Last week I wrote an article about an America that is currently out of scale. How the Apportionment Act of 1929 which caps the House of Representative at 435 members is diluting our representative republic. The ratio of Representatives and those who they represent is way out of scale creating an unmanageable environment on the national level. When your voice is 1 out of 710,000 do you really feel represented? What if your opinion or ideology is in the minority in your state or district? Is the answer moving to another district or state where your opinion or ideology is in the majority? This is where the saying vote with your feet comes from. If you don’t like how things are working out in your state or how you are being taxed or the policies being implemented you have the option to move. But does this solve the problem or just shift it around?
In order to answer this question we need to understand how our system was originally designed. The basic premise of a representative style republic is that the voice of the people is represented by elected officials in the government. Our Founding Fathers set up our system of government so that both that states (Senate) and the people’s (House) interests were represented on a national scale. With the ratification of the 17th amendment in 1913, Senators were no longer elected by the state legislators. Instead they were to be elected through popular vote further eroding the states’ power in the federal government. Combine that with Apportionment Act of 1929 we can now see how successful progressives were in the early 20th century in fundamentally transforming America. These two acts not only diminished the power of our representative government, but was also the beginning of consolidating power at the federal level. Both states’ rights and individual liberty suffered. States began to grow out of scale and state and individual representation began to wane. So how do we reverse this trend? How do we get things back to a scale that empowers the individual and promotes individual liberty in a post constitutional republic?
One suggestion I made last week actually expands the size of the federal government by repealing the Apportionment Act of 1929 increasing the number of members in the House. A good starting point would be doubling the number of representatives. My second suggestion and the main topic of this article is it’s time to take a hard look at the states and their scale. Let’s examine the 10 most populated states in America per the 2010 census. California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and North Carolina have a combined population 167 million; 54 percent of the population of the entire nation. They have a combined number of representatives of 236 members in the House; 54 percent of the total number of members in the House. This equates to a ratio of 1 representative per every 706,000 people. Once again this is out of scale. Worse yet are these 10 states control a combined total of 256 Electoral College votes; a whopping 94 percent of the 270 votes needed to win the Presidency. And changing from the Electoral College system to a national popular vote only adds to the problem. Presidential candidates will only campaign in the states that are more populated leaving smaller less populated states out in the cold. The business term for this is Oligopoly; A situation in which a particular market is controlled by a small group of firms. In this case the market is political and these 10 states control it. The problems are more revealing when you start to drill down into the numbers.
Let’s look at California. California controls 55 Electoral College votes and their total population of 37 million is 11 percent of the national population. They have 53 seats in the House of Representatives and out of those 53 seats 38 are held by Democrats and 15 are held by Republicans. Additionally both Senators from California are Democrat. So if you’re a conservative in California you are represented by 15 Republicans in the House and no State Senator in the Senate. Liberals can make the same argument about Texas. Texas has a population of 25 million. Both Senators are Republicans. And out of 36 seats in the House only 12 are held by Democrats. If you’re a liberal living in Texas you’re feeling pretty unrepresented. But the main problem as I see it is a few states controlling everything in regards to the political process in America. This Oligopoly must be broken up because these 10 states wield far too much influence over the entire political process in America.
America is out of scale and the people are suffering for it. The states are America and we need to take a hard look at the state of the states. If we want to get this thing in its proper scale we need to start looking at downsizing these heavily populated states. We need to consider breaking the larger states up into smaller states. This will do two things. First people will be better represented because by breaking up the states the representative ratio decreases giving the people more of a voice and bringing the government closer to them. The second thing it does is breaks up this Oligopoly of 10 states and disperses the power amongst the remaining 40 states. This eliminates centralize control and shifts the political power back to the states. This will force politicians to deal with all the states on a more level playing field. And that’s a good thing for America, states’ rights, and individual liberty.
Not all will agree with this and that’s ok. It’s only an idea and I’m sure there are many ideas ready to be promoted and discussed. So let me know what you think and don’t be afraid of hurting my feelings by disagreeing. The point of this is to get us thinking outside of the box to save what’s left of America.
Liberty forever, freedom for all!