Thursday, June 03, 2010

Bureaucrats Vs. Taxpayers

Hat tip: Cato-at-liberty

We need at least one house of legislature capable of taking a rational look at the federal budget and making the cuts that need to be made. Repeal the 17th Amendment and send someone to Congress who has more than a talent for demagoguery, and who's not beholden to a political party for his or her job.


Honest Abe said...

Hey John, just wondering.... since state legislatures are controlled by the same 2 political parties (currently, mostly Democrats), how would repealing the 17th amendment produce senators that aren't beholden to the party system?

Anonymous said...

We are stuck with the party system as we know it for the short term, but as a CP and LP supporter, once we break up the power in Washington City we'll stand a better chance of reducing the parties' power over all when we become more de-centralized. Repealing the 17th is one huge step toward that de-centralization.

Anonymous said...

Hey aka Abe:

Why are you so beholden to big government and out of control spending, which is producing a huge deficit?

Honest Abe said...

Well, I'm interested in breaking the two-party system as well but I just can't see how getting state legislatures to vote in Senators will accomplish this. In fact, this appears to me on its face to simply add one more layer of bureaucracy to the process.

Right now, for instance, there are 27 Democratic-controlled legislatures, 14 Republican-controlled legislatures and 8 split legislatures. There are currently no state legislatures that are independent. Further, state legislatures are still elected by the people. Maybe I'm missing something here but this seems at best a very indirect solution that couldn't possibly be more difficult to implement, has no guarantee of the results you want, and has a fairly large chance of unintended consequences.

Anonymous said...
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JohnJ said...

That's a good question, Abe, and there's an answer to it. The reason is because they won't be beholden to the national party. As it is now, Senators cannot get elected without the endorsement of a party. Empowering state legislatures to appoint Senators actually divides the power of the national party.

You have to remember, the party wants to centralize power so that it can be more efficiently directed towards the interests of the party. It's actually easier for the party to exert control over the legislature when, as it is now, candidates cannot even run for office without the party's support.

There's an excellent book called The Party System which I highly recommend if you're interested in something more informative than a blog comment.

Honest Abe said...

Thanks for your suggestion. I'm definitely interested in knowing more. The only Party System I could find on Amazon is by Hilaire Belloc and appears to be a work of fiction. Is this what you're recommending?

JohnJ said...

That's the book, and it's non-fiction. If you can, get the edition with the foreward by Ron Paul. And don't forget to check out the online resources we have linked on the front page.

And check out Federalist 62, which states, in part:

It is equally unnecessary to dilate on the appointment of senators by the State legislatures. Among the various modes which might have been devised for constituting this branch of the government, that which has been proposed by the convention is probably the most congenial with the public opinion. It is recommended by the double advantage of favoring a select appointment, and of giving to the State governments such an agency in the formation of the federal government as must secure the authority of the former, and may form a convenient link between the two systems.

III. The equality of representation in the Senate is another point, which, being evidently the result of compromise between the opposite pretensions of the large and the small States, does not call for much discussion. If indeed it be right, that among a people thoroughly incorporated into one nation, every district ought to have a proportional share in the government, and that among independent and sovereign States, bound together by a simple league, the parties, however unequal in size, ought to have an equal share in the common councils, it does not appear to be without some reason that in a compound republic, partaking both of the national and federal character, the government ought to be founded on a mixture of the principles of proportional and equal representation. But it is superfluous to try, by the standard of theory, a part of the Constitution which is allowed on all hands to be the result, not of theory, but "of a spirit of amity, and that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensable." A common government, with powers equal to its objects, is called for by the voice, and still more loudly by the political situation, of America. A government founded on principles more consonant to the wishes of the larger States, is not likely to be obtained from the smaller States. The only option, then, for the former, lies between the proposed government and a government still more objectionable. Under this alternative, the advice of prudence must be to embrace the lesser evil; and, instead of indulging a fruitless anticipation of the possible mischiefs which may ensue, to contemplate rather the advantageous consequences which may qualify the sacrifice.

In this spirit it may be remarked, that the equal vote allowed to each State is at once a constitutional recognition of the portion of sovereignty remaining in the individual States, and an instrument for preserving that residuary sovereignty. So far the equality ought to be no less acceptable to the large than to the small States; since they are not less solicitous to guard, by every possible expedient, against an improper consolidation of the States into one simple republic.