Even in good economic times, Americans are unhappy with our government. So when someone suggests that what we really need in Washington are five times as many politicians as we have today, well, my first thought is, “Are you crazy?”
But that’s exactly what Bob Novak advocates in his new book. Novak says let’s increase the U.S. House from 435 members to 2,000. But cut the salary of each representative to one fifth what we now pay. It would mean that instead of representing 500,000 people, a congressman would represent about 100,000 people. More personal campaigning and fewer TV ads.
A candidate without much money would have a better chance to speak directly to voters. Instead of spending over a million dollars on their office and paying congressmen more than $140,000 a year, they’d get only $200,000 on their office and $28,000 for salary. Are career congressmen likely to chop their own personal power to do what’s best for the country and the institution of Congress? Nope. But they do talk a lot about taking the big money out of politics.
Well, if they’re serious, this is one way to do it without destroying the First Amendment and handing incumbents the power to regulate their opponents. Increasing the number of congressmen would strengthen the connection between the representative and the individual citizen. I never thought I’d say it, but we could use more congressmen. They would represent us better.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.