vote comes down to just one or two senators, say, those senators can dictate terms that give their state far more power than the other 48 to 49 states.

If our goal is to have a government that actually represents all 50 states equally - from the most conservative to the most liberal to include everything in between, there is a simple way to do it, as follows.

Require every member of Congress - Representatives and Senators - submit a budget. Don't negotiate. Just submit. Those budgets will be made public to the people in their district. Those budgets will also be averaged together to be the new budget.

This would have so many advantages. One, no one district would have more or less influence than any other. Two, extremists would be marginalized rather than given more power. A person who wants to slash funding for EPA to zero and a person who wants to double its budget would cancel each other out. Three, no one person would be able to hold the budget hostage; members who missed the deadline for submitting a budget would simply have no influence on the new budget.

The result? Less drama, diminished influence for extremists, and more business-like results for the Congress. Most importantly, it would make sure that EVERY district was represented which, it seems, should be the objective of a representative government.

1 comment:

Curt Nichols said...

Sounds reasonable Ron, but I'd take it one step further. With a minor tweak our federal tax returns could also include taxpayer self-direction of each persons taxes. That way, nobody would be able to complain that "their" taxes wer going to fund (fill in the blank). Each person could allocate the tax dollars among the various cabinet-level accounts -- education, defense, interior, state, etc. The budget's broad paramemters would be pre-set for the next year and all that congress would have to do is the sub-allocations within each cabinet-level account. A nice bonus to this system is that those individuals (and corporations) that apply creative accounting and innovative legal interpretations to avoid paying taxes, would have zero impact on federal budget decisions ... because they're not contributing to the federal budget in the first place.