Some states are more equal than others. Let’s change that.

The Small-State Advantage in the United States Senate
[Via Daring Fireball]

Everything that’s wrong with U.S. politics, in one picture.


Let’s change our Congress to more accurately reflect us.

The Senate is tricky and would most likely require a Constitutuional Amendment to fix.

But the House can be fixed just by new legislation. Increase the number of Representatives to 3000.

A problem in the House is apportionment. We now have a range of 1 Representative per 500,000 citizens to 1 per million

The Constitution wanted no more than 1 Representative per 30,000 people. The Founders never envisioned a Congress with one Representative per 500,000 people, much one less per million.

No wonder we dislike the Congress so much. They represent so few of us. 

Perhaps we should fix this. If we lowered the ratio to about 1 per 100,000 people, much like every other democracy, we’d have around 3,000 Representatives. Then even a state like Montana would have 9 Representatives instead of 1. Texas would have 250. California  would have 370. Even small Wyoming would have 5 instead of 1.

Of course, we could not deal with 3000 Representatives the same way we do today.

But what if we made it a part time job, using technology to allow them to work from home and perhaps only have to be in Washington a week or so each quarter? Committee meetings could be by Skype, for example. Just like the rest of us handle remote meetings.

According to my calculations, 3000 part time Representatives could be paid $25,000 without increasing costs. And their expenses would be less as they would not have to have a second home in Washington.

Up to 70% of a Representative’s time is now fundraising. This would be greatly lessened with 3000 Reps instead of 435.

In fact, it would lessen the dominance of Washington by decentralizing the power.

It becomes much less likely that money can buy off members of the House. Lobbying becomes trickier. Much harder to bribe 1500 people. Even getting 100 on their side would not have much effect.  It would lessen the effects of gerrymandering, especially if algorithms were used to design such small districts. It would be very hard to artificially construct weird districts to help statewide politics.

And the laws of large numbers would mean that these 3000 votes would more accurately reflect how people are really feeling. And if they do a lousy job, it becomes easier to find someone to replace them.

After all, it is only a part time job. No one expects to make a living at it.