Thursday, January 29, 2009


In 1776, the United States was founded. We became a country. 

In 1790, the first official census was taken and the country consisted of 3.9 million people. In 1790, there were 15 States, 30 Senators, and 105 House Representatives for a total of 135 Representatives and an estimated 3.9 million people.
So, in 1790, there was a ratio of one congressional representative to each of 28,889 represented.

In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state. The 1960 census recorded 180.67 million people. In 1960, there were 50 states (plus the district of columbia), 100 Senators, and 435 House Representatives for a total of 535 Representatives and an estimated 180.67 million people.

So, in 1960, there was a ratio of one congressional representative to each of 337,703 represented.

In 2008, the census estimates were about 303.76 million people. The number of representatives has not changed since 1960 (535).
So, in 2008, there was a ratio of one congressional representative to each of 567,781 represented.

Wow, think about that for a moment. Since the first days of our republic, our level of representation in the American government has decreased by a factor of 19. So, my representation has a statistical value of 5.26% with respect to its original worth.

Does this make me less of an american? Debatable, but it does mean that my vote is statistically equal to 5.26% of the value of the votes of 1790 era americans. My elected representatives understand this and because of lobbying and other nefarious policies that are 'widely accepted' in washington, my vote is probably worth less. How could i ever hope to get any representation in the congress? If 567,000 people were to march to the capital, it equates to one congressperson. One. That's less than one fifth of one percent of the representative body. To compare to recent events, it is estimated that 1.8 million people turned out on the mall for Obama's inauguration. This would be about 3 legislators (or less than 1 percent of congress).

What's the point?

First point: I am paying about 34% of my income in american (federal) taxes and receiving a value equal to 5.26% of the representation elicited by the Constitution. That's not fuzzy math. That's a rip-off.

Second point: I do not feel properly represented in congress and i do not believe that any change in my taxes (up or down) would result in any change (better or worse) in my congressional representation.

Third point: I think most people understand this math, or at least agree that they are not properly represented by the congress. I also believe that this discrepancy between representation and taxation is the root cause of poor voter turnout. (FYI- even in the latest presidential election, only 56.8% of eligible voters or 132.6 million people actually voted).

I also believe that it is not really possible for the congressional caucuses to actually represent us. How could they? I am sure that they are doing their best, but the task is an improbable burden. 535 people representing 300 million people? It doesn't work. The sooner we all admit to this, the sooner we can get on with the business of advancing our culture and perfecting our republic.

We need to change the ratio of representatives to the represented. Start right away. Constitutional amendment. Change it back to something reasonable, spread the power out a little bit, as the creators of the republic intended. The only way to do that is to increase the number of representatives, and i would argue that we should increase them by a factor of 19. Throw away the districting that exists right now and redistrict the entire country based on simple population statistics. 1900 Senators or 38 from each state. 8,265 in the House. Recreate a house and senate that represent the people. We need somewhere around 10,165 congressional representatives.

At least.

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