Walter E. Williams

Another problem of a small number of congressmen, with large districts, has to do with representing their constituents. How in the world is one congressman to represent the diverse interests and values of 700,000 people? The practical answer is they don't and attempt to be all things to all people. Thus, a congressman who takes a principled stand against the federal government exceeding its constitutional authority -- whether it be government involvement in education, business welfare and bailouts and $2 trillion dollars worth of other handouts -- is not likely to win office.

Appealing for the votes in a district of 700,000 is a more difficult challenge than appealing for the votes in a district of 40,000 or 60,000 people. Larger sums must be raised requiring a congressman to be wealthy or raise money from vested interest groups. Who is going to give a congressman money and not expect something special in return?

One should not be optimistic about increasing the size of Congress to make it more representative of the American people. There are powerful forces that benefit from the status quo. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lobbyists get Congress to look the other way. Hundreds of other lobbyists get Congress to rig the market, or confer special privileges, to benefit one class of Americans at the expense of another class. I guarantee you that the vested interest groups, who now have a strong grip on Washington, at the detriment of the nation's well-being, wouldn't as easily get their way if they had to scrounge for 3,813 votes as opposed to 218.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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