Congressional Legion?

In my post last week about structural changes I'd make to the government, I said:

2. Expand the number of congress critters to 10,000, abolish congressional pay and staffs. Maybe allow for a small travel stipend, but if they need an assistant, it comes out of pocket. Votes and committee meetings can take place electronically. Most politically active people will know their representatives personally, and if those reps get too far out of line the people will know where they live.

There's a basic rationale for it right there in the post, but I'll expand on it a bit for your contemplation. For one thing, it's not nearly as much of a deviation from our original government as you might think. In the first congress, there were 65 representatives for a population of just under four million, which works out to roughly one rep for every 60,000 people. Today, we have 435 reps and a population of 281 million (legals), which is one rep for every 650,000 people. Simply maintaining the proportion of representatives to the population would imply a congress of more than 4,500 members.

Also, it would eliminate the professional role that the modern congressmen play. If the House were set up like this, most of the members would be local politicos and community leaders, curmudgeonly old retirees, and the like. It would be more of a truly representative body (which may or may not be a bad thing, depending on your point of view). More importantly, it would lessen the influence of the infernal bureaucracy that currently controls the bill-writing process.

I don't think it would change the general stupidity of congress, nor would it lessen the influence of lobbying groups (although it would disperse them quite a bit). I don't know if it would affect the two-party system one way or the other, but as I put in the original post, the reps would be a lot more accountable to their constituency.

That's it -- enuff policy wonk nerdness. Back to guns, girls, and cards!