Is The United States Ungovernable? — Pack The House Instead of the Supreme Court
As an American with homes in the United States and the UK, I have had the unique opportunity to experience first hand the governments of both nations.
Trust me, the UK works better.
It works better for a fairly simple reason — it is really a representative government. Members of Parliament have a very close relationship to their constituents. This is not the case in the United States.
In Britain, there are 650 elected members of Parliament. That is out of a population of 64 million, or one representative for every 98,000 people. A lot, but not untenable. Elections for Members of the Parliament here tend to be extremely local affairs. The geography is also so small, that members know their constituencies well.
If we look at in square miles, the entire UK occupies some 93,000 square miles. That means that, in a general sense, each Member of Parliament is responsible for, more or less, 143 square miles. Of course, it doesn't alwasy work this way, but in general, they really know their little patch. They have to.
Now, let’s look at the US Congress, or more specifically, the House of Representatives.
The US has a population of 330 million people.
The House of Representatives has 435 members.
That means each member of the House represents the interests of 758,620 people.
Is this even do-able? Is this at all realistic?
From a geographical perspective this is even worse.
The United States is 3,800,000 square miles.
That is, each member of the House is responsible for 8,735 square miles. That is a LOT of driving around in a pickup truck just to meet your constituents. Pretty much impossible. Compare that to the 143 square miles for the UK Member of the House of Commons.
Now, when the US Constitution was written, for those of you who are Constitutional ‘originalists’, the population of the United States was 2.5 million. There were 59 Members of the House of Representatives in 1789, or one representative for each 42,372 people. Ironically, kinda close to Britain today. Well, it’s not called The Mother Country for nothing.
Like the Supreme Court, the Constitution does not delineate the number of Members of the House. In 1929, the US Congress passed the Permanent Apportionment Act, capping the number of Members of the House. (Maybe it had something to do with the number of chairs they had? )
In any event, the population of the nation kept growing but the number of Representatives was frozen.
In 2020, it cost about $14 million to get elected to the House of Representatives.
In the UK, it costs about £43,000 to get elected to seat in Parliament.
You tell me which is probably less beholden to special interests and more interested in their constituent’s needs.
Here’s a final interesting statistic on the decline of democracy.
With 2,908 members, the People’s Assembly in China is called “the largest Parliamentary Body in the world.”
North Korea is also called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — not really democratic nor a republic for that matter, and not much of ‘the people’ in there either, but that’s another story.
In any event, the ‘People’s Assembly’ in China has one representative for every 515,000 people. Hey, not really very ‘representative’, but ironically, it is more representative that the US Congress.
How do you like that?
Want to expand the Supreme Court?
Maybe we would all be better off by expanding the House of Representatives first.