Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Fix

Sometimes, on rare occasion, I’ve been known to rant about the level of disregard for the original intent of the Constitution, and numerous other Evils in politics and government today. It occurred to me that, to be fair, I should say what needs to be done to actually fix the problems.

Here’s The Fix:

The Constitution and all relevant laws will be modified or deleted as required to accommodate the following changes:

1) In addition to current requirements, an individual must speak, read, and write English clearly to be a US citizen. At least one natural parent must be a citizen for “birthright” citizenship to apply.

2) In order to vote in federal elections, a citizen must also meet one of the following two sets of requirements:

Set A)

I) Be at least 25 years old
II) Own property. Property ownership for this purpose must include the individual’s primary residence, and no more than two individuals may claim the same property/residence for this purpose.
III) Pass a competency test to demonstrate minimum competency in:
a) US History, with emphasis on the Constitution
b) Basic mathematics
c) Basic logical reasoning

Set B) Be at least 18 years old, and be a military combat veteran

3) In order to run for any federal office, a person must be a citizen eligible to vote, and meet the following additional requirements:

A) House: Be at least 30 years old, or 18 years old and a military combat veteran
B) Senate: Be at least 35 years old
C) President:

I) Be at least 40 years old
II) Completed at least one full term as Governor of a US State, or one full term as a US Senator

4) Except in time of war, federal taxes and spending may never exceed 10% of GDP. In time of war, non-defense spending may never exceed 10% of GDP.

5) Social Security and Medicare shall be phased out over 20 years after The Fix as follows:

A) Anyone currently 60 or older gets full current benefits
B) Anyone currently under 20 gets zero benefits
C) Anyone between 20 and 60 will get pro-rated benefits

6) The income tax shall be abolished by freezing all current income tax rates, and then reducing each by 10% per year until the income tax is eliminated.

7) Other Amendments not-withstanding, the Bill of Rights shall remain in full effect, but shall apply only to actions taken by the Federal government, and shall have no impact on the states. States are free to adopt any, all, or none of the amendments, at their sole discretion.

8) The doctrine of specific enumerated powers shall be in full effect. Any power not specifically delegated to the federal government by the constitution, shall not be exercised by the federal government.

9) Any state may secede from the union on affirmative vote of 2/3 of its citizens. Terms of the divorce shall be mutually agreed by a panel consisting of the Governor of the State, the US President, and a third individual chosen by those two.

10) No one may serve in the House of Representatives for more than 12 years. No one may serve in the Senate for more than 18 years.

11) All current federal laws must be renewed within 10 years from the date of The Fix, or they expire. Each proposed renewal must be by individual vote of each legislator, with a recorded vote by name.

12) The commerce clause is amended to make it explicit that congress can forbid restrictions on trade between the states, but not impose them. All laws currently restricting trade between the states, or restricting behavior not clearly, obviously, and directly related to trade between the states, are repealed.

13) Patents and copyrights shall be limited to not more than 10 years. A 5 year extension may be granted for substantive, material changes only, but under no circumstances may any patent or copyright last beyond 20 years.

14) No monopoly authority of any kind shall be granted to the post office.

15) Delete the two year restriction on military appropriations

16) The borders shall be secured sufficiently that illegal entry is reduced to less than 1% of all entries, by reasonable statistical estimate.

17) For 5 years after The Fix, a citizen shall be required to show a government issued photo ID in order to vote in federal elections. After 5 years, the ID must be directly traceable to citizenship documentation in order to vote.

18) The Second Amendment shall be amended to read: “The right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

19) The federal budget must be balanced, except in time of war. In time of war, the non-defense related part of the budget must be balanced. The debt existing at the time of The Fix shall be repaid over a period of 100 years. Additional debt incurred during future times of war shall be repaid within 20 years of incurring the debt. No debt may be incurred except in time of war, although a reserve account amounting to 10% of the federal budget may be established. Existing non-defense deficits must be reduced by 10%/year until they are eliminated.

20) Allowability of evidence in federal crimes shall be based on the reliability of the evidence, not on the method by which it was obtained.

21) The 10th Amendment shall be strictly construed. No power shall be exercised by the federal government unless explicitly authorized by the constitution.

22) In the 14th Amendment, “due process” shall be construed to mean that laws and rules set in state statute are followed, and does not imply any specific content restrictions to those laws and rules.

23) The 17th Amendment is amended so that Senators shall be elected by the state legislatures, as originally specified.

24) The 16th Amendment is repealed. No income tax shall be permitted at the federal level.

25) The 26th Amendment is repealed.

Not that complicated, really. We just need to go back to the vision of limited government that the founding fathers intended. By outlining the specifics that are needed, I have now retained my moral right to whine about the way things are.

That right is very important to me!




  1. Works for me!
    One addition I'd make to item 16, regarding borders: if, as I believe, the problem is not so much the immigrants per se, as the fact that they're not vetted, let's make it possible for them to enter legally. To quote Reason magazine (see http://tinyurl.com/4lyol2), "there is virtually no process for unskilled immigrants without relations in the U.S. to apply for permanent legal residence." The same holds true for those with a college degree but without a job offer. In other words, it's almost impossible for Mexicans to legally immigrate to the U.S. I suspect that simply allowing for legal entry would eliminate 95% of the illegal entry, just as legalization of formerly prohibited items all but eliminates the black market for those items.

  2. Some of these are probably too specific for a constitutional settlement. The borders one, for instance. What you'd want would be something like a more general statement that America must control the borders and determine who enters. A 1% requirement is better in legislation (especially since you need some kind of real consequence if the 1% goal isn't met or else its meaningless). A lot of your other amendments are just specific fixes to stupid Supreme Court precedents, so maybe you could solve them with some mechanism for limiting the Supreme Court.

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  4. To Rob:

    I agree that we should allow huge amounts of legal immigration. If you're not a terrorist or some other criminal...and you're not looking for any benefits unless you become a citizen...then ya'll come! We should just have control of the process.

    To MrMandias:

    You're right, I didn't mean to suggest that everything needs to be handled with a constitutional amendment. My main concern was to point out what needed to be fixed. But, when the Supreme Court gets it wrong, as they have in many cases, amending the constitution to more explicitly say "No, that's NOT what it means, and you got it wrong" is probably the best answer.