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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    03 Oct '10 18:29
    American lawmakers are reelected in part because citizens know those senior lawmakers who sit on powerful comittees can steer federal money to there respective states for transportation, defence etc. thus creating jobs. It happens in every state, and is done equally by lawmakers from both parties (regardless of what they say at election time). This is a system gone wrong, and until it's changed, balancing the federal budget will be nearly impossible. Lawmakers use earmarks, backroom deals, and other accounting trickery to bloat the federal budget, and bring home the bacon to the local folks, so they can get reelected. I can't claim to have all the answers, but doing away with these silly earmarks, and greater publicity concerning what deals lawmakers are agreeing to (and what each deal will cost) would minimize excess spending, and make lawmakers more accountable. Now...this won't happen of course, but I'm bringing this up so people will realize that changing lawmakers won't stop this budget mess.
  2. 03 Oct '10 18:34
    Electing people locally to legislate nationally is a fundamentally flawed idea. The national parliament should be elected nationally, the state legislature should be elected at the state level and the county legislature should be elected at the county level. That way "pork" is impossible.
  3. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    03 Oct '10 20:16
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Electing people locally to legislate nationally is a fundamentally flawed idea. The national parliament should be elected nationally, the state legislature should be elected at the state level and the county legislature should be elected at the county level. That way "pork" is impossible.
    Then you have strict party discipline within each party and individual legislators and constituencies become irrelevant. In a country of 310,000,000 people covering 3.7 million square miles, strict party voting is a terrible idea. People in Mississippi have the right to want people in Congress who represent them and aren't chosen by the party power brokers in Houston and New York.

    The line item veto is a far superior way to cut pork than switching to a strict party vote system. A split of the legislature where some are elected from single member districts and some by party vote, as many democracies have may be worth looking at. but in a closely divided legislature, the marginal legislator would still have the power to "force" some pork his or her district's way.
  4. 04 Oct '10 18:57 / 3 edits
    here's an idea. Its unlikely that we'll ever eliminate earmarks - so the least we can do is ensure that the earmark money flows equally, and that the amount of money that gets spent each year on earmarks is fixed at a certain level.

    Pass a law that will give each member of Congress a specific sum of money each year in proportion to the population of their state or district - and each member can then distribute that money to specific projects located in their state or district as they see fit - and any future bill seeking to change this set-up must be voted upon as a stand-alone bill.

    likewise - any additional earmark in a given year that is proposed beyond this arrangement must also be passed by Congress as a stand-alone bill - unattached to anything else, and thus subject to presidential veto.
  5. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    04 Oct '10 19:19
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Electing people locally to legislate nationally is a fundamentally flawed idea. The national parliament should be elected nationally, the state legislature should be elected at the state level and the county legislature should be elected at the county level. That way "pork" is impossible.
    Don't forget to elect our UN representatives!