A 60 percent vote in both Houses is necessary to raise or spend money.
Congress shall have no power to pass any Bill for raising revenue or for appropriating money unless it is approved by three-fifths of both Houses.
One of the biggest weaknesses of a democracy is the tyranny of the majority. Our Constitution attempted to guard against the tyranny of the majority by creating a republican form of government. This was based upon the assumption that elected representatives would work together to pursue goals that are in the best interest of the country. Yet, the record shows that most elected leaders are more interested in continuing in power or advancing their personal ambitions than in pursuing the interests of the country. Any survey of what has occurred in America illustrates that this is exactly what has happened.
Politicians putting their own interests ahead of those of the country has resulted in a highly polarized system of government pursuant to which the victor at the polls, even though achieving victory by only a few percentage points, claims a mandate of support for the particular platform which formed the basis for his or her re-election. The polarization that has occurred from this phenomenon has made it impossible for the political parties to work together and has generated an opportunity for the minority to make claims that it would never make if it were in power and accountable for the consequences of its positions.
We have to remember that politicians advocate policies that they represent to be in the public interest but which at the same time assure their reelection. These policies, as we have discerned in these commentaries, generate a plethora of unintended consequences. Policy making is a hazardous business and should be cautiously exercised.
The illusion that the victor at the polls represents the country is illustrated by voting data over the past fifty years as recorded by Congress. We have assembled this data which illustrate that not a single elected President, representative or senator in the last fifty years has received a majority of the votes of the citizens of the United States who are qualified to vote.
While it is lamentable that many Americans simply do not register to vote or, if registered, do not vote, it cannot be accepted as true that those who do vote represent the majority or that the successful candidate has a mandate from the majority. Because of this, every elected representative becomes a fiduciary not only for those who have chosen not to vote but also for the young who are not yet of voting age who represent an estimated 24 percent of the citizen population.
In order to honor the fiduciary obligation associated with the young and those who do not vote, all elected representatives have a duty to consider not only their own platforms but the platforms that all the people would find acceptable and in their short-term and long-term best interests. In order to do this, we believe a 60 percent vote on taxing and appropriation bills is an essential reminder that a majority of elected representatives do not have an unaccountable power and represent not just their constituency but all Americans. In like manner, it requires that minorities not be intransient in their opposition to the majority in power but work together. In fact, a 60 percent vote requirement will likely foster minority parties that, upon forming coalitions with other parties, will give minorities more influence and increase overall accountability.
Proactive harmony is a recipe for a more holistic view of American interests and honors the gift from Hermes as related by Protagoras in Plato’s writings:
Whenever they gathered into groups [early human beings] would do wrong to each other because they did not yet have the knowledge of how to form society. As a result they would scatter again and perish. And so Zeus, fearing that our whole species would be wiped out, sent Hermes to bring reverence and justice to human beings, in order that these two would adorn society and bind people together in friendship. Protagoras, Plato’s Protagoras, 322 c.