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There should be fewer people in the House and Senate

micrometers

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2010
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Basically, the US congress would work better if there were fewer people. Fewer people = less waste on parochial projects and less noise. People would have more time to get to know their fellow lawmakers. The reason that partisanship is such a problem IMO is because it is one of the only clear ways through the noise that 535 House members and 100 senate members represents.

Also, on a side note, I also think it would be better if social issues like abortion and gay marriage were left to the states and were not national issues. People might pay more attention to their local government elections then.
 

cybrsage

Lifer
Nov 17, 2011
13,021
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It would be hard to reduce the senate to less than 100 people. We have 100 senators because each state gets 2 of them. The only way to change it is to cut them in half.
 

Vic Vega

Diamond Member
Sep 24, 2010
4,537
3
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Basically, the US congress would work better if there were fewer people. Fewer people = less waste on parochial projects and less noise. People would have more time to get to know their fellow lawmakers. The reason that partisanship is such a problem IMO is because it is one of the only clear ways through the noise that 535 House members and 100 senate members represents.
No.

Also, on a side note, I also think it would be better if social issues like abortion and gay marriage were left to the states and were not national issues. People might pay more attention to their local government elections then.
Yes.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
70,097
18,864
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There are 435 House members, not 535. The purpose of the House is to give localized representation to people. Current House members represent about 650,000 people each, which to me doesn't seem very local. What would you reduce it to?
 

micrometers

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2010
3,473
0
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There are 435 House members, not 535. The purpose of the House is to give localized representation to people. Current House members represent about 650,000 people each, which to me doesn't seem very local. What would you reduce it to?
half. Along with fewer senators.

This is how pork happens IMO, since more representatives have an incentive to grab as much as they can for their district.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
70,097
18,864
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half. Along with fewer senators.

This is how pork happens IMO, since more representatives have an incentive to grab as much as they can for their district.
Pork is a vanishingly small element of the federal government. The most recent pork figures are for the 2010 budget. In 2010 we had total federal expenditures of ~$3.7 trillion. Of this, 16.5 billion was marked as pork by the Citizens Against Government Waste. That amounts to all of 0.4% of the US budget.

You want to cut the representation of American citizens in half in order to save 0.4% of federal spending? How is this a good idea?
 

micrometers

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2010
3,473
0
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Pork is a vanishingly small element of the federal government. The most recent pork figures are for the 2010 budget. In 2010 we had total federal expenditures of ~$3.7 trillion. Of this, 16.5 billion was marked as pork by the Citizens Against Government Waste. That amounts to all of 0.4% of the US budget.

You want to cut the representation of American citizens in half in order to save 0.4% of federal spending? How is this a good idea?
I actually view defense spending as highly pork-barrel laden, and it is like 25% of the budget? Also, movement on entitlement reform would be easier with fewer people.

This isn't cutting the representation in half. The democracy will be fine. It is just cutting the number of people in a decision-making body so that it can function better. Who ever heard of an organization run by a 435 member board? The answer is none. Boards of corporations tend to be what, a dozen people?
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
70,097
18,864
136
I actually view defense spending as highly pork-barrel laden, and it is like 25% of the budget? Also, movement on entitlement reform would be easier with fewer people.

This isn't cutting the representation in half. The democracy will be fine. It is just cutting the number of people in a decision-making body so that it can function better. Who ever heard of an organization run by a 435 member board? The answer is none. Boards of corporations tend to be what, a dozen people?
Why would entitlement reform be easier with fewer people? For that matter, why would cutting defense spending be easier? What are you basing this on?

It is by definition cutting representation in half. The United States is not a corporation, so I'm not sure why we should think to run it like one. Alienation from representation is already a large issue for the legitimacy of American politics, and this would make it vastly worse. I see no gain for this whatsoever outside of a little money saved on congressional salaries.
 

SagaLore

Elite Member
Dec 18, 2001
24,038
19
81
I disagree, we should actually have more representatives.

I would like to see the senate of 100 broken into 2 houses. So each would have 50, and we'd have a total of 50 houses. We could call it the Lesser Senate and the Greater Senate. Their elections would alternate.
 

micrometers

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2010
3,473
0
0
Why would entitlement reform be easier with fewer people? For that matter, why would cutting defense spending be easier? What are you basing this on?

It is by definition cutting representation in half. The United States is not a corporation, so I'm not sure why we should think to run it like one. Alienation from representation is already a large issue for the legitimacy of American politics, and this would make it vastly worse. I see no gain for this whatsoever outside of a little money saved on congressional salaries.
A corporation is a group of people working towards a common purpose. But fine. Let's say, your local non-profit. Hospital or University. The decision-making body for any organization never numbers more than fifty.

I outlined why smart governance would be easier with fewer people. With fewer people in a room you can lower your voices and talk nuance. With more people, you have to shout more to get your point across. This leads to people taking on more extreme positions I think.
 
Dec 10, 2005
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A corporation is a group of people working towards a common purpose. But fine. Let's say, your local non-profit. Hospital or University. The decision-making body for any organization never numbers more than fifty.

I outlined why smart governance would be easier with fewer people. With fewer people in a room you can lower your voices and talk nuance. With more people, you have to shout more to get your point across. This leads to people taking on more extreme positions I think.
Why stop at fewer then? Why not just have a dictator? He'd have no one to stand in his way and could get shit done
 

micrometers

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2010
3,473
0
0
Why stop at fewer then? Why not just have a dictator? He'd have no one to stand in his way and could get shit done
The one body in the US governance which has somewhat high approval ratings is the US Supreme Court. They have 9 members. The US Congress has like a 9% approval rating right now.

It is simply harder to craft good policy with so many chefs.
 

monovillage

Diamond Member
Jul 3, 2008
8,445
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We just need to divide into 5 - 7 new nations. That way we'd have fewer people in our respective Houses and Senates.
 

CallMeJoe

Diamond Member
Jul 30, 2004
6,936
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The only ways to reduce the number of Senators are to amend the Constitution (The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State) or to reduce the number of states. Are you suggesting amendment, or that we evict states from the Union?

Cutting the number of Representatives is simpler, requiring only a change of law. The difficulty there arises from the fact that with our current number, there are seven states that have only one representative each (Alaska, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming and Montana). If you reduce the total number of Representatives then you effectively increase the influence of the citizens of these states compared with the citizens of larger states whose number of representatives would be reduced.
Do you think Alaskans should wield more political power than others?
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
70,097
18,864
136
A corporation is a group of people working towards a common purpose. But fine. Let's say, your local non-profit. Hospital or University. The decision-making body for any organization never numbers more than fifty.

I outlined why smart governance would be easier with fewer people. With fewer people in a room you can lower your voices and talk nuance. With more people, you have to shout more to get your point across. This leads to people taking on more extreme positions I think.
No corporation or non-profit has goals or mechanisms similar to the US government. You stated that you believed that smart governance would be easier with fewer people, but you have provided no evidence that this would be the case. It's just unfounded speculation.

The House already generally has little trouble passing legislation, it's the Senate, filled with more people who should be able to 'talk nuance', that can't pass anything. Practical experience here shows the exact opposite of what you are looking for. If you want to get things done more quickly here you should support institutional debate reform, not cutting representatives.
 

micrometers

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2010
3,473
0
0
The only ways to reduce the number of Senators are to amend the Constitution (The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State) or to reduce the number of states. Are you suggesting amendment, or that we evict states from the Union?

Cutting the number of Representatives is simpler, requiring only a change of law. The difficulty there arises from the fact that with our current number, there are seven states that have only one representative each (Alaska, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming and Montana). If you reduce the total number of Representatives then you effectively increase the influence of the citizens of these states compared with the citizens of larger states whose number of representatives would be reduced.
Do you think Alaskans should wield more political power than others?
I don't think it would ever happen, no. But I'm not caught up on how it might happen.

As for reducing representation and increasing the influence of low pop states, the effect I think would be minimal. There are seven of them. It would still be a 200+ member body (which is still too big IMO)
 

Ynog

Golden Member
Oct 9, 2002
1,782
0
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I actually view defense spending as highly pork-barrel laden, and it is like 25% of the budget? Also, movement on entitlement reform would be easier with fewer people.

This isn't cutting the representation in half. The democracy will be fine. It is just cutting the number of people in a decision-making body so that it can function better. Who ever heard of an organization run by a 435 member board? The answer is none. Boards of corporations tend to be what, a dozen people?
I fail to see your point.

The US Senate is the easiest thing to look at. To cut the Senate your only option is from 100 members to 50. The result: A politically divided group of 100 becomes a politically divided group of 50. In addition, your special interests has 50 less people to "donate to".

For the sake of argument. Under your logic, we could in theory remove Congress all together. We could just give those powers to the President. He is elected after all. One person passing laws is less likely to have "pork" and reforms are easy when there is one person making them. The court system also gets easier if it is just one person. We could give those power to the President as well.

Does that really sound better?
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
70,097
18,864
136
I don't think it would ever happen, no. But I'm not caught up on how it might happen.

As for reducing representation and increasing the influence of low pop states, the effect I think would be minimal. There are seven of them. It would still be a 200+ member body (which is still too big IMO)
Low population states already wield hugely disproportionate legislative power compared to their size. Why would we increase this further?
 

cybrsage

Lifer
Nov 17, 2011
13,021
0
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I disagree, we should actually have more representatives.

I would like to see the senate of 100 broken into 2 houses. So each would have 50, and we'd have a total of 50 houses. We could call it the Lesser Senate and the Greater Senate. Their elections would alternate.
The two Senators from each state already alternate their elections every third year.
 

cybrsage

Lifer
Nov 17, 2011
13,021
0
0
Why stop at fewer then? Why not just have a dictator? He'd have no one to stand in his way and could get shit done
You know how much money could be saved every year if we disbanded Congress and did not have to pay them, their staff, their electric bills, travel expenses, printing expenses, etc?

EDIT: I do not have numbers for 2011, but here are the numbers for 2007 (which you know are lower):

Monday, 18 June 2007
How much does it cost to run Congress?

This week the House of Representatives will begin floor proceedings on the Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill. For Financial Year 2008 $4,330,451,000 has been requested - an increase of 14% from 2007.
http://washminster.blogspot.com/2007/06/how-much-does-it-cost-to-run-congress.html
 
Last edited:
Oct 16, 1999
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I agree, halve the HoR and halve the terms for all of congress. Too many cooks in the kitchen. It's also harder to gerrymander with fewer districts. And get rid of the electoral college.
 

ndmrpwr

Member
Feb 14, 2010
26
0
66
It would be hard to reduce the senate to less than 100 people. We have 100 senators because each state gets 2 of them. The only way to change it is to cut them in half.
How do we pick which half talk out their ass, or their mouth? :rolleyes:
 

micrometers

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2010
3,473
0
0
I fail to see your point.

The US Senate is the easiest thing to look at. To cut the Senate your only option is from 100 members to 50. The result: A politically divided group of 100 becomes a politically divided group of 50. In addition, your special interests has 50 less people to "donate to".

For the sake of argument. Under your logic, we could in theory remove Congress all together. We could just give those powers to the President. He is elected after all. One person passing laws is less likely to have "pork" and reforms are easy when there is one person making them. The court system also gets easier if it is just one person. We could give those power to the President as well.

Does that really sound better?
My theory does not reduce to one person. I do think that having multiple people in a decision-making body is necessary in order to provide different views. That would be too small.

But 435 is just too big. You know concerts, right? How the small concerts you can hear the music so much better while the big concerts have far worse sound? Same thing. With more people in the congress, there is more partisanship and shouting because that is the only way to make any sense in the noise.
 

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