omgryebread wrote:Another reason lobbying can be very important and "written by lobbyists" bills is research.
What is it about being lied two twice that makes you able to make an informed decision? And even if one side is being honest, you still need to do that research yourself to find out which side is.
You seemed pretty informed and aware of issues. I'd trust you to make a reasonable decision given two people trying to persuade you of different things. What makes you think congresspeople (whom I may start referring to as "congresspeeps" cause that sounds cool) are stupid?
Malice wrote:If you want an amendment limiting the size of bills, write that amendment; your proposed one will only slow down the government and cause emergency bills to be improperly detailed.
A hard cap on the size of bills would be stupid. Either it would be very law, restricting some kinds of bills that are necessarily long. Or it would be very high, still allowing 99% of all laws to contain a lot of pork and obfuscation.
I do want to limit the size of laws though. Not just laws, all regulations. Governments have become way too complicated and bureaucratic for my taste. I want a society where normal citizens are able to understand the law. Are able to understand how government works. Or if that is too much to ask for, at least one where representatives are![/quote]Honestly, if you expect your government to do much beyond law enforcement and defense, you're going to have a huge body of law. Every large society has required specialists to understand law. As societies got more modern, even those specialists specialized. So we have lawyers in family law, medical law, corporate law, environmental law, even lawyers who specialize in environmental law as it applies to corporations. We also have people who study law not for the purpose of practicing it, but writing and influencing it.
Putting it this way. You wouldn't want medicine simple enough for everyone to understand. Nor would you want engineering simple enough for everyone to understand. Both those things affect everyone, and they are both so useful because they are so complex. The system of procedures, rules, techniques, and limitations that make up engineering take incredible knowledge and specialization, but allow us to build earthquake resistant buildings. Think of lawyers (especially those who write law) as engineers of law.
Ixtellor wrote:28th Amendment - Congressional Term limits. 5 terms in the House and 2 in the Senate.
The obvious downside is that it could result in our Government really being run by technocrats due to congressmen's inability to learn the ropes of how to legislate before their time expires, but I think a decade would be sufficient to leave ultimate power in their hands and not the bureaucracies.
Also, clearly it would need legalise wording as I did the laymans version.
The problem with term limits is that government is incredibly complex. The rules of the legislatures are complicated and long. It takes a seasoned veteran to understand the finer points of delaying legislation. A new senator might not know when he can or can't bring a display onto the floor during debate. A second term senator might not understand that he can bring a display onto the floor when he's not supposed to as a legislative tactic. In reality, you'd hand a ton of power over from elected officials to the chiefs of staff. The parties would put extremely skilled parliamentarians in those positions, they'd stick around and coach the hell out of whatever politician comes their way.
You also make politicians spend a lot of time campaigning. Barbara Mikulski doesn't need to try and campaign. She just wins, because she's Mikulski. That gives her time to research, legislate, lobby, help her constituents, fight crime, save the world from aliens and do all the other things she does in my Senatorial fan fictions.
Long term congresspeeps can also smooth the process a lot. Two senators who've been in office forever from opposite parties can sit down at lunch and say "look, you put X in this bill and get your 20 votes, and I'll put the Y you want in the bill, and get my 20. They'll listen to me, since I campaign for them, and I know your party will follow you. We both know Z needs to get done, and it won't get done if we don't do this compromise." Freshman don't have the sway with their own caucus or the connections with the opposition to do that.
Malice wrote:Why? It's a minuscule part of the budget, they served their country and deserve not to suffer for it, and at any rate you don't want people in Congress looking ahead to their next job while considering legislation.
This is the infamous revolving door of politics.
Say Congress doesn't have pensions. Kate is from a coal mining state. She gets elected to Congress. She's already sympathetic to coal, but she also cares about the environment. Coal mining company lobbies Kate for stuff. Kate really wants to stay in Congress, and she knows they'll support someone else if she's not pro-coal enough, as will her mining constituents. So she votes pro-coal. Eventually some really nasty legislation comes along. Kate is facing a tough primary from Bob, who was a coal executive. He's super-pro-coal. Some mining companies make noise about how Bob looks really swell, and gee maybe they should donate to his campaign. Kate wants to vote against this legislation, but she's pretty sure she'd lose her job if she did.
It would take real political courage to vote against the bill in real life, and much more (and some serious selflessness) to vote against it if she wasn't assured her pension.
Now if she votes for it, great. The coal companies reward her and don't back Bob. Kate rationalizes her vote to herself, and years later is at least somewhat happy about it. She continues along passing pro-coal legislation. Skip ahead a good while. Kate's an influential Senator, but tired of campaigning. She wants to buy a bigger house now, maybe go on some vacations. Kate looks at her options. She could lecture maybe, but she'd have to travel a lot to support the lifestyle she wants. Teaching doesn't really pay enough. What's that? She could get a swell job that involves traveling to D.C. a couple times a year for a few days? And it pays enormously well? Sure, Kate will accept the job working as a lobbyist for a coal company.
If she had a pension, Kate would be maybe more inclined to take the teaching job or hit the lecture circuit.