Saturday, January 7, 2012

Changing the Federal Structure

            Well the last blog I did was somewhat political so I figure I will talk about what I think is wrong with government again.  Not that the last post got a lot of views, just that I have had this on my mind being that it is everywhere.

            I do not like the structure of the United States government as it currently stands.  I think that it has failed to be amended in a long time and needs to be cleaned up a good bit to be more reflective of the nation it is supposed to represent, and to eliminate a lot of the institutional memory within it.

            I think that each state should have three Senators, each serves a 6 year term, so every election will include a Senator from every state, think of them as the Red, White, and Blue Senate seats.  A Senator serves 2 terms or 14 years (if she was appointed to take over for a senator who moved on).  This way the Senate has consistent role over, and the Senate is always a concern for a voter, because no matter what year it is, or what state they are in, they have a senator up for reelection.  I also think three Senators should exist to represent the collective territories of the United States, meaning that Washington DC and Puerto Rico would have representation (this is not perfect as the two areas are far apart and have distinct needs, but it is a step up from having no representation in a federal body that they are required to enlist in to defend, if they would like stronger positions then Statehood should be considered).

            I heartily dislike the way the House of Representatives is constructed.  The terms as so short that Representatives are allowed no time to pen legislation and set them into motion before they again have to justify their existence.  What is more the districts are horrifyingly Gerrymandered, creating a political class that will safely live out their lives in office because they safely trimmed out a section of the map that does not pay attention to how poor a job they are doing.  What is more the Speaker of the House has no real power and no real voice in the public sphere, meaning they have no way to spur action toward meaningful legislation.  To replace this system wholesale would be for the best.  What is more, they are afforded a level of local anonymity that only disappears when they commit a scandal, if you don't know who is representing you, then why have a direct local election for a Representative?

This is a Gerrymandered Congressional district.  This cannot be defended as democratic.

            The House should be replaced with a Parliament.  Each state allocated a number of seats based on their population, counting the territories as a state for purposes of representation (again this is not perfect as Puerto Rico and Guam are very different from DC, but it is better than the zero and a half they get now, and if they desire more representation they can advocate for Statehood).  Every four years an election is held (these are the off years from the Presidential Election, so on the same years as the Winter Olympics rather than the Summer Olympics) to allocate the seats of each state to members of the parties they vote for, the Party members vote along party lines and pen legislation individually.  We have a National Minister that takes the place of the Speaker but with more power and focus.  No one can serve more than 8 years as National Minister, and they can be removed by their party should they be found too close to crazy town.  No one should be allowed to serve more than 12 years in the Parliament in any party.

            The Presidency needs their role to change, with a lot more power being given to the Minister, a lot needs to be taken away from the President.  He should remain the center of the military and diplomatic channels, and should still appoint Judges, but should not be the source of legislative initiative, and should not be in direct talks with the Parliament and Senate committees over national programs.  The President's power to veto things should also be restrained, only using the ability if a new law threatens the President's ability to maintain peace and security, or if the President thinks that the law in question is unconstitutional and needs the Supreme Court to take action.  Furthermore we need to eliminate the Electoral College and have a one man, one vote, first past the post election.  He should also remain limited to his current term restrictions, and Vice Presidents should have their place as Senate leader continue.  This is more the Presidential role in France, where they have both a Minister and President.

Two Videos why the electoral college does not work.  And where I got this picture.

            The Supreme Court needs to be expanded to 15 members.  This should happen slowly, so that it does not suddenly become insanely conservative or liberal all at once, but by doing this more points of view can be considered, and less impact is made with each member's moving on.  It allows for more diversity.

            So you have a President in charge of foreign affairs, a Minister in charge of domestic affairs, a Senate that acts as a check on the Minister and Parliament, a Vice President that helps put a check on the Senate, and a Presidential Veto which helps put a check on both Legislative bodies.  The Courts are appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and checks everyone else against the Constitution.

            Beyond these things I think that a clearer structure for creating states needs to be put into place.  That way if a state like New Jersey feels that its northern and southern half's are too different and populous to be represented by just their three current Senators then they can divide themselves for cleaner presentation.  That extends to other massive and populous states and territories, and to foreign countries seeking a place in the Union.

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