Thursday, September 07, 2006


Mark made a very intelligent comment on my previous post and I'd like to respond to a few of his points.

1. Repeal the 17th amendment:
This sounds good on paper, but what guarantees that the state congress isn't going to simply choose their Senator soley on party lines for just the possibility of future political favors? Even the lowest of state politicians harbors hopes of being president.

I want the state congress to choose their Senator for future political favors. The point is that the people do what is in their best interest, but the state politicians will do what is in their best interest. What is in their best interest is greater state powers. The people's interest is different. If a Senator lessens the state powers, then the state will not vote him back in. Therefore, the Senator must pander to the state in order to be re-elected. Why is that important? Because state's don't care about gay rights, flag burning, and national health care. State's care about schools and roads and infrastructure. All of the stupidity that is pure popular pandering goes away.

2. I like the idea of taking away the presidential election from the idiot masses who decide solely on superficial traits of candidates ("He's a normal guy who I think I could have a beer with." Who the hell wants to have an average person in the most powerful position in the world??). Anyway, I digress. The problem with this is that you're assuming that the electoral college will be composed of people who are more intelligent than the masses as well as unaffiliated with any political party. That's a tough thing to find I suspect.

I do believe that the electorial college will be slightly more educated than the typical voter, but that's not the main benefit. The main benefit is that the electorial college has no constituents. They don't get paid, they shouldn't get bribes (having fewer people will allow more scrutiny on their financial affairs), and they have no real reason to want to get re-elected. Therefore, they won't pick a president because he promises more welfare or free healthcare. People pick a president because he promises entitlements or "No new taxes" or whatever. They vote in what they think is their best interest (unfortunately, they don't understand the consequences). The electorial college could safely ignore those issues and pick a president based on what is best for the country. Since they don't care about re-election, they are free to make more intelligent choices.

3. Let's go back to the barter system. Most politicians really have nothing to offer other than words, so that should sufficiently weaken the ever-growing hegemony those in power represent. :-)

I believe a return to the gold standard is very similar to going back to a barter system. By preventing the devaluation of the dollar because of deficit spending, we can force politicians to tax us explicitly instead of through inflation.

1 comment:

Cos "Cosbert" Callis said...

1) I've been making this point for a long time. Glad to see someone other than me figured this one out. There is an old saying, "you dance with them what brung ya." Senators, who are beholden to the STATES they represent, would be less inclined to allow federal takeovers of powers.
I would further this notion by adding this feature: The salary, expense accounts and other appropriate remuneration for both Representatives and Senators shall be established and paid by the states they represent, and shall, for a given term, be fixed prior to the registration deadline for candidates for representatives and prior to nomination before the legislature for Senators. First, it just makes good sense that a representative from Texas should make more than one from Delaware, in many ways. Travel expenses would be higher, the districts larger, staff requirements greater.
Second, it would encourage states, individually and collectively to economize in some areas, The State of A, having 2 senators and 10 representatives could purchase/build a office/apartment complex in DC. Permitting the current office holders access to a certain number of apartments and offices for direct use by himself (herself) and/or appropriate staff. (we will have none of that Senator Hart) While States B & C might share a facility and State D might chose to allow there delegates and allowance to rent space (perhaps even leftover space from State G's facility...) Efficiency could be rewarded and would inevitably develop by removing the feds from the payroll process for this. Besides, how often have you been angered by the very notion that Congress can ‘vote themselves a raise’.

2) I have a serious problem with your second idea. You certainly identify a valid problem, I'm just not convinced you proposal represents a working solution. I'm not sure what would be the motive to be an elector, good, bad or otherwise. The Electoral College itself represents an attempt to provide a balancing act to other problems. I'm not saying you aren't on the right track here; I just want more time to consider the problem.

3) Frankly neither suggestion of the barter system or the gold standard, nor the idea of eliminating the Fed represents an understanding of economics 101.
(as a fiscal conservative, with a BA in Political Science and a Minor in Economics, you would have failed any econ class I was in with these ideas..)

Foreign trade (including deficit spending, which is a form of foreign trade) represents one of the most important natural forces for peace in the world. People just do not make WAR with trading partners. I don't where your original thought inevitably leads to war and inflation. comes from, there is NO, ZERO, NADA in the way of empirical evidence to suggest there is a single iota of truth in that statement.

Overall I do like seeing innovative ideas. Rethink your third idea and I'll spend some time on your second.