I was just reviewing a recent Rasmussen poll showing the following.
1. Only 6% of Americans rate the performance of Conress as good or exellent.
2. 66% say that they are doing a poor job.
3. 9% believe they have passed legislation in the last year that will significantly improve life in America.
In fact, we have seen recent examples to the damning evidence against perhaps the most dysfunctional governing body in human history. This indludes the recent drama regarding the inability to address the debt ceiling and acts of Reconciliation to pass Obamacare and the formation of "Super Congrss" to try and perform gymnastics around this inherently dysfunctional system.
So we are left with two conclusions. The system was inherently flawed as originally drafted by the Founders, or the tampering of the system has damned the system. So to determine the causes, we must study how the system was first proposed.
Article 1 and Section 1 of the Constitution says the following: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives".
The positioning of Congress at the beginning of the Constitution reaffirms its status as the "Frist Branch" of the federal government. The Constitution assigned to Congress the responsibility for ogranizing the executive and judicial branches, raising revenue, declaring war (LOL), and making laws necessary for executing these powers.
And now for the discussion. To try and ascertain what exactly went wrong, we first need to see when they went wrong. After all, the approval ratings have gradually been dropping throughout the modern era. So how was this legislative body tampered with that could have led to the demise of Congress? I will begin by discussing two such tamperings that are suspect.
In 1911, the number of representatives was fixed at 435. Before this, the number of Representatives were determined by the population. Also, in 1913, the 17th Amendment provided that Senators be directly elected by the people instead of being chosen by their state legislators.
So on the one hand, it seems that democratic representation was curbed by curbing the number of legislators elected to represent population size. However, it seems they favored a more demcratic approach in regards to Senators who were directly elected by the people.
It would appear to me that the Founders favored direct democracy when it came to the House but were wary of it when it came to the Senate. In fact the terms for House members are 2 years (who were directly eleted) and the Senate 6 years (who were appointed) reflect this uneasy relationship the Founding Fathers had with direct democracy.
So what could possibly be the down side of electing Senators instead of having them appointed? For one, the power and importance of the state legislators were severly deminished. This gave rise to the edification of the federal system over the individual state powers. In addition, it would appear that the Founding Fathers had more faith in a Representative selecting another Representative than the average Joe Blow doing the same since the appoined Congressman had a much longer term and had more voting power since each state only had 2 Senators verses a myriad of votes in the House.
So what of limiting the number of Congressmen in the House? How has this tampered with the sytem? It seems to me that the votes of those in the House have much greater significance since there are less of them than there would have been under the original Constitution.
So in conclusion, it appears that having Senators directly elected and limiting the number of those in the House has elevated the power of the direct vote of the poeple. Today in an era when the gospel of democracy reigns supreme at any cost, it sounds almost heretical to suggest that there is very much a dark side to direct democracy. However, the Founding Fathers clearly saw such a dark side since they opted for a representative government instead. Conversly, the Progressives at the turn of the 20th century clearly saw direct democracy as more of a virtue than those they preceeded.
So what say you, who has more wisdom regarding the matter?