If I could, what would I change about the US political/social system?

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Let me first say that I consider the US Constitution a superb piece of political craftsmanship. Its language is partly a bit antiquated but the issues with which it deals are the eternal problems of how to organize human life in a just and free manner.

These problems do not change, and the number of available solutions is limited. The US Constitution emphasizes individual liberty and aims to limit and reign in the power of the governing in wise recognition of the eternal temptation to abuse power. It is based on the idea that we are all “created equal” but not on the idea that we are all equal.

This means that nobody is by birth nobler or better or more valuable than anybody else and that nobody has a birthright to rule over others. The legitimacy of government comes from the consent of the governed, which is supposed to be secured and expressed through democratic elections of representatives.

The creators of our Constitution distrusted human ability to wield power responsibly so much that they felt a need to amend the Constitution with very specific additional rules that all aim at preserving the sovereignty and liberty of the people and to restrict the government from usurping more and more power and turning into dictatorship.

The Constitution assumes that we are all different and we do obviously differ in intelligence, artistic and technical capabilities, problem solving abilities, the ability to think in abstract concepts, memory, stamina, focus, perseverance, tolerance of pain and frustration, emotional sensitivity, attention to detail, physical strength, and, yes, physical appearance, along with many other aspects.

I believe that we need to try to understand the original meaning of the text of the Constitution as it was intended by its authors. I also realize that the Constitution provides a built-in mechanism for implementing changes to it: Amendments.

While I am not on principle opposed to changing the Constitution, I believe that we should be very careful not to ruin it in the process and to make sure that any changes will indeed improve it in sync with the underlying basic set of ideas. We must make sure that our Supreme Court ensures that our laws do not violate our Constitution. The Constitution was intended to be the foundation of all legislation enacted by the United States of America. If you start tinkering with the foundation of a structure, you risk that it might collapse.

Aside from these words of caution, I do see some room for improvement of the American social and political system. Here are some suggestions for change:

A) The losing party in a civil lawsuit must pay all court cost and reimburse the prevailing party for all of its expenses.

This is the case in almost all European civil law systems. And it makes a lot of sense. America has become an extremely “litigious” society, because the system facilitates suing a person or organization without risk or using superior financial power to litigate somebody out of resources. This encourages frivolous lawsuits. Many American laws appear to encourage and foster legal dispute, not to prevent it.

This may have something to do with the fact that so many members of our legislative are attorneys or have graduated from law schools. Of the 116th Congress, 40% of representatives and 54% of senators graduated from law schools. This becomes even more telling when broken down along party lines:

House percentage of law school graduates: Democrats: 42%, Republicans: 30%

Senate percentage of law school graduates: Democrats: 64%, Republicans: 43%

These representatives and senators all graduated mainly from five mostly left-leaning law schools: Harvard, Georgetown University, University of Texas, University of Virginia, and Yale.

It is obvious that they converted the legislative process into a market development tool for the legal profession. Small wonder that with one attorney per every 248 legal residents, minors included, the US is also the most “lawyerous” country in the world. The current population of the USA is 334,232,222 legal residents. The current number of licensed attorneys in the USA is 1,327,910. This means that 0.4% of the US population are attorneys. The number illustrates how enormously overrepresented the legal profession is in our legislature.

Economists have argued that the more attorneys a country has, the more inefficient its economy becomes, since every economic action is complicated, slowed down, and made more costly by the many legal strings attached to it. Frivolous lawsuits are common. “suing somebody into bankruptcy” is a standard concept in American business, and US liability law is specifically designed to enable frivolous laws suits.

Two measures would greatly mitigate this weakness:

  1. If a law were passed that mandates that the losing party in a civil lawsuit must carry all the legal cost of the prevailing party plus the court costs. This would surely put a dent into frivolous litigation.
  2. If voters were to stop voting law school graduates into public office.

B) Laws must deal strictly with one single issue; they must be short, and clearly written.

Laws are made for the people, who are expected to follow them and who may suffer negative consequences if they do not. To pass laws of enormous volume like e.g. John Dingell’s “Affordable Care for Americans Act” with 2,700 pages or Don Young’s “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users” also with 2,700 pages (Nancy Pelosi: “Now we have to pass the bill so we can find out what is in it.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QV7dDSgbaQ0) is an insult to the voter and a mockery of democracy.

So are all so-called “omnibus bills”. Omnibus is Latin and means “with/for everything”. Such bills are wild collections of pork barrel riders and pet projects that have nothing to do with the title or main topic of the law. The Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled that legislators must obey the “principle of unity of subject matter”. The Court ruled:

“If an item of legislation addresses different substantive questions or subject matters, the unity of the subject matter is only preserved if the several parts have a material intrinsic connection with each other, are materially related to each other and are aimed at the same goal; this material connection may not be merely artificial, subjective, or political in nature.”

There are some efforts under way in the USA to legislate that lawmakers must follow the “single-subject rule”. This should be amended by three additional rules: that no law should have more than 250 pages, that representatives and senators must testify that they read, understood, and condone the context of a bill before it can be voted on, and that the text of all laws must be written in standard English in a register that a normal educated citizen who is not a subject matter expert can easily understand.

This would prevent laws from being a slap in the face of the voter and from becoming a source of unpleasant surprises.

C) Secretaries and Department Heads must be experts in their respective fields.

It can be reasonably argued that a President may be and perhaps should be a generalist. But Secretaries should be subject matter experts. Here is my competence rating of our current cabinet:

(A = superbly qualified; B = reasonably qualified; C = moderately qualified; D = not qualified; E = catastrophically unqualified)

  1. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is of Jewish descent. He majored at Harvard in social studies. Then he obtained a JD from Columbia Law School. He practiced law in New York City and Paris and wrote for various papers. Blinken has no experience in foreign politics or international relations. I do not consider him competent in the field of foreign policy. (D)
  2. Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, has a PhD in economics and has taught in this field for several years. However, her expertise is not specifically in finance and monetary policy. I consider her semi-competent. (C)
  3. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, is an African American retired four-star Army general and must certainly be considered as competent to hold the office of Secretary of Defense. (B)
  4. Attorney General, Merrick Garland, a conservative Jew, graduated from Harvard with a JD. His career certainly characterizes him as competent for the office he holds. (B)
  5. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, is American Indian. After graduating from High School, she worked at a local bakery. In 1988, she enrolled at the University of New Mexico, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English in 1994. As a single mother, she seems to have no specific qualifications or skills that would qualify her for the position Secretary of the Interior. (D)
  6. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, a catholic orphan, has, as far as I can discern, zero qualifications to serve as Secretary of Agriculture. He has not studied agriculture or ever been a farmer. In fact, Vilsack is the archetypical career politician with opinions about everything and expertise of nothing. (D)
  7. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, of Italian descent, studied sociology. She worked as senior vice president for fund development at the Manhattan offices of Village Ventures. She served as general treasurer of Rhode Island, then its governor. However, with no degree in economics, nothing qualifies her to serve as Secretary of Commerce. (D)
  8. Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh, studied nothing and has no academic background. He rose up through labor unions and served as mayor of Boston. Not sure if a labor union background is a sufficient qualification to serve as Secretary of Labor. (C)
  9. Secretary of Health & Human Services, Xavier Becerra, is an Hispanic attorney with a BA in economics and JD from Stanford. He served as AG of California and member of the CA State House. He does not have an MD and he is not a physician. He has zero qualification to serve as Secretary of Health. (D)
  10. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, Marcia Fudge, earned a BA of “science in business” (?) from Ohio State and a JD from Cleveland State. Not sure what this combination qualifies a person for, but surely not Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who, in my view, should have a background in civil engineering and urban planning. (D)
  11. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, openly gay, apparently graduated from Harvard in history and literature, although I was unable to find out with what degree. He wrote an essay about the “integrity and political courage” of Communist Bernie Sanders and eventually became the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Buttigieg has zero competence to serve as Secretary of Transportation. (E)
  12. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, graduated with a BA from Berkeley and later with a JD from Harvard. Clerk of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and later US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. This woman is completely incompetent to serve as Secretary of Energy, a job that would seem to call for a person with a footing in physics or technology. (D)
  13. Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona, of Puerto Rican origin obtained a bachelor’s degree in education from Connecticut State. Then a master’s degree in bilingual and bicultural education from the University of Connecticut. In 2011 he earned a Doctor of Education degree from the same university. Although apparently qualified, the title of his doctoral dissertation reveals his mindset: “Sharpening the Focus of Political Will to Address Achievement Disparities” in other words: That people do not all achieve the same is due to political injustice, not differences in individual performance and talent. The man is certainly qualified, but he is obviously also a political activist. (C)
  14. Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, a Cuban American, graduated from Berkeley in history and then earned a JD from Loyola Marymount University. Assistant US Attorney and then US Attorney for the District of California. Director of Citizenship and Statehood Services. Implemented DACA. Private law practice. While Mayorkas is probably a qualified attorney, I wonder what qualifies him for security work. (C)
  15. Administrator of the EPA, Michael Regan, an African American, attended North Carolina State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in earth and environmental science. He then attended George Washington University, where he received a Master of Public Administration. His elevation to Administrator of the EPA was widely praised by environmental groups because of his track record for “addressing environmental racism and supporting policy to address climate change”. He may be qualified, but he is apparently also a global warming and CRT fanatic. (C)

Out of 15 department heads I rate:
7 as unqualified,
1 as catastrophically unqualified,
5 as moderately qualified,
2 as reasonably qualified,
0 as superbly qualified.

In all, 53% of our current department heads are not qualified for the jobs they hold. I consider this a catastrophic and dangerous combination of incompetence and mediocrity. Lawyers are apparently considered miracle people who are competent to perform any task we throw at them.

They are obviously not, and I therefore suggest that a law or a Constitutional Amendment be made, which mandates that leaders of government departments must have competencies that are specific to their profile of duties. Minimal competence requirements must be outlined for each department head and a candidate’s compliance with these requirements must be verified and documented in a public verification hearing.

D) Commissions that decide on or recommend emergency measures in a national emergency must consist of experts from all walks of life.

Whenever a problem situation occurred in one of the business companies I ran, I would put together a team of pertinent experts to work out a solution. In determining the members of the team, I would first assess the dimensions of the problem, i.e. which aspects of my business were affected by it and which aspects of my business might be affected by possible consequences or solutions of the problem. When you have a multidimensional problem, you must also put together a multidimensional team to deal with it.

Take the COVID 19 epidemic for example. The epidemic was medical in nature, but it affected many different facets of life. So did the emergency measures adopted by our government. Yet, the expert team established by the government and tasked with fighting the epidemic consisted almost solely of medical experts. The measures recommended by these medical experts were chosen solely under medical considerations – as if the COVID epidemic was strictly a medical problem. Social life was disrupted, people were forced to close their businesses and lost their livelihoods, communication was cut off, people were confined to their homes and children were forced not to attend school. People were forced to wear ineffective masks and keep 6 feet physical (not social) distance from each other and hundreds of thousands were forced to accept a questionable “vaccination” or lose their jobs. Civil liberties were radically curbed, and the economy was choked to a near standstill.

Our government should have established a team of experts from all dimensions of life, not just from medicine. They would have predicted the negative effects of many of the emergency measures and much unnecessary damage could have been prevented.

Or maybe, our ruling elite did not want to prevent these damages. If so, this would be one more reason to propose that a law be made that mandates that emergency teams must consist of experts who represent all facets of life that might be affected by the danger to be dealt with and by the measures that are supposed to mitigate the danger.

This would give us a better chance to prevent the cures our government administers to us from causing more damage than the disease they are supposed to cure.

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