Monday, December 26, 2016

The Puzzle of Trump

Anyone familiar with Austrian Economics can see the direction the economy is going, and know that it is not a good direction. Anyone familiar with Libertarian Politics can figure out how most politicians are going to try to fix the economy, and how those solutions will not work.

That applies to almost every career politician, as they have long records showing where they stand on the issues. What they say doesn't matter nearly as much as what they do, especially since the two are often at odds and what they do has the most direct and relevant impact.

Trump has no such record. Guesses can be made, but he doesn't have a record of public service and his statements can be construed to cover almost any possible position.

There are two things that can be known for sure. The first is from the closest he has to a record, which is his very long record of friendship with the Clinton family before he dared to oppose her for the presidency. The second is the advisors he is surrounding himself with, which are very traditional Republican. The two indicators are, unfortunately, opposite, which makes reading Trump even more difficult.

It is still a given that economic trends are not good, but what might be done about these trends is very difficult to determine.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Fixing the Electoral College

Every four years the American public rediscovers the electoral college, and there are many calls for reform that never happen. Most of those laws require getting the legislatures of the many states to each act in cooperation with each other, or a constitutional amendment. But there is a much easier way to repair the problem of the electoral college, and it does not require a constitutional amendment.

It also has many other benefits above and beyond the electoral college.

The number of electors is determined by adding the number of Representatives to the number of Senators. Currently there are 435 voting members of the U. S. House of Representatives, and it has been that way for decades. There is no reason, in the constitution, for it to be that way. The only limiting factor mentioned in the constitution is in Article One, Section Two, Clause Three, which states "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative".

Currently each Representative represents, on average, 700,000 people. If the number of Representatives were doubled, the apportionment would not come near the constitutional limit. If the Representatives were increased by a factor of 10 that would bring the representation more in line with what was intended with the constitution and still not risk violating the constitutional limit.

Given the current apportionment, California has 55 electors representing 677,000 people per elector while Wyoming has 3 electors representing 188,000 people, rounded to the nearest thousand.

Reapportioning so that there is one Representative per 70,000 people results in 4,465 Representatives. This leads to 4,567 electors, including the District of Columbia. This leads to California having approximately 70,000 people per elector while Wyoming has 56,000 people per elector, a far smaller disparity than currently exists.