This week seems to have become all about politics. I love social media, as it allows people of disparate views to insult each other’s cherished beliefs in plain text. No one gets to type louder, and you can consider what people say for as long as you want. I really think “social media” is great for that, as long as people are open enough to read what people are saying. Just knowing that your ideological opposites are living, thinking humans is a great tonic for the body politic.
The actual political class needs some more tonic, however.
During these debates and stalemates, I’ve come to a few modest proposals that I would class under the heading “Politics Should Hurt”. They are not realistic ideas, but “modest proposals” as to what politicians should be doing with the people’s trust and fisc. Here are some of them:
Make the 535 members of congress personally responsible for the deficit. That’s only 2 billion per congressperson, and you’d be astonished how fast they could focus on actually solving the debt when they get that new rent check fresh every year. They made it, they can clean it up. Add the president and the vice president if you want to spread the pain around.
Gerrymandering results in a congress that serves the needs of parties more than people. Get rid of it. We have had the computational power for some time to draw a map in each state dividing up the population into areas with minimum circumference, Fine state parties for every mile of circumference over the minimum.
SERVICE IN CONGRESS
Since we hear every week about new cases of congressional perfidy, make service in congress a commutable felony. Commutable only by proof of good service, judged by an exit vote of their electorate. I’d love if there was a way for the whole nation to judge each congressperson on their merits, but that would be both tedious and unfair.
Politicians seem uninterested in honoring the statements, promises and hopes that they got elected on*. Let us change that. If a politician, especially the president, makes a campaign promise that gets them elected, their wealth should be bet against them actually fulfilling that promise. I’m sure accidents and politics happen, so I’d only set the price per infraction at 10% of their net worth. If they exceed 10 campaign promises broken, we the people can just garnish their wages to complete their debt to the people. They can have their secret service detail accompany them to the soup kitchen.
The more a congressperson receives in campaign donations, either directly or money spent by PACS on ad buys in their election, the less discretionary power they should have over the budget when in office. A tidy negative feedback loop. I’d like for politicians to be allergically uninterested in cash for campaigns, and focus more on ideas and solutions for actually fixing America’s problems.
There’s a snippy little amendment going around yonder internet saying that everything would be better if only congresspersons had to obey the laws they passed. I am underwhelmed by that proposal. We can do far far better than that to make government better in this great nation. Politicians need to be much more interested in doing right by the American people. They need real simple and easy to understand skin in the game. These are just some ideas I had to encourage them.
Monday, I’ll step back and approach the problem with more compassion, and see if there’s a path back to sanity.
Nice ring to it
* Especially candidates who still leave me hoping for some real change.