Congress is Broken   1 comment

Article V turns out to be a huge subject and as I research, I find more and more information. Proposed amendments are a sub-category in themselves that I barely touched on when I did the first series.

Certainly I support returning the Senate to the state legislatures via repeal of the 17th amendment, thereby reducing the power of corporations in selecting that body through the manipulation of voter ignorance. Senators should represent the states.

On the other hand, most of us – including me – really haven’t given due consideration to how to fix the House of Representatives. Except someone has and I’m going to touch on what they have come up with.

As with most of these sorts of organizations, I am not endorsing them whole-heartedly. I find useful information all over the place, but I don’t necessarily agree with everything on any website.

The framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights intended that the total population of a single Congressional district should never exceed 50-60,000. Oh, my! Currently the average population size of the districts is nearly 700,000. Proportional, equitable representation has been abandoned!

The bar chart below shows a disturbing trend. From 1790 to 1910, the total number of congressional districts increased every 10 years (with one exception during the Civil War). In 1910, the total number of congressional districts was increased to 435 where it has remained ever since (with a temporary increase to 437 after Alaska and Hawaii became states). Overlaid on the chart is a line graph representing the total population of the United States.

Reps Chart 1

Dividing the total population by the number of representatives calculates the average population per congressional district, which is illustrated in the chart below.

Average Pop Chart 2

In 1804, each Congress person represented approximately 40 thousand people. Today, the average population of congressional districts is nearly 700,000 and increasing. Don Young, Representative from Alaska, has 736,400 constituents. It’s no wonder he is difficult to contact, though he is – I’m told – better than many representatives from other districts.

Given that, is it any wonder that most of us feel like the federal government no longer governs with the consent of the governed?

One response to “Congress is Broken

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  1. Reblogged this on That Mr. G Guy's Blog.


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