A constitutional amendment providing that every year on July 1, the marginal tax rate on people making more than $1 million per year resets to 110%. That way, there is an annual opportunity for progressives to extract concessions from conservatives in order to avoid an outcome that conservatives view as unacceptable just like the annual threat of a government shutdown allows conservatives to extract concessions from progressives.
Tough call. A few years ago I would have definitely said eliminating the Senate, as it was the only thing holding us back from meaningful action on climate change (I'm assuming that Waxman-Markey would still have passed, but I think that's a safe guess). Nowadays, I don't know if that would still be true. So I'm tempted by the elimination of a standing army, although I'm not sure that falls under the rubric of the question (and there are probably all sorts of unforeseen consequences). Other possibilities--popular election of the president per NPV, really serious public financing of all campaigns like in Voting with Dollars, or the repeal of Taft-Hartley and a newfound spine in the enforcement of labor laws.
Constitutionally eliminate the 60-vote majority in the Senate; though I'd still leave some sort of filibuster as a break to slow things a bit, but never to stop them, perhaps for 30 days.
Coming from a state that benefits mightily from the Senate, I'm still tempted to agree with its elimination.
1) Require registered voters to pay an annual fee for party membership. $10-25 a year2) abolish the electoral college3) Institute IRV
Weekend elections. The rest of the world does it, why not us?
Proportional representation in the House.
1) Add 100 seats to the Senate, and assign them proportional to population (meaning RI, SD, ND, DE, WY, etc. all keep their two senate seats, and CA NY and TX each get like 10 more). That would be a structural change I'd like to see. As far as policy changes:2) Hike marginal tax rates on those earning over 500k to 60%. Hike capital gains taxes. 3) Implement a modest carbon tax with rational corresponding subsidies to incentivize energy conservation.4) Single payer health care. 5) Regulate and tax the hell out of hedge funds, private equity, big banks, etc. 6) Cut military spending by 20-40%.
I would be open to a parliamentary system. No more "imperial presidency", less opportunity for gridlock, people would actually have to pay attention to Congressional elections.
Serious and enforceable campaign finance laws would be a good place to start. Instant runoff voting would also be a beneficial change - and I don't say that only because it's endorsed by cats.
Parliamentary democracy with a "presidential" kicker, France style.
Outlaw political parties
Oh, and if I get a bonus--ideally statehood for Washington DC; retrocession to Maryland as a next-best option. The disenfranchisement of 600K citizens is a disgrace.
Require corporations to apportion their political contributions according to the will of their shareholders. So the board determines how much per share they want to donate and then the shareholders decide individually if their 'share' of the money is donated and where it goes. The board could make recommendations, explaining how contribution options would help increase shareholder value. No individual shareholder needs to be identified as allocating to a particular cause, but the overall outcome needs to be disclosed. Proxies are allowed as with voting, but the default is that a shareholder's portion is not spent - they have to affirmatively designate a proxy or choose where their share goes.
I'm completely shocked that no one has mentioned state-federal relations. I'd like either something that made it easier for politicians sharing a metropolitan area to work across state lines (city lines, county lines, whatever). But I don't really know what could bring that about so failing that, maybe ... federalize Medicaid and other welfare state functions?Oh I'm also shocked that no one has said anything about the courts (no advocates of 18-year terms for Supreme Court justices, or for changing the way the Circuits are run?) or the Fed.
Abolish the Senate.
Public financing of campaigns/reforms that limit the ability of the super-rich and super-rich interest groups to hold such sway over our electoral processes.Though sure, that the US can claim to be democratic while having the Senate (or denying statehood to DC) is rather silly.
Abolish the states, replace them with roughly equal administrative departments based on physical, economic and social geography a la the French Revolution.
Add 201 seats to the Senate, apportioned by population, with none guaranteed to small states (but every state gets to keep the two they already have).
Extend terms in the House to four years and stagger them so that only half of the House gets elected each cycle.
Electoral reform for sure, but torn between some kind of major restructuring of campaign finance -- say, public financing of elections, or some change that removes corporate and PAC money -- or else some kind of instance runoff election law, which would give third parties more viability.I do think money has corrupted our politics more than anything, and I'd like to see that rectified. So, torn between those two things.
Abolish the House and Executive Office, delegating all national authority to the Senate. I approach this from more of a hardcore leftist than a liberal perspective, but it is difficult to imagine ever fostering a national community without distributing representation equally among all subnational communities.
Metropolitan sovereignty: urban areas should never, ever be split across state lines, and the municipal patchwork of each sizable metro area (pop>1m) should be overseen by a metro-wide government with state-like power.Actual organic human communities should always take precedence over contrived things like state boundaries and the annexation-inspired divisions of most cities.Also, Drick: no.
Supreme Court term limits. 18 year max. New justice appointed every odd year. Every presidential term would get two appointments, you would know exactly who was going to roll off, presidential elections would have an easily identified consequence. Presidents would also feel freer to nominate older jurists instead of trying to find someone in their forties who will be on the court for 30 years.
Reform the Senate Filibuster rules . Popular voting for the presidency.
Top would be puic financing of elections, I think -- though I like the idea of 18 year terms for SC Justices, maybe with a two term max...
I am so surprised, after all the work we did back in the 1990's, holding the "End Corporate Dominance" Conferences in Portland OR, and the recent work of radio host Thom Hartmann, that we get in this space such wimpy, non-real change-making suggestions. I love you people, but really, when are you going to get organized to end corporate power over a corrupted democratic republic? All we really need is to add two words to Section 1 of the 14th Amendment. Instead of ending the second and last sentence of Section 1 with "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws," we need to add the word "natural" between the two occurances of "any" and "person." This differentiates between human beings who have rights, and corporations which do not. A whole host of pro-corporate power interpretations from the Supreme Court, culminating in the politically corrupt disaster of "Citizens United," are eliminated.
Robust public financing of campaigns and a ban on fundraising while congress is in session.
Abolish the Senate. Senatorial powers, but not Senate rules, get transferred to the House.
I like most of what others propose. For me, the single most significant structural change we could make would be to go to something closer to a parliamentary system. Divided party control of government causes gridlock and destroys accountability. Obama and the Democrats should have had the chance to fully enact their programs (a bigger stimulus, a more robust health care reform, cap-and-trade, card check, immigration reform, repeal of the Bush high income tax cuts, etc.). Then the voters should have had the chance to pass judgment on the results. Instead we have our current mess where a minority of 40 Senators or the GOP controlling half of Congress can virtually dictate policy.
An amendment that the District of Columbia be represented in Congress as if it were a state, but NOT given statehood. The Federal government still needs direct control over the capital city.
@Anon at 12:45--that still leaves DC residents unrepresented in the Senate, and there's no way that's acceptable.
@Dan Miller,I think this entire comment section make clear there's very little about the Senate that's acceptable, beyond the name "Senate" and title "Senator".I'm surprised no one has proposed abolishing the vice-presidency.
I propose to neuter the Senate, by changing ten words in the constitution:Article I, Section 7 -- Cut "or concur with". Cut "and the Senate".Article I, Section 8 -- Replace "The Congress" with "The House of Representatives".This leaves a Senate with almost no legislative powers -- it can't vote on ordinary bills, and its amendments are just advisory.This maintains the Senate's other powers: impeachments (I:3), veto-overrides (I:7), treaties (II:2), appointments (II:2), presidential selection (12th Amend.), presidential succession (26th Amend.).So the Senate would continue to exist, with equal suffrage for the states in it. The benefit is that legislation would only go through the House.
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At The Washington Post
At The American Prospect