Extreme Make-Over: The House Edition
The Constitution of the Untied States of America, Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3, excerpt:
“Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers.”
“The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand.”
What many people don’t know was that there was originally 12 Articles to the Bill of Rights. The original Article 1 dealt with the size of the House of Representatives:
“ … there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred representatives, nor less than one representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than two hundred representatives, nor more than one representative for every fifty thousand persons.”
Unfortunately, there was an error in its language so the States never ratified it.
The number of Representatives was permanently fixed at 435 in 1929, although it increased briefly to 437 in 1959 after Alaska and Hawaii became states. The number of Representatives has not changed with population growth since 1929; although it had with each census up until 1913. “One Representative for every 50,000″ means there should be approximately 6000 Representatives today. As apportioned by the 2000 Census, each member of the House currently represents about 650,000 people. That’s watered-down representation, that’s too much power entrenched in one individual, and too little accountability and responsibility to one’s constituents.
Expanding the House membership should NOT mean spending millions or billions to expand the Capital Building, staffs, etc.; not one dime would have to be spent to expand our representation. Remember, the original intent was that our elected officials were NOT supposed to remain in Washington, being a representative was NOT supposed to be one’s career but one’s part-time service to his country while holding down a normal job or running one’s own business (“… government of the people, by the people, for the people …). They were NOT supposed to have two staffs (in their state and then in DC). As it is, they pay huge staffs to basically do their work for them. Representatives should do their work in their district offices, and be employed locally. They should live among the people they SHOULD be close to—those that voted for them, that hired them, to whom they should be accountable. With the technology that we have today there is no reason this can’t be done. They can download, read, have conference calls and vote on bills remotely and convene in Washington as infrequently as possible for perhaps true emergency or security/defense measures. And when their tenure is up, they should return to life in their states, given 6 months or a year of COBRA for their medical benefits and/or 6 months or a year of unemployment insurance, just like every other American.
The House of Representatives is supposed to be the “People’s House,” and 435 individuals CANNOT adequately represent the people. My representative does NOT represent me or my viewpoints in any way, shape or form and, therefore, I am being taxed WITHOUT representation.
It’s time to take back the House from elitists, lobbyists and special interests. Increasing the number of Representatives would go a long way in breaking the power of entrenched incumbency.