And that gets to what I think is the real problem lying behind all of this enthusiasm for constitutional change: a sense that there are two sets of rules, one for the “insiders” in Washington and their (frequently subsidized, or bailed-out, or protected) corporate allies, and another for everyone else.
It’s a situation that has led to comparisons withThe Hunger Games, where the folks in the Capitol City live high while the provinces starve. People get elected to Congress and somehow retire as multimillionaires; they serve for a couple of years at the White House and leave for million-dollar salaries. And wherever they work, they tend to have an inflated opinion of their own importance, and a somewhat contemptuous opinion of ordinary Americans.
You can address this problem with constitutional amendments, and I think that many are worth considering: The structural shifts in our government have indeed empowered insiders and the expense of the citizenry. But underlying these shifts is a deeper problem of values, one that I doubt can be fixed by passing a few amendments. Perhaps, to use the words of a once-promising presidential candidate, we need to “fundamentally transform” America. Into, you know, a country that works for everyone, not just the fat-cats at the controls.