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A simple proposal - Habemus plus vis computatoris quam Deus
Ramblings of a Unix ronin
unixronin
unixronin
A simple proposal

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives;  and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.

Sounds pretty good to me.  Spread it around.

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lblanchard From: lblanchard Date: September 24th, 2010 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Done.
ttocs From: ttocs Date: September 24th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)
This would appear to be a bit too broadbased.

They could not be paid, receive health insurance, etc.

Follow it, 'except statutes which are required to enable them to perform their duties, as interpreted in the narrowest sense.
unixronin From: unixronin Date: September 24th, 2010 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Sure they could get health insurance. They just couldn't make laws on health insurance and then exempt themselves from complying with them.
perspicuity From: perspicuity Date: September 24th, 2010 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
posts should be one time. not over and over and over. ideally, it should be entirely done as "charity" or service to the country.

they shall not profit from such posts. day to day needs, food, shelter, etc shall be covered. hard to enforce, but there you go.

they shall not have awesome health benefits. same ones we get.

punishments for violations of the trust will include poverty and other just sentences ;)

if they fuck up, they can see jail time.

nobody should WANT the post ;) good service though will be rewarded in some simple fashion. perhaps you know, with freedom.

#
unixronin From: unixronin Date: September 24th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I've seen it argued many times that anyone egotistical enough to WANT to be President of the United States (particularly, badly enough to drop multiple millions of dollars to get it) is probably among the LAST people you actually want in the office.  Personally, I tend to agree.
mr_spock From: mr_spock Date: September 24th, 2010 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you here, but there is a corollary that must also be considered: anyone who does NOT want the office, but has the sort of integrity needed to hold the office & serve fairly, would never accept it even if asked.
unixronin From: unixronin Date: September 24th, 2010 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not so sure of that. Someone who didn't want the office but had, as you put it, the necessary integrity to hold the office and serve fairly, would quite possibly be likely to realize that SOMEBODY has to do it, and be willing to serve out of duty to the nation.
"...But only one term.  Then you find someone else."
ithildae From: ithildae Date: September 24th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Counter example: George Washington
mr_spock From: mr_spock Date: September 24th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
President Washington was a good leader, and the right person for the time. But he also supports my statement. He compromised with his own values.

Everything that is wrong with the current government is the result of at least 150 years of incremental compromise. Most of those compromises probably weren't all that bad, on their own. But, we no longer need leaders who are willing to compromise, we need a leader who would stand up and say "There is NO WAY IN HELL this line moves another inch" in the direction it has been moving. That kind of person would never take a job he/she didn't want.
polaris93 From: polaris93 Date: September 24th, 2010 07:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I like it! :-) -- Another one that might be considered: Years ago I read a science fiction story about a society on an exoplanet that had a political setup roughly like America's, with a congress, a senate, a supreme court, and a president. But anyone who became their president had to wear a collar that could not be removed at any time during his/her tenure in office. The collar had a radio receiver built into it, and every citizen had a radio transmitter with a button he/she could push any time the president took any action at all that was received by the collar worn by the president. When a certain number of signals from the citizens were received by the president's collar, it detonated, blowing the president's head off. Needless to say, it was not a job anyone wanted. But if enough perks were added to that job to sweeten the deal, maybe we could get people to serve as president who would be very careful not to piss off the citizenry . . .
unixronin From: unixronin Date: September 24th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)
It sounds like Jack Vance. He had something like that in The Brave Free Men. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work here; too many people would use the button on any President of the opposite party merely for being of the wrong party.
polaris93 From: polaris93 Date: September 25th, 2010 01:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, that's true. That system would only work if the overwhelming majority of citizens were sane and used their common sense all the time. Which doesn't seem to describe a huge number of Americans, these days.
docstrange From: docstrange Date: September 24th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. Well, that amendment would limit the ability of Congress to pass laws regulating the behavior of senators and reps (currently clearly within its power), since it would in effect mean that no law affecting senators and reps in any way could be passed unless it also fell within the scope of federal power to affect all citizens. If we're going to play let's-pass-an-amendment, it might be better to start off with one that more closely defines the Commerce power.
unixronin From: unixronin Date: September 24th, 2010 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait, Congress is going to pass laws that regulate its own power....? I roll to disbelieve.
...Wow! Look at that, natural 20.

No, I'm pretty sure the object of the proposed amendment is to prevent Congress from passing laws with which it specifically exempts itself from compliance, or from granting itself special privileges, and the other aspects of their "one law for the peons, and one for us" attitude. Congress has de facto made itself into a new aristocracy. Things that get mere citizens thrown in jail earn your Senator a slap on the wrist and a polite "Don't get caught doing it again." They cheat on their taxes, they knowingly kite checks, ... and that's just the petty shit.

I totally agree on the Commerce power though. The Federal government as a whole uses it as a get-out-of-jail-free card that means whatever they want it to mean.
docstrange From: docstrange Date: September 24th, 2010 12:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, so much of this misbehavior comes from today's extraordinarily-broad reading of the Commerce clause. I agree with your point on congressional misbehavior but disagree that the trend can be remedied to any real extent by that amendment. Or probably any amendment that would not also radically change the balance of power. It could be remedied by a more vigorous Justice Dept., but that is ultimately a political problem requiring more than two parties.

See also the 27th A. for example of the almost-pointlessness of "angry at Congress" amendments. The proposed amendment could be evaded by laws passed to apply to all citizens meeting a carefully described set of criteria, which by coincidence apply to only a handful of people including a congresscritter or twelve. The remedy is, I think, political, not more legal complexity. I'd so much rather see the ire of the people turned to heaving them out of office. Oh, wait... maybe it is.
unixronin From: unixronin Date: September 24th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, so much of this misbehavior comes from today's extraordinarily-broad reading of the Commerce clause.
I would say somewhere between "unreasonably broad" and "completely batshit insanely broad", but yeah....
It could be remedied by a more vigorous Justice Dept., but that is ultimately a political problem requiring more than two parties.
And is a little difficult to make work when the foxes get to appoint the guardians of the hen-house.
I'd so much rather see the ire of the people turned to heaving them out of office.
Frankly, so would I.  Kick ALL the bums to the street, wipe the slate clean, and start over from the Constitution plus the current active Amendments. Right now, they're just playing power games, barely bothering to even go through the motions of pretending to obey the Constitution.
ithildae From: ithildae Date: September 24th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sure, the US Constitution has it's flaws, but it is a damn sight better than what we have now.
johnkzin From: johnkzin Date: September 24th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
And, any existing laws that violate this amendment are null and void.
unixronin From: unixronin Date: September 25th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Good call.
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