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American Constitutional System

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Current American constitutional system is far from perfect. It is recognized as one of the best ones in the world, and is often referred to as the most democratic one, working for the sake of the American nation. The question is whether the idea is not outdated yet. The principles of the current legislative system were developed a few centuries ago, and a lot of changes took place since that time.

According to Orszag, current situation in the US Congress evolved a few decades ago, since back in the 1960-s the situation was quite different, and decision making process did not require so much efforts applied. Nowadays things changed dramatically, as we are facing the so-called polarization, which leads to the inconveniences of the regular citizens in the first place. Current issues, e.g. dealing with the recovery from the financial crisis, solving the issue of the global warming or the legislative gaps of the current constitution, cannot be efficiently resolved, as there is no unanimity within the congressmen. We choose them on the democratic basis, but later on, they might simply ignore or find the way around the democracy people are looking up to. There is no responsibility for the actions made by the congressmen, bills signed and passed on, as well as there is absolutely no punishment for the inactivity, filibustering, withholding from taking active part in the constitutional process of the USA. Democracy is thus entering a stage of idleness, as the lack of agreement in the higher echelons of US legislative officials actually puts the entire legislature on hold, by the time consensus can be reached.

We may spread the idea and find the supporters of the “shortage of the democracy”. However, there is one issue that cannot be ignored: congressmen are the ones in charge of any changes in the country’s legislative system. Since they cannot come to agreement on some simpler issues, it is hardly plausible they will easily apply changes to the current legislation, cutting their own rights or changing the basic principles of how the legislature works. On the other hands, nationwide people’s dissatisfaction with the way current Congress works may force the congressmen to make necessary amendments and bring certain changes to the election system in the US. This will lead to the following; enforcing the majoritarian system for the elections will open the new horizons for the same politicians. They will keep their current authority, they will have the same kind of benefits and perks, but they will be restricted by one factor. The fact they were chosen by certain people, majority of whom supported the candidate in his electoral district, makes the congressman think twice before skipping the Congress sessions, failing to find consensus with others etc.

I believe Orszag’s point regarding finding the way around the politicians is not properly grounded and cannot be implemented in the current state of economy, greatly depending on the government and recovering from the recession. Playing with fiscal policy will not do any good unless supported by the elite. Comparing The US and the EU, one common factor shows up – all the important decisions are made in the top echelons of elite, and they hardly find it necessary to be discussed with anybody else. Once again it proves we should not be worried about the democracy and decreasing of it, but the issue to be concentrated on is implying the accountability of the politicians. The ones who chose to see the politicians in Congress should be dictating what is right and what is wrong. Congressmen should think of what can be done to improve the lives of the people by simply finding a consensus during the voting for an important bill. Although majoritarian system will not allow direct responsibility to be applied for the congressmen, it will make them aware that there are people around the country who gave their votes for them and thus wish to be rewarded with improvements of life standards and responsible approach to their duties on behalf of the congressmen.

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