The enemy of Liberty has always been powerful government. Our Founders understood this, and only fools who have spent too much time in universities fail to understand. Our Founders created a system in the US Constitution designed to limit the power and influence of the federal government, not the people. From the very beginning the US Constitution has been under attack. It was designed to limit the power of the US government through a clever series of checks and balances. Most of these checks and balances have either been removed, or just eroded by a steady stream of jurisprudence that ignored their importance.
A few of my thoughts on how to restore Constitutional Balance:
1. The Senate. At first the Senate was an institution of States Rights with each Senator being appointed by the legislature of the state. This was changed very early on to the current system of popular vote. This change transformed a Senator from an officer duty bound and dependent upon the state legislature to an independent Lord that once elected is virtually guaranteed his aristocratic privileges for life. I propose not only restoring the old system, but completely handing over responsibility to the states (with certain restrictions). The states should be allowed to appoint their 2 senators any way they like at any time they like, and recall them anytime and anyway they like… subject to certain limitation: they can NEVER be appointed for life, can only serve for a limited time, and then must be barred from any further federal elected office for a period of 5 years. Also, all the costs to maintain the senators will be born by their states. So each state can decide upon how regally their senators live while in Washington. No Federal stipends for Senators, not even office expenses.
2. The House of Representatives. The House was supposed to represent the interests of the People, and as such they were supposed to represent only a small number (about 50,000 maximum). This should be restored (perhaps to 100,000 people per Representative). The number of Representatives need to be increased while keeping the current budget the same. No rich salaries, no office stipends that give each Representative palatial offices and an army of clerks. The Representative would be paid what a Major in the US military gets paid, and would get the same benefits as a Major in the US military (same healthcare, etc.). They would get only a tiny budget for office expenses and staff, and a modest office. Housing would be provided along the same lines as a Major while in DC. Higher officers of the House (whips, etc.) will get a Colonel’s pay and benefits. The Speaker will be provided a General’s pay and benefits. Upon retiring they will get the same benefits as a retired military of the same grade and terms of service. Perhaps with this system the military will be treated better, and the Congress will be filled with people motivated less by perks, staff, salaries, and rich retirement packages.
3. Intrastate Secession. If ANY part of state wishes to secede from that state (subject only geographic considerations — one county in the center of the state cannot secede unless an adequate number of surrounding counties join together — counties on borders can secede if they wish to join adjacent states and the adjacent state is agreeable, or there are enough other counties joining in to make the area of justifiable size). If the seceding parts of a state do not or cannot join an adjacent state, they will become a Territory of the USA (not automatically a state) and will be become a state based on procedures similar to the old system. They can have Representatives in the House if they have an adequate population even if they are not a State. The purpose of this is to reduce the tyrannical tendencies of many regions within states. California, New York, Illinois, etc. would most likely be torn apart by seceding parts, and hopefully reduce these states power and influence.
4. The Supreme Court. Not appointed for life. 10 years maximum. Any judge can easily be removed by the Senate on a majority vote without cause or need for justification.
5. The President. The power of the President must be limited. There must be an easier way to remove the President from office. The current impeachment process has never worked properly. It was flawed from the very beginning. The President should be able to be removed if a majority (or perhaps super majority????) of the House vote to replace him after 2 years of his election, each election. The then sitting Speaker of the House then becomes President for the remainder of the term. So the President would have 2 years without threat of removal, but if he fails to work with the House, he can easily be removed. Also, since the Speaker could be 2 years away from becoming President, hopefully, the House would show more discretion in who they elect to be Speaker; statesmen not political hacks.
6. Interstate Commerce Clause. This needs to be thoroughly reworked with an eye on limiting it to ONLY issues of interstate commerce. Nothing else. No more laws will be passed that state “this law is founded on the need to regulate Interstate Commerce” when in fact there is absolutely zero Interstate Commerce issues.
7. Taxing Authority. Income tax gone. Only import duties, and excise/sales taxes allowed, and even then limited to modest percentage of the GDP (10% to 15%). How will the federal government pay for endless federal programs, entitlements, regulations into areas best left to the localities? It will not, and thus the federal government will be limited to what it can tax and spend. Control that and you control everything.
8. Borrowing Authority. Strictly limited to times of war, and then must be paid back from tax revenue before ANY new programs are even considered. If national debt is not paid back within 4 years of issue, the entire House of Representatives will be removed, and barred from federal office ever again.
These are a few of my ideas that could only happen if there was a Constitutional Convention of the States. It will never happen. But without some reform the USA can no longer be considered a “free” country which manages its affairs through popular self-rule.
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