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Congress Enslaving Americans?
March 21, 2010 Constitution

You thought I was talking about the health “care” power play? Heck no. Let’s have a very brief lesson on the constitution. Here is what Article I, Section II, Clause 3 says in its entirety:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons (wintercow: my emphasis added). The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

The size of Congress is fixed right now at 435 representatives. This is a massive concentration of power in the hands of a few people. You will notice above (and if you read the BS the census folks are sending out it says the same thing) that the reason for the Census is to apportion representation in the House according to the size and distribution of the population. The Constitution indicates that the number of House seats is not to exceed 1 seat for every 30,000 Americans.

Well, how many Americans are there today? Roughly 308 million, but let’s call it 300 million because the few folks in the US that care about individual liberty really don’t count anyway. If we pushed the Constitutional interpretation, then we would be able to have not just 435 representatives in Congress today, but rather 10,000!

In other words, the Congress is twenty-three times smaller than the Constitution envisioned it might be with a nation this size. Given the way that proponents of a bigger state have abused every single word of the Constitution to be pushed to the limit of its possible meaning, it is not unreasonable at all to argue that we should push representation this way.

Of course, diluting the power of each and every legislature would not be very popular among the existing legislators. It would be harder to logroll (or would it), it would be harder for Congress to be some homogenously comprised of elites, it would be harder to build consensus, it would certainly be much harder to buy off the entire state of Nebraska to pass health care reform, and so forth. To look at it differently, the current Congress spends almost $4 trillion in total. Adding in the 100 senators, that means that average spending per Congressional member is $7.48 billion. At the margin, given the politics of a $940 billion health care bill, the vote of a single member of Congress can mean the addition of $940 billion of spending or not spending it at all (that’s over time of course but that does not discount the possibility that this could happen in a single year). That is power vested in an individual that Napoleon and King George could only dream about. And here in the “freest” place on earth, we have made that megalomaniacal wet dream a reality!

If Congress had 10,000 Congressmen (plus the 100 senators), then even current levels of spending would represent a far smaller amount on average per Congressman. Instead of each “spending” $7.5 billion, each would “only” spend $400 million.

But let’s look at the situation in another way. Notice the clause in the Constitution above saying “all other persons” count as three-fifths of a person. That was the way the writers of the Constitution counted slaves. They were less than human, only 60% human. Or, rather, each person of color really owned 60% of himself in the eyes of the law.

Despite the fact that slavery was abolished at the end of the Civil War, that clause is alive and well – except rather than applying to enslaved blacks, it applies to all of us now. How’s that for equal protection under the law! Well, in order for Congress to justify having only 435 seats, when 10,000 are called for, then it must be the case that every single American that gets counted in the Census counts for not 100% of himself, or even 60% of himself, but rather 4.35% of himself. We are viewed as fifteen times less human than the slaves were viewed at the time the Constitution was written.

And of course this is entirely consistent with the rest of what the Congress is doing. After all, we are not “free” to work for ourselves until about May 1st of each year (based on how much of our income is taken in taxes). We are not “free” of government spending and regulatory obligations until well after the 1st of July. So, we are already considered half slave in the eyes of Congress. That’s like being half-pregnant.

"2" Comments
  1. Pingback: Congress Enslaving Americans? | the Unbroken Window

  2. Your point about the number of representatives is well-taken.

    My first thought was to your question, which is bigger than the question of how many “members” there are.

    Today I heard more lies than I can recount. The best account I saw was by Elizabeth on Fox News who pointed out that the CBO does not do dynamic scoring. This is not a small point, since they are instructed by Congress to ignore human behavior.

    Thus, the members of congress live in a fantasy world, undisturbed by the rest of us who have money within their reach, however small the amount.

    Good luck, Mike, if you try to start a firm that employs anyone other than your family. The latest ploy is to have your kids covered to age twenty-six, assuming you are still employed. That way they can live in your house an extra eight years, with free rent and without the obligation to become adults. This buys the U of R vote.

    I have much sympathy for people who surprisingly get diseases that are costly, but that is not a reason to tell my doctor to charge less for a visit I choose. That is unfair, unless you require everybody to work for X dollars per hour at the point of a gun, and we all know where that leads. I choose to be free.

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