Put The “Mini” in Minnesota Senator

A modest proposal: downsize the Senate

Maybe no one has noticed, but the Minnesota U.S. Senate contest between incumbent (?) Norm Coleman and "challenger" Al Franken hasn't yet been decided.

After the first recount, Franken led by 225 votes. However, Coleman has refused to concede and the race has now gone through several iterations of recount boards and the courts. Franken won the latest round, but there really is no apparent end in sight

But perhaps, in these strained economic times, this situation is telling us something.

Now, I live in New York. The few times I've been to Minnesota, it's been for flight layovers (stay away from stall Number 4 in the men's bathroom -- there's this creep who feels like playing footsie). 

Anyway, as far as I can tell from my safe perch in New York, Minnesota hasn't really suffered from being represented only by Sen. Amy Klobuchar. When one adds the never-ending Minnesota race to the replacement farces involving Rod Blagojevich in Illinois and David Paterson in New York, the signs become even clearer. 

It's time to downsize the Senate! 

As any number of our public officials are telling us, in this brutal recession, families are cutting back.  Why can't our government?  And since it seems that it's difficult for elected politicians to decide what to cut, cutting their actual positions would also reduce the number of people in government advocating for more earmarks and programs that the taxpayers have to pay for.

Got that? 

At the very least, reducing the Senate to a manageable 50 would produce immediate savings of $8.7 million (a senator costs the taxpayer $174,000 per year -- not counting private bribes). 

But, again, that doesn't count the billions in defense programs, public works and tax hikes that an individual senator is likely to vote for. Ya gotta think 50 senators couldn't possibly spend as much as 100, right? 

This might take a while, but the goal of 50 can be reached just through attrition. States can just agree to not fund the re-election of whichever senator is up for re-election next. Once he or she leaves, only the one remaining will find his or her re-election recognized.

It will only take a handful of years to work its way down to a nice round 50. Besides, governors won't have to deal with the pressure of figuring out who to appoint (thus preventing the situation from driving governors mad (i.e. Blagojevich) or, uh, well, nuts (i.e., Paterson). 

Yes, there is a little procedural problem that must be overcome: The Constitution states that every state must be represented by two (2) senators. But, it's not like members of Congress really pay that much attention to the Constitution, right?

One senator is enough! Let's get to work!

 New York writer Robert A. George blogs at Ragged Thots. 

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