Mark Trahant: Health reform bill tests democracy
"The month of December promises to be full of drama: Will the Senate pass health care reform? Is there enough time to debate the hundreds of expected amendments before Christmas? And at the top of the wish list, are there really 60 votes to pass a bill?

The notion of requiring a super-majority in the Senate may be one of our nation’s most anti-democratic traditions. The Senate elects two members from each state. California’s 36 million citizens get two votes – exactly the same two votes as Wyoming’s 532,000 people. The super-majority makes matters worse because senators representing less than 40 percent of the population can block the legislation that most Americans favor.

The Senate has a unique history and in that favorite argument used by so many, “we have always done it that way.” But let’s be clear about this, the structure of the Senate does not represent democratic values. Why does this matter? Especially when it’s worked for more than two centuries? It matters because health care reform is a test of our continued ability to govern ourselves."

Get the Story:
A political system where it’s easier to spend than to save or to borrow than tax (Mark Trahant 11/30)

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