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On The Under-Represented American Citizen

Tyler Durden's picture


Having just undergone the Presidential election and the democratic right of every citizen to vote and have their voice heard, we thought it interesting that of the world's major nations, the US citizen is in fact the second worst represented when it comes to government. The Chinese citizen, empirically at least, has a fractionally greater weight in their politician's actions. Only in India does each politician represent more of the nation's citizens. How long before we hear the chants of "Over-Taxed And Under-Represented"?



Chart: Goldman Sachs


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Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:08 | 3064676 Vashta Nerada
Vashta Nerada's picture

No representation without taxation!

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:10 | 3064689 YesWeKahn
YesWeKahn's picture

At least, US beats China for a thing.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:15 | 3064702 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

We have more people in prison.

I'm sure there are others.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:21 | 3064718 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Probably more guns per capita as well....

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:25 | 3064736 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Number of people a US 'Parliamentarian' represents...


(Which also just happens to coincide with the number of US billionaires...)

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:38 | 3064784 AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

I believe it is 600,000. The US Rep in my congressional district "represents" a population of 710,000. She clearly does not represent me however. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz only represents the interests of whatever the President's people tell her. A puppet in the truest sense.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:49 | 3064831 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Good point... I'm just a touch high on the billionaire count as well (400+).

Even with 600,000 citizens per elected member they do not represent you but their financial and organizational sponsors.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:55 | 3064848 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

OT eponym of the day: carny

A "carny" is anyone who runs a "joint" (booth), "grab joint" (food stand), game, or ride at a carnival, boardwalk or amusement park.

The word carny is thought to have become popularized around 1931 in North America, when it was first colloquially used to describe "one who works at a carnival.

The carny vocabulary is traditionally part of carnival cant, a secret language, and is an ever-changing form of communication, in large part designed to be impossible to understand by an outsider. Thus, as words are assimilated into the culture at large, they lose their function and are replaced by other more obscure or insular terms


Sat, 12/15/2012 - 03:14 | 3065822 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

government loves population increases even with illegals.


100 senators for population pyramid scheme means politicians increase in relative power and status

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 13:47 | 3066535 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

So what do you want?  Another 1000 Congress Critters?

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 21:14 | 3065291 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

mark carney lingo

example: "Gamma refers to the rate of change in an option’s delta relative to the price of the underlying asset. "

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 00:52 | 3065722 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Umm...  the greeks ain't that difficult a concept...

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 22:30 | 3065495 Louie the Dog
Louie the Dog's picture

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is why we have the word 'cunt'.

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 04:32 | 3065874 prains
prains's picture

Actually the parlaimentarians only represent Goldman Sachs and Sons so this chart is entirely WRONG

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 19:00 | 3064860 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

If you want pull in politics step 1 is to become a convention delegate. Then your vote is one of a few thousand instead of one of millions.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 19:57 | 3065048 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

or if your sovereign state leaves the union

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 04:57 | 3065896 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

If you truly want to be better represented rather than just complain about it, the choice is in your hands. As a convention delegate my opinion has been solicited by every single statewide candidate for office as well as federal House and Senate candidates.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:23 | 3064733 ACP
ACP's picture

Not sure of I agree with the intent of the article. I sure as shit don't want MORE dickhead politicians.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:44 | 3064807 dynomutt
dynomutt's picture



The locking of # of representatives to 435 in the early 1800's is one of the major reasons why we're in this sorry state now.


It will take a reboot to fix things, but politicians that:

1. Do not accept money from anyone related to their service

2. Receive a modest annual stipend and no other benefits, something along the lines of $10000 2012-USD per year

3. Receive no special favors

4. Do not accept any foreign titles (INCLUDING ESQ)

5. Represent no more than 100000 persons

6. Does not serve more than one term per 20 years

would provide for a much more fair and balanced republic than the present corporate inverted fascist state the US is now.


Yes, morality is a major issue, but amorality and ambivalence take a long time for any interested interloper to gestate in the populace.  A reboot is the only way that any of this would be possible.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:48 | 3064824 dynomutt
dynomutt's picture

Also, representation should be considered to be a "proxy vote" of the populace.

In which case, if representative #1 has 99,602 constituents and representative #2 has 87,308 constituents, the vote of representative #1 would be weighted 99602 and representative #2 would be weighted 87308 so there is no power dilution simply due to differences in district size.  This may also have a positive impact in busting political parties.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 20:36 | 3065158 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

The Repubs would never go for that...

They would be in the wildnerness now if not for the gerrrymandering based on the 2010 census....

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:50 | 3064832 Vashta Nerada
Vashta Nerada's picture

At a minimum, there should be no pension plan for congressional members.  The job was never intended to be a career.  From that mistake grew the idea that congress is exempt from congresses' laws, which harkens back to Caesar, for Pete's sake!

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 22:06 | 3065414 ACP
ACP's picture

Good point. The job was initially a volunteer, unpaid position. If a Constitutional amendment was passed to limit the pay of each member of Congress to the average per capita income in the US, that would make more representation worth it, for sure.

Edit: That would encourage more people who actually have real jobs/businesses to run, people who are more in touch with the struggles of the middle class. The suggestions above are good also.

Edit 2: Dammit, didn't think of this earlier......if the power of the Federal govt were decreased significantly, that would also decrease the need for Federal representation. Several ways to go about this.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 19:50 | 3065032 Colonel Walter ...
Colonel Walter E Kurtz's picture

Exactly right mutt.

The more reps we have in the house the less influence the the lobbyists would have. If lobbyists had say 5000 reps they had to try to rangle up, it would add to greatly to the cost of buying votes. We also would have more reps voting independently and doing what is correct for their constituents rather than voting in the manner that allows their own party help them get reelected. The less amount people a representative is beholden too to be reelected, the better off we all would be.  

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 02:57 | 3065808 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

COTUS ArticleI Section 2: The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative;

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 19:02 | 3067275 psychobilly
psychobilly's picture

Those with wealth and power will always find a "legal" way of buying political influence.  Getting around the above restrictions would be child's play.  Just more Government War on X type thinking that makes totally unrealistic assumptions about human nature.  

Government offices need to be reduced in number, power and scope to the degree that they aren't worth buying in the first place.

I don't need a "representative."  And have no violent desires to control others through one.  Thanks anyway.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:36 | 3064781 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

Felons can't vote. Solution is to incarcerate more people. /sarc

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:41 | 3064795 AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

Will there be voting booths in FEMA camps?

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 07:14 | 3065955 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

yes they will have a function similar to the call-in numbers on American Idol

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 19:26 | 3064954 Lost Wages
Lost Wages's picture

The US imprisons more people, but I think China executes more people.

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 12:03 | 3066274 Alasdair
Alasdair's picture

Texas and Florida doing their best China impersonations

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 12:20 | 3066308 boogerbently
boogerbently's picture

Florida is a slacker.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:25 | 3064726 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

Where would they put 'em if US did have more representatives? Capitol bldg can only hold so many. Oh, that's right, place is empty anyway most of the time, they're all out seeking re-election 24/7.

edit: oops, Catullus said it below already, said it better.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:08 | 3064677 Critical Path
Critical Path's picture

Its worked out well for Greece

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:09 | 3064681 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

Yes, but who really wants MOAR politicians??

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:10 | 3064687 PGR88
PGR88's picture


I can not imagine Congress getting LESS dysfunctional with twice as many representatives, can you?

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:27 | 3064746 August
August's picture

The secret is... smaller countries.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:30 | 3064757 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

There was some talk in Texas not-so-long ago along those lines...

E unum pluribus bitchez!

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:48 | 3064829 dynomutt
dynomutt's picture

There is wisdom to that.

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 09:22 | 3066059 NeedtoSecede
NeedtoSecede's picture

Credit Mike Church: "If at first you don't secede, try, try, again!"

Secession Bitchez! 

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 19:51 | 3065033 Being Free
Being Free's picture

The secret is smaller fucking government.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:13 | 3064697 Jliax
Jliax's picture

What about small government which implies few politicians which implies a high politician/nr-of-voters ratio ?

But then again, a small government would also imply low costs and small budget deficits.....

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:17 | 3064709 Vashta Nerada
Vashta Nerada's picture

I wish.  If we closed down the federal departments which are not authorized by the constitution, we would have a surplus, not a $1.5 trillion deficit, even at today's tax revenue numbers.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:23 | 3064730 Jliax
Jliax's picture

I will donate to anyone who takes these issues to the supreme court even though I am not a US citizen.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:23 | 3064731 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Wishful thinking....

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:26 | 3064741 Vashta Nerada
Vashta Nerada's picture

Wishful so far.  I'm still dreaming of the day that no more dollars can be borrowed or manufactured, at which point my dream will come true.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 20:42 | 3065177 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

John Lennon wrote a song for you...

Google "Imagine"....

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 12:07 | 3066277 Alasdair
Alasdair's picture

Fewer politicians would mean easier to buy.  Easier to control.

Simply shrinking government would help centralize power.  I think decentralization would help dissipate undue power.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:19 | 3064703 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

We have not had a representative government in the US for decades.  Max Keiser says the US is a kakistocracy, rule by the worst.

That is why we have the Patriot Act, NDAA, wars all over the world, war on terror, torture,  unlimited QE, bank bailouts in 2008, no bankster prosecutions, extra-judicial drone killings,  and now 30,000 drones to spy over Americans.

Since when have we had representative government?  

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:19 | 3064715 Shameful
Shameful's picture

To play devils advocate, have you interacted with the average American?  I think J6P is quite ok with what is going on, sure he is functionally brain dead but he seems pretty happy in his entertainment haze.  Get the sports and the porn on and they can live it up with the GMO foods and chemical dependency.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:31 | 3064756 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

I suppose humanity has advanced from Roman times - bread and circuses and porn. The fluoride in the water is just another bonus.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 22:46 | 3065520 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

I talk to Joe fairly often. He's not brain dead at all. He's really pissed off, but he knows there's nothing he can do about things without landing in jail or extremely dead. So he watches the sports and porn to deal with it.

Joe needs a six pack just to cope with the crap he sees in his real world life. Don't be dissin' Joe if you haven't walked in his steel toed boots.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:17 | 3064711 Shameful
Shameful's picture

Are you kidding, the US has the best CONgress money can buy!  Ask any lobbyist. And with such luminary minds as Hank "Sinking Guam" Johnson America's bright future is assured.

I gotta ask if any corporate spokesperson was as flagrantly stupid or openly corrupt as the average CONgress person would you buy their stocks or bonds?  Good thing the foreigners can't speak English I guess...oh wait they can...shit!!!

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 22:47 | 3065524 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

I disagree. The US has the shittiest CONgress money can buy. Politicians are the losers who are too lazy or stupid to get in there and steal on their own initiative.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:19 | 3064714 Catullus
Catullus's picture

If the House were the size per voting capita as when the US was first created, there'd be 20,000 representatives. Effectively 1 rep for every 1,000 people. Sort of like the size of a high school. Enough to where you would actually know the person. Maybe be able to tell them your concerns.

I'm all for it.

It would remove the influence of lobbyists (you're going to buy off 10,000 representatives?!), you'd actually know the person you're electing, the influence of the party system would be nil, you'd never get anything "done", and you'd dilute the power of the Pelosi's and Boehner's of the world. What's there not to like?

Expand Congress!!!

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:30 | 3064755 RopeADope
RopeADope's picture

Make every citizen a House rep. We have the technology to make it happen. No more Pelosi and Boner.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:36 | 3064776 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

Absolutely the worst post.  Opposite of good in every way.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:46 | 3064819 Goner
Goner's picture

I gave him a green for the idea. While I dont think its a good idea for everyone to be a Rep. we could go back to how the Greeks did it. They had one house that was made up of average citizens who simply showed up that day. It was more like Jury duty but they willingly volunteered to hear legislation and vote.

I dont remember all the details, its been awhile since I read the book (First Democracy I think)

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 19:15 | 3064904 XitSam
XitSam's picture

As I recall, the Athenian Polis was all free men, and they felt it a civic duty to go to all the meetings. Any member of the Polis could speak on an issue. Attending was a problem for the farmers outside the city because they had to travel and could not work their farms and orchards. Athenians also thought there was a maximum size for an efficient Polis (a few thousand?). Sparta, though Greek, had a vastly different society.  Athens kept trying to spread pure democracy, but was often countered by oligarchs, contol of cities would change often. This is from memory, I welcome corrections.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 22:50 | 3065528 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture


Make every citizen a House rep. We have the technology to make it happen. No more Pelosi and Boner.

Then we can have Google Trends tally the public sentiment and use a repurposed HF trading bot to take action on our behalf without even having to think about the consequences. Now THAT'S DEMOCRACY.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:35 | 3064773 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture


Your post was perfect in every way.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:37 | 3064780 Vashta Nerada
Vashta Nerada's picture

As long as the payroll doesn't change, I'm fine with that.  Each member gets  1/45 of a current member's salary.  $3,000 per year is plenty for what they do.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 22:51 | 3065535 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

Only the really lame ones try to get by on the salary even now. It's all about 'the kindness of strangers.'

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:52 | 3064838 dynomutt
dynomutt's picture



Dilution of power to diffuse the influence of lobbyists is definitely the answer.


Also, repeal the 17th Amendment and make the states elect senators again.


What to do about the executive branch now, though?

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 19:22 | 3064937 XitSam
XitSam's picture

I'll present a different solution.  Limit Congress and the President to their actual Constituitonal powers, do away with the income tax amendment, limit spending and therefore the size of government. A federal government with little power and influence would attract few lobbyists and would be easier controlled by the citizens, and not attract career politicans hungry for power.

Limit Government!!!

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 07:29 | 3065961 Catullus
Catullus's picture

Tried that.  Doesn't work.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 20:42 | 3064716 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

I remember that based on the Jacksonian era, the House of Representatives would have about 5,000 members today to have the same proportionality....

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:21 | 3064719 RopeADope
RopeADope's picture

This way Republicans can pretend they are a viable party. Taxation without representation is what ex Goldmanites at Central Banks pursue. Ironic that this graph was produced by the squid.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:44 | 3064809 Racer
Racer's picture

And what good did it do Greece to have more of the thieving, robbing snakes supported per head of population?

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:59 | 3064855 riphowardkatz
riphowardkatz's picture

the graph is somewhat inaccurate. greece only is represented in regard to their law. they have no representation in regard to the amount of currency. and you ask what good it has done greece? billions and billions and billions of of eruos of good. their policiticians for years got them way more then the people produce and continue to do so.



Fri, 12/14/2012 - 22:53 | 3065538 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

If thieving, robbing snakes aren't supported by government salaries, they tend to go independent.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:54 | 3064842 SgtShaftoe
SgtShaftoe's picture

Yes, this is absolutely correct.  That's why the system was originally designed to be bottom-up.  It is often pointed out that Switzerland works this way, where the central government is basically nonexistent.  The power is in the local cantons.  It was the same in the US...until Lincoln.  


Andrea Seabrook, formerly of NPR did an episode on her new project DecodeDC about the same:

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 18:55 | 3064847 MethodMan
MethodMan's picture

This is one of the most direct causes of the usurpation of the federal and many state governments by special, partisan and/or corporate interests over the will of the people, and what tightens the grip of the R/D political duopoly.

You can't get elected in a district with 100,000's of people without a ton of money to run the campaign. That makes candidates ultimately beholden to the two parties and their money masters.

The 17th allows the same thing to happen for senatorial representation. They no longer represent their states as originally intended; they now represent the mostly out-of-state monied interests that got them elected.

With few exceptions, Congress is now fully bought and paid. Term limits will do nothing to stop this dynamic; the House must be expanded and the 17th repealled. The chances of rolling back this 100 year perversion of the Republic is now slim.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 22:16 | 3065462 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

MethodMan from Mish's board?


Fri, 12/14/2012 - 19:02 | 3064864 XitSam
XitSam's picture

I didn't see where it said this was Federal representation although it may be. State reps, county commissioners and city councils (and their equivalents in other countries) don't count? Fed taxes aren't the only thing that bites me. How about a graph of the number of those with police powers vs. population? Or bureaucrats vs. population? Or the number of laws and regulations? Or the size of the tax code?

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 19:16 | 3064907 Right Wing Nut Job
Right Wing Nut Job's picture

The UN website keeps track of few metrics including prisioners per capita which is a good one.  The US not only has the highest in the world, but has the highest in history (or UN records anyway) at 900 prisioners/100,000 citizens.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 19:10 | 3064889 q99x2
q99x2's picture

A crimminal gang runs the US. And, they hire the politicians as front persons. Now at this stage of the game the fraud if eating into the upper middle class and the whole charade is collapsing.

They better give me my white ObamaPhone M'Fers.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 22:42 | 3065510 Louie the Dog
Louie the Dog's picture

What country has the most interns, secretaries, oops...personal assistants, pages, gophers, chauffeurs, body guards, and ass kissers per representaive?  That's where we might do better.

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 23:33 | 3065612 andyupnorth
andyupnorth's picture

It's not quantity; it's quality!

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 00:30 | 3065693 Drag Racer
Drag Racer's picture

I am offended by this whole thought process. I live in Arizona and I can tell you straight up that McCain is in now way a representative of me.

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 12:00 | 3066268 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Face it dudes, if you are middle class then only about three people in Congress represent you. 


Sat, 12/15/2012 - 14:06 | 3066576 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

More big government propaganda.

Signed: an American.

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 19:02 | 3067303 strangewalk
strangewalk's picture

Now we know that the US leadership does not represent us, and it makes no difference if or who you vote for. We need a revolution, how can we get started?  

Sat, 12/15/2012 - 21:30 | 3067629 DaveA
DaveA's picture

If, say, you multiplied the number of Congressmen by 10, you'd have 10x the influence over yours, but he'd have 1/10 as much influence in Congress. Within a fixed-size polity, power is a zero-sum game.

OTOH if authority is delegated to smaller polities*, the power of individual voters is vastly increased. See Iceland, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, Monaco, and Switzerland (where important decisions are made at the cantonal or municipal level), as places where the opinions of citizens actually matter.

*Especially if they're allowed to set their own tax rates. No wonder bureaucrats in Washington and Brussels push so hard for "tax harmonization".

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