Saturday, January 03, 2009

That was the original idea, yeah...

Kelly, in comments here:

Could just be me, but I thought Congressmen weren't exactly supposed to make enough money being Congressmen that it would, y'know, encourage them to become career politicians or anything. Seriously... Congress not paying enough? Maybe it'd be a good idea to get a main job and just represent the views of people in your area, rather than being a "lawmaker" for a living.

Nope, not just you. From what I've read a few of the Founding Fathers didn't think much of the career politicians either. Regarding things like term limits, here have been those who have argued that the more experienced legislators were better for the country, and I can see where they're coming from with that argument, but at the same time I don't understand why said argument didn't hold enough water with the state legislatures when they ratified the 22nd Amendment in the late 1940s. Even though the political power is diffused among 535 legislators as opposed to being concentrated in just one person in the presidency, I think the dangers intended to be mitigated with that amendment are just as potent, especially with the two-party system being as entrenched as it is. I think it'd be interesting to see what would happen if legislative salaries could be tied somehow to average or median incomes in the legislators' respective districts so as to lessen the incentive to stay in there for half their lives. It'd probably require some redrawing of the districts in the case of the House of Representatives to make it more equitable, but I think it'd definitely be worth a try. But, of course, like so many other beneficial measures, it'll never be tried because way too many people have a vested interest in keeping the system as it stands now.