Correcting the Mistakes of Our Founding Fathers: Rebuilding America’s Government

Courtesy of Thomas Hawk (Flickr CC0)

The “Democratic Republic” form of government created by our Founding Fathers during the Constitutional Convention, 1787-1789, has failed. Our government is dysfunctional, destroyed by political ambitions, a hunger for power, and just plain greed. The only way for Washington to work in the 21st century is to change everything about it.

Three Branches, But Fewer Members

I believe that the idea of three separate but equal branches is logical and workable. However, how each branch works must change, and safeguards to lessen the opportunity to corrupt each branch installed.

These 545 men and women have complete control over the future of our nation, and therefore the lives of more than 331 million American citizens. The Executive Branch is under the control of one woman or one man, the President of the United States of America. The Legislative Branch is composed of 435 members of the House of Representatives, and 100 Senators. The Judicial Branch has nine justices, with one of them designated as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

I believe there are too many men and women in Washington. Few of these 545 individuals work with each other for the welfare of all Americans. Far too many of them have personal agendas, or agendas paid for by billionaires, which conflict with the needs and wishes of the people. I also believe that all three branches should have the same term limits, restricting our elections to once every four years, thereby reducing the exorbitant expense of our elections, and limiting the campaign period to no more than three months.

A Government Where Deliberation and Compromise Works

One president is enough. His staff should be limited to his cabinet whose confirmation should include both houses of the legislature.

Having 435 members of the House only complicates the system. Two Representatives from each state would be sufficient: each representing one-half of the geographical area of that state. Just as one president is enough, one Senator from each state is adequate. While we are discussing states, I believe it is only fair that Washington D.C. is awarded statehood. Finally, we need no more than five Supreme Court Justices.

Eliminating a Large Portion of Legistlative Waste

Just consider the savings by eliminating half of our incompetent legislature. Currently, if we include statehood for D.C., there would be 538 members of congress, earning a base salary of $174,000 per year. That’s a minimum cost of $75,864,102 each year. If the number was reduced to 153 total members, the cost would be reduced to $17,748,051 per year.

Fewer Members of Government Would Encourage More Honest and Serious Discussion

Fewer men and women refusing to deliberate the issues would force change. The government would function once again.

With all three branches serving a single four-year term, with a two-term restriction, there would be a lot more work and less lying and misdirection in Washington. The compromise would not be a choice on every important issue, it would be a must.

I am aware this is drastic, but think about it: it would work. What we have now is a complete failure. Our two-party system is a disaster. Little of importance has been accomplished in Washington since Moscow Mitch McConnell stood before the television cameras in 2009 and created “the party of no.” Politicians surrender much of their intellect when elections become more important than the people.

Both Parties Would Fare Better in a Smaller Government

For as long as I can remember, and that’s a very long time, Republicans have been demanding ‘less government.’ My plan would help them accomplish their goal. Democrats would be pleased, the issues important to the people would be addressed, and with smaller government and term limits, party affiliation would become a much less important part of the system.

With my plan, America would become a true democracy once again. Every American would have a voice, and there would be fewer politicians complicating problems that in most situations are much simpler to solve than what our government makes of them today.

Just think about it.

Op-ed by James Turnage, Author of “DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR GOD AND COUNTRY”


BLeekley: Is the United States Government Too Big?

The Heritage Foundation: Term Limits: The Only Way to Clean Up Congress

Top and Featured Courtesy Thomas Hawk’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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