The Seventeeth Amendment provided for direct election of Senators, which, say some, is a Bad Thing. This Mises Institute piece presents the case against the Seventeenth:
[T]here are no checks and balances available to the states over federal power or over Congress itself in any area. However, in the history of our country, it was not always this way. In the original design by the Framers of the U.S. Constitution, there was an effective check on Congress through the state legislatures' power to appoint (and remove) United States Senators.
The 17th Amendment caused a failure in the federalist structure, federal deficit spending, inappropriate federal mandates, and federal control over a number of state institutions.
However, the Baseball Crank finds three contemporary justifications for the Seventeenth:
[D]irect election means direct accountability to the voters. It's true, of course, that the voters have a checkered record of holding federal officeholders accountable on issues of spending, regulation and arrogation of federal power. But time and time again we have seen that the directly elected branches of government, and only the directly elected branches of government, will stand up for conservative principles on taxes, national security, and especially social issues. Why? In part because of the "elite consensus" phenomenon, where people who answer only to other politicians end up listening only to other politicians and the things they believe in, rather than being compelled to tailor their ears as well as their messages to the population as a whole.
One of the developments that disturbs me most about federal spending, whether it's done through pork-barrel earmarks, block grants, or entitlement programs, is the tendency to use the vast revenue-raising powers of the federal government to raise money, and then kick it back to states and localities to spend. More local control of how funds are spent may be the lesser of evils here, but either way, state and local officials are getting the retail political benefits of handing out goodies, without being held responsible for having extracted the money from taxpayers for things they might not have agreed to pay for if given the choice. Because the money comes from the vast federal till, people are less apt to think of it as coming out of their own, local community. If you think we could solve this accountability shell game by creating a class of Senators whose only constituency is state legislators ... well, it just wouldn't work.
Consider: the Senate is the only legislative body among the two Houses of Congress and the various state legislatures where the elected officials don't get to choose their voters. At present, s