Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Term Limits Are Long Overdue

My libertarian leanings have previously lead me to believe that term limits for congress are wrong. My old argument was that the voters should have no arbitrary limit placed on who they can choose to represent them. My opinion was great in theory, but didn't hold water in practice. The power of incumbency coupled with gerrymandered districts means most congressmen once first elected can be in office nearly for rest of their life. The founders original intention was that our congressional representatives would be accomplished citizens who would visit the capital a couple times a year to provide oversight to the federal government and protect their home state from government tyranny. Now, for good or bad (I obviously believe it is bad), congress is a full time job with sufficient compensation to entice them to stay and make a career out of what used to be public service. This has to change for there to be any hope of government reform. Congressional lifers are too much a part of government to seriously be expected to reform the current bloated mess. The chart below shows some of the worst of the worst. The majority of them were probably decent, idealistic people when first running for office. However, decades in DC corrupted them or brought out the worst in them. Regardless, it is very clear that we'd be better served by selecting tax payers at random from each district to serve for a single term than by continuing the current perverse system of electing congressmen and senators basically for life. Please consider signing the petition to enact term limits. I would also recommend an Amendment to the Constitution to repeal the 17th Amendment. Direct election by popular vote of U.S. senators was an awful idea which has directly lead to a much stronger federal government as senators are more beholden to monied backers than to the states who sent them to DC. If you agree with me on term limits for congress and ending direct election of senators, contact your state representatives and push the idea. These changes have to come from the people. Congress will never be part of fixing congress and nothing else will get reformed (tax code, whatever) without fixing congress first.


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