Opinion by Allan McNew
The state legislatures made the federal government, not the other way around. The direct voice of the people was designed to be expressed through direct, proportional representation in the House of
Representatives and direct election of the President. The Senate was the indirect voice of the people through equal representation of the states
through their legislatures.
Article I, section 3 of the Constitution provided for the appointment of two Senators by each state legislature until the 17th amendment was strong armed into existence in 1913 during the progressive era. If the 17th amendment hadn’t been instituted there wouldn’t be federal shenanigans perpetrated such as unfunded mandates on the states and
executive agencies making law by fiat.
Additionally, if it weren’t for the 1913 16th amendment giving the federal government power to lay direct income taxes the states could starve the federal government out of revenue if the feds got out of
hand. Now the federal government shapes state policies by withholding funds taken from the state by bypassing the state legislatures with direct taxation of state populations and doling it back to the various
state legislatures as it sees fit.
I believe the states should repeal the 17th amendment by calling for an amendment convention as provided for in article V of the Constitution.
Congress will never call for such a convention, so it would be up to 2/3rds of the state legislatures to do so per article V.
Furthermore, Congress won’t call a convention (there are several hundred amendment conventions Congress never got around to scheduling, “Congress… shall call” in article V doesn’t have a time driven countdown) because it would take direct power in the Senate away from political parties and their ideologies.
So, the states, after giving Congress a date to call the convention by and Congress stonewalls to that date, will need to call the convention themselves and ratify the repeal by 3/4 of either the convention or ¾ of the legislatures which mode Constitutionally Congress is to propose. Congress won’t propose either one, so it will be up to the state legislatures, again after giving Congress a chance as described above, to choose the mode and ratify the amendment by ¾ of either the convention or the state legislatures.
It wouldn’t hurt to repeal the 16th amendment while repealing the 17th and revert to the states funding the federal government, not the other way around.
There will be the obligatory wailing that democracy is being subverted, but direct democracies commit suicide as we see with bypassing the legislatures with direct election of Senators. How dysfunctional and authoritarian can Congress get under the present scheme?