What About Congressional Term Limits?
There is a small but potentially growing movement to set term limits for members of Congress. The idea is to prevent the “career politician,” because that is what breeds the corruption and complacency from those Washington DC elites. I believe the idea of “term limits” is a noble idea and any politician that has made efforts to implement them legislatively (i.e. Ted Cruz) should be commended. But one of my friends by the name of Evan Davis made me realize that term limits may only address the symptom at best and at worse just give the problem of corruption a different dynamic.
As somebody who sees the political influence lobby/special interest groups have and how some of them tilt that influence away from “we the people” and their best interest, I am convinced Evan is onto something. Here is Evan’s explanation and proposed solution…
“Ok, so here’s why I believe term limits are not the real root problem and why legislating term limits isn’t the solution and could potentially lead to bigger problems down the road for our country…
We already have term limits, they are called elections. If you don’t win your election, your term ends. (Complaints of “rigged elections” generally speaking and across the board are way overstated and exaggerated. Donald Trump’s presidential win itself proves this to be true).
If your constituents think you’re doing a poor job, then they won’t re-elect you.
If they believe you are doing a good job, then they will.
Term limits will actually force good members of congress out, people like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee for example.
We say and often think that term limits will get rid of the bad long term people like Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid who for some reason keep getting elected. You are correct and replace them with potentially as bad people. I’ll explain that in a minute.
Term limits aren’t the problem, the bad people keep getting re-elected not because of lack of term limits, but because of money.
And there is the problem and now that we know what the problem is we can come up with a solution.
So here’s a solution:
Instead of introducing legislation for term limits, introduce legislation that makes it illegal to accept money or benefits from lobbyists/special interest groups, punishable by vacating your position and not being able to run for national office again. Lobbying is nothing more than bribing publicly elected officials.
Members of congress are elected to represent people in their district or state. But lobbying causes members of congress to represent someone else and get a bonus doing it. Thus leading them to ignore the people and with enough money to buy propaganda to get them re-elected and leaving the uniformed voter none the wiser.
After making accepting lobbyist money illegal, pass legislation that will cap members of congress pay to that of the household median income from the year before. If the economy is up and the median income is up, then they get a raise for the next year. If it’s down, then so goes their pay, or it at least stays the same. This will force members of congress to really work to improve their constituents way of life.
Pass legislation for members of congress to have to pay into a retirement plan like the rest of Americans and not benefit from life long pay after leaving office. Also, make sure they are not exempt from any law they pass like healthcare. What’s good enough for the people, should be good enough for them. In essence let’s start treating our representatives like they are just like their constituents.
This also makes running for office motivated by pure intentions and not for the thirst for money or power, but really for trying to make a difference. These things alone will really “drain the swamp” and eliminate the corrupt politicians.
Here’s why legislating term limits won’t fix the problem in Washington:
If we don’t do the above solutions, term limits won’t fix the problem. All we have done is changed how lobbyists will operate. Lobbyists won’t have a long-term relationship with members of congress…they will have to resort to shorter relationships. Lobbyists will be further motivated to push money into campaigns and using veteran/on the way out members of congress to influence incoming members of congress to carry on the agenda of the lobbyists. So it’ll just be a different face if the same cloth.
In short, the problem isn’t members of congress sitting in the chair too long, but it is members of congress who are bought and paid for and have the security of sitting in the chair and ignoring their constituents.”
I brought up the First Amendment rights of lobbyists/special interest groups to Evan, and I believe he has a logical answer for that too…
“They can still make calls to their senators or congressmen and congresswomen. They just don’t need to give money to them, because when they do, they are only making the speech of “we the people” less influential than theirs.”
This would simply give every voice the much more equal level and playing field that they deserve. And isn’t that what we really need?
Top 6 on BarbWire.com
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.