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congress

make one house a national office elected at large
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The reason we have so much pork barrel spending may be because both houses of congress consist of state politicians who are obliged to their constituents to get the national taxpayer to fund state projects. One advantage of having two houses is that each has de facto veto power over the other. Why don't we use this bicamerality to get one house to veto the pork of the other. I propose that the constitution be ammended to make the senate a national office whose members are elected at large by the whole country. They would serve for a single term and their votes on bills would be optionally secret. The house would have the same number of representatives elected from each state with no term limits and votes on bills would remain public. The equal number of representatives from each state would favor small states while the at- large election of the senate would favor big states. While state representatives are grasping for all the spending they can get for their states and for their reelection, the national senate would cancel any bill not in the national interest because they can't run again, they represent the whole country, and they can keep their vote secret. Another advantage of having an equal number of representatives from each state would be to end gerrymandering ; the dominant party would not be able to stay in power by constantly redrawing the congressional districts in their favor.
tonybe, Nov 12 2009

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       I've no idea what "pork barrel spending" is, but "One advantage of having two houses is that each has de facto veto power over the other" is something that might help in the UK.
wagster, Nov 12 2009
  

       Wags, that's what the House of Lords is/was supposed to be for.
zen_tom, Nov 12 2009
  

       If the votes are secret, then how are they kept accountable to the populace?
RayfordSteele, Nov 12 2009
  

       "It would give states like Wyoming...the same sway in your congress as California..."
That's the point of our Senate, where every state has two representatives regardless of the state population.
  

       The number of representatives per state in our House of Representatives varies by population.
phoenix, Nov 13 2009
  

       To clarify; the house, having two representatives per state, would favor small states, as the senate now does. The senate, being elected at large by the whole country, would favor large states because most voters live in areas of high population. House members would represent their whole state, avoiding the corruption involved in setting district boundaries. The job of the senate would be to prevent excess federal spending for the benefit of only one state or region. They would be motivated to do so because their constituency is the whole nation, not just their home state. To facilitate their spending control function, their one-term limit would free them from constant reelection fundraising, and their option to keep their votes secret would make it easier to vote their conscience, even if they've been pressured, or bribed, to vote the other way.
tonybe, Nov 14 2009
  

       //forum for poorly thought out inventions// - speak for yourself! Many inventions here are very well thought out. To me anyway, being Halfbaked does not mean being poorly thought out.
xenzag, Nov 14 2009
  

       //Wags, that's what the House of Lords is/was supposed to be for.//   

       Yeah but because the HoL doesn't have veto it's becoming less relevant. Whatever the flaws of the House of Port Soaked old Men, it's sliding into irrelevance and possible abolition - which will end with a one-house system with few checks on governmental power.
wagster, Nov 14 2009
  

       Have to disagree with that 'Bubba. The apallingy bad but well thought out ideas are part of what makes this place tick. Darkness would be very boring without the occasional bit of light to perk things up.
DrBob, Nov 14 2009
  

       //The apallingy bad but well thought out ideas//   

       My favourites.
wagster, Nov 14 2009
  

       //The apallingy bad but well thought out ideas// is that a pigeon spelt awfuk?
po, Nov 14 2009
  

       //so much pork barrel spending //
No wonder the Muslims hate you so much.
Paragraph breaks would be good. Spell check also. Bonus points for correct use of shift key.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Nov 14 2009
  

       Somehow I see a strange parallel between the meat grinder of ideas that is congress and the halfbakery.
RayfordSteele, Nov 15 2009
  
      
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