Congress at the Trough

Can 100 Senators and 435 Congressmen represent the people of the United States better than, say, 100 Senators and 51 Congressmen? The composition of the Senate is fixed at two (2) Senators per State, but the constitution, in Article I, Section 2 specifies that each State shall have at least one (1) Congressman; and no more than one (1) Congressmen per 30,000 people. Why is it that we have to accept the upper limit rather than the lower one? Would be be better off with only the constitutionally mandated minimum?

As the people of the United States transition to the Internet age with over 56% of the population having access (and those without access not voting or caring anyway), the ability to fairly and accurately access the the wishes of the People should be fairly easy to engineer. With a little technical and staff support, which by the way, exists now, a single State representative should be able to generate a precis of the will of the people and still have time to be wined and dined by the special interest groups.

Fifty-one people are easier to perform overwatch on than several hundred. The annual savings on salaries alone would be $63.4MM not counting the franking priviledge costs, the research and staff costs, and all those other perks. Although the Constitution establishes the House as a body constituted proportionate to the population, the same effect could be obtained by allocating votes proportionately with each State Member casting them. A State having twenty representatives now would have one representative with twenty votes. The State legislature perhaps could establish that the votes had to be cast, in terms of Ayes and Nays, in accordance with some mechanism such as Internet polls. [More likely — the representative would cast all twenty votes in accordance with his or his current sponsor’s desires.]

Now granted, the lobbyists would have a harder time of it. They would have to perform some serious time management in order to present their case to the Member from Minnesota (No – not the member hanging out in the men’s room!) before he left on his junket. On the other hand, the net result might be that the legislation passed would be less complicated and less prone to obfuscation. After all with only one representative per State, that one Congressman might have to actually read the laws that are written.

Chuck Norris has a point here. If you want to stop the pork, you don’t make rules on how to fill the trough; and you don’t make a smaller trough — you reduce the number of pigs.