Update: More Representatives?

On Friday, October 9th, when I posted that the 435 man limit to the House of Representatives should be repealed, a number of my readers were surprised. Their line of reasoning was that more of the parasites Representatives would mean more graft, corruption, fraud and deceit.

Consider, however.

Under the 1929 legislation, the number of representatives was fixed to the number seated in 1911, at 435 members. However, under the Constitution, Representatives are allocated by population. Originally that would have been for about one Representative for every 30,000 people. But as the population grew, the number of representatives in Congress grew and that was the way it remained until 1929. The 1929 law, driven in part by a desire to keep immigrants underrepresented, has kept the number of representative fixed to the level of representatives in 1911.

I disagree with that law and Jonah Goldberg in my previous post made very good arguments to support repealing that limiting act from 1929. But there is another reason to repeal the law. One that Jonah alludes but didn’t describe in detail.

When the number of Representatives is fixed and the districts are allocated by population, the sizes of the districts grows. When population shifts, new districts are created. Not always fairly, either.

Wyoming has a population of around 950,000 and has one Representative. Rhode Island, with a population only slightly larger, has two Representatives. The Wyoming Representative has a district of 950,000, while the Representatives in Rhode Island have districts of 530,000 each. Rhode Island grew and received a 2nd district. Wyoming has remained stable and has not received an additional district.

Now, consider the future as the country grows. That growth is occurring in the coastal states, the Northwest, the larger population centers. The population of Wyoming has been static. In the last census, some states lost Representatives and new seats were created in the larger states. If memory serves me, I believe that California gained two congressional districts while some of the Midwest states lost an equal number of districts. The political power of California grew at the expense of those Midwestern states.

Now look at the demographics of the two extremes. The larger, urban states are mostly liberal. The states in fly-over country—states that have been more conservative, have lost seats. That will make the constitution of the House more liberal to our detriment. It is an outcome I would not wish to see. Our political power is already diluted as it is. There is no reason to allow that dilution to continue by allowing this law to remain on the books.

Repeal it!

2 thoughts on “Update: More Representatives?

  1. Not only spending, but a highly attrited bureaucracy. Spending aside, it's the bureaucracy with its power to regulate that is really killing us. Regulations = unlegislated power. We could cut a number of departments—Energy, HHS, Transportation, Commerce perhaps and eliminate 3/4ths of the bureaucracy along with them. Those bureaus that actually performed some useful function could be relegated to the states.

    It'd be a great start.

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