America is in real need of structural changes, not just superficial changes, and those changes can best be implemented by looking to our Founding Fathers and the government that they built, which was so successful that it conquered a continent and turned poor huddled unwanted masses into the richest people in the world. The government that our Founding Fathers built was a government that represented the people of our nation through a representative House of Representatives- the government that we have today no longer does this, and the reason for that is one simple law that needs to be changed.
The Reapportionment Act of 1929 needs to be updated to reflect the population changes that have taken place in our nation since before the Great Depression. Currently, the US population is 311,591,917, and each one of us is represented in our government by only a measly 435 Representatives. This is wrong, and changing this number is the sort of structural change which both Republicans and Democrats should be able find common ground on.
Conservatives want to return to our founding principles and return our nation back to the original vision of our Founding Fathers and liberals want to make government more representative and bring more power to individuals- both sides should find common ground on expanding the number of Representatives in the House. Tea party patriots and Occupy Wall Street protesters both call for a government that represents the people of our nation better, and this can be accomplished by expanding the size of the House. There is nothing sacred or special about the number 435- it's just the number we were at in 1911 and is a size that is too big to have any meaningful conversations and yet too small represent us today- and so we should change it.
The unratified Article the First, which was the first amendment that our Founding Fathers proposed, seems to imply that the designers of our government wanted to set a maximum of 50K people per Representative, so let's use that as a starting point for imagining a more representative House. This number would mean that your Representative in Congress would be very local- much like your county commissioner or township trustee, it would be someone in your community who knew your community and knew what the people wanted. They would truly be REPRESENTATIVE of our nation, rather than some elitist lawyer whom you've never seen or heard of, making rules in a far distant capitol for us poor serfs.
The biggest problem with using this starting point is that it would mean that our House of Representatives would have 6231 representatives in it- that is a big House! Logistical problems inevitably would result in a legislature of this size- logistical problems that could be overcome by using modern day technology and resources. For example, if you wanted all the Representatives to gather in one location still, a stadium could be built and each chair equipped with electronic voting equipment, communications equipment, laptops, etc. Or the House could simply gather together in a large conference center and use their smart phones to read and vote on legislation. So the physical limitations are not insurmountable. Today 435 is such a large number that there are no 'real group discussion'- the real work is done in committees and it will continue to be dealt with there even with increased Representatives- so having large numbers of people really won't 'hurt' that aspect of our House any more than it is today.
More realistically though, if each Representative were to represent 100K people there would be 3115 Representatives, or if they were to represent 250K people that would yield 1246 Representatives. Here in Michigan our state Representatives represent about 80K and our state Senators 250K and they are not distant out of touch elites like our Congressmen are, so I can see those numbers being more realistically being adopted. The logistical challenges that these numbers present are more easily surmounted than those facing 6231 that I so easily addressed above, and changing the law to increase the House to 3115 or 1246 would be a good starting point to see if the theory that people truly being represented leads to better government or whether it is better for a small number of elites is better to govern a larger and larger nation.
Look, we're not talking about a constitutional amendment here or secession or granting amnesty to 12 million lawbreaking illegals- all that is needed to pass a law which expands yours and my representation in our government is a simply majority in the House and Senate and then for the law to be signed by the President.
James Madison said “Numerous bodies … are less subject to venality and corruption”- we should take his advice and expand the size of the House of Representatives to fight the groupthink and unethical collusion that is gripping both Republicans and Democrats in Washington DC today.
Having more representatives- notice I used a lower case here because in this case I am writing about having people in Congress who represent you better because they represent a fewer number of people- may cost a bit more due to office staffs and salaries and the such, but those costs are nothing compared to the benefits that might arise out of having better representation. The costs are nothing compared to less waste and corruption, more specifically directed programs, better accounting of each dollar spent, and more judicious stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
This is not the first time that I have written about this issue- see my earlier post Increase the Number of Representatives in the House? An Argument in Favor- but after the last election I was struck once again about how UN-Representative our House is- and so I revisited this concept again, this time with the help of a website that I found called Thirty-Thousand.org.