During this election season there hardly goes a day that I don’t see a request on social media asking me to support term limits for Congress. I scream at the computer screen ‘Hell yes!’. Then I start making rules in my head.
I propose something like this: A person can only serve a total of twelve years in the House (six terms), twelve years in the Senate (two terms), eight years as vice president (two terms) and we already have a term limit of eight years (two terms) in the White House. The total time a person can serve as an elected official in the federal government would be 40 years. Like the military you must move up or move out.
Term limits would make serving in the House a competition for making it to the Senate and serving in the Senate would be a competition for the White House. Competition makes everything better, right? Plus, the new 28th Amendment’s Trump rule would make serving in Congress or as governor a prerequisite to run for president. The resume of a candidate has to have more than cash and name recognition.
Then after I get all that out of my system I start to do a some reading on the topic and formulate a quasi-educated opinion on the topic. This is where I have to apologize because I’m going to flip the script. As nice as Congressional term limits sounds, especially now when Congress’ approval rating is just north of 10% and sinking, it is not feasible.
First, the representatives are chosen by the states. They are a part of the federal government but represent their state. It should be up to states to decide if they want to limit terms. In my opinion the federal government has already usurped enough power from the states.
Second, it’s been tried at the state level and failed. The presumptive reason for term limits is to reduce the influence lobbyists have over long-term Congressmen. The reality is that lobbyists have more influence over a less experienced Congress.
Third, attack the root cause. If the problem is undue influence by lobbyist over politicians then change the laws of that relationship. It’s the corruption and pandering to special interests, perceived or real, that we’re really worried about.
The real power lies with the citizens IF we pay attention. Voter apathy is as big a problem as politicians not performing in the best interest of their constituents. I imagine since those that don’t enter Congress as millionaires come out that way that they are making money above their $180,000 per year salary. It’s the Crony Capitalism relationship we need to change. For Congressmen that don’t live up to expectations it’s up to us as an informed electorate to limit terms.