Power of the People

Hey readers, I’m David Pelikan. I’ve made it my mission recently to come up with ideas that could turn America around and remake it into a proud, forward-moving country once again. This is my first idea. And please note that it may or may not be a good idea, that’s for the people to decide. Anyway, before I came up with this idea, I was troubled at the inefficiency and constant bickering that goes on at Capitol Hill. It seems as though some of the people that represent us in Congress have forgotten the reasons we voted for them in the first place, and instead have become over-partisan and decide to completely forget what’s right and vote simply for the favor of their party. I’ve also seen that other people have noticed these problems and want a change in the way Congress works and to essentially put the power back in the people. So I was also thinking that Congress needed a change, to give the people what they want, exactly what they want, hmm... And then came the day that light bulb came; here it is…

Here is what’s going to happen. 435 people, the same number of representatives able to serve in the House, will be sent to vote on issues and suggest bills. They’ll be everyday citizens that are selected proportionally by state, then income level, then age, then race. These participants will drive or take public transportation to the nearest state capital (regardless of whether or not it’s in their native state).
Once there, they will be brought to the capitol building where they will be assisted by a facilitator. They will give the person a government-supplied laptop linked to a database. This database will contain a number of polls on bills that they will be given a time limit of 10 minutes per question to answer. Also, each question will have two video links, one in support of the bill, and one in opposition of the bill; these will try to give the participant more information to help them with their decision. On the right side of the screen, all of the entrants (who will all be taking this at the same time) can leave comments and discuss the bills. Once the question is finished, the site will automatically move to the next bill. After the survey is completed, the participant will reach a page where they can create their own bill, complete with step-by-step instructions on how to formally put it together. After doing this they will have to read bill suggestions by participants from the last meeting. When that’s done, the facilitator will submit the form, and send it to Washington. The participant will then be paid and sent on their way back home.
Participants might also be in favor of having music available; there will be a tab provided that is logged into Pandora Radio, so that the entrants can feel more at home. Another one of my classmates suggested giving pretzels to the participant as well, or trail mix; either way the snack would be somewhat healthy and allergy free.

This is sort of a confusing topic so I’m going to cover this quickly. The website will be a little like this: At the top of the screen, there is no close button, no search bar, no URL. The only links to the website go to the videos, which also are not connected to outside internet locations. All there is at the top is a heading. In the center of the screen there are 2 buttons, a yes and a no; when clicked these will ask for confirmation. Below the center buttons, there will be video links to the supportive and opposing sides of the bill. These will lead to 1-minute videos made by independent supporters or opposing groups. Under these video links, there will be a full description of the bill that the participant is required to read. To make sure of this, or to make the reader obnoxiously scroll on through without reading, there will be a check box at the bottom of the description. On the right side of the screen, there will be a comments box where the entrant will be able to read other participants’ thoughts about the bill and will also be able to leave their own thoughts. On the left side, there will be ad space to help fund the website and pay the facilitators.


Here’s how the bill making works: the participant will fill out the form, then the form will be submitted and stored for a person of opposite characteristics, who will second the bill or turn it down. If the bill is approved, it will be sent back to the creator for further expansion. This will happen by mailing the bill to the creator along with requirements for the expanded bill. If they decide to follow through and put the work into this, the bill will be passed to the Senate, who will approve it based not on their personal beliefs on the bill, but on the financial and physical possibility of the bill. If approved there, it will be used on the survey that all of the next meeting’s entrants will take. If approved there, it will be sent back to the Senate and the senators will enact the bill in their home states.

In order for the bill to be passed by the representatives, there will need to be a two-thirds majority. This could be raised depending on how many bills come in that are fully approved up to that point. For instance, if 20 bills are being fully and completely approved each meeting, then they’re going to have to raise that percentage. On the other hand, if bills aren’t getting approved, then we might have to lower it to a simple, over fifty percent, majority. Either way we should aim to get at least a bill approved about once a meeting. Now these bills don’t have to be major; they could be small projects, such as building monuments, or bridges, or buildings. Or it could be as big as raising taxes or taking away healthcare.

Once this is all said and done, here’s how the jobs pan out for the new Congress: The Senate will remain 2 per state, as always. There will no longer be a House of Representatives, as this program will take its place. There will be 50 facilitators hired; these will be people that can work computers fairly well. There will also be a committee of 100 people to make sure expansion bills are being mailed, participants are being chosen, and money is being paid, and to handle complications of the database. Now, some people might be saying, how can you lay off the entire House of Representatives? Well let’s be honest, is a person that was voted into Congress going to have problems finding a new job?

The financial part of this idea is where we really benefit. By laying off 435 representatives, who each currently make an average of $174,000 a year, we will save over $75,000,000 a year. Now, let’s just say we pay each of our committee workers $65,000 a year, so subtract 150 times $65,000 from $75,000,000 and we get a little under $66,000,000. Keep in mind that we have to create the database and maintain it, which shouldn’t cost us much, but just for kicks and grins let’s make that a million dollars. So with $65,000,000 dollars, we still have to buy laptop, and pay entrants. So for 435 laptops, we’d need $500 for each 15 inch Dell Inspiron, so that’s about $220,000. Add Wi-Fi for each, and then the delivery and etc., let’s round that to $250,000. Now we’re sitting at $64,750,000, and if we have twenty-six meetings a year, and give $24 per hour to each entrant, and say they’re missing a 10 hour work day, that’s $240 per person, times 435 entrants per meeting, 26 meetings; that’s around $3,000,000 a year. I’ll give a little under $2,000,000 a year for extra stuff. And after all of that we have $60,000,000 dollars to spend on the needs of Americans.

Now you’ve seen it. Just know that this could be the only time I bring this idea up, that is, unless, I get enough signatures of approval on the page attached. If I get a solid number of signatures, I may consider expanding upon this. So please, if you like this idea, or even want to leave a suggestion on ways I can change the idea for the better, that’d be greatly appreciated. Also, if you guys have any ideas related to anything at all, that could help our world in any way, please feel free to write it down on the page. Thank you for reading, please sign or comment! For those of you reading online, ignore this last paragraph.





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CAGETHEELEPHANT said...
Mar. 27, 2013 at 6:10 pm
This is amazingly a genius idea!!! Great job!
 
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