Monday, September 7, 2009

political careerism

--I've mentioned this before, I think, but what if Congressmen and Presidents were forced to put up 10% or 15% of their wealth at the beginning of their term, and commit themselves by saying they only get it back if they accomplish x or y - "I will author healthcare reform legislation and vote for it, and that will be worth half of what i put up. I will fight for gays in the military and gay marriage by authoring this legislation, which is another quarter. I will try to be on the foreign affairs committee, which is the final quarter". If they do those things, then they get the money back.

If done before primaries, it forces politicians to lay out to the public exactly what is important to them. Understanding that putting up 15% of wealth is hard for poor people, you can make a paycheck appropriate to the condition. Poor people will still be able to save for retirement (while caring about the money they put up because its a lot for them), while rich people will care about the money they put up because a paycheck can't replenish what they put up.

--The other idea would be jungle primaries. Instead of all the gerrymandering, each state gets X house reps and 2 senators, and everyone votes for X house reps and 2 senators, and the X house reps and 2 senators receiving the highest number of votes in a state go to the white house. I understand the benefits of the electoral college (too much strength in the hands of the majority constitutes a tyranny over minorities, de Tocqueville style), but gerrymandering leads to an even worse result.

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