Rob St Amant had a fine post on judicial activists vs. strict constructionists. In the commentary, a consensus emerged that it would be far better to amend our present Constitution than to try to write a new one. In my comments, I offered a portion of an amendment I’d like to see adopted. Here’s my full amendment:
Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:
Whereas in a democracy it is essential to maintain the goodwill of the citizenry, and whereas that goodwill is dependent on the governors being subject to the same deficiences and limitations as the governed, and whereas the common good is paramount to the interest of a powerful and privileged few, the following amendment shall be made the law of the land:
Section 1. Congress shall pass no law granting unto any member of Congress, or any other employee of any branch of government, any benefit in the form of medical insurance or pension not granted to the general public.
Section 2. Wages and salaries of all government employees shall be based on the minimum allowable wage in the private sector. No employee in any federal government position shall earn more than seven times the minimum wage with the exception of the President of the United States who shall receive a wage equal to ten times the minimum wage.
Section 3. No member of Congress nor any member of their family to the third cousin removed, nor any relation or former relation by law, nor any member of their staff nor any member of a staff member’s family to the third cousin removed, nor any relation or former relation by law, nor any other government employee nor any member of their family to the third cousin removed, nor any relation or former relation by law, shall serve as a lobbyist, whether paid or unpaid, for a minimum of five years following the cessation of their government employment.
Section 4. Violation of any provision of this law shall result in imprisonment for a minimum of five years without possibility of parole and a fine of up to one million dollars for each offense. Any person in the private sector who aids and abets in circumventing these provisions shall be subject to the same fine and sentence.
All provisions of this law shall be retroactive and applicable to all living persons described herein, including, but not limited to, all past and present members of Congress and all present and past Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the United States.
I'm certain that under such strictures healthcare and pensions would get much more attention from Congress and the Executive. I'm also certain it wouldn't take nearly ten years to get the minimum wage raised - as it did the last time around.