Towards Better Government, Part 1

Given the problems we have with the governments here in the US, is there any way that we could improve things? Fix the problems caused by too much influence by the wealthy, the professions, the corporations and the “special interests”? Along with reducing the size and scope of government so that greater personal freedom becomes possible? Currently the US is behaving more like an “empire” with military forces scattered over the entire world while we also have ongoing conflicts involving US forces in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. In the last country, we’ve been fighting there now since 2002 with no apparent end in sight. Additionally, it is costing us (when everything is figured in) about a trillion dollars a year all told for “national defense”.

An interesting question is why did our “Founding Fathers” reject the example of the parliamentary form of government that was in use in England at the time? Why did we select the design of government that we did? Congress in some aspects is similar to a parliament in that there are two “Houses” of Congress. The House of Representatives and the Senate. The latter being more similar to the House of Lords there in England.

In England (the UK) the Queen is more a symbol than someone who actually rules. Whereas the President in our government has considerable power within the limits imposed by the Constitution. (The UK doesn’t have a written Constitution) We have a Supreme Court. The UK does not. There are courts in the UK, but I don’t believe they have the authority to overrule the other parts of government as is the case in the US.

Here in the US we vote for individuals instead of a political party. You can decide to vote for a Republican for President, and Democrats for Congress or even a Libertarian if there is one running. The US selects the members of Congress by popular vote, but for President we use a system of electors which number the same as the number of Senators and Representatives that the state elects. This is how Donald Trump won the electoral vote although Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. The purpose of the electoral vote is that it balances out the power between large and small states. Trump won the most states, but Clinton won the larger states with the largest populations. For balance of power considerations, we probably should keep the electoral system.

Political systems based upon elections, especially when individuals are voted for instead of political parties is that the “winner” is often the one who has spent the most money (supplied by donations in most cases). And the majority of political donations generally come from those who can donate the most money… Needless to say, these large donations comes with an “understanding” that the person running for office will if elected view the interests of those who financed the run for office with “favor”. This is nothing new. The Greeks of Classical Athens had the same problem.

The parliamentary system doesn’t have this problem to the same degree. Donations are made to the political party, not the party members that are running for office. Its a lot harder to sway an entire political party to your wishes than it is to do so with those individuals who make up the party. Some “influence” is possible, but not to the degree as is possible today in the US. Parliamentary governments thus tend to be more representative of the people as a whole than is the case where individuals within a political party can be much more easily swayed to serve the interests of a group seeking to get their own wishes put ahead of the people. This is why the US government is more representative of “special interests” than the people.

There is another consideration here. The US design of government is such that only two political parties can effectively exist. A third party (say Libertarian) would have little if any influence upon the functions of government unless it was large enough to be able to prevent either of the major parties to pass legislation without its support. Even if the third party could win the Presidency, it would not be able to accomplish very much unless it had enough members in Congress that neither of the other two political parties could pass legislation without its consent. This effectively makes it virtually impossible for a third party to actually be effective even if it can win some seats in Congress and put a President in the White House. Perhaps some sort of proportional representation would be possible, but why would the other parties agree to it? It is to their advantage to render any third party as powerless as is possible…

End of Part 1


About muskegonlibertarian

77 year old retired owner of a security guard agency. Member of the Libertarian Party.
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