Who thinks that Congress should be totally revamped?
When this country was formed, having Congress meet in Washington, DC made sense. The travel times for the congressmen, especially those in remote western states, and the lack of anything resembling high-speed communication made it necessary. However, those same restrictions are no longer an issue today. Almost all of the business of running this country could easily be handled between e-mail, cell phones, video conferencing, and faxes.
With e-mail, video conferencing, high-speed internet, fax and the modern telephone system, there is really no need to have the Congress centralized any longer. This would help reduce the cost of government, since we, the taxpayers, wouldn’t have to pay for separate support staffs, offices, and such for each congressman in their home state and in the Capitol. The costs of governing the United States would drop some.
Look at the 2010 Congressional calendar. For 2010, the Congress is in recess for over 10 weeks. Yes, that’s right, 20 percent of the year. They don’t start until the 12th of January. There’s a week-long break in February. They have a two-week break at the end of March into the middle of April. They have a week off for the Fourth of July holiday. They have a five-week break for their summer recess covering most of August and the beginning of September. This doesn’t even cover the long holiday recess that Congress normally takes. Nice job, if you can get it.
I’d also point out that moving Congressmen back to their home states would allow congressmen to keep their day jobs and not become parasites living off of our tax dollars. Where in the US Constitution does it say that Congress is supposed to be a full-time job with the benefits and perks these current leeches get? Last I checked, it didn’t say anything about expensive per diem trips, excessive salaries, pensions and health care plans not available to the regular public. Did you ever notice that the people who vote on whether Congress should get a raise are the congressmen themselves? Does this strike you as a bit unfair?
Finally, this would put a lot of power back where it belongs—with the people. Lobbyists would become far less effective, as there would be no single gathering place for them to meet with all the congressmen. To effectively lobby would require them to either electronically or physically meet with each individual senator or representative. It would become far less cost-effective for PACs and other groups to lobby Congress.
I don’t think that Congress would ever change things, as they have way too much to lose given the status quo. This country is supposed to be a representative democracy, but look at how many of the Congress are millionaires… and ask yourself, how many of the voters are millionaires. Yes, that’s what I thought… the little guy isn’t really represented in Congress very much. Just look at all the money it takes to run a campaign nowadays.
Changing the existing government isn’t really the point of this post. Stirring up some thoughts on the current state of government and making my readers think is.