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I was shooting the breeze yesterday on how the legislative branch be held more accountable and productive, so this is what we spitballed.

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How do we make the legislative branch more productive?

1: limit the size of DC staffs

 In order to best serve their constituents, the bulk of staffs should be in their districts/states, leaving a  minimal staff in DC. Most work in DC nowadays can be done by telecommuting from local offices. This also forces lobbyists to get out in the field if the want face time with the people who really make the decisions.

2:  3 day weeks in DC, 50 weeks a year

Now that we have air conditioning, summer reccess needs to go away. They get paid enough, so they need to be in DC Tues-Thursday; Friday through Monday they can be seeing their constituents in the home turf. Most people in this country have to work 50 weeks a year, let's see how much these folks like it.

3: Bar the revolving lobby doors.

 Politics is supposed to be a calling, a service to your country, not a career path. I don't know the length of their version of a non-compete clause, you need some sort of limit on people jumping from the private to public sector: You only get one bite of the apple moving from the private sector to public service unless you get voted in.

4: Public financing of house races in tossup districts

I was thinking of adding Senate races to this, but I felt that since the house needs to be more fliud. Gerrymandering would be gone, replaced by independent boards. Districts shouldbe geographically based, with D/R/I ratios approaching a natural state. that way canidate once again have to win a battle of ideas and ideals to win their elections, not throwing their feet up and knowing the fix is already in because of being able to outraise your opponent.

Of course the devil is in the details, but anybody got anymore ideas?

Originally posted to BonScott on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:25 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Allen to concede at 3PM (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry for jumping in here.

    George Allen will speak to supporters today at 3PM

    Jim Webb will hold a press conference at 4:15PM

    Please rescue & recommend live blogging diary

    ```
    peace

  •  The US Military regulations on procurement ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rolandzebub

    Make it illegal to take a job with a supplier for some period of time after leaving the military.  The reason for this regulation was that Procurement people in the military were throwing lucrative business the way of suppliers, and then retiring from the military into cushy posts with those same suppliers....conflict of interest?

    Congress should follow suit and make it ILLEGAL for a Senator or Congressman to take a position with a registered lobbyist (or similar interest) for some period of time after leaving congress.

  •  Tip jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ThirstyGator, whytwolf

    forgot to add

  •  Make (0+ / 0-)
    Senators be elected to represent slices of the population.  One senator represents the bottom percentile in wealth, another the second, and so on.  Thus, each senator would represent people from all across the nation who have common economic interests but different backgrounds.  This would strongly complement the geographic approach of HoR where people hold common geographical interests and backgrounds but competing economic interests.  It makes the Senate an institution answerable to the people in a profoundly different way.

    I'm not a member of any organized party: I'm a Democrat - Mark Twain

    by mtspace on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:38:50 AM PST

    •  No (0+ / 0-)

      reread Article V.

      The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

      by deathsinger on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:42:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  a wonderful dream (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mtspace
      This is a nice idea - but requires ammending the US. constitution and I really doubt it'd get through the red districts who like the undue influence they enjoy today.  This is a mistake made by our founding fathers - you've obviously read "Welcome to the Homeland" which discusses this in detail.

      I love the idea, though.

      •  A mistake? (0+ / 0-)

        Without the Senate representation the way it is, there would not be a US.

        The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

        by deathsinger on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:46:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)
        Yes, it does require Ammending the Constitution.  Not sure people in rural areas will always reject the idea. I understand people in  low population states are technically over-represented by their senators, but I have the sneaking suspicion that this might give them more access.

        BTW. thanks for the book tip.

        I'm not a member of any organized party: I'm a Democrat - Mark Twain

        by mtspace on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 06:39:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  profoundly spooky (0+ / 0-)

      You know how easy it is to hide wealth, right?

      Also, not to pick nits, but your sig is a Will Rogers quote, not a Twain quote.

      There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

      by ThirstyGator on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:42:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Three and four - especially four (0+ / 0-)

    The love of money, you know, is the root of all evil.  It's not that they don't spend enough time on the job - they do, they work ludicrous hours - it's that much of that time MUST be spent fundraising.  Or they won't have a job in two years.

    There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

    by ThirstyGator on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:39:43 AM PST

    •  Does anybody (0+ / 0-)

      know what percentage of Americans actually check the box on their tax forms for public financing of the President campaigns?  I have told it is less than 15%.  If that is the case, the vast majority of Americans do not agree with public financing.

      The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

      by deathsinger on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:43:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Publicize new protections for the new minority. (0+ / 0-)

    Tell Americans how the new ruling party will allow minority members time for their concerns to be considered, in contrast to what had gone on before.

  •  Fiscal accountability (0+ / 0-)

    A couple of ideas to add. In the New York City Council, they are about to require that pet projects be identified with the proposing member's name, and a brief description of the intended purpose of the disbursement. That strikes me as a good first step.

    Along these lines, why not have citizens post online a list of these earmarks?

    And why not ask congress members to take a pledge not to seek earmarks until, for example, the budget is back in balance?

    All of these will speak directly to charges of corruption, perceived as a crucial issue by voters on Tuesday.

    All these could be done either by the new Congressional leadership, or by activist citizens, like us!

    If your ballot isn't paper, it ain't a ballot.

    by brooklyn greenish on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:58:34 AM PST

  •  One term limit? (0+ / 0-)

    Partisan politics crap and the primary interest of
    relection before "service" are the big problems. A single term limit would solve both problems. Let the people vote for a bonus based on the quality of performance when they vote for the new senator.

    •  Too much turnover (0+ / 0-)

      If the seats all rolled over after one term, the people who would truly have power would be the kingmakers, fundraisers and lobbyists who are familiar with DC.

      Productivity and accountability are the goals, 1 term limits would provide neither.

  •  Virtualization (0+ / 0-)
    Might I add:
    1. Take advantage of tele-conferencing and network-based collaboration systems to allow representatives to work from offices in their respective state capitals (via secured dedicated network connections) rather than having to commute to/from DC. Where practical, said communications should be considered public records, and posted online within 24 hours.
    1. Restrict communications to/from lobbyists to be strictly in writing, the contents of which will be posted online within 24 hours of receipt.
    1. Speed up the swearing-in process. Representatives and Senators shall be sworn into office within 72 hours of the vote results being certified.
    •  #5 part of 1 and 2 (0+ / 0-)

      I guess I didn't emphasize that point, but that's the gist of 1 and 2.

      However, thy have to be in the Capitol at some point during the week. As good as the teleconferencing systems are becoming today, it's still not the same as meeting people face to face

      #6 would pretty much be restriction of free speech

      #7 would be bad for government(IMO) as you would have to have your entire staff in place well before the election, and having them thrown in the deep end right before the hlidays I don't think is faair.

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