04 June 2010

A Modest Proposal

Let's move the Capital.
The "Northern charm and Southern efficiency" noted by JFK has become entrenched in the national psyche. Make every one of those slackers and hangers on the public teat uproot to someplace dire, with no fine dining, no professional sports teams, no yea-saying populous. (I have long held that ownership of season tickets to a DC pro sports franchise should be considered prima facie evidence of having abandoned one's electorate.)
Someplace safer, too. Being right there on the coastline paints some nice concentric circles on the whole mess of 'em. Move 'em inland, and for God's sake away from the BAMA corridor. (Um, the Boston-Atlanta Metropolitan Axis, stolen from William Gibson. Read his stuff, it's good)Get 'em away from the sweet smell of salt water and the yachts.
But not too safe. DC has been for at least a generation the most violence prone, homicide ridden, crack infested city in the USA. The problem is that our masters in DC have been insulated from all of that.
Someplace cheaper, while we're at it. The price of DC area real estate suitable for suits has approached rape-with-violence levels (Thank you RAH for the phrase).
And let's keep 'em moving, too. Every 2 years seems about right. Complete reshuffle with every freshman class of Congresscritters. Bounce 'em around like a ping-pong ball on acid (h/t HST).
Start 'em in Detroit, so they can get the full impact of "We're from the government, and we're here to help you", and the good it does. Then when they've finally installed a Surf-and-Turf with pommes gratinee and creamed spinach infrastructure installed yank their asses up and transplant them to Fargo, North Dakota, to see the difference between the "family farm" and Archer Daniels Midland or ConArgra. Put 'em in Midland, Texas, to see how the "earl bidness" works.
Pick 'em up by the neck and shake 'em! Make it a JOB, not a bundle of perks.
I don't see a downside. Keep DC as a ceremonial location, but give it back to Maryland. The UK has Buckingham Palace for that sort of thing. Keep the Smithsonian and all that jazz, all the monuments, and turn it into a national park, a heritage site.
Why don't we start at the geometrical center of the USA and work out in a clockwise spiral? Lebanon, Kansas might be a trifle small. Let's put it at Wichita, with population about 350k. Plenty to pick up the casual work involved, not a state capital with all the rent seekers and hangers on the public teat associated with a capital.
See, I've got some hidden benefits in here. Make being a Representative or Senator a tough job. Make being a lobbyist, toady of lickspittle an even tougher job. Break some of the connections between the "complexes".
Keep the Congresscritters off balance.
Keep them in touch with the world outside the beltway.
This isn't a new idea, either. The location of the US capital is not enshrined in the Constitution, but was established by act of Congress, and as such is subject to review by Congress.

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