Saturday, March 18, 2006

Do away with 17th Amendment

It's the best solution for campaign funding woes

This article appeared in a Denver Business Journal on February 28, 1997

Business News

Do away with 17th Amendment
It's the best solution for campaign funding woes

The Denver Business Journal - February 28, 1997
by Junius Peake

Three issues are in the forefront of American political debate: campaign finance reform; reducing the size of the federal government; and devolving power to the states and to the people.

The original framers of the Constitution were smart enough to have figured out a way to meet all three of these objectives. However, in a spate of populism, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which changed the way senators were elected, was ratified, thus negating much of the brilliance which created a fair balance of powers between the federal and state branches of government.

Originally, the United States senators were elected -- two per state -- by their state legislatures; the 17th Amendment transferred their election to statewide plebiscites. This reduced the power of the states, and created another legislative body having many of the characteristics of the House of Representatives.

Repealing the 17th Amendment to the Constitution would have immediate benefits: It would eliminate the need for the huge Senate campaigns we have today; would make the role of state legislators far more important that it is today; and reduce the power and size of the federal government.

The long-term effects of this change, much like the long-term effects of the 16th Amendment, which created the income tax (also ratified in 1913), have resulted in unintended consequences. The shift of political power from state legislatures to the electorate resulted in a concomitant increase in power by the House, which already had been granted sole authority to initiate all federal revenue legislation.

Read the rest of the article here.

Comment: A basic examination of campaign finance or ethics reform demonstrates a pattern of duplicity that presents the appearance of reform yet always protecting the incumbents. Furthermore, either the intended or unintended consequences of these reforms the result is always the same, a whittling away at our rights. The founding father were far more wiser as the author states, and this can be seen our very inept Senators.

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