The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

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The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Gunfingers » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:21 pm UTC

My 28th Amendment wrote:No act shall be forbidden by law unless it will result in unreasonable harm or restriction of rights to another person. Nor shall any person be convicted for any act unless the same or unreasonable risk of the same can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

This is the place to propose amendments to your country's constitution, comment on another's idea (i'm sure mine could be improved), or write a whole constitution if you don't have one (i'm looking at you, you dirty lobsterbacks).

I've always been almost surprised that what i've written (or some other version, better worded) wasn't in the bill of rights. The whole "Don't fuck with anyone and the government won't fuck with you" thing is sort of the whole idea behind the US constitution. That they would say pretty much everything but that seems...odd to me. So we should write it in, and put a stop to all the insanity we're coming out with now.


Edit: That wasn't a pun, i wrote "right" when i meant "write". Fixed now.
Last edited by Gunfingers on Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:00 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Mountainhawk » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:34 pm UTC

The 16th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America is hereby repealed.



Get rid of that one, and a lot of other problems go away.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:40 pm UTC

I think you're being a little optimistic in terms of its effect... I don't pay much attention to court cases for the most part, but things like Gonzales v. Raich make me think that the court doesn't give two shits what the actual law says, they just want the law to look the way like it... seriously, if growing things on private property only using material manufactured within the state constitutes interstate trade than I think "unreasonable risk" will be extended to whatever they feel like. Good in theory, but ultimately good laws only work when the government supports their true meaning.

And mountianhawk, how do you propose paying off nine trillion in debt without income taxes? Or the many buisinesses that would fold without government orders and the millions of governemntal employees you have to lay off? Lowering income taxes is a gradual process, you can't just wake up and decide to end it (but I think this discussion is better fit for the ideal tax thread).

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Mountainhawk » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:44 pm UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:I think you're being a little optimistic in terms of its effect... I don't pay much attention to court cases for the most part, but things like Gonzales v. Raich make me think that the court doesn't give two shits what the actual law says, they just want the law to look the way like it... seriously, if growing things on private property only using material manufactured within the state constitutes interstate trade than I think "unreasonable risk" will be extended to whatever they feel like. Good in theory, but ultimately good laws only work when the government supports their true meaning.

And mountianhawk, how do you propose paying off nine trillion in debt without income taxes? Or the many buisinesses that would fold without government orders and the millions of governemntal employees you have to lay off? Lowering income taxes is a gradual process, you can't just wake up and decide to end it (but I think this discussion is better fit for the ideal tax thread).



Income taxes aren't the only way of funding the federal government.

You could, for example, tax the states themselves, which in turn could use income tax to pay that bill. However, then everyone only has to pay state tax, and we save on the inefficency of having both state and federal tax collectors.

Plus, if the government's only source of income was from state governments, they would be held more accountable IMO regarding wasteful spending.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Silas » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:31 pm UTC

Mountainhawk wrote:You could, for example, tax the states themselves, which in turn could use income tax to pay that bill. However, then everyone only has to pay state tax, and we save on the inefficency of having both state and federal tax collectors.

See Article One, 9:4. It's not simple at all; unless this is a per-capita poll tax, it's unconstitutional.

Excise taxes and import/export tariffs screw up market valuation, so they're problematic, too.

The only real alternative to an income tax is a sales tax, which is appealing in a number of ways, but has it's own problems. There's a thread about it somewhere.

Edit: Unrelated to the above, here's a list of all the current amendments to the Constitution, just so you get an idea of what's already been done.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Gunfingers » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:55 pm UTC

Well we are talking amendments here. What's constitutional isn't all that important when you're changing the constitution. He's just going to have to come up with a way to make it work. There's gotta be one, it worked before the 16th amendment.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Silas » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:00 pm UTC

Fair point about 'it's inconstitutional-' I guess I hadn't thought that one all the way through.

Before the 16th amendment, the government got most of its budget from imposts and excise taxes. They're great for the first trillion (today's money; if they're levied thoughtfully; this is a crude guess), but then the deadweight loss starts to add up.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby btilly » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:24 pm UTC

Off of the top of my head here are a few.

If any part of a bill is found to be unconstitutional, the entire bill must be struck down. (To try to discourage people from slipping unconstitutional bits into important bills.)

No federal bill may be passed into law that is over 10,000 words in length. (Bye bye omnibus bills.)

Hmmm, let me think. Oh, how could I skip this one?

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
bullet Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
bullet Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.


I'd like to see something in the Constitution that says that the Constitution must be interpreted more literally, but such a provision would strike down a lot of laws that I personally like. The only way to sort out that mess would be a Constitutional Convention. Which would be very risky.

I'd like to see clarification of Article 1, section 8, clause 8 to say that the limited times for copyright and patent law shall be bounded above by something reasonable. For instance 25 years. But that's really wishful thinking on my part since the real problem is in the laws passed by Congress. (And the court's unwillingness to enforce that clause.)

I could go on, but that's enough.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Haploanddogs » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:34 pm UTC

A balanced budget, unless in times of a declared war by congress, or a super-majority of the legislators.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby btilly » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:37 pm UTC

Haploanddogs wrote:A balanced budget, unless in times of a declared war by congress, or a super-majority of the legislators.

The problem with that is that there are good economic reasons why government should run a surplus in good years and a deficit in bad. We've just ignored the "surplus in good years" part of it for far too long.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby TheAmazingRando » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:03 pm UTC

The ERA. I think that anyone who says that sexism doesn't still exist on a large scale in America needs to come up with a good answer to why this bill still hasn't reached ratification after 30 years.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby BlackSails » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:08 pm UTC

Amendment: Any elected member of the United States government, or any employee thereof who accepts any gift, reimbursement, renumeration or consideration shall be ineligible to hold any office.


Amendment: No person running for election can accept any gift, reimbursement, remuneration or consideration which is not anonymous. Congress shall create appropriate measures for ensuring anonymity.


Amendment: Members of the supreme court shall be appointed to 10 year terms. No justice can be appointed more than three times.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby btilly » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:12 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:The ERA. I think that anyone who says that sexism doesn't still exist on a large scale in America needs to come up with a good answer to why this bill still hasn't reached ratification after 30 years.

They actually started the process for it in 1923!
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby TheAmazingRando » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:38 pm UTC

I guess I was just familiar with the public movement for it in the 70s, I had no idea it predated that by so much.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby oxoiron » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:52 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:Amendment: Any elected member of the United States government, or any employee thereof who accepts any gift, reimbursement, renumeration [sic] or consideration shall be ineligible to hold any office imprisoned for the remainder of his life. This sentence cannot be commuted and neither can the crime be pardoned by any person.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Elvish Pillager » Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:58 pm UTC

Amendment: Upon taking office, any state or federal official shall immediately choose up to one million dollars worth of her or his property, and surrender the rest to the government. While in office, s/he shall also be barred from accepting gifts or payments totaling to a value greater than the stipend associated with the office.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Silas » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:24 am UTC

I admit that I have little to add that's positive, but please let me take a moment to hate on other people's ideas.

btilly wrote:If any part of a bill is found to be unconstitutional, the entire bill must be struck down. (To try to discourage people from slipping unconstitutional bits into important bills.)

Won't this just encourage legislators to slip unconstitutional bits into important bills to sabotage them?

I'd like to see clarification of Article 1, section 8, clause 8 to say that the limited times for copyright and patent law shall be bounded above by something reasonable. For instance 25 years. But that's really wishful thinking on my part since the real problem is in the laws passed by Congress. (And the court's unwillingness to enforce that clause.)

So, essentially just putting "for a limited time" in boldface? Can you do that in those old-timey scripts?

BlackSails wrote:Amendment: Any elected member of the United States government, or any employee thereof who accepts any gift, reimbursement, renumeration or consideration shall be ineligible to hold any office.

Birthday parties are going to suck.

Seriously, how is this going to work? Polite society involves the exchange of gifts and considerations. Your friend comes by to visit, and he sleeps on your couch- that's a consideration. A bunch of your friends are at a restaurant, and someone picks up the check, that's a gift. Hell, you're in another congressman's office, and he pulls out his whiskey and says, 'would you like a drink?'

The point is to hold our elected officials to a higher standard, not to handicap them.

Amendment: No person running for election can accept any gift, reimbursement, remuneration or consideration which is not anonymous. Congress shall create appropriate measures for ensuring anonymity.

I have to call this one out. This is the worst idea I've seen put up here. You don't discourage graft by making it harder to conceal where money is coming from. Seriously.

Amendment: Members of the supreme court shall be appointed to 10 year terms. No justice can be appointed more than three times.

I understand your resentment of the court's dinosaurs, but making justices* worry about getting reappointed will dilute the independence of the court. Look at countries where high judges fear for their jobs (think Zimbabwe or Russia), and ask yourself if that's the direction we want to move in.

*the distinction is significant. Members or officers of the court include clerks, attorneys, bailiffs, and really anybody on staff.

Elvish Pillager wrote:Amendment: Upon taking office, any state or federal official shall immediately choose up to one million dollars worth of her or his property, and surrender the rest to the government. While in office, s/he shall also be barred from accepting gifts or payments totaling to a value greater than the stipend associated with the office.

Yeah, let's all punish the rich.

On a more technical note, anyone who wants to use a dollar amount in the constitution should remember the 7th amendment.

Edit: On second thought, I will say something that's not a criticism (though not completely serious). The amendment I'd like to see is to go through and fix all those confusing commas. They're the source of half of our constitutional disputes.
Last edited by Silas on Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:34 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby btilly » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:33 am UTC

Silas wrote:I admit that I have little to add that's positive, but please let me take a moment to hate on other people's ideas.

btilly wrote:If any part of a bill is found to be unconstitutional, the entire bill must be struck down. (To try to discourage people from slipping unconstitutional bits into important bills.)

Won't this just encourage legislators to slip unconstitutional bits into important bills to sabotage them?

It will. But it will also encourage vigilance to make sure that no such sabotage has taken place.

Right now the attitude is, "Put everything we want in the bill and see how much we can get past the courts." I'd prefer an attitude of not having the real garbage in at the start.
Silas wrote:
I'd like to see clarification of Article 1, section 8, clause 8 to say that the limited times for copyright and patent law shall be bounded above by something reasonable. For instance 25 years. But that's really wishful thinking on my part since the real problem is in the laws passed by Congress. (And the court's unwillingness to enforce that clause.)

So, essentially just putting "for a limited time" in boldface? Can you do that in those old-timey scripts?

Apparently not. Which is why you need to spell it out.

Anyways as far as I'm concerned, the 7-2 decision in Eldred vs Ashcroft makes the idea of "limited times" a farce. As long as Disney can keep lobbying to keep Mickey Mouse copyrighted, copyrights have effectively unlimited terms.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Elvish Pillager » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:44 am UTC

Silas wrote:
Elvish Pillager wrote:Amendment: Upon taking office, any state or federal official shall immediately choose up to one million dollars worth of her or his property, and surrender the rest to the government. While in office, s/he shall also be barred from accepting gifts or payments totaling to a value greater than the stipend associated with the office.

Yeah, let's all punish the rich.

This isn't punishing the rich... at worst, it's punishing those who seek office while rich.

Maybe we'd get some "representatives" who'll actually represent the common people.

Silas wrote:On a more technical note, anyone who wants to use a dollar amount in the constitution should remember the 7th amendment.

good catch. I'm sure there's a workable solution though.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Silas » Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:19 am UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:This isn't punishing the rich... at worst, it's punishing those who seek office while rich.

Other than sheer resentment, I don't see why this is a good idea.

And yes, it is punishing the rich. It dilutes their franchise by making it more difficult for them to hold office.

btilly wrote:
Silas wrote:Won't this just encourage legislators to slip unconstitutional bits into important bills to sabotage them?

It will. But it will also encourage vigilance to make sure that no such sabotage has taken place.

Right now the attitude is, "Put everything we want in the bill and see how much we can get past the courts." I'd prefer an attitude of not having the real garbage in at the start.

One of the easiest ways to kill a bill is to add an unpalatable amendment. I feel like this would just make that even easier, in addition to making it possible to challenge laws because of some obscure constitutional technicality.

Also, the Supreme Court is restricted to judging "actual cases and controversies;" <I'm sure there's a problem that follows from this, but I can't quite conceive of the situation. Maybe later.>

And about the copyright. You're right, of course, that copyrights shouldn't last as long as they do- this is ridiculous. I'd prefer it were the longer of the (last surviving) author's life or 20 years, but isn't really the place for arguing about it.

But if we can't get Congress to pass sensible laws as it is, how are we going to get two thirds of both houses and three quarters of the states to do it?
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Malice » Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:51 am UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:
Silas wrote:
Elvish Pillager wrote:Amendment: Upon taking office, any state or federal official shall immediately choose up to one million dollars worth of her or his property, and surrender the rest to the government. While in office, s/he shall also be barred from accepting gifts or payments totaling to a value greater than the stipend associated with the office.

Yeah, let's all punish the rich.

This isn't punishing the rich... at worst, it's punishing those who seek office while rich.

Maybe we'd get some "representatives" who'll actually represent the common people.


It would be much less invasive to limit candidates to public funds while running for office. Then the rich wouldn't have nearly as much of an advantage, without having to surrender their property to the government.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Varsil » Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:25 am UTC

Screw the surrendering assets. Just say this:

A sitting or former president or vice president shall be paid a salary equal to the median wage in the nation. Any further income is to be surrendered to the government as taxes.

Or thereabouts. Both prevents the current practices with regards to ex-presidents mysteriously getting massive consulting jobs from their favourite industries after they're done, and also gives them a substantial incentive to improve the economic well-being of their citizenry.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby roc314 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:44 am UTC

Not sure why this one isn't out, but it should be:
The right of any citizen to marry any other human shall not be infringed upon, regardless of sex, race, or sexual orientation.

Could use some ironing out to insure that the language won't create problems, but you get the idea.

Not an overly serious one, but one I want to see:
The mentioning of a candidate's religious background, or the religious background of another in a public event, or through any event shown through the media or through any advertisements shall not be allowed. Any violation of this shall result in said candidate being disqualified from the current election.


Also:
The right to health care shall not be kept from any citizen, regardless of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, income, or ability to pay.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Silas » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:06 am UTC

So... all of your pet issues from this election need to be in the constitution? That's not really what it's for.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby roc314 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:11 am UTC

Silas wrote:So... all of your pet issues from this election need to be in the constitution? That's not really what it's for.


1 is an issue of civil rights, saying that it shouldn't be in the constitution is like saying the ERA shouldn't be in there because some interest groups are lobbying for it. Sometimes elections are about important issues.

2 was only semi-serious; while I would like to see it, I don't think the constitution would be the right place.

3 is also an issue of human rights, namely the right to life. Why do you think that civil rights shouldn't be protected by the constitution?

EDIT: for that matter, what would you put in the constitution? All you seem to have done is criticize others' ideas. So you either think that nothing should go in the constitution, or you are just against almost everything being in there.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:22 am UTC

The problem with a health care amendment is that it would need to be very specific. What quality of healthcare is guaranteed? What procedures are and are not covered? Some plastic surgery is necessary, some isn't, some is somewhere in-between. How urgent does an ailment need to be for government-supplied treatment? If there's an extremely expensive procedure that has a 10% chance of curing me, will the government pay for it? How about 40%? 60%?

I think the amount of gray areas means that this is something best left to legislature, and not the constitution.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Silas » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:27 am UTC

The Constitution is intended to legitimize the government, specify its structure, lay out the principles by which it operates, and establish its limits, in that order.

Think about what it would mean to run a country on the principle that everyone is entitled to health care, regardless of his ability to pay. It just doesn't stand up next to government of the people, by the people, for the people.

One of the principles that pervades the document is that no generation should presume to impose its moral judgment on its progeny. The exceptions, you're sure to point out, are the 13th and 18th amendments. The thirteenth worked out pretty well, I think we can all agree, but the 18th- not so much.

Or we could think of the constitution as the list of promises that we citizens make to one another. And I for one don't want to promise all my neighbors that we'll spend however much it takes to keep you healthy, always. The Names of Lloyd's couldn't underwrite a promise like that.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Maskirovka » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:56 am UTC

Varsil wrote:Screw the surrendering assets. Just say this:

A sitting or former president or vice president shall be paid a salary equal to the median wage in the nation. Any further income is to be surrendered to the government as taxes.

Or thereabouts. Both prevents the current practices with regards to ex-presidents mysteriously getting massive consulting jobs from their favourite industries after they're done, and also gives them a substantial incentive to improve the economic well-being of their citizenry.


You're going on the assumption that bad Presidents are in office for personal gain. You're also assuming they wouldn't do it anyway because they believe in it. In Bush's case I'm pretty sure he believes in what he's doing wholeheartedly and wouldn't care so much about the personal income. I disagree with him on a shitload of issues, but I think he's genuine. Anyway, during the last 8 years of Bush, the GDP has gone up (and so has the average income I believe). However, the poverty rate has grown or stayed steady, and unemployment has risen. So if the spirit of your idea is to force them to help the less fortunate, it doesn't work. You can raise the average net income by doing things to raise salaries and decrease taxes at the top. You'd need a lot more stuff in there to make sure you're saying what you mean.

The spirit of the amendment isn't bad...throw incentive in to make public office less beneficial for anyone who wants to personally gain from it. This also wouldn't prevent people from getting elected to help their friends, nor would it prevent their friends from helping them once they're out of office, such as "here, stay in this house I just bought", etc. Constitutional amendments (and laws in general) have to be bulletproof or people will find ways to exploit them.

Anyway the basic premise is decent...and any amendment along these lines should include senators/reps as well as Pres/VP.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Mountainhawk » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:28 pm UTC

Instead of limiting someone's income forever, which is just a bad idea for many reasons, and would just have most presidents move out of the US after serving, how about instead we do:

Any person is limited to a total of six years as an elected or appointed official in the federal government.


If the President or Senators can't be re-elected or moved up, then the incentive to lobby is greatly reduced.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Mountainhawk » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:30 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:
Also:
The right to health care shall not be kept from any citizen, regardless of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, income, or ability to pay.



BTW, it's already illegal for state run clinics/hospitals to keep health care from someone due to any of those reasons.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby roc314 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:26 pm UTC

@Silas & The AmazingRando: point taken that such a measure would be better done through legislation.

Silas wrote:One of the principles that pervades the document is that no generation should presume to impose its moral judgment on its progeny. The exceptions, you're sure to point out, are the 13th and 18th amendments. The thirteenth worked out pretty well, I think we can all agree, but the 18th- not so much.

I would also argue that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, and 26th are also cases where the group that passed them is enforcing their morals on their future countryman. Not that I'm complaining, I like the fact that our founding fathers valued free speech. I get your point about the moral judgment, though, and think that the constitution is not about the enforcement of certain morals, but about being vague about what is really being enforced. That way, certain basic rights will be protected, but it can adjust from time to time.

New Amendment:
The 22nd amendment to the constitution of the USA in hereby repealed.
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Silas
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Silas » Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:32 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:I would also argue that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, and 26th are also cases where the group that passed them is enforcing their morals on their future countryman.

I feel like most of those (they're too many to address in detail, and some are borderline, like 15 and 19.) are less about moral judgments and more about practical concerns, akin to maintaining the checks and balances. Some of course are hybrids.

If you'll indulge me in a proof-by-example, there's nothing morally superior about a jury trial;* the intent of guaranteeing one is to keep judges from amassing too much power, not to preserve some fundamental dignity.

*not everyone agrees with this proposition, of course.

Edit: finished a sentence I'd left half-written. In blue.
Last edited by Silas on Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:25 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Varsil » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:11 pm UTC

Maskirovka wrote:You're going on the assumption that bad Presidents are in office for personal gain. You're also assuming they wouldn't do it anyway because they believe in it. In Bush's case I'm pretty sure he believes in what he's doing wholeheartedly and wouldn't care so much about the personal income. I disagree with him on a shitload of issues, but I think he's genuine. Anyway, during the last 8 years of Bush, the GDP has gone up (and so has the average income I believe). However, the poverty rate has grown or stayed steady, and unemployment has risen. So if the spirit of your idea is to force them to help the less fortunate, it doesn't work. You can raise the average net income by doing things to raise salaries and decrease taxes at the top. You'd need a lot more stuff in there to make sure you're saying what you mean.


No, I'm going on the assumption that at least some of what at least some bad Presidents do is motivated by personal gain. I won't argue that it's all of it, but I will definitely argue that it's some. Anyway, the poverty rate stuff you point out is why I say median income rather than mean income. A president who wanted to increase the median income has a strong incentive to pursue programs that distribute wealth broadly, and especially to the poor, rather than programs that concentrate wealth among the few. The median income is achieved by splitting the pool of income earners in half so that half are earning more than your given line, and half are earning less than it (and that line is your median).

The spirit of the amendment isn't bad...throw incentive in to make public office less beneficial for anyone who wants to personally gain from it. This also wouldn't prevent people from getting elected to help their friends, nor would it prevent their friends from helping them once they're out of office, such as "here, stay in this house I just bought", etc. Constitutional amendments (and laws in general) have to be bulletproof or people will find ways to exploit them.


I'd count the "Here, stay in this house I just bought" as a gift with a cash value, myself, and tax it accordingly. So yeah, you'd need to do a bit of fiddling with the wording. I'll also freely yield it wouldn't stop people from getting elected to help their friends, but it's not really intended to.

Anyway the basic premise is decent...and any amendment along these lines should include senators/reps as well as Pres/VP.


Not a bad idea, but not sure how far down you could go here.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:24 pm UTC

Varsil wrote:No, I'm going on the assumption that at least some of what at least some bad Presidents do is motivated by personal gain. I won't argue that it's all of it, but I will definitely argue that it's some. Anyway, the poverty rate stuff you point out is why I say median income rather than mean income. A president who wanted to increase the median income has a strong incentive to pursue programs that distribute wealth broadly, and especially to the poor, rather than programs that concentrate wealth among the few. The median income is achieved by splitting the pool of income earners in half so that half are earning more than your given line, and half are earning less than it (and that line is your median).


Isn't this proposal still a little... politically narrow? I understand your concerns for the poor, but speaking for myself and a good portion of America I hold nothing against those who obtain wealth through legitimate means and who want to enter politics, and I do not think that giving rulers money based off their ability to redistribute income is a terribly good idea.

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Maskirovka » Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:43 pm UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:I do not think that giving rulers money based off their ability to redistribute income is a terribly good idea.


He said nothing about "re"distributing wealth, merely increasing it for everyone as a whole. As of now, Presidential salaries/pensions aren't performance based. People call for teacher pay, CEO salaries, etc, to be performance based...why not elected officials?

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby roc314 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:46 pm UTC

Silas wrote:
roc314 wrote:I would also argue that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, and 26th are also cases where the group that passed them is enforcing their morals on their future countryman.

If you'll indulge me in a proof-by-example, there's nothing morally superior about a jury trial;* the intent of guaranteeing one is to keep judges from amassing too much power, not to preserve some fundamental dignity.

*not everyone agrees with this proposition, of course.


Why are the two mutually exclusive? I would argue that practicalities can be based off of morals and vice versa. The moral involved is not the right to trial by jury, but the idea that fellow citizens are qualified to decide your fate, and that they would be more fair. I would say that is a moral being forced on us (one which I personally happen to enjoy), and judging by some of the people I've met, not all like this moral being pushed. They are all borderline, however. No single amendment can clearly be said to be only a moral judgment, or not a moral judgment at all.

I think this might be somewhat irrelevant, though.
roc314 wrote:I get your point about the moral judgment, though, and think that the constitution is not about the enforcement of certain morals, but about being vague about what is really being enforced. That way, certain basic rights will be protected, but it can adjust from time to time.

Even the amendments that are more moral judgments than others are applicable somewhat to other areas. Although prohibition is dead, its spirit lives on in the War on Drugs. We value certain morals as a country (freedom of expression, the right to protection from government, etc.), but the constitution is set up in a way that what exactly those morals are is flexible. For example, the definition of free speech has changed over time, but we have valued it the entire time.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Silas » Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:52 pm UTC

@ Maskirovka

It's expensive. The people who (have best demonstrated that they can) make the best decisions and policy are all rich, and motivating rich people takes a lot more money.

Varsil's suggestion makes me cringe. If you're rich enough and motivated enough to become President, you're not going to work harder or not based on an incentive scheme that varies by, what, $2,000? $5,000 in the best case.

If you were going to financially incentivize our executives, you'd need to offer a huge salary (er, bonus package). And then our presidents would be the same people who are great at getting and exploiting lucrative jobs. You know, corporate fatcats.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby roc314 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:24 pm UTC

What if the president's pay was variable dependent on what their previous income was? So if someone came in who used to make $60k per year, they would get payed more than someone who made $60 million per year.

EDIT: And had bonuses, of course.
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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Dibley » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:30 pm UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:Amendment: Upon taking office, any state or federal official shall immediately choose up to one million dollars worth of her or his property, and surrender the rest to the government. While in office, s/he shall also be barred from accepting gifts or payments totaling to a value greater than the stipend associated with the office.

Another problem with this is that if the government gains all of the excess, it would be motivated to try to aquire rich people in order to take their money, so they would essentially be buying the office. Of course in an open election it might be different, but still...

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Re: The 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:36 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:What if the president's pay was variable dependent on what their previous income was? So if someone came in who used to make $60k per year, they would get payed more than someone who made $60 million per year.

EDIT: And had bonuses, of course.


I'm pretty sure that people don't become president as to get a better a salary, and anyone who would probably isn't qualified. And what's with this obsession that the president should be working class? Face it, people of high competence are capable of crossing whatever social divides may exist in this country and anyone capable of running a three trillion dollar government should be able to pull down a salary greater than $60k by the time they're 40.


Varsil wrote:No, I'm going on the assumption that at least some of what at least some bad Presidents do is motivated by personal gain. I won't argue that it's all of it, but I will definitely argue that it's some. Anyway, the poverty rate stuff you point out is why I say median income rather than mean income. A president who wanted to increase the median income has a strong incentive to pursue programs that distribute wealth broadly, and especially to the poor, rather than programs that concentrate wealth among the few. The median income is achieved by splitting the pool of income earners in half so that half are earning more than your given line, and half are earning less than it (and that line is your median).


Maskirovka wrote:He said nothing about "re"distributing wealth, merely increasing it for everyone as a whole. As of now, Presidential salaries/pensions aren't performance based. People call for teacher pay, CEO salaries, etc, to be performance based...why not elected officials?


O_o


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