Utopia - Part 5

In Part 4, I talked about the election process.  Now for the nifty bit about what elected officials do once elected.  The short answer is “what their constituents actually want”.  The long answer involves a whole lot of what they don’t get to do.

The biggest problem I see with legislation and legislators is conflict of interest.  The people in power make rules to benefit the people in power.  No one is actually working for the people as a whole.  Except for maybe Bernie Sanders, but he’s going to retire soon.

Government is supposed to be a public service, not a road to personal power.  Elected officials should be servants, not masters.  I have a few ideas of how to make sure they stay that way, but they’re nowhere near comprehensive.  I’m sure I’ll miss a few obvious things.  Feel free to point them out in the comments.

They get paid the national minimum wage plus a housing allowance.  No voting themselves a ridiculous salary while the rest of the nation suffers with insufficient income.  The independently wealthy must put their fortunes into a trust where they cannot access them the entire time they’re in office.  The trust must be both secret and blind.  Elected officials should have no clue who’s managing their money, and the trust should have no clue whose money they’re managing.

Corporate and other organizational lobbying is strictly and expressly forbidden.  Only the people have access to their elected officials, and corporations and organizations are not people.  I have more thoughts on corporations, but they’ll have to wait for another post.

So, if corporations and organizations can’t lobby for legislation, where does it come from?  The answer is, of course, the people.  But how do the people get ideas for legislation into the hands of their officials?  As often happens while an idea is floating about in my head, somebody else has already come up with the answer.

Crowdsourced legislation, while being the best way to get people input, is not necessarily going to do the job of making sure it’s constitutional, or even a good idea in the first place.  The question of constitutionality goes to an appropriately-named constitutional review board consisting of legal experts.  Assuming the proposed legislation passes constitutional muster, it can proceed to a vote.

By forcing legislation to pass through constitutional review before it can become law, you prevent all the legal challenges that are necessary to get bad laws off the books, saving an awful lot of money in legal fees and reducing workload on the court system.  The ounce of prevention rather than the pound of cure.