People are going on about a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to help rein in out of control government. They've also talked out term limits for Congressmen. I propose merging the two ideas into this: a Constitutional amendment mandating a sunset limit on all government actions--budgets, laws, rules, and regulations. I'm thinking that five years would work. Part of the problem with our present system is that all of these things have been building on each other for decades. Additionally, there have been so many new items added on top of the old that it has become the mess that we're in now.
This sunset amendment would serve two purposes: 1) it would negate the pork barrel budgets that have led the government to the point where they aren't trying to actually cut federal spending but are trying to cut the GROWTH of federal spending because all budgets (and their corresponding programs) would have to be justified every five years and given a 'yay' or 'nay' by Congress. 2) this would be a LOT of work so it would keep both the agencies and Congress busy so they won't have as much time to muck around and create new levels of laws and regulations. Doing it as an amendment would make sure that a future Congress couldn't just pass a new law to negate the sunset provisions. Oh, and as of the passing of the Amendment, all agencies, regulations, and budgets start at zero (laws will start with the oldest and work up for re-passage) and have to be assessed and voted upon (and not in batches either). The only exemption to this would be the military personnel and operations (not development) which would remain at status quo until it can be reviewed.
This amendment would make government more responsive to the people and allow it to quickly respond to changing priorities by the American public. It would also make agencies re-prioritize their functions.
As a part of this, we could also remove government from 'marriage' and leave that to the Churches. The government would recognize civil contracts/unions which would also have a sunset of five years and would have to be re-filed. Any religious ideas and responsibilities would be handled separately within the tradition of choice. You want separation of church and state as in the Federalist papers, that's the place to start.
Am I off base??
ETA: Himself pointed out that my idea is far from original and I think I must have picked it up from Mr. Heinlein in A Moon is Harsh Mistress. It must have had a more profound effect on me than I realized.
5 weeks ago