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July 4th Is a Scam

Recently by James Altucher: Politics Is a Scam – Why I Will Never Vote Again

The last time I visited my congressman (when I was 12 years old), he was both drunk and senile and I couldn’t understand a word he said. His administrative assistant had to translate everything he said. And then he got re-elected four more times before finally dying. Did he really represent my interests?

I’m the most apolitical person I know. But I do like to think of things that can improve the country. Let’s forget July 4th for a second, which was a war fought mainly between the values of the East India Company and the values of colonial tea smugglers that cost the lives of the children of 35,000 mothers. Note we tried to invade Canada twice to get them to help us but they would have none of it. Now they are our biggest supplier of oil. Go Canada!

Most importantly, lets not view the Constitution as gospel. Countries, people, systems, technology evolves. As they do, its important to see what from the past is good and what can be discarded.

I’m talking about the Legislative Branch in our system of checks and balances. It costs us billions a year, its fully corrupt, and is taking perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars out of our economy through inefficient allocations.

Time to Replace the Legislative Branch with Mass Internet Voting on the Issues

But don’t we need it? Don’t we need to Check the President? Of course! So lets YOU AND I do it!

I’m not going to rant. I hate blogger rants. So here it is:

1) The Founders, who were all male, white, landowners, didn’t trust the servants. Several were on record saying the servants (and certainly not women or slaves) should not vote since their votes would just go the way of the landowner. (Noted HBO star, John Adams said, “…men who are wholly destitute of property, are also too little acquainted with public affairs to form a right judgment, and too dependent upon other men to have a will of their own”.) So they wanted to set up a system where even if the masses were against an issue, the landowners could force it through. Hence, Congress, since it was almost certain that a landowner (at that time) would have the means, money, and wherewithal to be elected (it’s still true).

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2) Congress was needed because information was slow to travel. Everyone had to be gathered in Washington DC to communicate with each other (there were no phones, telegraph, or Internet then) to get the information about laws that needed to be passed and then to vote. This is obviously no longer necessary since we now have the Internet.

3) It wasn’t until 1919 that people were even allowed to vote for their Senators (Senators were selected by state legislatures) so half of the legislative branch was two levels removed from the masses until recently anyway, which again shows the original inclinations of the Founding Fathers.

So what should we do:

1) Get rid of the whole thing. Shut down Capitol Hill and make it a museum. Get rid of Congress and replace it by a true democracy. In a democracy we each have a vote and get to vote on the issues important to us.

2) Every single citizen should have the right to directly vote on laws via the internet. Only 19% of Congress admitted reading the healthcare bill last year. Which is probably why the courts keep overturning parts of it and its hard to implement. So Congress is probably even less informed then the masses. Get all the information online. We’ll vote directly from our homes, thank you. No help necessary by our Senators.

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3) How would laws get introduced? Most major legislation is introduced by the President anyway in his State of the Union address and then is put together by whoever his stooges are in Congress. Now people can submit laws based on a Digg-like system and the laws that are voted to the top are the ones we’ll vote on. Chances are the President’s suggestions would still rise to the top but instead of being voted on by a basket of his friends, it would be voted on by “We the People”. In most cases, we don’t really need new laws. The first law passed in 2011 was the “Polar Bear Delisting Act” that took polar bears off the endangered species list? Do you really need to spend billions of infrastructure to get that law on the table and passed.

4) The President and Supreme Court are still there to provide checks and balances on anything outrageous. But my guess is this would get millions of people more involved in the political system than are currently involved.

5) The costs of lobbying would go up astronomically. You no longer can just buy dinner and a prostitute for your local congressman to corrupt him. Now you’d have to spend tens of billions on TV and newspaper advertising/manipulation to convince the masses of a law. Would probably save those industries from extinction.

6) The House & Senate costs tens of billions to maintain and they can hardly be considered to represent us anymore in an information age where access to all information on laws and bills are at our fingertips anyway. The legislative branch should be made up of you and me, not the incumbents that get elected year after year automagically.

7) No more earmarks. No more deals for “bridges to nowhere” in exchange for “highways to hell”. This will save billions in inefficiently allocated capital.

How much fun would this be? We’d all get to really vote. We don’t currently live in a democracy, by definition. We live in a republic where we chose others to represent us on important issues. Heck, we don’t even directly elect the president (hence the Electoral College). We elect electors by state and then they elect the President. Lets get rid of the electoral college and the state-by-state system.

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July 5, 2011