Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

Recommended Photo Store
 
Buy Through Our Amazon Link or Banner to Support This Blog
 
 
 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Crowdsourcing The Contract With America 2.0

    Posted by Lexington Green on December 22nd, 2009 (All posts by )

    The GOP is not exactly the sharpest bunch of elephants on the savannah.

    They are looking at a historic threat, and a historic opportunity, with the Democrats making massive and unpopular changes to the foundations of our economy and our government.

    But I am seeing just about zero leadership in the opposition ranks. Gov. Palin, who is now a bystander, has accomplished more with her Facebook page than most of the elected legislators have managed to do from their roost in DC.

    In the run-up to the 1994 takeover of Congress by the GOP, Newt Gingrich came up with his Contract with America, which nationalized the election.

    We need an equivalent program now.

    Question for our dear readers: What should CWA 2.0 have in it?

    I suggest some possible items:

    1. A Constitutional amendment, along these lines: “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and Representatives; and Congress shall make no law that applies to either Senators or Representatives or both that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States. Any law enacted in violation of this Amendment shall be void and of no force and effect at any time.”

    2. A national concealed carry law.

    3. A forensic audit of the TARP spending.

    4. A forensic audit of the Federal Reserve.

    5. A ban on unfunded mandates.

    What do you think should be in it? Limit yourself to ten items.

    UPDATE: Good to see the Instapundit readers weighing in. Thank you, Professor.

    I see lots of good ideas, and lots of energetic expression. Far be it from me to do anything to dampen the animal spirits … but … I have one suggestion. I think the best suggestions consist of actionable items, such as (1) Constitutional amendments that could plausibly be approved by 3/4 of the states, (2) legislation that could conceivably be passed by Congress, (3) repeal of specific amendments or laws or regulations. But if you want to vent, or talk in general terms, have at it. That’s fine with me, too. But a real CWA 2.0 will consist of actionable items, and I hope actually to end up with one.

    (Term limits are a perennial favorite. I think they are a waste of time. The permanent government is the lobbyists and the bureaucracy, and the congressional support staff are at least as much “Congress” as the elected members for practical purposes. Term limits would only make the permanent government stronger.)

    (Also, since I typed the original post, I was talking with a real political professional, who pointed out that lots of suburban districts that like the GOP on fiscal issues would not like a national concealed carry law. So, maybe that is not such a good idea here. … )

     

    251 Responses to “Crowdsourcing The Contract With America 2.0”

    1. Michael Newton Says:

      All Congressmen must sign a pledge that they read the entire bill before voting on it.

      Constitutional amendment banning retroactive laws, including tax law and tax rulings by the IRS.

    2. Bo Says:

      Term limits: 3 terms for Congress, two for Senate.

    3. Bob Smyth Says:

      Term Limits, Term LIMITS, TERM LIMITS!

    4. Kevin Says:

      It’s a long shot but a balanced budget amendment would be nice. Perhaps have to include exceptions for national emergencies, like wars or similarly significant events.

    5. Donna Says:

      Term Limits, Term Limits, Term Limits

    6. Dave Schneider Says:

      How about this: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    7. Mark in IA Says:

      And trim the bureaucracy, along with the massive Congressional staffs.

    8. Jack Says:

      We, the undersigned members of the Republican Party, hereby affirm the following principles:

      — The United States of American was founded upon the principles that our rights are endowed by the Creator and not afforded to our citizens by the dictates of the government;

      — The free market is the creative engine of prosperity.

      — Freedom and liberty, both personal and economic, are threatened from the growing leviathan state;

      — During the past decade of Republican governance, government power, spending and intervention in the lives of Americans grew at exponential rates; and Democrat rule has increased the spending ten-fold;

      — The Founders created a system of government based upon the idea of Federalism and both parties have abandoned this core principle of self-governance. Issues of conscience are best decided under this framework;

      — Americans should never abandon liberty for the promise of security and the threat of terrorism should not be used to restrict the freedom of the American people;

      — Nation building is a dangerous and dubious misuse of American power;

    9. Silicon Valley Jim Says:

      1. Term limits; Bo’s proposal seems quite reasonable to me, with the addendum that, once you’ve had those terms, you can’t have them again in the future (which seems to be possible in California, at least for governor).

      2. A concrete plan to pay down the national debt – ideally to pay it off completely, but certainly to pay it down substantially.

      3. Tort reform.

      4. A national right-to-work law.

      5. Reinstate the prohibition on public employees’ unions that was in force until the early 1960s.

      6. A balanced budget amendment, to the extent that it isn’t already implied by #2.

      I also agree with Mr. Green’s first item.

    10. K T Cat Says:

      A balanced budget ammendment!

    11. Rama Donepudi Says:

      1)A constituional ammendment that limits service in any particular elected office to no more than 12 years at any level of government, including local.
      2)Balanced budget ammendment in which the the budget has to be based on actual receipts for the calendar year in question, without recourse to borrowing of any sort from any other program or part of the government
      3)Any law that Congress passes that requires payment by in the form of fees, services, or taxes requires a 2/3 majority. Any over-ride of a presidential veto requires a 3/4 majority.
      4)Pledge to cancel any health care legislation that is passed by the current Congress.

    12. Darren Says:

      While term limits might *seem* like a good solution, and in theory *should* work, they haven’t been shown to work in California’s legislature. Perhaps that’s because of the safe districts we’ve had for so long, I don’t know, but our legislature is as out of control as it has ever been.

      If there’s evidence that term limits work, it’s not here on the Left Coast.

    13. Archie Says:

      A 4-year hiring freeze for all positions on the US government payroll outside the military.
      A ban on the use of contract employees/ consultants / temps to circumvent said hiring freeze. A 4-year pay freeze for all government employees outside the military, to include all members of congress and their staffs.

    14. Solane Says:

      No Senator or Congressman may vote or be counted for quorum purposes on any proposed legislation, bill or act that would give any benefits to his/her state/district that are not provided to other states/districts.

    15. Jack Says:

      Stop with gimmicks like term limits and balanced budget amendment. The system is broken no matter who is at the helm. And the health care plan should be proof that the budget rules can be rigged.

      What about

      1) Repeal Direct Election of Senators
      2) Increase the size of the House of Reps so it is historically accurate. It makes it harder to pass a bill with 1000 reps as opposed with 218

    16. Real American Says:

      The Federal Government shall not subsidize or own or operate any:

      1. Bank
      2. Health Insurance company
      3. Automobile company
      4. Mortgage company
      5. Student Loan company
      6. Energy company

    17. swift boater Says:

      I have a term limit suggestion also-

      9 for the House

      3 for the Senate

      18 years for Supreme Court Justices, every 2nd year the one with the longest seniority goes and a new one replaces him. That will allow some older judges now to be considered also, seems if you are past 55 you are a goner.

      Line Item veto

      Totally and unequivocally repeal EVERYTHING Obama has done, or start with the Dem Health Payoff and Graft Bill and pick up steam.

      2nd Amendment means what it says

      10th Amendment means what it says

      That’s all, folks (well not really but enough from me)

    18. Noah Nehm Says:

      I’d like to see a lot more subsidarity in our political affairs: How about starting with the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment?

    19. Kyle Canyon Says:

      I think the platform should stress shrinking the Federal Government. Take a “Weed the garden” approach.
      1) Ban on unfunded mandates
      2) Close the EPA
      3) Close Department of Education
      4) Make welfare a state,not Federal, responsibility
      5) Outlaw unions for Federal employees
      6) End all pension programs for elected Federal officials
      7) Enact a 20% staff cutback in every Department

    20. Flighterdoc Says:

      Constitutional amendments for a balanced budget (requiring a 75% supermajority to waive during emergencies), another banning ‘executive orders’, one specifying term limits (2 terms for Senators, 3 for the House), and a final one that the laws apply to the legislature, and no bill shall be longer than (some 2-digit number) of pages.

      Then: CCW, Tort reform, Unfunded mandates, all federal laws expire within 5 years (they can pass them again if they want, but must be specifically passed – no passing all at once).

      That’d be a good start.

    21. AnthonyH Says:

      Another proposed amendment: No Senator or Representative shall be allowed to vote on a bill which creates a new tax or program but exempts his or her state from the costs or impacts of said program or contains an appropriation that can only apply to his or her state. Any votes found to be cast in violation of this amendment shall be retroactively voided (after this amendment becomes effective), and any law passed by virtue of such improper votes and signed by the President shall likewise be voided.

    22. locke Says:

      Congress shall pass no law that provides assistance to any municipality, state, or private organisation that excludes all others in the several states.

    23. onparkstreet Says:

      Well, this post hit a nerve, eh? Says something.

      “No Senator or Congressman may vote or be counted for quorum purposes on any proposed legislation, bill or act that would give any benefits to his/her state/district that are not provided to other states/districts.” – Solane

      That’s intriguing, and I like the sound of it, but won’t the politicos just cut deals with each other? You support my pork, I support yours?

      I don’t know.

      I like the balanced budget amendment. How has that worked in states that have one? Iowa has one, but she also gets a lot of Federal farm aid.

    24. Deango Says:

      We meed am amendment that restricts the meaning of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to “make regular or uniform” commerce among the states. I’m open to suggestions on this.

      Also, repeal the popular election of Senators (Amendment 17).

    25. Snowbird Says:

      Congress shall pass no laws imposing costs on the states and shall not impose, raise or otherwise levy taxes for purposes not expressly enumerated in the Constitution without a vote of 2/3 of both the House and the Senate

    26. jim m Says:

      I’ll take your five and add:

      6) Repeal of Obamacare

      7) Repeal of any unspent stimulus money

      8) A law forbidding the Federal Government from owning any amount stock or from accepting any stock of any kind or ownership in a publicly or privately held company in any form as payment for, or as a form of collateral for government aid or services.

      9) A law mandating that the President, Vice President, all Congressmen and Senators as well as any Executive Branch official who serves by appointment of the White House shall be taxed at the highest income tax rate. Furthermore they shall be prohibited from itemizing their deductions and will be allowed only the standard deductions. If married they shall be required to file jointly to prevent hiding income with their spouses.

      10) A law requiring that any Congressman or Senator be stripped of any official position, committee membership or party organizational position (whip, leader etc) should they be put under indictment by a grand jury.

    27. Xenocles Says:

      A Constitutional amendment to the effect of “Any Citizen of the United States shall be considered to have standing to challenge in court the constitutional validity of any statute, regulation, rule, or any other measure enacted by any government organ subject to this Constitution.”

    28. flenser Says:

      A Constitutional amendment requiring any bill in the House or Senate to be “frozen” and posted online for a week before being voted on.

      This would accomplish several things. For one, it would at least force Congress to write a bill before voting on it, even if we cannot make them read it. It would allow the voters to see what laws they are being asked to live under BEFORE they are passed. And it would probably shame some Congressmen into behaving a little less badly.

      Power hates accountability.

    29. Fuloydo Says:

      – Repeal the 17th Amendment

      – Congressional salaries, including staff salaries, are not to be paid with federal monies. All salaries are to be paid by the state being represented, to include any pensions. Yeah, this means they all wouldn’t get paid the same. So what. They also wouldn’t have control of their own pay checks, the state legislatures would. This should make the reps listen a bit more to what’s going on back home. This would have the effect of making the 27th amendment moot.

      – A law requiring all legislation 3000 words or less to be available on-line for 72 hours with an additional 24 hours on-line for every 1000 words or part thereof a given bill exceeds 3000 words before a vote can be taken.

      – An absolute prohibition on voting for any bill that has not been written yet. (the point above should take care of that but I felt the need to emphasize it a bit.)

    30. Teki Setsu Says:

      Roll back ALL of the big statism that the Democrats AND Republicans have foisted on us in the last 8 years.

    31. flenser Says:

      A Constitutional amendment making it clear, if it’s not already, that the children of illigal immigrants are not US ctizens and are not entitled to live off the taxpayer dime.

    32. Ignorance is Bliss Says:

      How about the following constitutional amendments:

      Every federal law expires after 20 years. If it’s still a good idea, pass it again.

      Every bill must be read in full on the House and Senate floors. No waiving the reading. Maybe even require that in order to vote for a bill, a Congressman or Senator must sit through the entire reading.

    33. Ace Rothstein Says:

      Eliminate income and payroll tax withholding.

    34. Brian Gabriel Says:

      Repeal of Obamacare.

    35. joeindc44 Says:

      Inside Football Stuff:
      1. Forbidding the existence of state sponsored party apparatuses such as ACORN.
      2a. Forbidding or limiting the ability of state/federal employee union from politcal participation.
      2b. Sunset provisions for all state/federal employee collective agreements.
      3. Full investigation into science behind Climategate
      4. Matching funds for academic studies opposed to global warming.

      Meat and Potatoes
      5. Requiring federal government spending to be cut to match tax receipts.
      6. Cutting the 10,000 ways the feds can send you to jail
      7. School choice vouchers

      8. Attempting to end government market intrusions that caused market bubbles (student loans, Fannie Mae, etc.)

    36. Parabellum Says:

      Balanced Budget and Term Limits.

      Full Stop, That Is All, At Ease Men.

      P.S. No Habeus Corpus rights for non-citizens

    37. ghh Says:

      If memory serves, wasn’t the banning of unfunded mandates part of the original contract? And was actually achieved for awhile?

      The first contract worked because its contents were determined by polls and focus groups–getting at what was really, really pissing poeple off at that point in time. Now, I suppose it’s primarily the deficit, the government intrusion into the private sector (mainly to the benefit of powerful and wealthy and connected groups), lack of transparancy in legislation, expansion of executive power, and the total subservience of science to politics. So, you address those concerns in a set of concrete proposals.

    38. mikeSilver Says:

      Constitutional Amendments:

      1) Balanced Budget

      2) Limit the Reach of the Federal Government by severly restricting the Commerce Clause

      3) Mandatory Retirement age for Federal Judges

      4) Require any mandates on state and local governments be paid for by the Federal government

      5) A database of every person and entity recieving government money, including food stamps, welfare, wall street bailouts, etc. All searchable and with links to the empowering legislation and the filed forms

      6) Reduce the number of federal employees by 50% by elimination of the ATF, Dept of Education,etc.

      7) Stop immigration until unemployement is below 6%. No more H1-B visas that let corporations get cheap high skilled labor and no more importing poverty

      8) Enough of being the world’s sugar daddy and protector … end foreign aid and payments to the UN. Shut down military operations that we have scattered all over the world. Weren’t we supposed to be in Bosinia for a 1 year? Why are we there now. If Saudi wants our protection, then they need to pay for it.

      2) Require all fees and taxes be voted on Congress annually

      3) Any bill that imposes costs on Americans and State and Local Governments

    39. Ellen Rose Says:

      1) All ballots shall include “none of the above” as a choice.

      2) We need some way to punish governmental persons and entities when they lie.

    40. Seneca Says:

      Line Item Veto

    41. Dr. Weevil Says:

      Ho ho ho. I’d been planning a post on this sort of thing myself, but press of work kept it unpublished. Here’s just a few things that need to be in it, for a start. I’ll have more to say later:

      1. Place of honor: Repeal CPSIA. It’s astonishing that so blatantly stupid and destructive a law is still in place. Forcing libraries and thrift shops to destroy old children’s books is utterly insance. Don’t modify it, or replace it with an improved version: just repeal it. And fire whoever thought of it, and whoever is enforcing it.

      2. No government guarantees for anything but bank accounts. Wind up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as expeditiously as possible, along with the federal student loan agencies. If you don’t qualify for a bank loan for your hourse, car, or education, you probably shouldn’t be borrowing the money. Can’t afford to go to college? The GI Bill is one of the few government subsidies I do not wish to abolish.

      3. No special government subsidies (or penalties) for buying a house or a car of a particular kind or at a particular time or anything like that. Buying people free golf carts is insane!

      4. Allow Americans to buy gasoline without 10% ethanol added, any kind of light bulbs they please, and any size toilet they want. If they’re better, we’ll buy them voluntarily. If (e.g.) the ‘better’ light bulbs are more poisonous, suicidally depressing, or just too expensive, we won’t.

      5. Others understand these things better than I, but I suspect that we need to repeal Mark to Market and Sarbanes-Oxley. We certainly need to repeal CAFE standards, the Minimum Wage, and Davis-Bacon. Anything else? Probably hundreds of other stupid and useless laws.

    42. Todd Says:

      1) Mandatory US History and Constituition courses in High School and College, required for graduation

      2) Repeal birth-right citizenship, if you’re not here legally, then your baby should not get US citizenship automatically

      3) Citizens must Pass the citizenship test to vote in national elections

      4) End family based immigration policy and move to skills based immigration policies

      5) Colleges – No ROTC, no Federal funds

      6) Sanctuary cities get no federal funds at all for anything

      7) end ‘catch and release’ for all illegal immigrants, immediate deportation, whatever agency makes the apprhension, local state, federal.

      8) No Government funds for abortion, at all, ever. Planned Parenthood, ACORN, etc.

      9) End ‘Motor Voter’

      10) Make English official language, noe federal support for anything other than english immersion

      I like yours too

    43. joeindc44 Says:

      1. Immediately ending TARP and Porkulus (along with other bailouts) with a complete summarizing of all funds used thus far.

      2. Sending GM into bankruptcy proceedings, ending all bailouts of these companies. Somehow reversing the UAW’s upheaval of creditor’s rights.

    44. flenser Says:

      There shall be no such thing as “private institution” which is “too big to fail”.

      In this case we’re in the current mess because of a combination of ideas from across the political spectrum. Most people don’t like the idea of setting an upper limit on the size of a business. And most people also don’t like the idea of a big business failing. At least one of these ideas has to change – I’d go for both.

    45. Fuloydo Says:

      Move election day to the first Tuesday in April that falls AFTER April 15th. Alternative: Move Tax day to the October 31st.

      Eliminate payroll deduction for income taxes. Every tax payer shall be required to write a check to the government so that they get their nose rubbed into how much they are actually being robbed of.

    46. iowahawk Says:

      All laws eminating from Congress shall a sunset expiration of no more than 10 years, after which the can be renewed by a 2/3 majority of both houses.

    47. Ignorance is Bliss Says:

      Suspend implementation of health care reform until both Social Security and Medicare fiscally solvent permanently.

      Reform Social Security and Medicare by changing them from pay-as-you-go to each-generation-pays-for-themselves. This would make them less vulnerable to demographics (though not demagoguery) and would end the generational theft.

    48. gb_in_tx Says:

      How ’bout the following:

      I/we agree that the interstate commerce clause applies only to actual interstate commerce, and commit to support the repeal of all legislation that relies on the erroneous interpretations of that clause as has been the practice in the past.

    49. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Term limits: 3 terms for Congress, two for Senate.

      The trouble with term limits is that it just increases the power of staffs who run Congress anyway.

      I did like the suggestion that staff be funded by the state represented. It might reduce the permanent Washington bureaucracy.

      I don’t know if repealing direct election of Senators would help much. Imagine what we would get from Illinois if they didn’t have to stand for election.

      Balanced budget amendments get evaded but something about the Fed might be helpful. For details I would defer to an economist. Maybe a ten year cycle of balance. After all, that is what Keynes really intended.

    50. Dr. Weevil Says:

      Here’s some more:

      6. Build the damned fence on the Mexican border.

      7. Move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

      8. U.S. out of U.N., U.N. out of U.S. The League of Nations is universally admitted to have been a pathetic failure, but they actually expelled brutal dictatorships for invading other countries. The only country the U.N. has ever expelled was Taiwan, for not wanting to be invaded. Future generations will look back in amazement on our contemporaries who fail to see what a malignant and worse-than-useless thing the U.N. is.

      9. When Senators are Congressmen hold televised hearings, ban all staff members from the room. Let us see how intelligent and well-informed our representatives are. I’ll allow them all the briefings they can handle and all the files they can carry.

      10. No law shall be passed until it has been read in its entirety on the floor of both houses, and no one shall vote on it who has not been there for the entire reading.

    51. William H. Stoddard Says:

      Given the role that video evidence has lately played in exposing government malfeasance:

      “The right of the people to bear and use video and audio recording devices shall not be infringed, nor shall records made by such devices be confiscated, nor their dissemination censored or otherwise restricted.”

    52. flenser Says:

      The Big Change, the really meaningful one which would make all the others possible, is to change the way in which elections are held so as to break the stranglehold which the so-called “two parties” have on everything.

      Most people in this country really don’t like either the Democrats or Republicans, and with good reason. But we’re stuck with them as an artifact of the “first past the post” electoral system we have. Make it possible for multiple parties to compete and the logjam in DC is broken.

      Of course that’s not a change which either party will ever make part of their platform.

    53. Commander Porkins Says:

      #1 is not important enought to modify the Constitution. #2 I disagree with: let it remain a state issue. Federalism is a winning argument.

      If you are going to propose a Constitutional Amendment, I have just three words for you:

      LINE
      ITEM
      VETO

    54. Russ Says:

      No person receiving income from the federal government shall be permitted to vote in federal elections.

    55. Vader Says:

      “Every federal law expires after 20 years. If it’s still a good idea, pass it again.”

      Right. The 2-year limit on all appropriations for the Army already in the Constitution has worked so well, we should do the same for everything else.

      Let me know how that works out for y’all.

    56. L Nettles Says:

      Change the rules of the Congress to prohibit a member or an employee of the legislative branch from seeking to influence a member of the other branches except through law passed by the legislature acting as a body. Real separation of powers. Congress would be less likely to grant executive powers to the executive. Eliminate the congressional fiefdoms.

    57. Dr. Weevil Says:

      A couple more I forgot, that go together:

      11. Abolish farm price supports.

      12. Unilateral free trade: freely import anything except illegal drugs and kiddie porn, freely export anything except the more advanced military technology.

      These two would do more for the Third World than any amount of foreign aid, most of which just goes to their brutal dictators.

    58. Todd Says:

      Had to go some more:

      1a) Reinstate Glass-Steagall

      2a) End automatic witholding of taxes, FICA, etc

      3a) Amend the constituition to overturn Kelo

      4a) End the seniority system for Congress and Senators, positions should be assigned by lot and rotated each term

      5a) Make congressional earmarks illegal and authorize the line item veto

      6a) Amend the constituition to overturn Roe, put it back to the states

      7a) Lay out a clear way for states to leave the union, if they so choose

      8a) Enforce a ‘plain reading’ standard for understanding the constituition and applying it to case law

      9a) Roll back all ‘Great Society’ and ‘Obama World’ programs

      10a) end all financial support for every ‘non-partisian’ political group, especially ACORN and its affiliates, bring a RICO investigation against ACORN

    59. Buford Gooch Says:

      Constitutional Amendment that says: No law may be passed by Congress that is more than 10 pages, one side each, single spaced, 10 point type.

    60. CharlieDontSurf Says:

      All new legislation has an automatic expiration date at which point it is null and void unless renewed. This has the dual effect of getting old law off the books and reducing the available time for congress to generate new legislation!

    61. Reagan Fan Says:

      I’d like to see the terms of senators and representatives cut in half. By electing a new House every year, representatives would be held more accountable to the voters and lobbyists would lose some power as they would have to buy votes every single year.

      Six years is simply way too long for senators as well. Once you are voted in now, there is a good chance you aren’t ever getting voted out. As it is now, voter attitude in one election can have effects that go on for years.

      This works for either side. (Or, against either side, depending on how you look at it) Go too far in one direction, be it CWA or Obamacare, and know you will be out on your ear in less than 12 months.

      The president’s tenure should consist on no more than 2 terms of three years each. In this day and age, I have seen no one that had the energy left to govern by year seven.

    62. CharlieDontSurf Says:

      P.S.
      The line item veto has already been ruled unconstitutional,

    63. ThomasD Says:

      I can live without a national concealed carry law. Not that I am in any way opposed to CCW, and I would certainly support efforts to make any State CCW valid nationwide (we have no need for a ‘national’ driver license either.)

      I just think we need a contract, not a laundry list.

      1. Reign in Congress and all the unconfirmed ‘czars.’

      2. Re-affirm the 10th amendment.

      3. Make it clear that the commerce clause has no bearing on anything that is not bought or sold, and only affects those items bought or sold ACROSS STATE LINES.

      4. Defund all the left wing/big government special interest groups that do nothing but promote the election of statist politicians and further the expansion of the Federal government.

    64. Tim Shell Says:

      1. Any action that is otherwise perfectly legal, provided one has permission from the government, shall not require permission from the government.

      1a. Permission here meaning, permits, licenses, regulatory approvals, variances, or anything functionally equivalent however named.

      For example, if it is legal to drill for oil, with regulatory approval from the government, then it is legal to drill for oil without regulatory approval. If it is legal to carry a weapon, with a government permit, then it is legal to carry a weapon without a government permit. Etc.

      Put that in the Constitution and we can retire the entire interventionist regime.

    65. JohnMc Says:

      A) The compensation of Congress shall be in direct proportion of 3 factors — inverse CPI inflation rate, inverse of the rate of the defict, inverse of the number of personnel under the employ of the federal government.

      B) No bill shall issue forth that has not been publicly displayed for a period of 14 days.

      C) No member of Congress or the Executive branch shall be permitted to act for or lobby on behalf of a third party to the same said government.

    66. George B Says:

      1. Term limits for Congress. Can be fairly loose like 12 years in the House and 18 years in the Senate to limit the number of congresscritters who stay until they die.

      2. Require that legislation be made public on the internet for some period of time like 48 hours before a vote by congress.

      3. Change congressional rules to allow small bills to bypass the logrolling process and get an up or down vote. Make it possible to get an up or down vote to kill programs like the mohair subsidy independent of a gigantic farm bill, for example.

      4. Index for inflation the cost basis for capital gains taxes.

      5. Set the estate tax and tax on dividends to the same tax rate as capital gains tax. Start moving the tax code towards a flat tax.

      6. Shift all responsibility for roads to state and local government. End federal excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel and distribution of highway pork from congress to the states.

      7. Sell federal land and real estate to pay down the national debt and reduce federal government power over Western states.

    67. Anonymous Says:

      Nancy Reagan had it right:
      Just say NO!

      No Bailouts
      No Stimulus
      No Subsidies
      No Guarantees
      No Earmarks
      No Pork
      No Deficits
      No Bubbles
      No Tax Hikes
      No Blank Checks
      No Nationalizations
      No Socialism
      No Public Option
      No Cap and Trade
      No Single Payer
      No Protectionism
      No Public Funding
      No Government Motors
      No Government Cheese
      No Pirates
      No Bu11$#;+
      No Øbama

    68. Mal Says:

      The last Contract With America was a great idea, but why did the Republicans have to dump it after a few days? At this point I have no confidence in them knowing what to do.

      Perhaps a CWA for another party would work so that we can dump both the Dems and Repubs.

    69. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Oops, Anonymous just preceding is I.

    70. John C. Randolph Says:

      1) abolish the federal reserve, and ban fiat money
      2) replace the commerce clause with a simple statement prohibiting trade barriers between the states
      3) prohibit the exemption of any government employee from any criminal statute. If it applies to us, it applies to them, too.
      4) abolish the income tax, and the grave robbing tax
      5) finance the federal government entirely from selling off property that the federal government should never have posessed in the first place: all the federal lands aside from the District of Columbia.
      6) withdraw all US troops from foreign soil
      7) absolutely require a declaration of war before any US troops may be sent abroad.
      8) shorten the legislative session to four months per year, unless a state of emergency is declared and passed by a supermajority. Serving in the congress should be like jury duty: It should not be a way to make a living.
      9) repeal McCain-Feingold
      10) explicitly protect the power of the jury to nullify bad laws.

    71. Robert Schwartz Says:

      And I need to add one more:

      No Mandates

    72. John Says:

      We need to do something about incumbency. Redistricting should taken away from state legislatures/governors and placed in the trust of a judicial panel with clear rules on what can and cannot be taken into consideration. Voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.

      In that same vein, we should reform the electoral college system. I still believe the electoral system is better than a straight popular vote, because the United States is a federation of 50 states and the states should choose the President, not the people directly. Direct election of the president would concentrate campaigns in the biggest states, to the detriment of smaller states, which is a poor outcome (and would guarantee policies tailored to big cities). Instead, we should apportion a states electoral votes according to the distribution of the popular vote in each. I suggest two possible solutions:

      1) Each congressional district should have one electoral vote, which would automatically be cast for the candidate winning a plurality of popular votes in the district. In addition, each state will have two electoral votes at large, which will be automatically cast for the candidate winning the most votes statewide.

      OR

      2) Each state’s electoral votes shall be divided in a way that represents the state’s popular vote distribution, like they do it in Maine. By way of example, a state with 30 electors where the people voted 50% for the Republican, 40% for the Democrat, and 10% for an independent would vote 15 electors for the Republican, 12 for the Democrat, and 3 for the independent. Like the primaries, a candidate would need to garner at least 5% of the popular vote to receive any electoral votes.

    73. Hrothgar Says:

      1. No bill being considered in either the House or Senate shall be longer than the Constitution of the United States.
      2. All laws enacted by the Congress and signed by the President shall apply to all Senators, Representatives, the Vice-President, and the President.
      3. Senators are appointed and funded by state legislatures.
      4. Require every bill under consideration by the Congress to be traceable to a specific authorizing section within the Constitution and the rationale for the Consitutional authority to be included within the bill.

    74. Bob Pipes Says:

      1. Term Limits for House and Senate members

      2. Mandatory certifications in Economics and the history of Capitalism vs Socialism.

      3. Cut the size and scope of Government, Agriculture Dept, Education Dept, Half of HHS, IRS – Gone

      4. Flat tax

      5. Unions should not be able to support with Union Money the elected people they do contract bargining with. That is called a bribe anywhere else in the world.

    75. Todd Says:

      Gosh, this is too much fun!

      Move the UN to Saudia Arabia, Yemen, Antarticia, or any other God forsaken place, just get it out of the USA and get us out of it.

      Sell California to the Chinese while we still can

      Mandatory 2 year National service after High School, military, local, whatever

      End unionization for all government employees

      Drug tests for all government check recepients, welfare, teachers, law enforcement, congress, etc

      Campaign finance – no limits, full, total and instant disclosure via web. Set tough standards for on-line campaign donations, must verify citizenship, etc.

      GET GOVERNMENT OUT OF HEALTHCARE

    76. Todd Says:

      Final One for the Evening

      Supreme Court should have to CERTIFY the constituitional status for proposed bills BEFORE they are passed into LAW

    77. Brian Says:

      1) Any member of Congress receiving union campaign contributions in excess of one-fifth of their funds raised will be required to wear a gaudy pinky ring at all times.

      2) Zero out all taxes on business, AND zero out all subsidies and assorted tax breaks for business. This ain’t no hippie commune.

      3) Any person who has seen combat duty in Iraq and/or Afghanistan is automatically granted a certificate to become a high school teacher, and will have the rights to exercise whatever physical force is necessary to keep miscreant students in line – up to and including waterboarding.

      4) Congressional district lines shall be based strictly on the boundaries of counties, cities, towns and/or villages. Nothing else. Except for prisons. If anybody wants to gerrymander the inside of a prison they’re welcome to try.

      5) Ban on unfunded mandates as noted above.

      6) The federal tax deadline day shall be the day before Election Day.

      7) Defense of Marriage for Elected Officials Act: all members of Congress found to have committed adultery get perp-walked down the Capitol steps and booted from office. That might leave Kucinich as the only remaining member of the House, but we can sort that out later.

      8) Ignition interlock for the cars of all members of Congress. This way Patrick Kennedy doesn’t feel like he’s being singled out.

      9) All candidates accepting government money for elections shall voice their campaign spots in their own voices and nobody else’s. If you can’t be coherent and compelling for 30 lousy seconds when you have the chance to write and rehearse your remarks, you don’t deserve to be in office anyway.

      10) All members of Congress shall promptly turn off their cell phones when the stewardess tells them to.

    78. Everyman Says:

      Getting down to basics:

      1. The Declaration of Independence states, as a self-evident truth, that we have certain unalienable rights, there enumerated by example only. Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness (the right to self-realization, to explore the extent of our potential, and sometimes to go well beyond it).

      2. The Tenth Amendment to our constitution declares: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

      3. The people, then, have a self-executing power to lead, to govern themselves, in the absence of their delegation of such powers to their chosen representatives in any of the three branches of the federal government, and in the absence of the people’s reservation of powers to their states. The people need not petition; they need not resort to the courts; they need only to be resolved to act, to state that resolution, and to submit it to the people seeking the support of others, seeking common ground, speaking, if the majority so determines (yes, a majority is still required, fundamentally), with a single voice.

      4. For the very first time in history, technology provides the people with the ability to connect with one another and to submit a resolution for consideration. A well-publicized website will do.

      5. There would be a series of resolutions – one at a time, please – starting with:

      “Be it resolved: The United States of America is one country, with one law for all. Any provision of law which purports to exempt any citizen of the country from the general operation of any law is unenforceable, void, and of no further force or effect.”

      6. The sovereign power of the people is unlimited. Let the word go forth to this and future generations that restrictions sought to be imposed – and for more than seven decades in fact imposed – by government on the exercise of such sovereign power shall not stand.

      Everyman, Citizen

    79. PapayaSF Says:

      Allow purchase of health insurance across state lines.

      Somehow link federal civilian worker pay to the average non-federal worker. They now make far more, plus have generous pensions and benefits and can rarely be fired.

    80. Dr. Weevil Says:

      Here’s another one:

      13. If Congress cannot pass a budget by the official deadline, stop paying them and all their staff members until they pass it. Do not give them the money retroactively when they do pass it. If the president vetoes the budget, stop their pay again until they resubmit. Make them pass it before the deadline, with enough time to spare for leisurely revision in case of a veto.

    81. TexasPat Says:

      Make it a record of the actual person (congressional aid?) who adds in items to these bills.

    82. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Some Instalanche

    83. Robert Says:

      Any state may secede from the Union by a popular vote of it’s citizens.

    84. Rob Crawford Says:

      No bill may be passed by the Senate or Congress unless its complete text has been available to the public for a period of no less than 30 days.

    85. Tom K Says:

      Repeal the 16th and 17th amendment. Individual states should pay a tax based on the number of Congressional Representatives that state has in Washington. This would gets us back to taxation with representation. More importantnly each state would be free to come up with its most advantagoues tax plan. This would also eliminate the duplication of effort with the IRS and the individual state tax collecting agencies. Another advantage is splitting up the lobbying effort in getting tax breaks for the lobbing groups.

      Taxation based on Congressional Representatives coupled with the repeal of the 17th amendment would go a very long ways to getting spending under control.

    86. Rob Crawford Says:

      Congressional districts must be drawn such that a line drawn from any point within the district to any other line within that district does not cross another district within the same state. A natural boundary, impassable by a voter on foot, may be override this requirement, but if it is crossed by any voter under their own power, the original requirement is restored.

    87. Thumb5 Says:

      Term limits don’t go far enough.

      I have this unrealistic little fantasy. It’s ridiculous but there’s something I like about it.

      Congress is moved somewhere that’s remote, unpopulated and located in the “middle” of the country. It’s utterly inaccessible except by air (and kept that way).

      The White House stays in DC.

      Representatives & Senators and their staff can travel into rustic, high cost-of-living Congressville (by air) from their state capitol only. Further, they (and anyone on their staff/payroll) are forbidden to spend more than 48 hours per month in DC.

      All communications between DC and Congressville are by electronic means (teleconferencing, etc) and are recorded into an isolated, solid-state lockbox for ten years (unless pertaining to national security) at which point they’re released to the public domain.

    88. Jim S Says:

      Term limits have some “unintended consequences”. sometimes someone who is good at their job (reads the bills, debates effectively, has a rational approach to issues) will be forced out. Term limits also give lobbyists more power because they “feed” the newbies information. So I feel term limits is NOT a mandate here. Mandate the same laws to apply to the governed and the governors. No mandates without funding. etc.

    89. Rob Crawford Says:

      No tax money may be disbursed to third parties for the purpose of registering voters. Any organization conducting voter registration is ineligible for status as a charity, tax-exempt, or non-profit organization.

    90. xj Says:

      Set up a Committee on Due Process to be appointed in some non-partisan manner (say, select one citizen at random from the jury pool in each congressional district, and have them draw lots until we have a convenient number) that will have the following responsibility:

      Every time a bill is passed by either chamber of Congress, the Committee on Due Process shall choose at random ten percent of those Senators or Representatives who voted “aye” and ask them, with regard to three randomly-chosen paragraphs of the bill, what the language in those paragraphs actually empowers the government to do or cease from doing, and what part of the Constitution empowered Congress to pass this particular bill. Any Senator or Representative who can’t answer these questions correctly will be expelled from Congress immediately and will be barred from holding any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, for the next ten years. In addition to the above random checks, the Committee on Due Process shall examine any Senator or Representative on the petition of five percent of the registered voters in the Senator’s state or the Representative’s district, with the penalty for failure to be as described above.

      (Also, all federal regulations are required to be approved by Congress and subject to the above scrutiny by the Committee on Due Process. It’s never been clear to me why federal agencies are empowered to write their own regulations anyway. It’s not like Article One says “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives, plus a bunch of random alphabet-soup agencies that nobody ever heard off.” In striking down the line-item veto from the first Contract for America, the Supreme Court held that Congress couldn’t delegate its law-making powers to the President: why, then, should they delegate said powers to a bunch of random bureaucrats three direct reports away from the President?)

      I’ll admit this reform will cause an undesirably high level of special elections and appointed senators for a couple of years, but think of the long-term benefits! Besides, ignorance of the law is no excuse…. for passing it.

    91. YangWei Says:

      A congressman only has to read a bill, or listen to a bill being read, if they vote for the bill.

      Congressmen who vote against the bill get a pass and can enjoy recess.

    92. Ten Says:

      The only law that’ll save this place is the one sunsetting all other laws on a regular basis. We need to stop dealing with the unintended consequences of prior laws with new laws.

      From there, outlaw the lobby, enact term limits, abolish the Fed and fiat currency and the fractional reserve system built upon it.

      In other words, we’re screwed. We haven’t the will for a tenth of that.

    93. zenpundit Says:

      Lex,

      “The GOP is not exactly the sharpest bunch of elephants on the savannah.

      They are looking at a historic threat, and a historic opportunity, with the Democrats making massive and unpopular changes to the foundations of our economy and our government.

      But I am seeking just about zero leadership in the opposition ranks”

      Superb diagnosis.

      Some of a hypothetical “contract” will fill itself out as Obamacare has hidden provisions that will spark volcanic rage when unobservant Americans get hit by them. The GOP not needs to be ready to harness and direct that outrage strategically, not just at the offending provision.

      Constitutional amendments sound good but they are virtually impossible to realize in the time frame the GOP needs to operate in.

      Auditing the Tarp/Bailout mess and appointing a special prosecutor is a must – the show will run and uncover malfeasance and corrupt insider deals for years while forcing the other side to consume itself playing defense.

    94. DNarr Says:

      Many good ideas above. Here’s my two cents:

      1. Universal term limits for all local, state and national offices, including judicial offices. 12 years max.
      2. Outlaw gerrymandering, including racial gerrymandering. All electoral districts to be compact, contiguous, built from the local level up and based on historic affinities.
      3. Political contributions limited to constituents of the office. Constituents are natural persons who are citizens of the US and eligible voters of the locality, district, state, etc. No corporations, unions, professional associations, PACs, etc. Grassroots OK, Astroturf, NO.
      4. Line Item Veto for all executive officers.
      5. Establish new age qualification for elective office: 25 min for local offices, 35 for state offices, 45 for US House of Reps, 55 for US Senate and US President.
      6. End unionization for government employees. Civil Service protection is enough. End defined benefit pensions and health benefits for new government employees and cap existing benefits, forcing govt. employees to self-fund their retirements just like the rest of us.
      7. Cap total govt spending by all levels at 18 percent of GDP. Reserve property taxes exclusively for local governments; sales taxes for state governments and a transaction tax to replace all existing sources of revenue for the federal government with the possible exception of tariffs. Abolish all charitable, religious and governmental tax exemptions, Everybody pays every time a dollar changes hands. (Consider the idea of the velocity of money, this is why you must have enforceable spending limits).

      Well, I could go on, and have. This is long enough. In a nutshell, we are being ruled by a social, political and intellectual elite which has lost touch with the legitimate aspirations of the American people. Things must change.

    95. CaptainVictory Says:

      One of the big problems is that the public has been frozen out of this whole checks-and-balances thing. With that in mind, here’s my wish list. They may be pipe dreams, but are ripe for discussion.

      1. Congress meets only every other year.

      2. When Congress refuses to investigate one of its members within, say, 120 days, the government of that member’s home state may investigate and prosecute if appropriate.

      3. Permit recall votes of representatives and senators if a supermajority of home-staters first consent to hold such a recall vote.

      4. Amend the Constitution to allow a supermajority of states to kick a failing state out of the union.

      5. Amend the Constitution to allow states to sue in the Supreme Court for secession where the Federal government has overstepped its powers under the Tenth Amendment.

    96. Duke Says:

      How about: “The federal government is limited to a maximum of 15% of gross domestic product for both expenditures and receipts in each fiscal year. Exceptions may be made only in time of national emergency, annually, and by a vote of 2/3rds of each chamber of Congress. Excess receipts if any shall be refunded pro rata to taxpayers. Excess expenditures are immediately void.

    97. Joe Says:

      I propose, that the death of a congressmen or senator at the hands of another, outside of legislative chambers, home, or vehicle that he is driving, shall not be murder.

      Wouldn’t want to be accused of being an anarchist.

    98. Al Says:

      Amendment:
      When passing a budget, only unspent receipts from the previous year may be allocated for spending for any purpose other than a congressionally authorized war.

    99. Rob Crawford Says:

      Congressmen and their staffs may travel only within the United States or to areas occupied by US troops. No Congressmen or their immediate family (spouse, children) may own property within the District of Columbia or any state but that they represent.

    100. Doug Says:

      Wow, Lot’s of ideas on how to reign in the big, bad government.
      I have a different type of suggestion.

      1) Any person attempting to VOTE must provide a picture ID and proof of citizenship. If we have to do it to be employed, why not to vote?

      Immediate change in national demographics.

    101. betheweb Says:

      Reduction in force requiring dismissal of all Federal employees hired within the last four years.

      All Federal elections require photo ID.

      Minimum required service for retirement purposes, including military, 25 years. Can retire at highest grade held (for three years)if physical limitations require transfer to a different classification or grade.

      Forensic audit of all spending bills passed and signed into law since September 2008. Criminal prosecution pursued to the fullest extent.

      Requirement to verify birth certificate, high school, and college transcripts of any candidate for any federal office.

    102. James Says:

      1. Each Federal agency will reduce employment by 10% each year for the next six years. This includes Contractor personnel. Department of Defense will reduce by 5% each year for the next four years. Immediately, Congressional staffs will be reduced to a maximum of 5 Washington employees, and 5 total in the districts. immediately, Congressional committee staffs will be reduced to 1 staff member per committee.Immediately, Senate staffs will be reduced to a maximum of 8 Washington employees, and 8 total in the home state. Immediately, Senate committee staffs will be reduced to 1 staff member per committee.

      2. All new Laws or Federal regulations will be a maximum of 1000 words in length. Each law or Federal regulation will expire after a period of 5 years — Current laws and Federal Regulations will expire 5 years after this is enacted. For a new law or Federal regulation to be enacted – Two Laws or Federal regulations, in the same federal department, will expire.

    103. Beaux12 Says:

      1. term limits (mean it this time) and reverse all laws that in any way third parties
      2. require 2/3 of both houses to raise taxes or increase spending
      3. get feds out of health care, education, etc (get out of that which you don’t belong)
      4. triple number of senators and representatives (dilution of power)
      5. open all fed lands and offshore waters for drilling
      6. tax simplification, end capital gains and estate taxes (put an end to the sale of the tax system)
      7. terminate all quasi governmental corporations (freddie, fannie, etc)
      8. put an end to all stupid budget tricks: report all government expenditures as part of the deficit/debt
      9. audit the fed
      10. banish earmarks to the dustbin of history
      11. all bills must be posted on internet and cannot be brought for a vote for 60 days (30 days if all representatives and senators have held at least 6 town hall meetings with constituents in their district/state)
      12. pass legislation (with real teeth) prohibiting members from serving as lobbyists for 5 years after their last term in office, and only after having returned to and residing in the state they served for that 5 years.
      13. establish 3 more federal districts in the different regions of the country and rotate the capital through 4 districts on a 3 year basis

    104. david Says:

      1. Repeal McCain Fiengold and make total disclosure of any campaign contributions
      2. Popular Recall of Federal Judges – at each national election, all federal judges would be judged by the populous and if they do not get more than 50% of the vote for Aye, they are removed from the position.

    105. Mahon Says:

      The primary bane of our political system is redistricting. Safe districts on either side, but especially on the left (because the left is geographically more concentrated), drive policy to the extremes. We have reached the point where office holders choose voters rather than the other way around. The solution might be the following Constitutional amendment:

      “Congressional districts shall be compact and contiguous, and district lines shall follow to the extent reasonably possible pre-existing county, city and precinct borders. Inclusion in any district of voters of a particular race, ethnicity or other demographic characteristic shall not be a valid reason for violations of this rule.”

    106. lil mike Says:

      Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment.

      That one thing wraps up most of what the other suggestions are trying to accomplish, and it would be binding no matter who’s in power. Republicans would be limited in their ability to screw up as badly as the last time they were in power, and Democrats would would have to actually pay for their give away schemes, instead of kicking the can up the fiscal road.

    107. Jeff R. Says:

      Constitutional Amendments seem like a bad idea for this, since they’re pretty much by definition never going to happen. Things that a new majority can do right away (possibly requiring their doing away with the fillibuster, which should be a point on the list if we want that) seem better.

      My own red-meat addition is “Cut off all federal funding whatsoever to any sanctuary city (or state or county)”

      A good, strong prohibition on non-germane amendments seems like another good start. (Even if it requires setting up a permanent office or panel to make that decision like the parliamentarian or the CBO.)

    108. Rob Crawford Says:

      Upon taking office, all Congressmen must submit a complete inventory of their assets to the Treasury. At the beginning of each subsequent term, they shall submit a similar inventory, and any gain in wealth above 60% of their salary for that term shall be returned to the Treasury. Individuals presenting evidence of a Congressman’s undisclosed assets to Treasury shall be given possession of those assets along with a cash bounty equal to 60% of the assets value, tax free.

    109. To Hayek With You Says:

      I would like to remove the government’s power to tax. It should instead be run on handouts. Additionally, each person is allowed to apportion their donation between the branches of government as they see fit. Once the funding for each department is determined then Congress could decide what those departments could spend it upon. The government would not be allowed to compel the states or any individual to spend money on anything at all.. ever.

      I would also like to see an amendment to the Constitution consisting entirely of the phrase “And we really mean it.” Since the courts have shown no deference to the Constitution as written any attempt to restore it to its original meaning will be ignored by the judiciary but it would be nice to put a needle in their eye about it.

      A static money supply. There shall be x number of dollars and no more for perpetuity. The government will not be able to inflate its debt away and each dollar earned will always be worth at least as much as it was the day it was earned.

      Congressmen shall be taxed at twice the highest rate to which any single citizen is subjected under any and all taxes.

      Laws may only be passed with a 60% majority but may be repealed with a 40% minority. The exception being war where 60% majorities will be required to either start or end hostilities.

      Congress may not cede its responsibilities to regulatory agencies. Each regulation that is proposed must be voted upon separately by Congress after a full reading on the floor of Congress.

      Congressmen must pass a quiz on the contents of any legislation before being allowed to vote upon it.

      Any current or past government employee who earns a Nobel Peace prize must give the money to the US military to buy more bombs since it is the one institution most responsible for keeping the peace worldwide.

      Russ was also right in that no one should be able to vote if they receive any federal money at all within that calender year. I would also add that they should be unable to vote if they pay no taxes under our current system. It would also be nice if they were US citizens and were not yet deceased.

      But this is all just an exercise in futility. We have just taken a giant step towards having to tear down the entire edifice of our government and rebuild it from scratch. I don’t see the country surviving the work of this current Congress. It may take a while, but I think within a generation or so we will end up having another civil war because there are just too many people who consider our government to be operating extra-constitutionally and the fiscal trajectory is such that they will have little to lose in pressing their point.

      I certainly no longer consider the US Government to be a legitimate entity. Nor do I think it is salvageable. Hopefully, events will prove me wrong and my faith will be restored. But I have seen things happen in this country in the last year that I would never have thought possible. The people in charge now acknowledge no bounds upon their power or authority and there is no abuse of language, law or conscience which they will not employ to attain their goals. One half of the population has awakened to the fact that they can vote the other half their slaves and all of the checks and balances in the system have failed. I am not sure there is any peaceful way to put this particular genii back in its bottle.

    110. Mark Johnson Says:

      You guys have missed the point. These morons can’t read the Constitution we already have. What’s the point in adding to it? Accordinglly, I second Robert’s vote that makes it clear(er) that any state can seceed.

    111. MB Kitchen Says:

      A recent Rassmussen poll (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/59_would_vote_to_replace_entire_congress) found:

      “Only half (49%) believe that the current Congress is better than individuals selected at random from the phone book. Thirty-three percent (33%) believe a randomly selected group of Americans could do a better job and 19% are not sure.”

      With this in mind, and reference to the US jury system. (A ‘jury of your peers’ can judge your guilt or innocence and in some states decide your life or death.) I propose:

      To select representatives to The People’s House via random drawings, from the said same jury pools.

      Q. “How do you keep the crazy and criminals from Congressional service?”
      A. Nothing has worked so far. However, the same screening for felons and mentally incompetent used for jury duty will work for the House of Representatives.

      Current eligibility, pay and benefits would be allowed. One 2-year term only.

      Six months prior to the beginning of the term each new member’s pay would begin and they would be required to report to Washington for ‘Congress School’ (because all us can’t remember how laws are made).

      Put this group together tell them to get to work. Let ‘natural selection’ in the group work. The leaders would rise and the lame/lazy/crazy would be ostracized (or be the “party leaders” to talk to the press). Perhaps something other than earmarks, re-election worries, and odes to ‘National Hot Dog Day’ might get accomplished. If not, ‘gridlock’ in Congress means they are not spending our money or reducing our liberty. Not a bad thing either.

      Half of the representatives would be replaced every other year.

      To keep power from the Eunuchs (‘Professional Staffer’):

      A new Congressman can bring their own staffer. If a staff member wants to stay working as staff in the House, they must:

      After the term of their current Representative, move to serve on the staff of a different state (by lottery)

      Serve on the staff of the opposite political party each 2 year term

      20 year service limit, retirement pay to match current percentage of the military retirement pay for 20 years service.

    112. Tim Says:

      Regarding term limits, I used to be against them — on the basis that voters could limit anyone’s term they saw fit. However, voters undoubtedly forfeited their writ. Thus — being no enemy to experience, as long as some of it is real-world — I’d propose that no Congressman be elected for more than 5 [i]consecutive[/i] terms, and no U.S. Senator for more than 2 [i]consecutive[/i] terms.
      Heck, let’s go one step further and do away with presidential term limits, too — but none can be served [i]consecutively[/i].

    113. Dean Douthat Says:

      Repeal 16 & 17

    114. clifford Says:

      Try this one:

      LIMITATION OF CONGRESSIONAL POWER

      The power of the Congress to regulate Commerce among the several States under Article I, Section 8 shall be limited to only those goods or services that physically cross from one State to another State or States. Congress shall not have the power to regulate goods or services within a State unless they have first crossed into that State from another State or States.

      The power of Congress to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises to provide for the General Welfare under Article I, Section 8 does not give the Congress the power to create a Right to a benefit provided as a part of the General Welfare. The General Welfare does not obligate the United States nor any State to provide any benefit to any person not legally resident the United States.

      The Congress shall make no Law which compels a Citizen of the United States, or any non-government entity registered in any State, to provide for the General Welfare of another person, other than legal dependents, or engage in Commerce or purchase of any good or service; nor shall any Law deprive them of life, liberty, or property for failure to provide for the General Welfare of another person, other than legal dependents, or failure to engage in Commerce or purchase any good or service.

      Taxes, duties, fees, imposts, excises, and fines paid to the United States shall not be considered Commerce, but no tax, duty, fees, impost, excise, or fine may be assessed as penalty for failure to engage in Commerce or failure to purchase any good or service.

      Nothing in this Amendment shall be construed as limiting the Congress in their other powers under Article I with respect to Commerce, and in their power to require non-discrimination and equal access in Commerce with respect to race, creed, color, sex, national origin or physical ability.

    115. Yo Jimbo Says:

      In addition to term limits (or as type of alternative to):

      A sitting member of Congress may not run for Senate (or President).

      A sitting member of the Senate may not run for President.

    116. Tom Holsinger Says:

      All of my proposals would require Constitutional amendments, and the only chance of those ever being proposed would be if 2/3 of the state legislatures call for a new national convention to propose Constitutional amendments under Article V of the Constitution. Many of these overlap.

      1) Congressional Retention Elections

      Every six years all members of Senate and the House of Representatives shall stand, as a single group, for a single nationwide retention election. Each State shall have a number of retention votes equal to its number of electors in a Presidential election. The voters of each State, separately, shall vote whether to retain all members of Congress in office, or to prohibit them from ever serving in Congress again for any term or portion of a term. The retention votes of those States in which the majority of voters vote to prohibit the members from further service shall be counted as against retention, and the retention votes of those states in which a majority of voters do not vote to prohibit the members from further service shall be counted as for retention. If a majority of the States’ retention votes are to prohibit further service, no person who was a member of Congress at the time of the retention election may ever again stand for election to either House of Congress, or be appointed to such service. Those members of Congress at the time of a retention election who are simultaneously re-elected to another term may serve more than two years plus thirty days from the date of the retention election.

      2) Supreme Court Retention Elections

      Every two years all Justices of the Supreme Court shall stand, as a single group, for a single nationwide retention election. Each State shall have a number of retention votes equal to its number of electors in a Presidential election. The voters of each State, separately, shall vote whether to retain all the Justices in office, or to prohibit them from ever serving as a federal judicial officer again. The retention votes of those States in which the majority of voters vote to prohibit the members from further service shall be counted as against retention, and the retention votes of those states in which a majority of voters do not vote to prohibit the members from further service shall be counted as for retention. If a majority of the States’ retention votes are to prohibit further service, all the Justices who were in office at the time of the retention election shall vacate their office on the first day of the next year, and may never again serve as a federal judicial officer.

      3) Federal Term Limits

      No person may serve more than eighteen years in any combination of Congressional or federal judicial office.

      4) Line-Item Veto

      The President may reduce or eliminate one or more items of appropriation while approving other portions of a bill. The President shall append to the bill a statement of the items reduced or eliminated with the reasons for the action. The President shall transmit to the house originating the bill a copy of the statement and reasons. Items reduced or eliminated shall be separately reconsidered and may be passed over the President’s veto in the same manner as bills. This is borrowed from the California Constitution, Article Four, Section 10(e).

      5) Elective Federal Judiciary

      All federal judicial offices shall be elective upon such terms and conditions as Congress may enact. The President may fill judicial vacancies by appointment for the unexpired portion of judicial terms.

      6) No Filibusters or Congressional Supermajority Requirements

      No vote in Congress shall require more than a majority of a quorum save as the Constitution allows.

      7) Single-Term Senators

      No person may serve as a Senator for more than one term, or any portion of a term.

    117. Mike Says:

      Term Limits: 12 years total service at any given level of government.

      No law may confer rights, responsibilities, obligations, on any entity other than the United States and all its citizens.

      All congressional representatives are entitled to two secretaries paid by taxpayer funds. Committees may have two research assistants. All other Congressional staff abolished, save for institutions like LoC, CBO, CRS, and the like.

      No person shall vote in an election for an instrumentality of government that gives the citizen a cash or equivalent payment.

      National right to work law. National recognition of collective bargaining. No mandatory unionization. Closed shops are illegal.

      Other than in time of invasion, the Federal budget may not grow faster than the rate of inflation and the rate of population growth.

      All monopolies are evil. Closed guilds are evil. Self-perpetuating barriers to entry are evil. Free markets rule. All businesses may fail.

      Full text of all bills to be read three times on the floor of the chamber before voting. Executive agencies are to disregard the committee reports. All bills in plain English. If Congresscritter confesses to ignorance of a bill, to be expelled immediately and ignorance of the law to be an absolute legal defence for 25 years.

      Unbalanced budgets introduce line item veto. Balanced budgets rescind line item veto.

      In any year when the appropriation bills are not passed by both houses and there are less than 100 days remaining in the fiscal year, all other congressional action must cease until the appropriations are passed. If the appropriations are not passed by the end of the fiscal year, all congresscritters are to be expelled from office.

    118. nohype Says:

      The key is to come up with specific things that lead to a smaller, less intrusive government and that are understood to lead to a smaller, less intrusive government. Things like:
      Term limits: 9 terms for rep, 3 for senate
      Reducing total federal government expenditures to below 20% of GDP, or better yet, below 19%
      Tax simplification
      Reducing the regulatory burden on business and non-profits
      Figuring out how to control entitlements (which may not be a political winner)

      If the Republicans can do it right, they will be successful in 2010. But doing it right is hard. They need someone with the leadership and skill of that Gingrich had in 1994.

    119. Jeff Says:

      The graft and corruption are too widespread, impossible to find it all.

      Cut the snake off at the head.

      Repeal the 16th Amendment.

    120. nohype Says:

      One other thing–the Republicans need to apologize for screwing up so badly when they controlled both branches of Congress and the presidency. Or they at least need to acknowledge that they screwed up and give people some reason to believe that they will not do it again.

    121. John Says:

      Lots of good suggestions there, I’d like to throw in my support for these:

      1. Clear up the interstate commerce clause, it has a very narrow purpose but apparently the folks in Washington can’t read, so it needs to be clarified so that it can’t be used as an excuse to do anything the federal government damn well pleases. Perhaps re-cast is as a mediation body for commercial disputes between states.

      2. Expire *All* fed laws (consider making this binding on all law in US) every ten years, but also put restrictions in place such that a number of members of each house must both read the law aloud and make a 10 minute speech defending it before it can be put to a vote for reinstatement. At each reinstatement increase the number of votes required for passage until laws over 100 years old require a unanimous vote.

      3. Every new bill and all laws up for reinstatement must include constitutional justification in a pre-amble. (States where in the constitutions power to enact this legislation is granted.)

      4. Cap federal expenditures except in time of declared war by formula. I fear that GDP would be gamed shamelessly (and it’s not a very good number anyway). As a first pass I suggest 10% of the mean annual salary X the number of votes cast in the last presidential election.

      5. Revisit the war powers act and require the president to get a declaration of war after the 60 day period or begin troop withdrawal. “Authorizations of force” and other half way measures would be banned, congress would either have to declare war or bring the troops home. We need to know whether we’re at war or not for social reasons, but also because certain powers are active and reasonable in war time that are not in peacetime.

      6. Wind down: The income tax, Social Security, and others. Many of these taxes and programs are thoroughly entrenched and will need to be backed out over time. (I wish it were otherwise.)

      I’d love to be able to do something to moderate corporate power without interfering with the free market and to remove parties from the political process without messing up freedom to associate… but I can’t figure out a way to do it.

    122. Solane Says:

      A rule like CAFE:

      The average compensation of all federal employees may not exceed that average compensation of all persons employed in the private sector. (The private sector does not include state or local government employees.) Persons employed pursuant to Federal outsourcing contracts shall be deemed to be federal employees.)

      The number of federal employees (so defined) may not exceed 5% of the number of persons employed in the private sector.

    123. Michael B. Says:

      Effective for ten years, for every law or regulation that is passed, two must come off the books.

    124. baal Says:

      What about focusing on the party itself instead of legislation that they may or may not pass????

      THE PLEDGE:

      A binding contract that every republican running for elected office (executive or legislative, state or federal) must sign if they are to run as a republican, It is a statement of understanding that the republican party will have a zero tolerance policy for deficit spending.
      Any legislator that votes in favor of any deficit spending will be immediately removed from the the republican party with no possibility of reinstatement. They will be fired.

      In addition to this they may not tolerate deficit spending in the body they are elected to or the executive office they hold. They will resist this deficit spending and will fillibuster it if they are a legislator or veto it if they are an executive.

      In addition to this, in conditions of debt by the federal or state government the republican party will seek to institute by legislation or executive action a program of fiscal austerity whereby the paying down of the debt is the first priority.

      The only conditions where these rules may be waived for a republican legislator is the condition of an immediate existential threat to the sovereignty or physical existence of the state. The characterization of said as being “existential” can only be determined by a 90% vote by the respective republican caucus.

      I’m sorry but the time for B.S. is over. The republican party either is or is not a rotten and corrupt entity. This has teeth–this will work!

    125. Steve White Says:

      Oh boy! Is it too late to join in the fun? I have a few constitutional amendments I’d put in. Part of the fun is writing them the way you think they should be enacted as opposed to just doing a Powerpoint bullet list. So here goes with a couple:

      My proposal for the 28th Amendment: (repeals Kelo)

      Private property shall not be taken by the United States, nor by the several states, for the express purpose of transfer to another private party.

      My proposal for the 29th Amendment: (recess appointments)

      Section 1. No recess appointment shall be made by the President under section 2 of Article II unless the Congress shall have adjourned for at least thirty days.

      Section 2. When a nomination made by the President under section 2 of Article II, which shall require the advise and consent of the Senate, shall not have been rejected by the Senate within one hundred and twenty days of nomination, such consent shall be considered affirmed.

      My proposal for the 30th Amendment: (Congress has to read what it writes)

      Section 1. Each bill considered by the Congress shall be available for public inspection, by usual and ordinary means, for at least five days prior to any final vote of passage in either House.

      Section 2. Each bill passed by the Congress shall be available for public inspection, by usual and ordinary means, for at least five days prior to being signed into law by the President, except when war or national emergency shall require immediate signature.

      Section 3. Each bill passed by the Congress into law shall be limited to a single subject, which shall be expressed in its title.

      Section 4. Each bill passed by the Congress shall identify by name the Representative or Senator responsible as principal sponsor for each provision, appropriation or encumbrance within said bill; and no provision, appropriation or encumbrance shall be considered law unless so identified.

      My proposal for the 31st Amendment: (strengthen 2nd amendment)

      Section 1. Neither the Congress nor the legislatures of the several states shall impede, encumber or abridge the right of law-abiding citizens to own, purchase and carry ordinary firearms, or to own and purchase ammunition for such firearms. The Congress and the legislatures of the several states may, at their discretion, require a record of firearms ownership, but no such requirement shall be used to abridge, encumber or limit the rights of citizens in this Section.

      Section 2. The Congress and the legislatures of the several states may, at their discretion, limit, encumber or abolish the right of ownership of ordinary firearms for any person convicted of a serious felony or breach of the peace under due process of law.

      Section 3. The words of this article shall be interpreted according to their public meaning at the time of its ratification.

    126. J. Scott Says:

      Repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution…that is a start that would heal many national wounds.

    127. Steve Adams Says:

      Some of my favorites.

      1.) Eliminate Dept of Education, Commerce, Labor and Agriculture. Block grant the funds back to the states for one year then lower taxes to make up for the lower expenses.

      2.) End gerrymandering – like Iowa – mandate unity of counties and cities

      3.) Fix the interpretation of the commerce clause – if I raise grain and don’t sell it to anyone it’s not a federal issue.

      4.) Spin off the FDA into three competing entities that certify drugs and medical equip. Anything approved by another G7 nation can be allowed to be sold in the US

      Though I think it’s a little too late for much of this. The big issues – spending our way into insolvency is to far ingrained to fix. We can’t even get folks to kill the stupid farm handouts, we’ll be even less likely to fix medicare/caid, social ponzi scheme and all the rest of the government blob.

    128. Steve White Says:

      And four more!

      My proposal for the 32nd Amendment: (Constitution does not extend to enemies)

      Section 1. The judicial power of the United States shall not extend rights or privileges provided to citizens by this Constitution to foreign enemies of the United States who shall fall under the military jurisdiction of the United States in time of war or military conflict; except as shall be agreed to by the United States in its agreements under international treaty on the conduct of war.

      Section 2. The judicial power of the United States shall not be guided by any precedent or opinion by any court established outside the United States, nor by any precedent or opinion rendered by any international tribunal; unless the United States, by two-thirds affirmative vote of the Senate, shall seek such an opinion.

      My proposal for the 33rd Amendment: (no guaranteed benefits to illegal aliens)

      The fourteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States shall not be construed to provide a benefit or emolument to individuals who are not citizens of the United States and who are found to be residing illegally within the United States or its territories.

      My proposal for the 34th Amendment: (line item veto with 3/5, not 2/3, override)

      Section 1. In any bill, order, resolution, or vote presented to the President under section 7 of Article I, the President may decline to approve in whole any dollar amount of discretionary budget authority, any item of new direct spending, or any tax benefit. A matter which the President declines to approve under this article of amendment shall be returned with his objections to the House in which it originated, and shall be treated in the same manner as a bill which the President returns without signing under section 7 of Article I, excepting that each House may override the objection by three-fifths majority vote.

      Section 2. Neither the Congress nor the legislatures of the several states shall impose controls or limits upon wages, incomes, salaries, or prices in ordinary commerce, with the exception that the Congress may, at its discretion, specify a minimum wage for ordinary labor.

      My proposal for the 35th Amendment: (no Federal mandates on state spending)

      Congress shall make no law that requires any State to appropriate funds originating from that state, nor requires any State to enact a tax upon its own citizens.

    129. cechase Says:

      The process for passing the obamacare legislation has involved to a substantial extent the bribery of federal employees [congressmen and congresswomen are employees of the federal government]. Therefore, we should pledge to seek the indictment, arrest and conviction of such characters as Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Senators Harkin, Nelson (FL), Landreu, Dodd, and any others who prostituted themselves to get a piece of the pie for their state in the Obamacare legislation. We can no longer stand still while punks like Harry Reid throw our taxpayer provided funds to buy off Senators to accomplish his goal or goals. On the very face of it, it is a crime.

    130. DriveBy Says:

      Forget all of the constitutional changes; they’re all pipe dreams.

      Remember the Clinton Mantra: It’s the Economy, Stupid.

      The focus must be on:

      1. Jobs (eliminate or reduce payroll taxes on workers making less than $50,000/yr and families making less than $75,000/yr; keep this reduction in place at least until unemployment reaches 6%, then phase it back in — if you must)
      2. Replace ObamaCare with Free Market reforms (permit insurance sales across state lines, tort reform, favorable tax treatment for insurance expenses made by workers who don’t get insurance at work)
      3. Cut Spending – Decrease the Debt

      That’s it. Nothing else.

    131. Heartless Libertarian Says:

      -A law giving legal standing to any citizen who pays taxes to challenge the Constitutionality of any Federal expenditure in the federal courts. Current SCOTUS holdings on standing make it almost impossible to challenge whether Congress is spending money in accordance with the Constitution.

      -A flat income tax, and a Constitutional amendment limiting the maximum rate of said tax.

      -Repeal of the inheritance tax, classification of capital gains as income (thus removing the capital gains tax), and elimination of the corporate income tax

      -Elimination of all forms of tax withholding, and changing tax day to the first Monday in November.

      -Legal classification of carbon dioxide as not a pollutant, and not involved in interstate commerce, and thus beyond the regulatory power of the federal government

      This is extremely radical, but – bar anyone who receives a government paycheck from voting

    132. Anonymous Says:

      No pension or continued healthcare for any U.S. Represenative or U.S. Senator nom matter how long in office.
      Terms limited to two election cycles. Maximum 8 years House, 12 years Senate.
      All elected officals subject to all laws, regulations the same as regular citizens.
      Any elected official convicted of felony charge in office forfeits office and all benefits forever.
      No unfunded mandates to states.
      Reduce size of Federal Government.
      Restore state’s powers.
      Restrict EPA powers and other Federal agencies that restrict states individual authorities and allow immediate energy exploration and actual production for natural resources including, but not limited to oil, gas, coal, and other resources as well as immediately allow offshore exploration and production to make us energy independent
      Repeal all Federal firearms restrictions.
      Stop all Federal funding of all organizations that are involved in political organizing of any type.

    133. Wilf Says:

      What a great idea. Here is my wish list!

      1: All discretionary funding except military to be returned to 2002 levels. This is only a first step, clearly the whole spending thing is way out of control, but really, life was not so bad in 2002. Let’s go back to that funding level as a first step.

      2: No government funds are to be given to ANY non-government organizations. This includes any non-profit group like ACORN and the equivalent. If something is important enough to be done by the government (and that list should be way shorter than what it is now) then the government should do it – it should not be outsourced. I have no idea how much this will save, but I bet it is a lot.

      3: When congress sets budgets, they should quit micromanaging. Instead of defining how every dollar will be spent, simply say to each federal agency – here is your budget, this is what we expect you to do with it, these are the metrics we expect you to achieve, if you do, then you get the same amount (not inflation adjusted) next year, if you don’t we cut it by 10% until you do achieve the goals. Business and commerce have greatly improved their productivity over the past 30 years. It is time government did the same.

      4: No law shall be passed that is longer than 20 pages. Time to apply the KISS principle to government.

      5: I particularly liked item # 1 in your list – a system in which the law giving body can exempt itself from the laws it gives is pernicious and it is time it was stopped.

      6: We need to do something about health care – so, repeal whatever gets passed as “obamacare” and replace it with a simple, 20 page document that does the following: provides some significant form of tort reform, allow insurance to cross state boundaries, make health insurance like other forms of insurance – right now, if our car insurance was like our health insurance, we would submit a claim every time we fill up with gas, encourage the creation of policies that cover against really catastrophic medical situations, and combine them with health spending accounts that carry over from year to year.

      7: Recognize that social security and medicare are broken, and take some steps to start fixing them. For example, we probably need to raise the age at which social security can be collected, and make that age increase automatically – perhaps in line with increased life expectancy. I am uncomfortable with means testing, but how about if you have more than a certain level of income, you cannot claim social security until the maximum age at which you HAVE to start claiming it (about 71 today, I think?). That way, we don’t deny anybody their benefits, but delay it for those who have least need. Not sure about that but we have to do something constructive here.

      8: School choice! No parent should have to send their child to a sub-performing school. They should have the right to take the money that would have been spent by the state school and apply it to any accredited school tuition.

      9: Most states have some form of balanced budget amendment or requirement. Not that having that means we don’t have fiscal crises, but it is perhaps time to stop these deficits, and start paying down the National Debt. Let’s say we will reduce our National Debt to a maximum of 10% of GDP. No increase in discretionary funding until that level of debt is achieved.

      10: Close any agency or quasi-agency that we do not need. I am thinking first and foremost of things like Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, but also possibly of things like the EPA and Department of Education. we are in a fiscal crisis here, and have too many things we cannot afford. Time to get lean.

    134. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) Says:

      The amendment we desperately need is something very close to this:

      Except in time of declared war, the federal budget of these United States shall remain in balance at a level not to exceed 17 percent of the three previous calendar years’ average Gross Domestic Product. The permitted percentage shall decline by 1 percent beginning the first fiscal year more than ten years following ratification and each decade thereafter, down to 12 percent. An additional amount up to 3 percent may be collected for the sole purpose of retiring existing federal debt.

      Our governing class MUST be forced to debate true priorities rather than scratch each other’s backs with special patronage arrangements.

    135. Al Says:

      There’s a lot of angst “Knock it off with the Amendments, they’ll never pass.”

      But take any of the ‘balanced budget’ amendments above. (I like mine: declared war as the only possible exception. Here in Washington State, the ‘or a declared emergency’ is just an excuse to declare everything an emergency. We passed 187 bills as ’emergencies’ in 2004.)

      Amendments are a solid way to keep an issue in the forefront. You have to remember who’s going to have to argue against it. Even freaking Obama gives lipservice to fiscal sanity. (It’s completely nuts, yes, but that’s what he keeps saying. And saying. And saying.)

      It isn’t something that has to have a chance of passing today, but it needs to be pushed.

    136. Parad E. Makewater Says:

      Close and protect the borders!

      Limit legal immigration to individuals who can benefit the country, and I don’t mean mowing lawns, pool cleaning, etc. We can and should pick and choose who comes here. Set up an off-shore holding area (the soon to be empty Gitmo?) for asylum seekers, or refugees, until they can prove their case. Illegal immigrants should be treated in the same way their home country treats illegal immigrants, unless it’s the death penalty, then a ticket home is enough.

    137. Wilf Says:

      A follow up to my 10:43 pm post. I think we might need two separate documents. One would be long term goals, things that we are working toward. The other would be things that we will achieve in the first two year term (2010-12). Take a look at the current mess in congress – the Democrats have bitten off way more than they can chew, and we should be wary of doing the same. Nonetheless, we need those long term goals, and we also need the short term, low-hanging fruit if you will.

      An issue here is what should go in which list! So, I would love a flat tax, but I recognize that it will not be easy to achieve. Is it a valuable approach to say “a flat tax is our long term goal” while also saying “in this first term, we will radically revise corporate taxes, seeking to remove all tax breaks and subsidies, while simultaneously significantly reducing the tax rate. Included in this first term goal is a radical simplification of the corporate tax system. Rather than having thousands of pages of regulations on corporate taxes, we would like to get by with only ten or fewer pages.” The last issue may not be achievable, but if we could do that for corporate taxes, then people would really believe that we might be able to fix the whole darned tax mess. Or not…

      Anyway, what about a two tiered approach – identifying both long term and short term goals?

    138. Jeff Taylor Says:

      Pass Randy Barnetts Federalism amendment. It would go a long way on getting us back on track for more limited and more responsive government.

    139. Brock Says:

      1. Electoral 1: Change the voting system to Range Voting / Score Voting. End the Two-Party Cartel that has controlled politics in this country since before the Civil War. (This first one tells the Republicans ‘Do this or the Tea Party will run directly against you’)

      2. Electoral 2: Gerrymandering ends. Full stop.

      3. Campaign Finance: A political candidate may not accept money from any person or entity not a living constituent (or would-be future constituent) of that candidate. Contributions must be made directly from the person to the campaign (no bundling). Three-strike violations of this rule result in jail time for all involved.

      4. Taxes: The Fairtax (or a VAT alternative) looks good to me. Otherwise an income tax with no loopholes or special interest rebates of any kind would be good.

      5. Right-to-Work: Make it an American’s right enforceable in all States, and outlaw any level of government (local, State or Federal) from employing any person who is a member of a union.

      6. Government Accounting: All disclosure and accounting rules that apply to private companies must apply equally to all levels of government – especially the pensions.

      7. Entitlement Reform: Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid become means tested and fixed in their outlays, not open-ended (this would mean that Medicare/Medicaid would become a “premium support” system for the poor, not an insurance provider).

      8. Legislation 1 (Single-Topic Legislation): This was in the Confederate Constitution, and a good idea. Each Bill shall have a title and a single sentence explaining its purpose. All parts of the legislation must relate to that purpose. No earmarks.

      9. Legislation 2 (Full disclosure, 60 days): The full and final language of any and all bills (other than Declarations of War or National Emergency Response spending) must be posted online for 60 days before it can come up for a vote.

      10. Legislation 3 (Clearing out the Crud): 2/3rd super-majority required to raise taxes or spending; 1/3rd plurality required to lower either, or to repeal any past law. At least one Legislative Session each year shall be reserved exclusively for repealing old laws, and no new laws shall be passed.

    140. AFFA Says:

      http://federalismamendment.com/
      is a good start.

      I believe the following are also important.

      1a) A limit to the size of bills and a requirement that any changes to USC etc have both the old and new versions written out in full (and both count towards the size limit) instead of being written in intentionally obscure language. You may have to ban acronyms, references to other documents, etc. Maybe even ban data compression as legislators are very creative in getting around this sort of thing.

      1b) A requirement that bills must be written, complete, and publicly available for a week and read in full before a quorum before voting.

      The purpose is to prevent common excuses. “I didn’t know X was in the bill.” “I sort-of voted for X, but I was really voting for Y in the same gargantuan monstrosity.”

      2) Repeal all federal crimes that are not part of the Constitution (treason, counterfeiting, and piracy). Prevent the future creation of new federal crimes.

      3) Only those who are elected may craft laws. Congress currently assigns their unelected staff to write bills with poorly worded goals that unelected officials at various agencies use to make the actual laws. I can’t think of any way to word this that would stick.

      4) Repeal many bad laws. I’d like to see a push for major legal reforms. Even the simple repeal of a few bad laws (CPSIA and Sarbanes-Oxley have been mentioned and are good examples) would do more to turn things around than anything else, but repealing laws offers little opportunity for graft. A pledge to repeal 5 pages of existing law for every page of new law would win my vote.

      5) The number of Representatives should be closer to the Article 1 Section 2 limit of 1 per 30,000 people. You’d need to have the House meet virtually or in a football stadium instead of D.C., but that could be a benefit right there… Representatives would be closer to those who elect them and their interests. It is a little more difficult to coerce or bribe over 5000 people.

      I doubt any of this is feasible. It’s just wishful thinking. I doubt you could even get even 25% of the country to agree with most of this and certainly not 51%. All of these ideas involve taking power away from the federal government. Governments never give up power willingly.

    141. theBuckWheat Says:

      To those who want term limits, it is essential to also limit the terms of the upper layers of the bureaucracy. Otherwise, freshmen elected officials will simply be at the mercy of an entrenched bureaucracy who knows how to torpedo anyone who won’t let them get their way.

    142. Bill Says:

      1. All incumbent U.S. Senators and Representatives face a confidence vote one year before they stand for reelection. If they get less than a plurality, they are ineligible to run for either house for three years, and their remaining campaign funds are turned over to the Treasury to pay down the national debt.

      2. Eliminate pensions for members of Congress. It’s not supposed to be a lifetime career.

      3. Prohibit Senate campaign contribution from outside the state. Prohibit House campaign contributions from outside the district.

    143. Brock Says:

      Repealing the 17th Amendment would also be awesome.

    144. Jake Says:

      Repeal the Administrative Codes. If Congress can’t agree on a specific law, they shouldn’t be able to delegate that responsibility to a federal bureaucrat. Federal agencies, especially the EPA, have assumed the powers of all three branches of government and don’t seem to be accountable to anyone.

    145. Anonymous Says:

      Dont have them sign a pledge, most of them will lie. Have each bill read in its entirety on the Senate and House floors. Dont like taking 30 hours to read a bill? Write shorter bills.

    146. Ashby Says:

      1. Amend the 16th Amendment to (a) require that any tax on income be at a flat rate not to exceed ten percent (10%) (lower?), (b) require that tax rates be indexed for inflation, (c) prohibit any deductions, credits or other exclusions from income and (d) require that no increase in rates may take effect until there has been an intervening election and the new Congress has been seated.

      2. Repeal direct election of U.S. Senators (17th amendment).

      3. Adopt a new amendment requiring that the States use independent commissions to draw the boundaries of Congressional districts, which are required to be compact and connected. This amendment would also prohibit the use of race, language, ethnicity or national origin in determining district boundaries.

      4. Adopt a new amendment prohibiting the payment of public funds to any person except in exchange for goods or services provided to the federal government. This amendment would also prohibit payment of federal funds to the states.

      5. Adopt a new amendment prohibiting the federal government from lending money to or purchasing the equity securities of any corporation, partnership, LLC, or other entity.

    147. Earl MJ Aagaard Says:

      I didn’t read all the comments, so maybe this is redundant…..nevertheless:

      Constitutional amendment banning earmarks.

    148. Kittyhawk Says:

      I’m going to borrow from Robert heinlein here: “The Plain English Amendment” – Any law, regulation, or decision may be challenged as unconstitutional if it is not understandable by an average high school graduate.” I’m sure there’s a better way of saying it, but that’s how I remember him proposing it.

    149. baal Says:

      Nohype Says:
      December 22nd, 2009 at 10:17 pm
      One other thing–the Republicans need to apologize for screwing up so badly when they controlled both branches of Congress and the presidency. Or they at least need to acknowledge that they screwed up and give people some reason to believe that they will not do it again.

      Hallelujah!!!!!!!!

    150. Plutarch Says:

      “No-Fault Medical Disability and Malpractice Insurance” Replace medical malpractice litigation and tort reform efforts with universal No-Fault insurance. By properly federalizing a new form of reinsurance backed by the US Treasury, malpractice, disability, worker compensation and long term care premiums can be conjoined to form a new rubric of federal insurance that supplements the national “safety net.” Properly done, never again will anyone need to sue for adverse outcomes or for medical malpractice. Never again will the aggrieved need to relive the horror of medical tragedy in American courtrooms, over and over, from first deposition to appeal. Replace the breadwinners income. Provide for their medical care. Provide for their lives. Provide for the assets needed to help those wronged or suffering. Shut off the money trough now feeding the vultures of tort who feed upon the suffering in the name of representing their interests. This perverse system is obsolete and causes as much injustice as it claims to revenge. Time to shut the racket down, empty the courtrooms and instead spend the money directly on the families and the victims so the financial tempo of their lives can be restored and protected and preserved. Let the motive shift from profiteering on revenge and tragedy, to mitigating suffering and the repairing of financial and familial injury associated with such tragedies.

    151. Hodge Says:

      Too many targets, too little time. Great ideas in general and great idea to crowdsource the key issues in specific. My first votes:

      1. Prohibit the writing of any more laws without retiring at least one that’s already on the books.
      2. Prohibit voting on any law before it has been read.
      3. Make sure all laws (and health care schemes) also apply to Congress.
      4. Disband the Fed.
      5. Bring back the Gold Standard.

      Thanks for these insightful and informed ideas. Let’s do this.

    152. Harry Forbes Says:

      Without proposing any specifics, let me second the motion that the Republican opposition desperately needs a “Contract with America 2.0”. Boehner and McConnell do not hold a candle to Newt in his heyday, and unless they are both utter fools they know this already. Here is a way to create a platform for them– a way that Newt could not use in his day.

      The original “contract” was pooh-poohed by the media and scarcely given any serious press coverage, yet (surprise!) it became the catalyst that for the first time effectively nationalized the issues in local congressional elections, as the party manifestos do in the UK. This hugely changed the outcome, which for once reflected the more conservative nature of the electorate. The press ignored the contract for a reason.

    153. Anonymous Says:

      We, the undersigned members of the Republican Party, hereby affirm the following principles:

      – The United States of American was founded upon the principles that our rights are endowed by the Creator and not afforded to our citizens by the dictates of the government;

      – The free market is the creative engine of prosperity. As such, the government is prohibited from owning private businesses. Bailouts, subsidies, earmarks to private entities are prohibited.

      – Freedom and liberty, both personal and economic, are threatened from the growing leviathan state. Government unions are hereby prohibited. To limit the power of the federal government, we must achieve equal and appropriate representation in the Congress. (http://www.apportionment.us/).

      – During the past decade of Republican governance, government power, spending and intervention in the lives of Americans grew at exponential rates; and Democrat rule has increased the spending ten-fold; As such, the limit the power of the federal government we propose: 1) Repeal of the 16th Amendment; 2) Institution of the gold standard to prohibit the printing of money at will; 3) Ending the Federal Reserve

      – The Founders created a system of government based upon the idea of Federalism and both parties have abandoned this core principle of self-governance. Issues of conscience are best decided under this framework. As such, the 17th Amendment should be repealed. States through the use of 10th Amendment rights can nullify federal laws. Federal crimes are eliminated except those expressly mentioned in the Constitution.

      – Americans should never abandon liberty for the promise of security and the threat of terrorism should not be used to restrict the freedom of the American people; The PATRIOT act is hereby repealed.

      – Nation building is a dangerous and dubious misuse of American power. Troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq. Most foreign bases will also be closed.

    154. HersheyRed Says:

      1) get rid of the payroll deduction for taxes — people get more up in arms over small increases in their property tax bill than a federal increase because they don’t see it.

      2) get rid of employer matched taxes — employees should see and feel the pain for all taxes paid on their behalf. It’s called tax transparency.

      3) Revert to original consitution to have Senators selected by States instead of popular statewide vote. The dynamics would be much different in the current health care debate with this change.

    155. Hodge Says:

      Sorry — not an afterthought. Forgot to include these — You bribe some dolt for his/her vote, you go to jail. Harry. And make Government Ponzi schemes (Social Security) illegal.

    156. AFFA Says:

      RE: gerrymandering

      Tricky. Perhaps a law turning over districting to an open source program. Even simple ones that just split areas in half by population until reaching the right size would make better districts, but you may want to give it a weak preference for splitting along things like county lines and roads.

      Or you might could use a “cake splitting” game. For instance,
      The minority party draws a curve on a map that divides the state in two. The majority party chooses which side it can draw in next round.
      The minority party draws a curve that divides the other region in two. The majority party draws a curve that divides the region they choose in two.
      The minority party chooses which of the two sections in the majority party’s latest region it wants to draw in next round. The majority party does the same.
      Etc.
      That could still produce bad looking districts, but might divide the voters up fairly.

    157. SonnyJim Says:

      Except in the case of war or national disaster; and then only for the purposes of addressing those specific items, Congress shall convene in April and adjourn in September. No legislation shall be proposed, amended, or deliberated upon except when congress is in session.

      No legislation shall be drafted in excess of 1,000 words not including amendments. No amendment to legislative drafts shall exceed 500 words. No legislation shall have more than three amendments.

      The House of representative may introduce no more than five bills per annual session and no more than two per special session. The Senate may introduce no more than five bills per annual session and no more than two per special session.

    158. OneDay Says:

      Mao asserted that all political power comes from the muzzle of a gun. Our problem isn’t that our constitution is flawed, commerce clause interpretation excluded, but rather that we have no way to enforce it upon our government.

      So how do you propose convincing people to realign in such a fashion that their combined power forces the government to behave within constitutional limits? Especially when government employees get to vote their own self-interest and make the government bigger and more powerful?

      It’s all moot without a permanent power bloc that has an interest in forcing government to stay limited.

    159. Knute Johnson Says:

      1. A Constitutional amendment, along these lines: “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and Representatives; and Congress shall make no law that applies to either Senators or Representatives or both that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States. Any law enacted in violation of this Amendment shall be void and of no force and effect at any time.”

      Amendment 28 – The key to any reform must start with Congress and this is that key!

      2. A national concealed carry law.

      How about we just apply the 2nd and 14th against the feds and the states. Or for that matter the 1st through the 14th.

      3. A forensic audit of the TARP spending.
      4. A forensic audit of the Federal Reserve.
      5. A ban on unfunded mandates.

      2/3 majority for any spending and a 3/4 majority for any tax!

      Remember the Maine, remember the Alamo, remember 2010!

    160. Dr. Weevil Says:

      AFFA:
      I wrote about gerrymandering back in March 2002: http://www.drweevil.org/archives/000069.html.
      I think it can be done very simply: the best redistricting is the one in which the total length of district boundaries is the shortest. I’m not sure that computers can calculate this, so we could offer a substantial prize ($10,000?) to the person who offers the best map in each state. Perhaps better: county lines and major rivers (and perhaps other natural boundaries) don’t count in calculating the total length of district boundaries. This would encourage division of districts along county lines. Even if humans drew the maps, computers could make the decision as to which is better, leaving favoritism and gerrymandering entirely out of the process.

    161. Anonymous Says:

      1. End of earmarks. Congress should not be able to appropriate projects specific to their state. They should be dealing only with federal issues.

      2. All benefits for governmental employees should be defined contribution plans. Outlaw defined benefit plans.

      3. Provide vouchers to parents to allow school choice independent of public schools.

      4. Tort reform. Tort reform. Tort reform.

      5. End tenure at all public universities.

      6. All laws that apply to business should apply to government. This includes DMV inspections, zoning, employment rules, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc.

      7. End the concept of “non-profit” within the tax and regulatory codes. I believe most have become political front groups or tax avoidance tools.

      8. End progressive income tax. Everyone should pay something. At least put in a floor of 10% marginal rate.

      9. No unfunded mandates.

      10. Ten year limit for all government employment excepting military. Limit for politicians and civil service.

    162. Mark Alger Says:

      Looks like people have been thinking about this for a long time.

      Taxes: that wherever voters get their hands on a tax levy, they defeat it more often than not ought to be a clue: taxes are too high. Some major commitment on taxes must be a high priority. Perhaps the Fair Tax is an idea whose time has come.

      Legislation: some arrangment to forbid the passage of omnibus bills. No bill passed out of committee, debated on in either house, or brought to the floor for a vote may, on technical markup, deal with matters touching on more than one chapter of the United States code.

      No bill may be brought to the floor for debate or a vote until those constitutionally-mandated items have been dealt with.

      It shall be considered fraud and malfeasance for any legislator to propose, support, debate in favor of, or vote for any bill of which he or she cannot demonstrate a clear understanding. Punishable by 1) immediate removal from office, 2) imprisonment, 3) fine, 4) forfeiture of pensions and other benefits accruing from service in the legislature. Review to be done by citizen review panels independent of the legislature.

      It shall be considered fraud and malfeasance for any legistlator to propose, support, debate in favor of, or vote for any bill which does not affirmatively demonstrate its chain of authority from one of the specifically enumerated powers of Congress. Punishable by 1) immediate removal from office, 2) imprisonment, 3) fine, 4) forfeiture of pensions and other benefits accruing from service in the legislature. Review to be done by citizen review panels independent of the legislature.

      Any citizen shall have standing to challenge the constitutionality of any law, without regard to the effect of said law on that citizen. If such challenge is successful, the law shall immediately be repealed, declared null and void, and all those imprisoned or fined under it shall be released and their fines reimbursed. Officers of the court and members of the legislature are hereinafter held criminally liable for the passage or enforcement of laws which cannot pass constitutional muster under citizen challenge. If a citizen challenge is unsuccessful, that citizen may be fined no more than the costs of the hearing.

      All unconstitutional laws are to be considered repealed, null, and void, with or without a specific citizen challenge. For the purposes of this proposal, an unconstitutional law shall be one which does not have as its ultimate source of authority one of the specific, enumerated powers of Congress.

    163. Jimmy J. Says:

      1. Get the economy moving again by:
      a) Reducing barriers to building nuclear power plants. Encourage utilities to build at least ten per year for the next twenty years.
      b) Encouraging domestic oil production by opening up ANWR, both coasts and the eastern Gulf for drilling immediately.
      c) Reduce corporate taxes to 10%.
      d) Keep the Bush tax cuts in place.
      e) Do not pass Cap and Trade or any CO2 related legislation unless there is more evidence that CO2 is actually causing significant global warming.
      f) Repeal of Obamacare.
      2. Fix Social Security by gradually raising the age for qualification and changing the formula for the benefit from wage related to inflation related.
      3. Fix Medicare by raising premiums based on total retirement income, and co-pays that are paid on a sliding scale depending on the cost of the procedure. Agressively pursue fraud, waste, and duplication.
      4. Pass a law to institute a flatter income tax. No tax on the first $18,000 of income per adult person. 10% on $18,001 to $50,000. 18% on $50,001 to $150,000. 26% on 150,001 and up. Retain itemized deductions for real estate interest, real estate taxes, and state taxes.
      5. Pass a law requiring all climate science data, computer code, and notes be open to all climate scientists for study and replication/verification.
      6. Get our southern border under control and reform our immigration system to allow less legal immigration when unemployment exceeds 6%.
      7. Reform Health insurance by allowing companies to sell nationwide and providing the same tax deductions to individuals who buy their own insurance as employers are now receiving.
      9. Pass a law requiring all members of Congress to live under the same laws as all citizens.
      10. Pledge to reduce government expenditures by eliminating Dept. of Education, Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Agriculture, and hold expenditures level except for Defense until spending is under control.
      11. Pledge to post all bills on line for 14 days before they can be voted on in Congress.

    164. Bill Says:

      1. Congress shall never pass a law which it then exempts itself from. Everything else will fall into place.

    165. R.C. Says:

      Not term limits, exactly.

      But require that, after holding any office of trust under the United States, that officeholder must hold a job unrelated to government or lobbying for an equal term of years before they again become eligible to run for public office.

    166. Leon Likens Says:

      A consitutional amendment banning Christmas tree bills or omnibus legislation. Each bill shall be on a single issue or budegetary item forcing an up or down vote on every government expenditure or change in the law.

    167. Carol167 Says:

      Pass a One-At-A-Time law. Only one concept (law) at time written on one page. For example: with the Health Reform, propose a tort reform bill like limiting lawyers’ awards to 5%. Then propose a loser’s pay law. Pork could be passed but it must stand on its own merit. Then propose a law that allows insurance companies to sell in every state.Then propose a law that mandates electronic records for doctors and hospitals.

      Create a Campaign Donations Fund. All donations must be deposited in this fund (like a mutual fund). The donor will designate the amount that shall go to a candidate or to Party. Then the donors’ names are to be “scrubbed” so that the candidate cannot know who the donors were. Stiff penalties (including jail time) shall be meted to anyone who seeks donors’ names or who divulges that information.

    168. Russ Says:

      On the subject of redistricting, I saw an algorithm somewhere that basically said that all districts should be “concave.”

      That is, districts should be drawn in a manner such that a line drawn from any one point to any other point in the district may not cross the district boundary (with the exception of state lines, since there’s no accounting for how the states were drawn.)

      A computer could probably do it… assuming no “fudge factor” is introduced into the code by climatologists.

    169. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      There are a lot of good suggestions, and I will try to not repeat:

      1) Any bill in Congress, AND ALL AMENDMENTS THERETO, must relate to one single subject. [This would go well with the limitations on the size of a bill]

      2) As part of the compensation of any Member, employee, or official of any of the branches of the Federal government; all fringe benefits [health insurance, life insurance, retirement, etc.] shall be the identical as that offered to Civil Service employees.

      3) The President, Vice-President, all appointed officials requiring Senate Confirmation, and all Members of Congress; and their immediate families, will be audited by the Internal Revenue Service at the beginning and the end of their terms of office, in conjunction with an investigation of the conduct of their offices for second and subsequent terms if income that cannot be legally justified is found. If indictable offenses are found, they will be prosecuted with no plea bargaining. If unpaid taxes are owed, the above persons will incur the same crininal and civil penalties as the average citizen; as determined by annual analysis of IRS recovery and prosecution statistics.

      4) There shall be a Right of Recall for all Federal elected officials; requiring recall petitions containing a total of 15% of the ballots cast in the last election for that post to trigger a special election 60 days after filing with the Secretary of State for the State represented, in the case of Congressmen and Senators, and with the Supreme Court for President and Vice-President. In the event that the recall fails, those who are responsible for filing for the recall shall reimburse all costs associated with the special election.

      5) Similarly, there shall be the right of Citizen Initiative to repeal any Federal law, with the mechanism to be the same as with a Presidential Recall.

      6)MOTOR VOTER ACT is repealed.

      Registration to vote shall only be by personal appearance before an election official employed by the government agency responsible for such registration. The applicant must present picture identification and proof of legal residency and citizenship before such registration shall be accepted. Absentee ballots will only be issued to registered voters who for medical or business reasons [including military absentees] will not be in the county on election day. All counties will have a polling place open for early voting for 5 business days prior to election day, to mininize the use of absentee ballots. All military absentee ballots WILL be counted. All voters will present valid government picture identification to confirm that they are in fact the person registered before being allowed to cast a ballot. Failure to vote in a biennial general election will void the citizen’s registration and require re-registration before being allowed to vote again. [Clears out the voter rolls of the dead and those who have moved.]

      Subotai Bahadur

    170. Casper Says:

      The following constitutional amendments:

      1) No person shall remain in legislative office longer than 15 years. (This means 15 years in the house + 15 years in the senate. If you can’t get what you’re trying to do done in 15 years, it shouldn’t be done.)
      2) No law shall be passed without both the members of the legislature and the executive certifying — under penalty of perjury — their full and complete understanding of all facets of the legislation in question. (A person practicing the law would be guilty of malpractice if they did not understand the law they were arguing)
      3) No law shall be passed that requires more than 1000 words to fully express the intent. (about the same as being typewritten onto a 3.5″x5″ index card in 10 Times New Roman font, single spaced)
      4) No law shall be passed that excludes — whether explicitly, implicitly or by omission — a class, group or order of potentially affected citizens. (We’re either all under the law or none of us are).

    171. Bob Giramma Says:

      We need a law or constitutional amendment that says: “The Constitution means what it says.” For the 99% of politicians and voters who are too stupid or lazy to read it.

    172. Mike W Says:

      Constitutional Amendment to require Legislative Transparency and Due DIligence:

      A) The text of any proposed House or Senate bill must be posted to a public website – HouseLegislation.gov or SenateLegislation.gov for 120 hours (5 working days) prior to any vote.

      B) All legislation bills to be voted on by Congress must be read aloud in their entirety on the House or Senate Floor.

      that should fix em — of course the chances of any politician regardless of their political party going for this is absolutely zero.

      what the hell – just for the fun of it, I’d also require that all earmarks be publicly revealed on a website — earmark.gov

    173. Steve Poling Says:

      Add my voice to those calling for the requirement that lawmakers read the bill aloud, and that any lawmaker voting for a bill must swear under penalty of perjury that s/he’s read it.

    174. RJ Says:

      1. Constitutional amendment to the effect that no bill becomes law unless:
      -It addresses only a single topic of legislation (no more Christmas tree bills);
      -It sets forth in its preamble, the constitutional source of Congress’s authority to enact the bill;
      -The full text of the bill, as reported out of committee, shall be recited verbatim by the Clerk or deputy three times on three separate calendar days, each reading separated from the next by one week. This procedure to be used on all reconciliation votes as well. Enabling legislation to provide that bills to be published (internet, major newspapers, etc) on date of first reading and to remain accessible thereafter until 90 days after final passage by both houses.

      2. Income tax to be uniformly assessed on all incomes of natural persons at fixed rate not to exceed 25% (exception for national emergency/war requiring 2/3 majority of each house to sustain from year to year); one standard exemption/deduction.

      3. Repeal Wagner act, abolish NLRB, and allow businesses to either negotiate with union(s) or not at their pleasure. Prohibit any single union from being placed in monopoly position by means of state legislation with respect to labor at any ‘bargaining unit’.

      4. National right to carry openly or concealed (open carry is prohibited in some places where concealed is allowed) for any 18 year old or older, not convicted of felony; allow Governors or their delegates (chiefs of police, sheriffs, etc.) to petition for 1-year exclusion on grounds of imminent danger to public safety (mental illness, alcohol/drug dependent, and the like).

      5. Abolish Department of Education, Energy (transfer nuke regulation to DOD), Commerce (Bureau of census excepted), Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development.

      6. No federal criminal offense to be a felony unless in involves treason, theft in excess of $100,000 of federal money or property, or violence (include conspiracies and attempts to do the above as well).

      7. Constitutional amendment to the effect that all corporate entities created by Congress are dissolved within 1 year of amendment’s adoption, and prohibiting any future chartering of legal entities (GSE’s).

      8. Pass law to transition Social Security to private accounts (give a generous opt-out period for those within 10 years of retirement age to make their election whether to keep a specified percentage of lifetime contributions in their own acct. in exchange for waiver of current and future benefits).

    175. Dave Leary Says:

      No person may vote unless he/she has paid more in Federal Income Tax than they have received from the government in the past year. 20 years of meeting this criteria makes a citizen a permanent voter and the test no longer applies.

      With the exception of the military, no government employee at any level may vote. They already have enough say in government.

    176. Anonymous Says:

      1) Real Ethics Reform – Requiring that those that violate ethics get punished not let off. (Put a non-politician on the committee to determine ethics violations.)
      2) Put a ZERO EARMARKS in place to eliminate pork politics.
      3) Require that they READ THE BILL before voting on them.
      4) Put all bills online for 3 days prior to vote.
      5) Require a 60 vote majority to raise the debt ceiling.
      6) Eliminate the Unconstitutional HealthCare bill. (Personal Mandate, commerce clause)
      7) Repeal the rest of Stimulus – 60% is still unspent.
      8) Get out of the Car Business – Sell all shares of GM and Chysler
      9) Eliminate payraises for Govt employees until the average wage equals private sector wage.
      10)Eliminate TARP and get out of private Business

    177. Jeremy Says:

      1) Make all new bills have a probationary period of say 2-to-4 years. At the end of the probationary period, congress must vote again to keep the bill in place or the bill will be declared void and defunded. This would give the public an opportunity to counter attempts to ram unpopular bills through the legislative process.

      2) Elected officials and political appointees should be held to a higher standard on paying taxes. Therefore, all elected federal officials and political appointees must submit to an IRS audit at the beginning of his or her term in office and every other year thereafter. The discovery of unpaid taxes or other violations of the tax code will result in prosecution. A guilty verdict will result in the maximum punishment allowed under the law and loss of office.

      3) Establish a fixed travel allowance for the office of each senator and representative. The Speaker of the House and committee chairmen shall have slightly larger travel allowances. All air travel conducted by members of Congress and their staff within the continental United States will be on commercial carriers. First class bookings will not be allowed unless the traveler upgrades the seat out of his or her own pocket. The U.S. Air Force is not a taxi service for congress. Travel by U.S. military aircraft will only be allowed when there is a significant security risk or the official is representing the country abroad.

      4) If the Democrats and Republicans can’t hack it, they should be reminded that their parties can be replaced at their constituents discretion. Reform election laws so the laws no longer favor candidates from the two major parties over independent and third-party candidates.

      5) The U.S. government may not nationalize or otherwise take a controlling interest in any private enterprise. If the government does make a loan or grant to a private enterprise, the government may only specify what the money is to be spent on. The government may have no say in the operation or hiring and firing at said enterprise.

      6) Each member of Congress will be required to hold at least four town hall meetings in their home district during each recess. There will be no restrictions on attendance or what questions may be asked by the audience.

      7) No bill passed by Congress shall be over 200 pages in length.

      8) All bills passed by Congress shall be written in language that is comprehensible to anyone with a high school education.

      9) There will be a general tightening down on enforcement of Senate and House rules. The majority party should not be able to violate established legislative rules when it suits them.

      10) All bills will be available to the general public for at least a week before the bill is voted on. No changes may be made to the bill once it is made available to the public. The only exceptions to the one-week rule will be emergency measures. What constitutes an emergency measure shall be strictly defined.

    178. JCF Says:

      Mine’s the simplest yet: A six-year freeze on government spending levels.

      Freshmen Republicans pledge to allow no increase in the total of ALL federal government outlays, including entitlements, during their term. If Medicare payments go up, well, by golly, something else has to shrink.

      It’s time to put the spotlight on spending, not “deficits.”

    179. Peter Grout Says:

      The bills I’ll introduce:

      1) Any act that is not equally applicable to the people and the congress is immediately null and void. There are no exceptions.

      2) The Commerce clause is only applicable to actual interstate transactions.

      3) The maximum length of bill is one hundred pages single spaced.

      4) Anything in a bill that is not closely and directly related to it’s title shall always be removed and discarded before debate. Members are free to introduce these measures in separate bills.

      5) Any member of the Congress that votes in the affirmative on any bill without having fully read that bill shall be immediately expelled from the Congress and forfeit any and all retirement benefits.

      6) a) Campaign donations are limited to a maximum of $500 in 2014 dollars, to be adjusted for inflation anually on January 1.

      b) Donations may only be accepted from 12:01 AM on the date 90 days prior to the election to 12:00 midnight on election day.

      c) Donations may only be accepted from registered voters who reside in the district in which the election occurs, or legal organizations who are headquartered in the district in which the election occurs. (If you don’t live in the district, it’s none of your business, so butt out.)

      d) Any legal organization may only have one headquarters in the United States. Any subsidiaries, affiliates, etc. must use the parent organizations headquarters of record. (ACORN, NRA, Microsoft, etc. can only give in ONE district in each national election.)

      e) All campaign transactions must be by check, credit/debit card, or electronic. No cash transactions of any form are allowed. (No “walking around” money)

      f) All campaign transactions must be completed within 15 days after election day. Any residual funds will be paid to the US Treasury to retire the National Debt.

      7) No earmarks of any form shall be allowed.

      8) All bills shall be posted electronically, in their final form, for at least 7 calendar days before any vote.

      Grout for Senate 2014

      “Sometimes you need a vet to diagnose Bull Shit”

    180. Neo Says:

      Hence forth all hearings before the Supreme Court must be made while all parties, including the justices, are standing on only one foot. It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.

    181. Peter Grout Says:

      Bad link above, sorry.

    182. Chris Williams Says:

      Create a cabinet level position of Department of Wealth. More wealth is the only way out of our current dilemma. Have a specific goal of increasing national wealth by 100% every decade. If 2010 is $14T then 2020 should be $28T (real money). If government is held steady and poverty programs are collapsed as people gain wealth, then we can pay off the debt, free our children, provide charity and support to our dependents and to the world. All through personal generosity and graciousness. More wealth includes better schools, more opportunities, greener communities and more energy efficient systems. Maybe even a Detroit Lions Super Bowl. Wealth is the way out. Wealth is the way up. Take it.

    183. Anonymous Says:

      I think we just need a couple of clarifying ammendments to the constitution:

      – A Right is a guarentee of noninterference, never a guarentee of provisions. No claim of a ‘right’ can be legitimately made if such a claim would require the state to sieze the justly accumulated assets of one citizen or grouping of citizens in order to sustain said claim. Social contracts of a redistributive nature can be entered into at the pleasure of the electorate through a governing body, but they cannot attain the same protected classification of a constitutional right.

      – Citizens who struggle to effectively contribute economically towards their own health, sustainance, education or living space may or may not warrent the resources provided by a generous society, depending on whether their lack of contribution is due to will or to capacity. Such inherant ambiguity and individuality of each case of presumed need precludes the feasability of a federal entity effectively mandating or otherwise implementing specific acts of charitable provision. Therefore, any government managed, generosity-based provisioning shall not be implemented at the federal level. State-run provisioning shall not exceed in value the provisioning managed by it’s counties. To encourage individual acts of engaged citizen generosity, charitable contributions that provide food, clothing, health care, housing, or education shall be considered 105% tax deductable where any income tax is applied.

    184. clark Says:

      Make government employee compensation a function of median income. Add a +/- for unemployment.

    185. Anonymous Says:

      A balanced budget amendment.

      All private wealth of all elected representatives and spouses (are you listening, John Kerry?) goes into a blind trust for the duration of his/her term of office.

      Congressional districts must be rectangular.

      Yearly Fed audit.

    186. peter jackson Says:

      Why try to make the GOP something it’s not, a freedom first party? Sure, liberty used to be the core principle of the Republicans, but it used to be the core principle of the Democrats too. The Republicans are as likely to put the cause of liberty ahead of their public virtue populism as the Democrats are to shift to freedom agenda from their current commitment to social justice. We need to stop kidding ourselves. Neither party has a clue how to govern whether they are in or out of power. Both parties have devolved into tribalism, fighting for the interests of various groups over those of other groups. Neither values individual freedom as a first principle.

      We need not so much changes to the Constitution than a new political party. Not a new third party, but a new first party. A fresh party based on a bias toward individual liberty, capitalism, and a robust, unafraid national defense would mop the floor with the GOP and the Democrats. A Liberal Capitalist Party could take 50-60% of the GOP, 30-40% of the Democratic Party, 90-95% of Libertarians and 75-80% of political independents.

    187. Dowlan Smith Says:

      1. Each representative gets 1 proxy (vote) for every one who voted for him. Senators get 1 proxy for every .1% of their state’s population that voted for him. (States may choose to elect representative at large instead or in addition to by districts in order to increase their representation). All votes are by proxy vote.

      2. An automatic ‘Nay’ or ‘Repeal’ vote is cast for every citizen who does not have a representative for their proxy.

      3. Each representative has a legislative budget equal to the previous years tax revenue from his voters ONLY. He can decide what amount, if any, is assigned to any bill. At the end of he fiscal year, unspent money is refunded proportionately to the amount paid by each of his voters.

      4. A Mandatory Spending Bill that compels all Reps to assign an equal percentage of their legislative budget requires a 2/3 majority from both houses. If any representative has a deficit or would run a deficit as a result of the bill, a 3/4 majority is required. Tax revenue from those without proxy rep can only be spent by a Mandatory Spending Bill.

      5. All bills that impose a criminal punishment or impose a fee, fine, tax or require payment by a citizen or any individual, group, or business within the US or territories require a 2/3 majority.

      6. Any voter may withdraw their proxy or move it to another representative at any time.

      7. All proposed bills must be posted online for a minimum of 72 hours plus 1 day for every 100 Kb of the bill. Bills can only be moved to a final vote by the referendum of 10% of the US population.

      8. All federal spending must be directed though a department under a cabinet member confirmed by the Senate. Any Department that exceeds it’s allotted budget by over 10% is eliminated. All of the employees and the cabinet member are fired and cannot be employed by the federal government for 5 years. Severance package is limited to two weeks salary of the average worker in the department.

    188. Greg Hunt Says:

      1. Every voting member of Congress must be present while each bill they will be voting upon is read in it’s entirety. Any member of Congress who fails to remain present during the full reading shall be barred from voting on said bill.

      2. All Federal Bills must be sufficiently concise so that they may be printed on a single page.

      3. All Federal taxes shall be collected by the States and turned over to the Federal government upon request. The Federal government is hereby banned from collecting taxes directly.

      4. All Federal employees shall be paid no more than the Federal Minimum Wage.

    189. ManekiNeko Says:

      Cursus Honorum Amendment

      1. No one otherwise eligible shall be elected President of the United States unless that person shall, prior to election, have served as President or Vice-President, as the highest executive officer of one of the several States, or on active duty in the armed forces or coast guard of the United States as a flag officer or general officer.

      2. No one otherwise eligible shall be elected Vice-President of the United States or be appointed to that position pursuant to Section 2 of the 25th Amendment unless that person shall, prior to election or appointment, have served as President or Vice-President, as the highest or second highest executive officer of one of the several States, as a principal officer of the United States after having been confirmed by the Senate, or in the armed forces or coast guard of the United States or organized militia of one of the several States as a flag officer or general officer.

      3. No one otherwise eligible shall be elected United States Senator for a State who has not, prior to election, served as Senator for that State or Representative for that State for at least two terms.

      3 alternative. Repeal the 17th Amendment.

    190. Dowlan Smith Says:

      ON EMERGENCY EXEMPTIONS:

      Everyone who votes for an emergency exemption is replaced in a special election within 2 months and barred from holding any federal or state office or job for life.

      That way you will only vote for an emergency override if it is a real emergency- your concern for the country is greater than your concern for your career.

    191. Anonymous Says:

      ammend the constitution with these two provisions:

      a) Memebers of congress will be selected by draw.

      b) Level of taxation and debt will be determined by an independent body similar to the FED that will do so based on the interest of the economy, not on politician’s spending priorities. Politicians will only have the money that is allocated to them by that body to spend.

    192. Richard Says:

      See Randy Barnett’s federalism amendments. Lots of food for thought there, and all good, actionable stuff.

    193. SteveK Says:

      Support the Bill of Federalism as defined at the link.

    194. Bob Krumm Says:

      Constitutional amendment:

      No taxation of any form shall be applied unequally, nor with exception, deduction, or limitations of any kind.

    195. Solane Says:

      A rule like CAFE:

      The average compensation of all federal employees may not exceed that average compensation of all persons employed in the private sector. (The private sector does not include state or local government employees.) Persons employed pursuant to Federal outsourcing contracts shall be deemed to be federal employees, but recipients of federal welfare payments or tax credits shall not.)

      The number of federal employees may not exceed 5% of the number of persons employed in the private sector.

    196. Wrauny Says:

      Any bill passed by Congress can only authorize spending on one category (transportation, defense, etc.).

      Any privileges granted to one state by a bill passed by Congress must be granted to all states equally.

      These would eliminate “buying” votes with extra pork.

    197. Russ Says:

      This might eliminate the need for term limits:

      1) At the conclusion of each Congressional term (i.e., every two years) each serving member of the House and Senate who has held their seat for more than one and one half full terms of office shall place his or her name on a number of tokens equal to the number of terms, or parts thereof, they have held their present office.

      2) From said tokens, one shall be drawn at random.

      3) The member whose name appears thereon shall be immediately taken to the roof of the Capitol building and there be hanged by the neck until dead.

    198. Greg Q Says:

      No Congressman can vote for a bill unless he / she signs a statement, under penalty of perjury, saying that he / she has read the entire bill, and that he / she understands the bill.

      No more “I didn’t realize it was going to do that.”

    199. tomwright Says:

      1. A Constitutional amendment, along these lines: “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and Representatives; and Congress shall make no law that applies to either Senators or Representatives or both that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States. Any law enacted in violation of this Amendment shall be void and of no force and effect at any time.”

      2. A Constitutional amendment removing “immunity from prosecution” from all public officials, elected, appointed or hired, and in the case of willful malfeasance resulting the conviction of a person innocent of the crime, automatically subjecting them to the same fines and sentences the falsely convicted actually receives, up to and including the death penalty. (See Radley Balko for examples of willful malfeasance)

      3. Citizens Veto. This is an additional check and balance to our Legislative/Executive/Juditial setup. Call it Initiative to repeal:
      A Constitutional amendment, (preferably), allowing the citizens to petition to place the repeal of any law on the ballot. The repeal will remove an entire law and can not create a replacement law or impose a new law. Such a question shall be placed on the ballot with the signatures of 1% of the registered voters in the jurisdiction the law covers, or signatures of 10% of the voters in any single next lower jurisdiction, so long as all signatures are from that jurisdiction. (so to repeal a Federal law, 1% of the national vote from anywhere within the country, or 10% from within any one state. To repeal a state law, 1% from anywhere within that state, or 10% from within any one county, and on down to the lowest level jurisdictions).

      4. A Constitutional amendment: Members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen at random from the lists of registered voters to serve for one term only. Those serving will be immune to all taxes for the rest of their lives. Infirmity due to age or disease may excuse a person chosen from serving, but they shall be removed from the roles of voters.
      (We can leave the Senate as is or allow the states to appoint them again by repealing the 17th(?))

      5. All ballots for all offices and public questions shall include a selection for None of the Above. Should N.O.T.A. win, in the case of elected offices, the office shall remain vacant until the next election, and in the case of public questions no change will be approved.

      6. Repeal the Income Tax and all other Federal taxes by Constitutional Amendment, replacing them with a single tax based on some objectively quantifiable value. Either a sales tax or something similar.

      7. A national concealed carry law. NO!
      A national reciprocity law requiring all states to recognize permits from other states, either issued or implied, (as in Alaska and Vermont). Similar to how drivers licenses are treated. The last thing we need is Congress making concealed carry laws. shudder.

      8. A forensic audit of the TARP spending.

      9. A forensic audit of the Federal Reserve.

      10. End the War on Drugs. Treat all natural, unrefined forms of recreational drugs, at the Federal level, as alcohol is treated. Leave the states to figure out the best ways to handle this. (Example: Marijuana, Coca leaf, raw opim would be treated like alcohol. Refined THC, Cocaine, Morphine/Herione would be treated as pharmaceuticals requiring prescription and physician supervision as they are now)

    200. Gregg the Obscure Says:

      No increase in federal tax rates may take effect unless approved by two distinct Congresses (i.e. the 115th Congress and the 116th Congress).

      No budget containing a net increase in federal expenditures may take effect unless approved by at least 75% of the members of Congress.

      Congress may not vote on any bill consisting of more than 10,000 words (inclusive of amendments) sooner than ten days after the entire text of such bill is published.

      Each year’s additions to the Code of Federal Regulations shall expire absent express Congressional approval within five years.

      A commission, similar to BRAC and composed solely of persons who have never worked full-time for government or a political campaign, shall be charged with simplification of the US Code.

      Without limiting the effect of the Tenth Amendment, state and local governments have absolute discretion to enact and enforce criminal laws insofar as such do not directly violate the express language of the Constitution.

    201. Spendulus Says:

      Concealed carry is fine at the state level, with decent oversight by the Supreme Court.

      Here are off the top suggestions:

      1. Immediately terminate 10% of the work force of each US Government agency. Everyone understands we actually need to start cutting expenses at the government level except the government. Force it.

      2. Commit to build a large number of nuclear power plants. 500 1 gigawatt plants would reverse our balance of payments deficit as electricity is an export product.

      Spendulus
      BestofBeck.com

    202. Mumbles Says:

      No ballots shall have party affiliation attached (Remove the (R), (D), or (I) (or others) from behind each candidate’s name. Add a vote possibility of “None of the above”

      Let’s face it, if you aren’t smart enough to know who to vote for, than maybe you shouldn’t be voting…

      Be Safe
      Mumbles

    203. Anonymous Says:

      1.) All federal gov’t employees will accept the public option as their health insurance.

    204. Mark Buehner Says:

      TERM LIMITS. Our greatest failings revolve around the permanent political class. Lets get back to citizen legislatures. The best of America I’ve ever seen is in the jury room.

    205. RT Says:

      A: Revoke immunity for prosecutors.

      B: Eliminate gerrymandering.

      C: End the war on drugs.

      D: Work based immigration reform. Allow in those willing to commit to 6 years of public works (Fixing infrastructure such as roads and parks, disaster assistance and cleanup, fighting forest fires, etc.) or 4 years of military service with no more than 10% of miltary personel being from this program. Require that they learn English and commit no major crimes while under the program. After completing 2 yrs of their service allowed to bring in spouse and children. Paid a stipend or normal military pay, and provided meals / housing.

      E: I agree with other comments as to tort reform and restrictions on the commerce clause.

    206. S&W45 Says:

      These are all excellent ideas, but I fear that they are too detailed and to long term for the pending 2010 election cycle. While I agree with the majority of ideas above, the fact remains that in order for conservatives (and some republicans?) to make progress in 2010 we must put forward an agenda that GETS THE ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK….JOBS!!!!!!!

      The only way to get jobs back is to give small & medium business ventures the confidence to begin hiring and expansion again. We need massive tax cuts and pro-growth policies that will resonate with a majority of the voting public.

      1. Suspend payroll taxes for 1 year.
      2. Commit to repealing the Health Care/Reid Amendment if passed in its current form.
      3. Commit to real competition in health care by removing barriers to inter-state purchase of insurance, tort reform, and focusing on the current waste in Medicare/MedicAid.

      Sadly, I think the Health Care bill will pass with this congress. In order to repeal/halt the full impact of this disastrous legislation we must regain the congress first, and the only way to accomplish this goal is to put forth plans that will gain voters attention IMMEDIATELY. We must show that the current policies of the President and Congress are re-heated, failed New Deal policies that exacerbated the depression of the 1930s.

      On a long term basis I would like to see the following:
      1. Repeal the 16th amendment.
      2. Institute a Fair Tax or Flat Tax……at this point anything is better than what we have.
      I prefer the Fair Tax because I believe an income tax is unconstitutional, immoral, and financially counter-productive to the goals of capitalism.
      3. Repeal the 17th amendment and return the power to the state legislatures, thus restoring the Founder’s principle of Federalism, and ultimately, a check on a large federal government.

      I think we need to focus on economic/job issues that people are worried about RIGHT NOW. Spending is out of control and the common man understands that we’re spending more than we make, and that jobs are not being created.

      S&W45

    207. Ryan Says:

      Could someone that knows something about this new fangaled internet thing organize this mess of information? Anyone who has a working brain or more then three beers will have some wild ideas on how to “make things right.” These are well and good and some (very few) may be useful. However! the devil is in the details. You can’t just fire a random 10% of the government and expect the government to function. (Yes the government may be full of self serving power mongers but we need it just the same because the alternative is war.)

      What we need to do is identify our root problems and then evolve effective solutions to these problems in a standard Who, What, How, Why, sort of logic.

      So could someone come up with a website (wiki-style?) where we can moderate up or down a stated problem. Then we can brainstorm and moderate up and down not only a plan to counter this problem but WHY we think this would work, WHAT we think will balance it (we don’t want to solve one problem and create three more) and HOW it would need to be implemented. If we are lucky there will be several solutions that will not exclude each other.
      Here I’ll start you off with a few:
      ————————————
      Problem:
      We all agree that ‘Congressman’ should not be a career.

      1. WHAT: House members can’t be elected more then twice.
      WHY: The House should be the peoples, and run by people with other careers. So we elect someone with the understanding that they can take a two year leave from being a engineer do their service and come back to building widgets.
      BALANCE: Fast turn around and constant new blood leaves little time for them to become corrupt.
      HOW: Constitutional Amendment

      2. WHAT: Senate election moves back to State.
      WHY:
      1. We may not want the whole government run by amateurs.
      2. This will give the state governments more say in the federal government as well as hopefully more responsibility.
      BALANCE: If you don’t like your Senator then you better clean house at the state level.
      HOW: Constitutional Amendment

      ————————————
      Problem:
      Too many laws!

      What: Shoot 50% of all the lawyers.
      WHY: Because I have no idea what else to do.
      BALANCE: When we finish with shooting the 50% then we institute a thunder dome like Bar exam. Two go in, one comes out.
      HOW: Armed Vigilantes

    208. B Dubya Says:

      My top pick for the contract is: Repeal the 17th Ammendment, which will send the enabling authority of the upper chamber back to the several states legislatures whence it came and where it belongs. This is a Republic, dammit.

      After that, we could talk about a rational system for awarding the franchise (the right to vote in national, state, and local elections), that is based less on identity politics and more on the desired, demonstrated behaviors of a citizen who should be granted the privilege.

      After that, we should talk about the issue of insulating the national political process from the self interest serving of national and state level government unions. Its rather like a person living in a rental property who voted YES on a local school property tax levy, knowing they don’t have to pay the tax. If you don’t have a dog in the hunt, you shouldn’t have a vote either (we went to war with Brtitain over taxation without representation and this is very close to that). Government employee unions have a conflict of interest in most matters concerning their funding and programs that can only be reconciled by forbidding their members to vote in elections (national or state) while they remain an active employee at the least. The servants of the People (our employees) should not be provided with the means to become our unelected and ever more oppressive masters.

    209. Anonymous Says:

      We need an alternative health care bill. This bill should be exactly 20 pages long, and include at a minimum the following:

      1) tort reform – limit liability and ability to sue
      2) ability to purchase insurance across state lines
      3) disconnect of health insurance from employment

      I am not a lawyer or a legislator, but many are who read this list. I challenge you.

    210. tyouth Says:

      Ban former congressmen and senators from Washington DC (actually, just ban them from working in DC (or anywhere else when it involves federal government and its’ agencies; and also ban them from positions that seek to influence federal gov’t. or its’ agencies).

    211. Ryan Says:

      Hey Mumbles:
      What if you just put a (i) behind the name that is an incumbent. Even a half drunk uneducated hillbilly or politically apathetic collage frat boy, knows when they are being screwed over by the government.

    212. Tom Grey Says:

      Yes, Term Limits are good — because they force more real elections.

      But Gerrymandering is a problem without a good solution on this.

      New Amendment on Federal non-Defense Gov’t wages:
      a)Federal non-wage benefits will transition away to non-gov’t Social Security, completely equal to individual consultant private-sector benefit.

    213. Cecilius Says:

      I would add that every criminal statute must identify the prohibited behavior with specificity and that no person shall be convicted without adequate proof of intent. All ambiguities regarding the prohibitions listed in criminal statutes shall be interpreted in favor of a criminal defendant.

    214. Ryan Says:

      Problem:
      Gerrymandering

      1. Solution:
      WHAT: Computer controlled purely based on geographic data. The program should be open source so that all code can be read.
      WHY: If the rules are consistent then Gerrymandering should be limited
      BALANCE: open source
      HOW: Federal law

      2. Solution:
      WHAT: Popular state vote. Each person can only vote for any one guy and it doesn’t matter where they live. Each congressional seat is filled with the guys that get the most votes. So for example, Arizona has 8 slots. Anyone can run and the 8 people with the most votes win a seat.
      WHY: Just because Jim Flake lives in Flagstaff (300 miles north of me) doesn’t mean he can’t be my congressman.
      BALANCE: Don’t know, May lead to mob rule? or one guy getting all the votes and 7 weirdos (Hey I got my mom to vote for me and I won!) getting the other seats.
      HOW: no idea, I’m not a lawyer so I really don’t know who controls congressional districts

    215. Ryan Says:

      oops it’s Jeff Flake and he lives in Phoenix (only 100miles north of me). But I like him better then my a-hole congress woman.

    216. ~FR Says:

      I would sign on to Steve White’s 31st amendment.

      I might propose it as the ‘2nd amendment guarantee’- “because our rights are being interpreted in surprising ways.”

      Here is how Mr. White wrote it:

      Section 1. Neither the Congress nor the legislatures of the several states shall impede, encumber or abridge the right of law-abiding citizens to own, purchase and carry ordinary firearms, or to own and purchase ammunition for such firearms. The Congress and the legislatures of the several states may, at their discretion, require a record of firearms ownership, but no such requirement shall be used to abridge, encumber or limit the rights of citizens in this Section.

      Section 2. The Congress and the legislatures of the several states may, at their discretion, limit, encumber or abolish the right of ownership of ordinary firearms for any person convicted of a serious felony or breach of the peace under due process of law.

      Section 3. The words of this article shall be interpreted according to their public meaning at the time of its ratification.

    217. Kyle Bennett Says:

      Immediately eliminate Social Security, pay off those already bought in at a pro-rated rate. Fund this from the sale of Federal land holdings.

      Require all bills and amendments to be published publicly and freely (online and print) 30 days prior to a final vote, and require all bills and amendments to be read aloud in full prior to any vote.

      Require supermajority for any new spending bills, simple majority for repeal.

      All bills have a sunset clause, no “automatic” renewals.

      Line-item veto.

      Federal guarantees of the right of jury nullification

      Banish the Federal Reserve. Eliminate legal tender laws.

      All bills submitted to the Supreme Court for verification of constitutional compliance after passage, but prior to enforcement.

      Limit the number of bills a congressman may initiate or sponsor during his term. Bills that only repeal an existing law are “free”.

      Restore Federalism, repeal the 16th amendment, no direct Federal taxes. Federal activities are funded solely through payments from state governments for membership in the union. States may cease payment and leave the union on a supermajority vote in the state legislature.

    218. elf Says:

      I agree with the contract, agree that we could have concealed carry laws pushed down to the State or local level, and would add to the contract:

      1) Zero deficit budgets. No deficit budget will be submitted or signed into law unless there is a large scale invasion or immediate existential threat to the United States. Deficit financing would require a 2/3 majority of both houses.

      [have to be careful with that one, given our opponents propensity to make every problem a crisis demanding ReichStag Fire legislation. Hence 2/3].

      2) End the National Debt. The funds of the Highway and Farm subsidy bills (hundreds of Billions per year) will be transferred into payment of our foreign debt – this is about 500$ Billion a year until such time as the debt is retired. OR – the foreign debt to China (500 billion) and Japan (590 billion) shall be paid also by transfers of American oil, coal and Natural Gas. The rest of the domestic and foreign debt shall be paid out of the Federal Budget, with 25% of the Budget being used to pay down the debt until it is retired.

      Both those countries are energy poor industrial powerhouses. Japan went to war over energy, and China is willing to do so…and currently makes preparations and treaties to ensure that they are in a position to secure their energy during conflict.

      3) Supreme Court proof legislation securing the funds for Social Security and any sort of Medicare funds – remember these are discrete taxes – cannot be used as part of the General Fund. Immediate implementation in practice pending legislation and court hurdles.

      4) A complete phased audit of the Federal Govt, and immediate implementation of Generally Accepted Accounting Practices across the entire Federal Govt immediately.

      5) All Bills shall be written and voted on in plain language only.

      6) A comprehensive review and realignment of our foreign defense commitments, with an near term eye towards divesting ourselves of NATO.

    219. Sum Buddy Says:

      1. Congress will repeal two laws for every new one it passes.

      2. Term limits.

      3. Fast track Yucca Mountain.

      4. Every candidate who runs for national office (including in primaries) will immediately have all records unsealed and made public. This will have the force of a subpoena and require immediate compliance by all public and private entities.

      5. Stronger laws to prevent vote fraud.

    220. Mike Says:

      1) Enact Congressional Term Limits – While you’re right that this wouldn’t take care of the underlying “permanent government” it would at least help drain the swamps a bit.

      2) Enact Term Limits for all Federal Judges, and a requirement that all Federal Judicial Appointments receive an up or down vote on confirmation in the Senate within a specified period of time.

      3) Repeal the now-inevitable Health Care bill and pass an alternative HCR package containing Tort Reform and the ability to sell insurance across state lines.

      4) Pass a “Keep It Simple, Stupid” law that says no bill that becomes law may deal with more than one topic. Get rid of “omnibus” bills, riders, and opportunities for pork.

      5) Read the Bill – Requiring them to sign a pledge isn’t enough. These are pathological liars we’re talking about. I like the earlier proposed idea of forcing a reading of every bill on the floor. That should cut down on the overall length of bills.

      . . . and my personal favorite . . .

      6) Institute a Federal Referendum Process – I’ve lived in California and Virginia, which both have a referendum process in place. This seems like a good way to get ’round the Congresscritters and pass something they don’t like (or repeal something they do) over their heads. Set the bar high, so as to make it difficult to do except in cases of overwhelming popular support. How about: A particular item is eligible for national referendum if the proposed law is passed by 50%+1 of the states, either by referendum or by an act of the state legislature. Items so enacted are then placed on the ballot of every state to coincide with the next biannual Congressional election, and become federal law by a simple majority vote unless otherwise specified.

    221. rob Says:

      No politicial or government employee can make more than the average american worker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    222. PersonFromPorlock Says:

      A points system for members of Congress (both houses), just like for drivers: vote for a law that’s later found to have unconstitutional provisions and you’re assessed one point for each bad provision. Accumulate a lifetime score of five points and you’re out of government, right now, forever and no patronage job either.

      Doesn’t force the ‘good guys’ out and turns every member of Congress into a diligent constitutional scholar who’ll regard his staff’s opinions with great care.

      Other suggestion: require all Supreme Court decisions to be validated by Congress. This adds a needed check on the power of the Court.

    223. Anonymous Says:

      As the late Congressman Wright Patman, Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency for 16+ years, said,

      “I have never yet had anyone who could, through the use of logic and reason, justify the Federal Government borrowing the use of its own money….

      I believe the time will come when people will demand that this be changed. I believe the time will come in this country when they will actually blame you and me and everyone else connected with the Congress for sitting idly by and permitting such an idiotic system to continue.”

    224. Pauly Says:

      Here’s mine:

      1. Flat tax – no deduction besides charitable giving (I know mortgage interest is huge, but if the taxes are low enough..)

      2. Purple Thumb voting – end of absentee balloting besides military

      3. Close 33% of all Federal Departments, lay off 33% of employees and consolidate offices, programs, locations, etc.

      4. Abolish teacher’s unions (NEA, AFT) and government unions like SEIU and AFSCME. If the government cannot be considered a fair employer, then no fair employer exists.

      5. Tort reform with loser pays.

      6. A Government Aptitude Test – like a Wonderlic or SAT for government service. Sections would include Economic Theory, Behavioral Science, Logic, Mathematics, and Ethics. All candidates must have their scores published and posted next to their name in the voting booth.

      7. Eliminate Unfunded Mandates.

      8. Privatize Social Security and ObamaCare by contracting with firms to manage the programs with incentives for cost containment, positive outcomes, etc.

      Wow. That felt good.

    225. Sev Says:

      Monetary Reform Act.**

      First, Incorporate the Federal Reserve System into the U.S. Treasury where all new money would be created by
      government as money, not interest-bearing debt; and be spent into circulation to promote the general welfare. The
      monetary system would be monitored to be neither inflationary nor deflationary.

      Second, Halt the banks’ privilege to create money by ending the fractional reserve system in a gentle and elegant way. All the past monetized private credit would be converted into U.S. government money. Banks would then act as intermediaries accepting savings deposits and loaning them out to borrowers–i.e., they would do what people think they do now. This Act nationalizes the money system, NOT the banking system. Banking is not a proper function of government, but providing the nation’s money supply is.

      Third, Bring the money power securely within the proven system of checks and balances established for other areas of government. History shows that the money power will act like a fourth branch whether we recognize it as such or not. It’s not safe to leave so much power and privilege in the hands of a few elites. Monetary policy must be brought under democratic control.

      **This proposal builds upon the “Chicago Plan” which was created by University of Chicago economists in the 1930s.

    226. Greg Says:

      Three important changes to CBO estimates:

      1) they have to cover 20 years and not 10. It’d be much harder to pull the ‘…I’ll tax in the first decade and deliver services in the second…’ that’s being used with the healthcare bill.

      2) they create to estimates – one, scoring the bill (what they do today) and two, their best estimate on past behaviors. We all know the ‘doc fix’ won’t go through nor will the Medicare cuts – we need an estimate that’s ‘real world’ not ‘congressional world’.

      3) any bill that impacts states MUST include an estimate for the states. There’s a huge amount of the healthcare bill that’s being shifted to the states. Any discussion of the cost of something MUST include all the costs, not just at the federal level.

    227. ZZMike Says:

      “Senators and Congressmen may be elected to a second term by a simple majority of the popular vote. They shall be elected to third and fourth terms only by a 2/3 majority of the popular vote. No Senator or Congressman may be elected to a consecutive fifth term. He may run again, in subsequent elections, subject to the 2/3 majority popular vote.”

      This is a kinder, gentler term-limit law. It says that if you want to stay in, you’ll need a larger vote than before. If you’re doing a good job, and the people want you in, they’ll vote for you in greater numbers. And it might keep people from being “Senator-for-Life”, like Byrd, Thurmond, Kennedy, or Inouye.

      “Every Federal law shall be reinstated every ten years, or become null and void. Reinstatement shall involve the same process as passing new laws.”

      First, that might keep them busy and less able to do bad things (like the health-care bill).

    228. Anonymous Says:

      I think that as long as it’s a crime to lie to a federal official who is performing his or her duty (and it is), it should also be a crime for a federal official to lie to other people in the course of performing his or her duty.

    229. Dustin Beckley Says:

      Balanced Budget Amendment

      A revised version of Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, with automatic budget cuts, hopefully re-written in a way to keep its teeth but not be found unconstitutional.

      CBO needs to be reworked as Congress has now figured out how to game the system.

      Revise budgeting. It’s a joke and if corporations budgeted the way Congress does, they would be in jail.

      Health care: expand health savings accounts; portable health care; tort reform; fix the tax issues

      Grow the economy. Simplify the tax code. Long term solution for alternative minimum tax, death tax. Lower the corporate tax rate, which is among the highest in the developed world. Incentives for investment and retirement savings: end income limitations for contributing to a Roth IRA; raise maximum contributions for IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401ks.

      School choice

      Nuclear energy, increased offshore and Arctic drilling

      Massive reform of HUD, Fannie and Freddie. They are what really caused the mortgage fiasco

      Crack down on illegal immigration and related narco-trafficking. Secure the border, build a wall. In the meantime, allow people who want to come here legally to do so, especially educated people with engineering or science backgrounds. Go after employers who hire illegal immigrants.

    230. debby Says:

      1) No unfunded mandates.

      2) Balanced budget (exceptions: national security, defense, and emergencies (ie Katrina)

      3) Term limits for Congress

      4) Get rid of government unions

      5) Enforce the current immigration laws

      6) Get the Federal Government out of GM and other corporations.

      7) Strict rules on Presidental “czars”…one or two for a special reason but not the “zillion” we have now. Plus, these positions have to be approved by Congress and would be subject to Congressional questions.

      8) Repeal the remaining stimulus bill and TARP

      9) Repeal the Health Care bill (assuming it gets passed)

      10) The powers not listed in the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people

    231. yeem Says:

      bring the troops home to defend our physical borders alone.

    232. Wilf Says:

      Some excellent ideas bubbling up here. In particular, I like:

      1: Some form of voting law that requires a photo ID in order to be able to vote. In truth this is likely more easily implemented at the State than at the Federal level, I think, but others may know better in this regard.

      2: Definitely time to limit federal spending to 99% of the previous years federal receipts. Any excess money received in the current year goes to debt pay-down.

      3: Someone suggested fast tracking Yucca Mountain. Much better would be a focused program to develop fast breeder reactors, which could use all the current “nuclear waste” as fuel and reduce it to forms that are only mildly (and for a relatively short term) radioactive, and also much smaller in total volume than what we have now. It was one of Carter’s greater idiocies (and he certainly had a lot) that he killed fast breeder reactors in this country – what an ass.

      4: I said it in my first posting, but I will say it again – School Choice!

    233. Cromagnum Says:

      Citizens must Pass the Federal citizenship test every 10 years to vote in national elections.
      It’s a start, 10 years is a reasonable period, it’s long enough to forget, and short enough to be reminded. The test is given every two years, and people would be staggered into it in such a way that 1 in 5 voters would be taking the exam on semi-annual testing years in perpetuity.

      Sunsets
      Laws involving Federal spending expire in no more than 5 Years.

      Laws involving Federal revenue collections expire in 1 year, and cannot be renewed by simple extensions, but must be voted on in their entirety.

      No earmarks.
      Or
      No New Earmarks, and any existing or future Federal earmarks for a particular state shall be paid for to the US Treasury, in its entirety, equally from the salaries of all Federal elected officials from that state. If the earmark is in excess of the sum of the remaining salaries of the officials for the current year, then the Federal government shall seize the personal property or future income of the current elected federal officials of that state and auction that property, subject to the normal exemption under the personal bankruptcy provisions of the US Code. The payments cease when either the earmark is repealed, or the debt has been repaid. Any change in officials serves to only expand the pool of persons required to pay the debt.

      Constitutional Amendments:

      Human life begins at the reproductive ‘union as one’ of the biologically human sperm and human egg.

      Serve at the Will of the People.
      Any Federally elected Official, can be voted out of their office by special election. If voted out by a super majority of 75% or greater, they are punishable by grand jury according to their state’s law as the worst felon, and are eligible for the largest sentence and punishment permissible, including capital.

      Interstate Punishment
      Any Federal law, resolution, order, or amendment passed by Congress shall be void in its entirety if it threatens to withhold, from any particular state, monies or benefits distributed to all states, if the particular state does not change its regulations to conform to a Federal requirement.

      Interstate Exclusion
      Any Federal law, resolution, order, or amendment passed by Congress shall be void in its entirety if it exempts any state or states to the exclusion of the whole. This shall be regardless of a naming of any state affected.

      Federal Non-Exemption
      Any Federal law, resolution, order, or amendment passed by Congress shall be void in its entirety if it exempts any Federal employee to the exclusion of any non-federal employee. This shall be regardless of a name, rank, or position of any employee affected.

      National Candidate Identification
      a) Candidates for any Federal Office (elected or appointed) shall submit documentation for public inspection and review equal to the documentation required for application to become a US Citizen. This information shall be entered into the public record, with redaction only of personal document numbers required for federal record keeping.

      b) Any elected official must also remove all encumbrances and submit their foreign and domestic governmental and institutional records to the scrutiny of the Secretary of State, and the open publication thereof, in every jurisdiction they are seeking to be on the ballot and receive votes from therein. All States seeking to elect Federal officials must publish the information as noted in the amendment in order for that candidate to be elected and seated in that position.

      Federal Pay
      Congress officials cannot vote for their pay raises. It shall be enumerated as either a pay raise or pay decrease. The raise or lowering is to be equal to the net simple averaged ratio annual increase in the Gross Domestic Product of the past 5 years, or the inverse of the simple average of consumer price inflation of the previous 5 years, whichever is lower. The annual pay shall not be lower the average national annual wage earned by the lowest sixth of employed citizens, nor higher than the median annual wage in the United States.

      Commerce Clause
      Congress and the Executive branch shall have no power to impede commerce inside the borders of a state, if the product or service does not directly cross a state line. Federal powers are limited to removing restrictions that impeded the flow of products or services across state lines, or imposing taxes, duties, or garnishments on the flow of products or services across state lines.

      The John Galt – Dead Leach Amendment
      The Federal government shall impose no Federal taxes, duties, or garnishments on wages, products, or services that do not cross state lines or other nations.

    234. Ric in Oregon Says:

      Simplify, reduce, stream line and enforce what is already on the books.

      * Requires the President to submit to congress a balanced budget. (no requirement for congress to pass one, however)

      * Requires all bills to cite which clause authorizes it – I know this gets submitted every year, and rejected, but it needs to be passed.

      * All amendments to a bill have to be on topic. ie don’t fund the arts with a military spending bill.

      * Tax simplification. I do not mean a “flat tax,” I am ok with a progressive tax. However – set a rate, set a deductible near the cost of living, require each citizen to file every year (with provisions for those who cannot file by themselves ie children, ill) – no joint filing. Clearly define what is income in plain English – not “accountant.” No other deductions period.

      * Require all elected officials to do their own taxes, no paid preparers.

      * Allow all individuals to file on line.

      * Require all employers to have pay information on line – and a Government run system to enable that.

      * Require all employers to use e-Verify.

      * Enforce our current immigration laws.

      * Reduce the number of visa’s issued for employment.

      * Federal support for all immigration holds on local jails – funding and transfer of immigrants.

      * Require in each bill passed a clause which states why this has to be a Federal issue and is not a local / state issue.

    235. Kevin Says:

      1. Full taxpayer compliance audit of Congress.

      2. Modest term limits: 3 terms in the Senate and 5 terms in the House. Retroactive as of next election following.

      3. Federal, state and local government worker pension regulation. Maximum amounts, minimum terms of service, limits on combination of multiple pensions and social security.

      4. All government retirement systems other than social security to be converted to individual defined contribution accounts at current asset valuations.

    236. JEM Says:

      A five-year moratorium on all legislative and/or administrative efforts toward regulation, taxation, etc. of carbon emissions, and a full investigation of the EPA’s processes leading to their endangerment finding.

    237. CRAT Says:

      1. Repeal the 17th amendment that made the election of Senators a direct popular election. This amendment did a lot of damage to the principle of states rights.

      2. Change Public Law 62-5 that limits the number of Congressmen. Make the number of Congressmen a proportion of the population. The more Congressmen, the fewer safe districts there are and the less of a career someone could make of being a Congressman. Also, it should greatly reduce the cost of running for Congress if there are more seats. I do not think that term limits is the answer.

      3. Fix the commerce clause so it cannot be interpreted to regulate commerce within a state just because something might go over a state border.

      4. A Constitutional Amendment to prohibit wealth transfer programs except those based on poverty should be ratified. Social Security Insurance should really turn into insurance and farm subsidy programs should disappear under such an amendment.

      5. Congress should appropriate the funding for entitlement programs every year. Currently, entitlement programs are funded automatically with no thought of whether the program should continue. If Congress had to appropriate the amounts spent on entitlement programs, maybe they would create fewer entitlement programs and eliminate some of the old ones.

      6. The government should adopt FASBI GAAP for the budget. Current scoring rules only look at what will happen for the next ten years. Take a look at the financial statements of the government that are compiled using FASBI GAAP. It is not a pretty picture.

      7. No deductions should be allowed for fringe benefits. Allowing fringe benefits to be deductable distorts incentives for employees. This should not be interpreted as being a raise in taxes. The marginal tax rates could be adjusted to keep this tax neutral.

      8. Make the absentee ballet hard to get except for military personnel. Absentee ballots enable fraud at the polls.

      9. Do whatever it takes to ensure that the courts do not corrupt the second amendment. Heller was a good start. I like the national concealed carry law that some have mentioned above.

    238. SenatorMark4 Says:

      1. Any payment to any individual or legal entity shall fully attach all obligations and penalties defined by the Freedom of Information Act.
      (Don’t you wish you could file an FOIA suit against ACORN?)

      2. Any payment, loan, grant, tax deferral or other act of government granting monetary advantage to an individual shall be reported on an IRS Form 1099-GOV.
      (Your food stamps have to be reported the same way as the money I earned to buy my food! When Samsung gets a tax deferral from my local taxing entity, it better stop affecting my property taxes!)

      3. Every government agent licensed to carry a firearm must wear a video to capture all interactions with citizens. (I’m darn tired of having to pay attorneys for policeman who can’t keep their story straight. See http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_14030412?nclick_check=1)

      4. Gerrymandering. Biggest problem. Selecting the largest cities and drawing lines out from the center city at 20 degree increments until they hit another zone from another city or the zone encompasses the necessay electorate. Or something computerizable.

    239. cthulhu Says:

      1. Overturn Wickard v Filburn.
      2. Eliminate the permanent government — no person shall draw remuneration from any public purse for longer than 1/3 the average lifespan, including all governmental and quasi-governmental positions from “City of Hog’s Gullet Dogcatcher/Librarian” to “State Senator”, to “Director of Fannie Mae” to “President of the United States” (military service excepted)(but including any time spent on welfare, disability, or public support).
      3. Every scheme where small amounts of money are taken over long periods of time in return for future benefits constitutes a moral hazard. Indeed, all that have the government as “trustee” are going broke. Accordingly, (a) eliminate all defined benefit pension plans through loss of their preferred tax status; (b) insist that all public schemes have independent trustees, who can be criminally prosecuted for lobbying, pledging fund assets, or lending fund assets to the government at anything less than market conditions; (c) allow individuals to “opt out” of such schemes in progress and be reimbursed for all previous “contributions” + average rate of returns for T-Bills – “admin” of 1% of fund balance per year (which is still theft, but….).
      4. If an election is found to have a single instance of voter fraud in favor of the “winner”, then the entire election should be invalid and a new election held. All costs of the subsequent election to be borne by the fraudulent actor and/or its officers, directors, and agents — and these costs may not be discharged through bankruptcy.
      5. Eliminate public employee unions, as is the norm in several states.
      6. Raise the filibuster threshold from 60 to 75 votes. We’ve had 200+ years to perfect our laws, why should there be so much constant twiddling with them? Shouldn’t they only change when there’s something new?

    240. Deborah Says:

      No infrastructure projects may be named after a living person, especially the members of Congress who sponsor the earmark.

    241. DERMP1 Says:

      1- TERM LIMITS—When your term expires, you go back to a real job. Maybe influence peddling would be diminished.

      2- AUTOMATIC RELAPSE OF LAWS– After a specified period of time all laws would have to be re-evaluated and re-voted on. It might make the federal registry less crowded. Also Congress could not just pass every law previously passed, there would be a required period of debate for any law enacted. We might get rid of some frivolous laws in the process.

      4- NO ADMINISTRATION CZARS–This is nothing more than a way to attempt to get around congressional oversight. It does not matter if Republican or Democrat, transparency and accountability are important.

      5- TERM LIMITS ON JUDICIAL APPTS– Judges should not be on the bench for their entire lifetime. Some of these guys are old as the hills and may have senility. Some of their opinions suggest that.

      6- LIMITATIONS ON CONGRESSIONAL STAFFS– No more staffs of 100 or so individuals. If a congressman or senator wants to reply to a letter, they don’t need a staffer to follow through. They want the job, let them deal with the job.

      7- I can’t think of anymore just off the top of my head but term limits is the key to future viability of our country. We are being regulated, taxed and ignored into oblivion.

    242. J. Scott Says:

      Lex, Disagree with the national concealed carry law. The Second Amendment works just fine. I have a concealed carry permit and I carry regularly, and it angers me that I had to “ask.” I work a lot with national gov’t clients and I find it queer that the Constitution which established said gov’t has a position which won’t allow me to carry in their office spaces…hypocrisy; I have a high-level security clearance but am not trusted to carry in the offices of clients.

      Repeal Amendments 16 and 17 out of the gate—national income tax is pernicious and the direct election of senators has removed State governments from consideration at the national level.

      And, to quote Ron Paul, End the Fed…I’m not a libertarian, per se, but a floating monetary system is subject to the vagaries of politics/flavor of the day. Gold makes more sense.

      Merry Christmas!

    243. Kevin Boyd Says:

      My proposed Contract with America:

      1) Repeal the 17th Amendment and replace it with one REQUIRING the states to appoint their Senators.

      2) Demand every piece of legislation be placed online for at least 168 hours (7 calendar days) before it is voted upon. In addition, every piece of legislation must be read in its entirety aloud at least once when it is introduced, every proposed amendment must be read in its entirety aloud before voted upon, and the entire amended piece of legislation must be read in its entirety aloud before the vote for final passage. Any Congressman who is not present during all readings may not vote on the legislation. No legislation may be signed into law by the President until it is placed online for at least thirty days.

      3) Apportion the House of Representatives so that no Congressional district may represent more than 170,000 people (which is around the smallest ratio per electoral vote right now). This will be a step toward making the House of Representatives more accountable to its voters.

      4) End motor voter. Require picture ID for voting. Require in person registration at the county offices with proof of residency and/or citizenship. Minimum 60 day waiting period before voting in first election. Absentee ballots are allowed to be cast only when legitimate reasons are given (deployed overseas for military service, overseas or out of state on business, etc) and there is no opportunity to cast an early ballot. Early voting will be open at county courthouses 7 calendar days before an election and will cease 2 calendar days before an election.

      5) Nation building is not in the national security interests of the United States and is a misuse of our power. Most foreign military bases will be closed and all current military deployments will be reviewed and most ended. No military forces will be deployed outside of the United States for any duration longer than 60 days without a two-thirds vote of Congress. No hostilities or war shall be initiated without a declaration of war by a two-thirds vote of Congress. No prisoners captured in combat or overseas shall have habeas corpus rights.

      6) The 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 10th Amendments mean what they say.

      7) Real immigration reform. End the diversity visa, end the H2 visa programs, no government benefits on any level for illegal aliens, no election ballots in languages other than English, require visa holders to leave the US upon expiration of visa unless they apply for citizenship. Streamline the citizenship and legal entry requirements to speedily allow new citizens and more people who want to enter the US legally to do so. Any illegal alien who wants to be normalized can serve 5 years in the armed forces. No amnesty any other illegal aliens and all immigrant felons are to be deported upon completion of sentence.

      8) Require every legislation passed by Congress have in it which section of Constitution gives Congress the authority to legislate on that topic.

      9) Institute a revenue neutral flat or national sales tax but not both and end withholding.

      10) Outlaw the giving of taxpayer dollars to any private for profit or non-profit organization. Outlaw the Federal government from owning any business including but not exclusively, banks, railroads, automobile manufacturers, insurance companies, and finance companies.

      11) Repeal the just passed Deathcare bill and replace it with a bill allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines, a tax credit for buying individual health insurance plans, and ending the employer tax deduction for fringe benefits, among other things.

      12) Freeze the US money supply and abolish the Federal Reserve. Replace it with a fixed money supply that only grows by the increase in a percentage of the population annually. Allow free banking and competing currencies to keep the US dollar honest.

      Anything more than these 12 things will largely take care of themselves.

    244. Hugh Donohue Says:

      I am overwhelmed by the assortment of suggestions submitted above. Collectively they speak not only to the transgressions upon our liberties but also to the complexity of the challenge we face: To put in place a Federal government that will truly be responsive to the will of all the people of the United States of America.

      The Bill of Federalism website at http://www.federalismamendment.com/ proposes a campaign to have state legislatures issue identical resolutions to Congress that once received in sufficient numbers will require Congress to put into the Constitution several amendments that are similar to what you propose.

      I see even THAT as a daunting challenge which will require us all to take on our full responsibilities as citizens. I have identified it not to direct people to that site, but to highlight other efforts in this same area.

      This is not going to be an easy campaign – it will probably take years, if not decades. It will require among other things a massive education effort that needs to overcome academia’s and the media’s inertia and outright opposition.

      This effort will require the coordination on a national level that up until now I have seen only in political parties. That implies to me that we must either gain the platform that a current political party can provide, by putting leaders in place who will espouse these goals, or by building a new party that will truly represent the will of the majority.

      But as John Kennedy stated on November 20, 1961: “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”

      Kennedy spoke to the threat to the Free World posed by Communism. We are facing an even graver threat – the possibility that our great nation is being destroyed from within, by ourselves through our elected representatives.

    245. Bob Says:

      Acknowledgment that statehood carries adult responsibilities. If a state defaults on those responsibilities (as for example declaring bankruptcy), then it looses its status as a state and reverts to territory status. Washington appoints a territorial governor, and its congresscritters and senators are out of their jobs. This status continues until such time as the territory demonstrates it has its act back together (which implies a period of several years), after which it can reapply for admittance to the Union. Also, during this period, its populace cannot vote in national elections, since they’re no longer a state.

      California, anyone?

    246. Bob Says:

      None of what’s been proposed above will matter if we don’t make fundamental and enduring change to our educational system. We’ve got to get cultural Marxism and associated post-modernist thinking out of our schools.

      I don’t see why we should continue funding an educational system that promulgates a mindset fundamentally at odds with the principles upon which this nation was founded. That’s suicidal.

      The Republicans (spit) have to offer a philosophical system that lays out a vision of America. The socialists have a long-term vision toward which they are driving the world; what do we offer in its place? We have to clearly articulate what America stands for in a way that resonates over time. WE CAN’T JUST KEEP PROPOSING INDIVIDUAL BITS OF LEGISLATION!!!! We need to articulate a compelling philosophy that unifies all our actions.

      That’s why it’s so critical to re-take the educational system and imbue it with a philosophy that endures and produces citizens who are proud of America and capable of being productive.

    247. Hal Thorton Says:

      How about a simple law or amendment banning Congress from interfering with the right of individuals to purchase any health insurance plan of their choice. This would include no discrimination based on who it is purchased from (implying no preference for employer vs individual purchasing) or where it is purchased (ie, what state). This could be proposed as either an amendment or a bill, leaving some flexibility in case Republicans in the Senate cannot repeal Obamacare. If health insurance is a right, perhaps it should be protected from government interference the same way the right to free speech is protected?

    248. J. Scott Says:

      Bob you said: “We’ve got to get cultural Marxism and associated post-modernist thinking out of our schools.”

      The NEA, a hot-bed of Marxist/socialist thinking, has precluded your excellent observation. Home school/private schooling in the short-term and a massive overhaul in the long-term.

    249. Anonymous Says:

      Potential Contract with America v2.0 Items

      Very simple, salable items, with catchy names:

      1. “No regulation without representation” Every rule that is made by the bureaucracy must be ratified by majority vote of the Congress.

      2. “Term limits for bureaucrats” – 20 year limit on Federal Government employment of all kinds. (Exception: national security personnel)

      3. “Perishable hidden legislation” – Any legislation that has been public in its entirety for less than 30 days can only be in effect for three months. It must then be revoted upon.

      4. “Reading is Fundamental” voting rules. Legislators must assert that they have read any legislation in its entirety before voting, otherwise their vote is unvalid.

      5. “Welfare Transparency” – all federal aid of any kind must be tracked to be paid. For individuals, once the lifetime amount exceeds five times the poverty rate, the information shall be made public. For corporations and non-profits, the amount shall be made public immediately.

      6. “State Opt Out” – any federal regulation may be opted out upon by a 2/3 vote of a state’s legislature. If a state opts out, they are to receive from the federal government their pro-rata contribution to the cost of that regulation.

      7. “Revolving Door Transparancy” – Every federal elected official must make his/her finances public, especially net worth, for the duration of their term in office and for 5 years following their leaving office.

      8. “Maximum Flat Tax for Entrepreneurs” – every dollar of income beyond the previous year’s taxable income is taxed at a maximum of 10% for that year.

      9. “Universal Equality in Legislation” – every state’s citizens must be treated equal to other state’s citizens for the purpose of federal regulation.

      10. “No Free Bailouts” – the Federal Government may not provide any money for bailouts without the following prior actions being taken by the recipient state/city government:
      • State/city must cut spending 20% across the board
      • Term limits must be implemented for both elected officials and bureaucrats
      • Any elected state/city official in office for more than 10 years must be replaced and declared ineligible to run for any state/city office for 5 years.

      11. “No Free Bailouts” (industry) – the Federal Government may not provide any money for bailouts without the following prior actions being taken by the recipient company:
      • All employee compensation for previous three years to be made public
      • No employee may contribute to a political campaign for 5 years.

    250. Steve Sharabura Says:

      Potential Contract with America v2.0 Items

      Very simple, salable items, with catchy names:

      1. “No regulation without representation” Every rule that is made by the bureaucracy must be ratified by majority vote of the Congress.

      2. “Term limits for bureaucrats” – 20 year limit on Federal Government employment of all kinds. (Exception: national security personnel)

      3. “Perishable hidden legislation” – Any legislation that has been public in its entirety for less than 30 days can only be in effect for three months. It must then be revoted upon.

      4. “Reading is Fundamental” voting rules. Legislators must assert that they have read any legislation in its entirety before voting, otherwise their vote is unvalid.

      5. “Welfare Transparency” – all federal aid of any kind must be tracked to be paid. For individuals, once the lifetime amount exceeds five times the poverty rate, the information shall be made public. For corporations and non-profits, the amount shall be made public immediately.

      6. “State Opt Out” – any federal regulation may be opted out upon by a 2/3 vote of a state’s legislature. If a state opts out, they are to receive from the federal government their pro-rata contribution to the cost of that regulation.

      7. “Revolving Door Transparancy” – Every federal elected official must make his/her finances public, especially net worth, for the duration of their term in office and for 5 years following their leaving office.

      8. “Maximum Flat Tax for Entrepreneurs” – every dollar of income beyond the previous year’s taxable income is taxed at a maximum of 10% for that year.

      9. “Universal Equality in Legislation” – every state’s citizens must be treated equal to other state’s citizens for the purpose of federal regulation.

      10. “No Free Bailouts” – the Federal Government may not provide any money for bailouts without the following prior actions being taken by the recipient state/city government:
      • State/city must cut spending 20% across the board
      • Term limits must be implemented for both elected officials and bureaucrats
      • Any elected state/city official in office for more than 10 years must be replaced and declared ineligible to run for any state/city office for 5 years.

      11. “No Free Bailouts” (industry) – the Federal Government may not provide any money for bailouts without the following prior actions being taken by the recipient company:
      • All employee compensation for previous three years to be made public
      • No employee may contribute to a political campaign for 5 years.

    251. Michael Kranitz Says:

      Sharabura: “No regulation without representation” Every rule that is made by the bureaucracy must be ratified by majority vote of the Congress.

      Reality: Congress cannot vote on every rule codified by the Federal government. They can barely vote on legislation. The ONLY way to actually create workable laws is through the delegation of the regulation creating process. The courts can adjudicate issues.

      Sharabura: “State Opt Out” – any federal regulation may be opted out upon by a 2/3 vote of a state’s legislature. If a state opts out, they are to receive from the federal government their pro-rata contribution to the cost of that regulation.

      Reality: Why have a Federal government then? Not only is this contrary to the notion of a centralized government, it conflicts with your proposed #9 which reads:

      “Universal Equality in Legislation” – every state’s citizens must be treated equal to other state’s citizens for the purpose of federal regulation.

      The equal protection clause already does what you propose and if states can opt out of legislation, citizens of different states will be treated differently. Having said all of that, a state may pass legislation that differs from the Federal law, but only if it does not contravene the federal law.