It’s not exactly a Monday, but the beginning of another work week nonetheless, following our long Independence Day weekend.
While we’re on the topic of our Republic and its representative government, here’s the Mises Institute on something I’ve pondered before: The US Should Have 10,000 Members of Congress. Excerpt:
In most modern democracies, legislative size tends to increase at a much slower pace than population growth in general. In the United States, the size of the House of Representatives has been locked at 435 since 1929 with the Permanent Reapportionment Act of 1929. Ever since then, Congressional representation has been reapportioned based on relative population growth across the states, and not on growth in population.
When fixed at 435 Representatives (plus 96 Senators from 48 states), the population in the United States was 123,000,000. So, at the time, the average number of constituents per member of Congress was 231,000. That’s a constituency size smaller than all but three states today. The size has grown about 156 percent from 1930 to 2010.
When looking at Congressional delegations at the state level, we find the largest constituency size in 1930 was in New York with 267,000, and the smallest was found in Nevada with a constituency size of only 30,000.
Constituency sizes have more than doubled over this time in most states, and in some states, the size has more than tripled. For the sake of a better scale, I have left Nevada off this list, since the increase in Nevada over this period was more than 1,200%.
Key in the discussion are the many charts and graphs included.
The inaptly named Permanent Reapportionment Act of 1929, name notwithstanding, really should be reconsidered. A big part of the reason for Congress’s abysmal approval ratings may well be due to their perceived (and real, in most cases) distance from their constituents. A Congressman representing 10,000 people would be much more directly accountable than one representing half a million.
While we’re at it, let’s change things up so that at least the House of Representatives doesn’t have to meet in person more than, say, two or three weeks out of the year. The rest of the time, let the amended Act state that they are required to remain in an office within the confines of their Congressional district. Again, make them accountable – and accessible – to their constituents.
In this amazing modern era of Skype, teleconferences, and video chats, surely the Imperial government can conduct their business as do many private sector businesses, all over the world.
It’s a good argument, and I can even come up with a pithy, bumper-sticker-able slogan: Bring Congress Home!