Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Three Flaws in the US Government

Posted in response to this question on Quora:
Politics: What thing is most broken in our United States Government?

There are, in my view, three fundamental flaws in our government:  the way we maintain our laws, the way we tax, and the way we select our representatives.  Until we improve the way we select our representatives, we cannot sunset bad laws or improve our tax code.

(edit) As requested by Tom Byron, I offer the following:

1) The way we maintain our laws:  Nothing in our Constitution requires that laws be sunsetted.  As a result of that omission, a law passed by a bare majority of our representatives (and, possibly, desired by a minority of our citizens) stays on the books ad infinitum.  A less lamentable method would be limits on the life of a law based on the lowest percentage of approval by which it passes either house of Congress (or the various legislatures).  Revisiting marginal laws allows the people to express their approval or disapproval based on their experience with the law.

For example:

Less than 52% approval, a life of  1 year
   52% to 55% approval, a life of  2 years
   55% to 65% approval, a life of  5 years
     Over 65% approval, a life of 10 years

2) The way we tax:  Taxes should be proportional to the benefits the taxed entity realizes because of its citizenship.  Taxes should not be preferential; they should allow no exemptions or exceptions.

3) The way we select our representatives:  At present, political parties have usurped the right to name the candidates for public office, and those who control the options control the result.  The people's only recourse is to vote for a candidate selected by a party.  Since the goal of parties is to advance their own interest, they choose unscrupulous people by design.  If we are to improve our government, the first step must be for the people to select the best of their number to represent them in their government.

Fred Gohlke

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