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February 24, 2010

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The link is http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0210/33412.html, I think.

I think you're right. A constitutional amendment is the only hope. One of the items included in the 'short list' of the 'Contract From America' is a balanced budget amendment, so that is sort of encouraging. In fact the whole Tea-Party movement, rebelling against the whole neo-con big government meme that has taken over the Republican party is encouraging.

Another item on their 'short list' is a limitation on the number of words there can be in a single bill, to the same number as were in the constitution, I think. A dumb idea on the face of it, but at least a serious attempt to limit bills to be of manageable size. It would have to be a constitutional amendment as well, to have any force, but if it were in place, it would certainly make our Congress-crooks a lot more accountable for their votes.

I could think of a lot of other changes that would help, a lot, but those two seem to be at least in play.

A third item that got talked about a lot as part of the 'Contract From America', although I don't think it made the short list, was to require Congress to enact all regulations if they are to have the force of law. That would help slow down, somewhat, the whole problem with unfunded mandates, especially if they actually were able to impose a word count limit on bills.

One possible improvement that I have been thinking about recently in the way government functions, would be to repeal the 17th Amendment - the one that specified that Senators were to be elected directly by the citizens instead of by the State Legislators.

I think the effect of this Amendment has been overall very harmful. Before it was enacted, the Senate acted as a brake on the growth of the Federal Government, since they were, literally, the representatives of the States.

Repealing the 18th Amendment wouldn't be as direct a path as a balanced budget amendment, to getting government spending under control. But it might be more effective in the long run. It's the old checks and balances idea. If Senate, House, and the Executive are all elected by the people, no Amendment, no matter how plainly written, would be an effective check on their unceasing push to centralize power and expand it. Just look at the Commerce Clause. There are a million ways to game a Balanced Budget Amendment, so, even if it was passed it would soon become a dead letter. Congress would just start setting up quasi-governmental bodies and 'guaranteeing loans' instead of spending directly; or passing laws as unfunded mandates.

The repeal of the 17th Amendment seems more promising in terms of being a long term fix, since it would change the basic motives of one house of congress.

How about we enforce the Constitutional limits on the Federal government that we already have? Of course, there is no enforcement mechanism, other than a Supreme Court appointed by the perpetrators.

I'd like to see an amendment that requires taxpayer approval of all spending and borrowing in proportion to how much tax they pay. We need to counteract the natural tendency of democracies to benefit the many at the expense of the few who pay the most taxes.

The battle of ideas is not won or lost in Congress, or even in elections, but in the long assessment of history. Just ask Qeng Ho.

The battle of ideas is not won or lost in Congress, or even in elections, but in the long assessment of history. Just ask Qeng Ho.

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I guess the point is to give and save as much as you can and make your money work for you like the good servant we should strive to be.

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