Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Network of Legislatures

In response to a tweet favoring limited government, I was asked the question: "and just what the limits should be"?

In response, I said a better question is who should determine the limits?

Recent history has shown that the Federal government is incapable of restraining itself. Each administration since Hoover has grabbed more and more power and created greater centralization of the economy and deeper systemic risks in the market.

Thomas Woods advocates Nullification. The argument is that any unconstitutional law is not a proper law and can be nullified by the individual states.

The problem is that we have strayed so far from the enumerated powers of the Constitution that we would fall into chaos if legislatures were to suddenly start cherry picking which laws applied to their states.

Despite the chaos that would ensue, we would still find our nation burdened with reams of unconstitutional laws burdening society.

To effectively place limits, we need something more proactive than nullification.

My proposal starts by looking at the original design of the Constitution. In this design the Senate was elected directly by the State Legislature.

Since the Senate was directly responsible to the states, it behaved a bit more like a network of legislatures.

Of course Senatorial elections within the state legislatures tended to be quite corrupt. The Seventeenth Amendment had Senators directly elected by the people. Direct elections broke the only effective control states had over the Federal Government.

I do not favor repealing the 17th amendment.

However, with modern communication technology, we are now able to do something the founders could not.

Rather than creating a Senate that worked like a network of legislatures, we can use the Internet to create a real time, fully functional network of legislatures.

If I had influence, I would have the States call a Constitutional Convention. This Convention would write an amendment that created a network of legislature that could set constraints or reject any law that falls outside the enumerate powers of the Constitution.

Note the network of legislatures would not be writing Federal Law. It simply has the ability to set constraints and reject laws.

The Founders of the United States thought that the States would play an active role in setting constraints on the Feds. The Seventeenth Amendment removed their most effective tool in accomplishing this goal.

Creating a network of legislatures would re-establish State legislatures as an entity that could counter abuses of Federal power.

I am experimenting with the new TweetButton. Press the button to retweet this post:

No comments: