How Georgia Can Save America. (It’s Not How You Think.)
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport is amazing. With more than 100 million people passing through its gates last year, it has held the title of the world’s busiest airport for more than two decades. The unceasing processions of planes have earned it an additional title: the world’s most efficient airport.
Georgia likes to see things run efficiently, and if we can judge by the airport, has an aptitude for it. On January 5th, 2021, residents will have the opportunity to decide the balance of power in the United States Senate. Based on Congress’ track record, Georgians have to ask themselves if efficiency is even a possibility.
When the founding fathers wrote the Constitution, the three branches of government were supposed to be a check on each other. In recent decades, however, the legislative branch has devolved into being a check on itself. Bills move between the House and Senate irregularly, and often insincerely.
This institutional and deliberate inefficiency does serve two purposes. First, it creates a scapegoat. Each chamber can blame the other while the branch itself fails in its primary duty of putting legislation on the President’s desk. Second, by leaving systemic problems unsolved, politicians generate demand for their services. Combined, these two things equal fundraising opportunities for the politics industry, creating an economic incentive for maintaining the status quo.
Legislation, when it does move forward, is often loaded with perks for those with connections, often in the form of tax cuts, contracts, or subsidies for those whose campaign contributions purchased oversized influence. Lincoln’s cherished government of the people, by the people, for the people, has become government of the few, by the few, for the few.
In the early days of the airlines, aviation was similarly limited to those with the most resources; flying was an expensive option. The expansion of national airlines such as Delta signified change for the middle class, and airports like Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, an incredible monument to human ingenuity, grew to satisfy that demand by harnessing market efficiencies.
Largely invisible to the travelers who traverse its mammoth structures, complex systems manage the flow of people, parcels, and products to their destinations. Despite the opaqueness of these systems, the metrics used to judge their effectiveness remain straightforward; can tens of millions of passengers confidently expect to arrive at their destination on time and with their baggage? The answer is a solid yes.
The legislative machinery in Washington also utilizes complex and somewhat opaque systems. However, establishing clear metrics for judging Congress’ effectiveness is difficult. Consider the current stalemate over a new pandemic relief bill; Democrats passed one bill and are blocking another, Republicans advocate for a different bill and are blocking the other. Can Americans confidently expect relief will arrive for the tens of millions who need it? The answer is clearly no.
The time has come time to adjust our political structure.
At the turn of the century, Hartsfield-Jackson field often had delays because only two planes could land simultaneously. The solution was the construction of a new runway in 2006; a third, parallel, track for meeting customers’ expectations. Together, they have produced the efficiency that hundreds of thousands of people now rely on each and every day. If Georgia utilizes their same foresight in the upcoming runoff elections, America can reestablish functional government.
The Phoenix Congress is an alternative political structure, one that adds a third, parallel, track for the introduction of legislation. It is an upgrade that can easily and immediately overlay the existing structure without any changes to laws or rules.
Under this model, the Phoenix Congress serves as a third arm of the legislative branch, one whose sole purpose is to propose legislation to the House and Senate. By delivering the same legislation to both chambers for a straight up-or-down vote, many problems under the existing system are addressed:
- The legislation is free from political corruption, having been produced outside of the swamp of Washington DC.
- The deliberate gridlock between the chambers is overcome; with the same proposal in both the House and the Senate, compromise between the two bodies is unnecessary.
- A clear metric is created to hold members of Congress accountable; did they deliver solutions to the problems Americans want addressed?
However, as stated earlier, these are not viewed as bugs in the current system. Instead, they define revenue-generating features for the political elite. Therefore, a compliance mechanism is incorporated into the new political structure, one delivered by members of the American Union, citizens who value Constitutional duties over partisan politics.
As swing voters willing to vote for either Republicans or Democrats in federal races, the American Union can serve as a key component in electing or defeating candidates for office. In the upcoming Senate runoffs, polls currently show the twin races as extremely close. As little as 1–2% of the electorate, working in unison, could determine the outcome. This leverage could be used to force a change in our political structure.
Millions of Americans want a more functional government, one that is less corrupt and more accountable to the people. How do we get there? More likely than not, the most efficient route passes through Atlanta.