Is Two Always Better Than One?

Trip Start May 10, 2010
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Trip End Jun 19, 2010


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Flag of Portugal  , Estremadura,
Friday, May 14, 2010

The governments between the US and Portugal vary in one major way, US has a two-house legislature while Portugal has a single-house legislature. This provides many differences in the way government is run as well as how the people see the governing bodies. Also, the way the members of Parliament are elected differ from how Representatives and Senators are. However, the Portuguese government has one major factor that affects the power the government has and that is the European Union. 
A single house brings many advantages to a legislature such as the decrease of red tape in law making. In a two house structure, both house must see the bill and vote on it, and sometimes the bill can be passed back and forth between houses. This can cause less laws to be put to action through the duration of a session; also, writers of bills maybe discouraged from provisions in the chance that it can cause the bill to be failed. Another advantage of a single-house government, the single house holds more power than the distributed power between two houses. Consider the US on a single-house legislature, with less red tape, more bills could be passed. However, whatever party controlled the house, their party ideals would be implemented into the government policies. The populations can often view the conflict between the House and the Senate as a degradation of the popular vote as a Senators vote can be nullified by the veto of the President or the House. A single-house can bring more confidence to the popular vote and the citizen of the US. 
Portugal uses a party list electoral system as well as the D'Hondt method. With D'Hondt, people vote in blocs of the different parties and then the electorates on the party list are the ones put in Parliament. This type of electing is a disincentive for smaller parties to attempt to break into politics. Also, the elected members have an incentive to stay true to their party regardless of what the constituents interests are. However, corruption can be reduced as members do not need to beg for campaign funds or make deals with lobbyists and others. If the US ever moved to this system, there would be mass protest as the American people would feel as if some of their own rights were taken away. One major way that a person can win an election is through media face time and popular perception. 
While the Portuguese government has different aspects of government from the US, they are still in a similar in the current economic problems. One could think that Portugal should be prosperous and with the differences in government able to dig itself out of a recession. However, there is a major factor that changes the Parliaments power, the European Union. The European Union restricts the power of Portugal with its monetary policy. Portugal is not able to pull itself out of the recession nearing bankruptcy with monetary policy which hurts the country. The presence of the EU could be the cause in similar economic situation but differing legislature systems. 
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