June 20th, 2011
12:26 PM ET

Is it time to update the U.S. Constitution?

We all know how Americans revere the Constitution, so I was struck by the news that tiny, little Iceland is actually junking its own Constitution and starting anew using an unusual - some would say innovative - mechanism.

The nation decided it needed a new Constitution and it's soliciting ideas from all of Iceland's 320,000 citizens with the help of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This social media method has worked. Ideas have been flowing in. Many have asked for guaranteed, good health care. Others want campaign finance systems that make corporate donations illegal. And some just want the country to make shark finning illegal.

There is a Constitutional Council. It incorporates some of these ideas, rejects others, but everything is done in plain sight on the web. As one member of the Constitutional Council said, the document is basically being drafted on the Internet. 

Now, why do they need a new Constitution anyway? Well, after Iceland was crippled in recent years by the economic crisis, they all wanted a fresh start. And, anyway, they felt the document was old and outdated, drafted all the way back in 1944.

You might be tempted to say that Iceland doesn't have any reasons to be proud of its political traditions in the manner that the United States does. Well, think again.

Iceland is home to the world's oldest parliament still in existence, the Althing, set up in 930 A.D. The rocky ledge on which they gathered represents the beginnings of representative government in the world. So Iceland has reasons to cherish its history, and yet it was willing to revise it.

By contrast, any talk of revising or revisiting the U.S. Constitution is, of course, seen as heresy. The United States Constitution was, as you know, drafted in a cramped room in Philadelphia in 1787 with shades drawn over the windows. It was signed by 39 people.

America at the time consisted of 13 states. Congress had 26 senators and 65 representatives. The entire population was about one percent of today's number - four million people.

America was an agricultural society, with no industry - not even cotton gins. The flush toilet had just been invented.

These were the circumstances under which this document was written.

Let me be very clear here, the U.S. Constitution is an extraordinary work - one of the greatest expressions of liberty and law in human history.

One amazing testament to it is the mere fact that it has survived as the law of the land for 222 years.

But our Constitution has been revised 27 times.  Some of these revisions have been enormous and important, such as the abolition of slavery. Then there are areas that have evolved. For example, the power of the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, is barely mentioned in the document. This grew as a fact over history.

But there are surely some issues that still need to be debated and fixed.

The electoral college, for example, is highly undemocratic, allowing for the possibility that someone could get elected as president even if he or she had a smaller share of the total national vote than his opponent.

The structure of the Senate is even more undemocratic, with Wisconsin's six million inhabitants getting the same representation in the Senate as California's 36 million people. That's not exactly one man, one vote.

And we are surely the only modern nation that could be paralyzed as we were in 2000 over an election dispute because we lack a simple national electoral system.

So we could use the ideas of social media that were actually invented in this country to suggest a set of amendments to modernize the Constitution for the 21st Century.

Such a plan is not unheard of in American history.

After all, the delegates in Philadelphia in 1787 initially meant not to create the Constitution as we now know it, but instead to revise the existing document, the Articles of Confederation. But the delegates saw a disconnect between the document that currently governed them and the needs of the nation, so their solution was to start anew.

I'm just suggesting we talk about a few revisions.

Anyway, what do you think? Should we do this? And if we were to revise the U.S. Constitution, what would be the three amendments you would put in?

Let us know in the comment thread and we'll post the best ones on the Global Public Square.

Post by:
Topics: GPS Show • Law • What in the World?

soundoff (2,350 Responses)
  1. Matt

    How did this display of ignorance ever make it onto this site? Are the high schools in this country cutting government classes along with their budgets or what?

    June 21, 2011 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • Sam Harnish

      Yes, in fact many high schools have been forced to cut government classes due to decreasing budgets and the focus on other subjects required by "No Child Left Behind."

      June 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  2. Patrick Ryan

    Well, no, actually there is a way to amend the constitution, Mister Z. Problem is that people got too lazy to do that and now they just pretend the commerce clause gives them whatever power they desire.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:09 am | Reply
  3. e.m. cadwaladr

    A measure to improve the quality of Federal legislators.

    I propose that Federal legislators be permanently denied any income from sources other than the pay, retirement, and benefits they receive directly for serving in their legislative capacity. In other words, no member of congress should be in a position to distort the law to enrich himself or herself, either during or subsequent to his or her term of office.

    The founders were optimists regarding human nature. They assumed that the best and brightest would rise to the call of public service – but they created offices that were plums to the most unprincipled and avaricious among us. Given that the public is not discerning enough to distinguish a public servant from a pernicious con artist, and given that the press has utterly failed in their responsibility to aid the public in this regard, the only way remaining to encourage responsible government is to make the job unpalatable to anyone without the proper motives.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply
    • Maciej

      In all multiple-party legislture bodies the hung-up or deadlocks happen.
      Problem is that our constitution does not provide guidelines about what to do in such cases.
      In parlamentar systems the head of the country has the constitutinal power to desolve the legilative body and set up new election; details for theelection are regulated by constitution. For lawmakers it is alternative: or we shall wrok out our diffrences and come out with a bill or we shall be send back to home, and in subsequent election some of us will not come back.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Reply
      • e.m. cadwaladr

        I am not addressing the issue of deadlocks. My concern is with raw self-interest on the part of legislators. I see little indictaion that either party cares much for the actual public interest. It doesn't concern me that their deliberations are inefficient.

        June 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  4. Randall B

    Our biggest problem in the US with the Constitution is how little people actually know what is in the document and how many myths are believed to be there which are not. The constitution already has what it needs to be updated. The amendment process. This is a difficult process by design and is why the constitution has changed (in text) so little. Many amendments that have been tried were good ideas. They were just not good enough to pass in all the states. I have suggested to my congressman and senator, an amendment to term limit both the Senate and Congress. But, that would require politicians to limit their own power and will never happen. The real problem is the constitution has been effectively ignored by many in the Judiciary. Where in the Constitution is it declared that the courts are superior and have the final say? Answer: Nowhere. Our courts often now make law by dictate far more often than interpreting the intention of the law passed.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:49 am | Reply
  5. Was Buf., Now Was.

    I shudder to think of a new American constitution drafted today, in this era of hate and inequality. Article One: All Citizens are required to own and use firearms. Article Two: All Citizens have freedom of religion, but not freedom from religion. Article Three: Defaming the flag or any other patriotic symbol is punishable by law. Article Four: Businesses are to be classified as persons in the law, and therby gain the right to vote. *Shudder*

    June 21, 2011 at 11:49 am | Reply
  6. zebu111

    We haven't lived by The Constitution since 1913 when the Federal Reserve Act was passed giving our money supply away to a private bank, so they could "loan" it back to us. So until we actually start governing by The Constitution, it's hardly appropriate to talk about revising it.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:55 am | Reply
  7. DJensen

    I think we have moved so far away from "government by the people" – today's politicians are their own breed, with little connection to the people they represent, and it seems that often (or most of the time?) their interests are not aligned with those of their constituents. I think that the Constitution today is ignored when it is at cross purposes with a politician's agenda, and enshrined when it is an advantage to them. Updating the Constitution is a tempting idea – if you really could get people to vote or express their true beliefs and feelings, I think a significant majority would be in favor of protecting marriage, clarifying the right to bear arms, limiting the power of the federal government, protecting against activists in the judicial branch, and a number of other ideas that are generally considered traditional and conservative. Most of the controversial, non-traditional ideas out there are held by only a minority, but a very vocal minority who are skilled in marketing their beliefs and in making people think theirs is the majority opinion. But sometimes the "masses" seem to be their own worst enemy, and too easily swayed by rhetoric, personality, or the equivalent of "bribes" by entitlements or programs that are seen to benefit them even if at the expense of others. Fredrick Bastiat (1801 – 1850) wrote in his book "The Law" that (paraphrased) people generally don't want justice – they are fine with injustice as long as it's in their favor. I think this is too often true. I think it would be a risky proposition to meddle with the Constitution – instead, let's try abiding by it for a while, and see how that works.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:58 am | Reply
  8. jenny

    Fareed, shouldn't you try to fix your own country before you come here and try to fix ours? We don't need the help of outsiders, especially one's who has never shed blood for our freedoms... go away, your a joke

    June 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  9. Donna Kahwati

    I believe the Constitution should remain as written. We have the ability to add amendments when necessary to bring it up to date when things change in our world. This keeps the constitution alive and growing as I believe it should. Here is a proposed 28th amendment to the United States Constitution and one well worth passing:

    "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."

    Along with this proposed amendment here is proposal for a Congressional reform act. This should be presented to the people on the United States to vote on:
    1. Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible option below.
    A. Two Six-year Senate terms
    B. Six Two-year House Terms
    C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-year terms

    2, A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

    3. Congress (past, present & future participates in Social Security.
    All funds in the congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system and Congress participates with the American people.

    4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

    5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI pt 3%.

    6 .Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people (See proposed 28th Amendment above)

    8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

    Another amendment I would like to see proposed would be for campaign reform:
    1. Corporations are not people and should not be allowed to contribute to political parties.
    2. Campaigning should be limited to a time frame of no more than 6 months before a presidential election and 6 weeks for Senate, Congress and state legislators.
    3. No private funds allowed. Campaign funds payed for by tax revenues of $1 paid by all citizens and distributed equally to both parties and a limit on the amount spent on campaigns

    June 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  10. Brian

    “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes” –from the Declaration of Independence

    "Is it time to update the U.S. Constitution?"

    Any time is time to update the Constitution. See Article 5 of the Constitution for the Amendment Process. Convince enough of your fellow Americans and make the process work.

    "We all know how Americans revere the Constitution, so I was struck by the news that tiny, little Iceland is actually junking its own Constitution… "

    The Iceland example has merit, the comparison is not a fair or true contrast, there have been talks by some groups wishing to have another Constitutional Convention. However there is not enough popular support to make it so. The transparency of the Icelandic process in the age of the internet and height of democratic processes in government globally is not comparable to the 18th Century and the absolute minority of American Republic as a framework for governance.

    "America at the time consisted of …These were the circumstances under which this document was written."

    You neglected to mention the revolutionary war, the despotism of the British Crown, and the desire for self governance in the absence of King George III’s willingness to treat the American colonies equal under British common law. Those circumstance lead to the adoption of the current constitutional republic that we enjoy.

    "Let me be very clear here, the U.S. Constitution is an extraordinary work – one of the greatest expressions of liberty and law in human history."

    On this we agree.

    "But our Constitution has been revised 27 times. Some of these revisions have been enormous and important, such as the abolition of slavery. Then there are areas that have evolved. For example, the power of the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, is barely mentioned in the document. This grew as a fact over history."

    Another testament to its continued relevance and ability to withstand the test of time.

    "But there are surely some issues that still need to be debated and fixed."

    I disagree. The use of the word fixed, assumes something is broken, and there is no evidence of this, rather, there may be areas where some people feel modifications are needed, and this is why there is an amendment process.

    "The electoral college, for example, is highly undemocratic, allowing for the possibility that someone could get elected as president even if he or she had a smaller share of the total national vote than his opponent."

    This suggests that the United States is a Democracy, which it is not. We are a Republic, and by definition we entrust decisions to elected representatives including , the House of Representatives, the Senate, and yes the electoral college. If you want to change from the current process, to a popular vote, then go through the process to amend the Constitution.

    "The structure of the Senate is even more undemocratic, with Wisconsin's six million inhabitants getting the same representation in the Senate as California's 36 million people. That's not exactly one man, one vote."

    No the Senate is not one manone vote, and it is not intended to be. The House of Representatives is the peoples house, the Senate is for the States. This is by design because our country is a collection of united “States”. Delaware and Rhode island share the same senatorial clout as New York and California in order to ensure “the wolves do not vote the sheep for dinner”, an uninteneded affect of pure democracy which is mob rule.

    "And we are surely the only modern nation that could be paralyzed as we were in 2000 over an election dispute because we lack a simple national electoral system."

    We were not paralyzed in 2000. If anything our system functioned the way it was intended and a peaceful transition of power occurred. In fact President Bush was inaugurated on the day mandated by our Constitution, so even with the legal challenges, our government functioned as designed. To suggest the uncertainty the lawsuits caused from the popular vote in November until certification in December is grounds for a complete overhaul is ignorance at best. Do you buy a new car each time it is time to replace the tires due to fare wear and tear?
    Look to the siuation in Honduras if you want an example of how paralyzed a nation can be when its laws are ignored.

    "So we could use the ideas of social media that were actually invented in this country to suggest a set of amendments to modernize the Constitution for the 21st Century."

    Sure why not. Use social media in conjunction with the amendment process to make changes.

    "Anyway, what do you think? Should we do this? And if we were to revise the U.S. Constitution, what would be the three amendments you would put in?"

    1. A balanced budget amendment. Federal spending would be limited to 10% less than projected revenue with any actual surplus paying down the national debt each year until it is eliminated, then surpluses are set aside in an emergency fund until one year’s budget is on hand. Once that is achieved, surplus revenue is paid back to those that pay taxes in the form of rebates.

    2. Repeal the 16th amendment.

    3. Repeal the 17th amendment.

    Cheers,

    Brian

    June 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • KIRK

      not just no hello no

      June 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  11. Mark A. Cawvey

    TO Ted Turner . I was unable to represent my country in our military due to health issues. A large number of family have died for this Constitution,what you suggest is no better than pissing on their grave's it's. the poor that fight and die for this COUNTRY, not the wealthy. We do this because we love her. Look at the middle east and see what happens when you push the poor to far. REmember this is AMERICA because we say so. Thomas Jefferson said it is every patriot's duty to be armed so when our government and upper class forgets who owns this country we can remind them. Touch our constitution let's find out just how many true patriots are left. But you better hire more body guards first!

    June 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  12. cwynn2@yahoo.com

    Now is the time. Get the money out of politics and you will assist in eliminating corruption in Government. Elected officials should not be able to vote themselves pay raises or luxuries, like their "Wellness Center!" Expenses and performance should be scrutinized, as any employee would have to do, if they worked for someone else. These elected officials seem to forget they were elected by someone other than their large donors!

    June 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  13. Jason

    You keep pointing out how "undemocratic" various things are. Please locate the word "democracy" in the US Constitution.

    The US is not a democracy, it's a republic...

    June 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  14. JJBILLS

    Mr. Zakaria based on your question the three amendments I would put in or revise are:

    1. Term limits for US Senators and US Representatives. I would limit them to two terms. I would also due away with the pension after 5 yrs. You serve at the honor of the citizens of your State who elected you. This way we will get people who truly want to serve and have the best interest of the Country and their State over the interest of their political party. No more career politicians.

    2. I would add an amendment to eliminate corporate and interest group lobbyist as well as eliminate these groups donating to election campaigns or to political parties. The government is for the people by the people.

    3. I would revise the sixth amendment and put in a right for a defendant to request trial by judge instead of jury of peers. I would also clarify right to a speedy trial and put in limits to the appeal process. I would want rules in place to curb our appetite for litigation.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • MadJerry

      "I would revise the sixth amendment and put in a right for a defendant to request trial by judge instead of jury of peers..."

      This can already be done. Any defendant can waive their right to a jury trial and go with a bench (judge) trial instead.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  15. KIRK

    LEAVE THE CONSTITUTIN ALONE YOU WANT TO CHANGE IT USE THE PROVISIONS PROVIDED ANY OTHER WAY WILL LEAD TO VIOLENCE

    June 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  16. KIRK

    There are essentially two ways spelled out in the Constitution for how to propose an amendment. One has never been used.

    The first method is for a bill to pass both houses of the legislature, by a two-thirds majority in each. Once the bill has passed both houses, it goes on to the states. This is the route taken by all current amendments. Because of some long outstanding amendments, such as the 27th, Congress will normally put a time limit (typically seven years) for the bill to be approved as an amendment (for example, see the 21st and 22nd).

    The second method prescribed is for a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States, and for that Convention to propose one or more amendments. These amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions. This route has never been taken, and there is discussion in political science circles about just how such a convention would be convened, and what kind of changes it would bring about.

    Regardless of which of the two proposal routes is taken, the amendment must be ratified, or approved, by three-fourths of states. There are two ways to do this, too. The text of the amendment may specify whether the bill must be passed by the state legislatures or by a state convention. See the Ratification Convention Page for a discussion of the make up of a convention. Amendments are sent to the legislatures of the states by default. Only one amendment, the 21st, specified a convention. In any case, passage by the legislature or convention is by simple majority.

    The Constitution, then, spells out four paths for an amendment:

    •Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state conventions (never used)
    •Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state legislatures (never used)
    •Proposal by Congress, ratification by state conventions (used once)
    •Proposal by Congress, ratification by state legislatures (used all other times)
    It is interesting to note that at no point does the President have a role in the formal amendment process (though he would be free to make his opinion known). He cannot veto an amendment proposal, nor a ratification. This point is clear in Article 5, and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v Virginia (3 US 378 [1798
    NO OTHER WAY PERIOD
    YOU WANT TO CHANGE CONSTITUTION YOU MUST USE THIS AND NO OTHER WAY ANY OTHER WAY WOULD LEAD TO VIOLENCE

    June 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  17. Googlybear

    of course the electoral college should be retired. the reasons for its existence are long gone.

    i would like to propose that lobbying be equated with bribery of public officials. the public can be lobby'd instead of some gullible goofball that was lucky enough to make it to washington. if anybody deserves a free lunch, it's us.

    i like the lead florida has taken so far as drug testing for welfare recipients. it makes no sense to require a worker to pass a test so a drug addict can purchase cheetos and jerky. it's only fair. something like that on a national level would save millions of dollars in this country.

    the war on drugs is and has been for a long time a lost cause. billions of hard earned tax dollars have been wasted and lots of recreational users have had their lives and reputations ruined in an exercise of futility. and now for government to want to legalize weed to bail themselves out of a legislated economic disaster angers me to no end. just decriminalize soft drugs. the taxpayers have already paid enough. just let them have it.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  18. Tom

    The 17th Amendment should be repealed because the states aren't creaters of the federal government. Atleast ne of the senators should be appointed by the state legislators to give the states protection from the federal government. Many states have balanced budget amendments and shouldn't have liabilities forced on them without a say. Many states with budget problems like Nevada push state responsibilites onto the counties and they can't say no. The electoral college should be changed to be district by district, but that is up to the states and no the feds.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  19. Robert Carmichael

    Should we rewrite our constitution? The simple answer to that question is yes! But is that really the question we should be asking?

    During the last two hundred years our country has changed and evolved from a rural agricultural country of just four million to a world superpower. We now have technologies that allow us to communicate we each other over the internet that were not available when our founding fathers designed our government. If we rewrite the constitution we could incorporate these new technologies into a much more streamlined government process. But, is a once every two hundred year rewrite the best way to make our government innovative and responsive to our needs?

    Our present system is too heavily centered on the election of our representatives. We look for leaders who have values that overlap with our own values. Elections have become focused on the endless shortcomings of the various candidates rather than on the important issues of the day.

    Many people point to our old electoral college system as an example of what we need to change if we rewrite the constitution. I do not agree. I think that we have handled this outmoded method of choosing a leader in just the right way. We have allowed the electoral college to atrophy without causing any problems to the government processes going on around it. We should do the same with Congress!

    I believe that governments of the future will have representatives that have no more personal power over our lives than we would give to a stockbroker or a real estate agent. I believe that these representatives will be monitored and controlled by a series of high school district based social networks.

    If you think this is far fetched, let me remind you what Facebook has been able to do in the Middle East.

    In answer to the original GPS question, should we rewrite the constitution? The real answer is no. We should not redo the post office because it will always be too slow. We should instead use email and allow the old postal system to atrophy.

    And the same is true about our representatives. If we tell them exactly what we want and when we want it, I see no reason to change the old system. Merely let it atrophy.

    So instead of a new constitution that would be obsolete before it was written, I think we should ask a big technology company like Facebook or Google to step forward and provide the seed money and technical support for privately funded prototypes of this new form of social network controlled government.

    Robert Carmichael
    Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca 92688

    June 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  20. James Shackleford

    It is refreshIng that myopic self importance has not gone out of style in the progressive movement. Thank you for reminding us that you believe yourself to be smarter than founders and especially us, the common rabble.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  21. Don Krouse

    My Amendment concepts:

    Amendment 1: All candidates for public office will present their platforms in publications and through any media outlets of their choice.

    All 50 State, other eligible territories or districts will hold primaries for each Party on the first Tuesday of June. The winners from each political party that receives at least 10% of the popular vote will proceed to the general election to be held on the first Tuesday of November in election years. All primaries will be funded though unlimited private contributions.

    The candidates for the general election will be limited to an equal availability of time and money provided through public funding only. Media outlets are allowed to provide free debate time to all candidates on the same date, place, and time if they choose to do so. All candidates who have won their party primaries will be invited but they are not required to participate.

    Amendment 2: Representatives of the House of Representatives will not change the procedure in place regarding number of members elected in each State. A minimum of two senators will continue to be elected in each State up to 6,000,000 in population. Each additional 6,000,000 citizens, based on census data, within a State will be allotted an additional senator for election on a statewide basis. Where population counts do not reach the last 6,000,000 threshold, one super senator will have a one vote + percent of the fraction of 6,000,000 over the previous senator.

    Amendment 3: All citizens of the United States will have all rights and privileges afforded any other citizen without regard to religious or non-religious beliefs. No religious values can be imposed on any other citizen making them ineligible for any right available to another. The laws of the land will be equally provided. No law can be made to exclude another from a right given to another. Citizens of different beliefs and/or religions are free to live according to their conscience, leaving moral judgments to any higher authority that is not of this earth. This freedom of choice is universal to the extent that it does no harm to any stand-alone human physically.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Reply
    • JCELEPHANT

      I like the idea of increasing the size of Congress. The fact that 535 individuals represent 300 million is ridiculous. The only reason it haas stayed this small is because progressives in the early part of the 20th century wanted to secure their power (led by TR).

      June 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  22. Tom Gregory

    The people are the problem? The people don’t have a vote on issues, so it is natural that they are disinterested, disgusted and not informed. If they had a direct vote that might change.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  23. JCELEPHANT

    I am tiring of Fareed's rampant anti-Americanism. How this man can find the silver lining in every tin-pot dictator in the middle-east and cannot bring himself to admire the genius and success of the american experiemnt is gallling. I am really sick of seeing him exclaim that places like Iceland are governments to emulate.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  24. Jennifer Stephenson

    #1 Amendment: (defining personhood) A Person is a single autonomous living human being.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  25. CLS

    OP is an idiot...

    June 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  26. Drew N.

    No representation without paying your taxes. If GE does not pay their appropriate share of taxes, then it will be illegal for that company's representative to have any contact with members of Congress, either directly or though any third party. From the business side, this would be in tandem with getting rid of deductions and incentives, especially for large companies that are transnational. They produce a small percent of our jobs anyway, so–no special favors. Small and medium businesses produce by far the greater percent of jobs, and are easier to audit. You don't pay, you don't play.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  27. Michael Kernan

    While I don't think the Constitution should be re-written, I do think it could use a few new amendments. Here are a couple: (1) To prevent the kind of deficit spending we now see as routine, we need to pass an amendment giving the Executive Branch the line item veto. Congress could still override this veto, point by point. But the presnt system of an all-or-nothing budget holds interests and treasury of the American people as hostages to the pork barrel interests of spendthrift legislators. The 13 Trillion dollar debt is ample proof that Congress has been abusing its budgetary power with little ability to stop it. We need this amendment badly, before a US default opens the eyes of Congress.
    (2) Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. No more exemptions for Congress. What's good for the goose, is good for the gander.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Reply
    • Mike Connor

      We can always update the constitution and have been over the decades...it's called the amendment process. You can add to and repeal amendments, see prohibition as an example.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
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