Thursday, January 5, 2017

Term Limits Needed to Remove Dead Wood

© Getty Images
I love this photo of Sen. Ted Cruz. With his arms folded, the body language reads that no amount of bullying and cajoling by the press will change his mind about term limits. Cruz is resolute in fixing Washington D.C., which is precisely what Texas voters sent him there to do.

The talk of term limits should delight Donald Trump voters as well. Term limits play a part in Trump's first 100 day plan. Yet there are those snotty responses from establishment GOP dinosaurs like Mitch McConnell that claim, "We have term limits - they're called elections." It shouldn't be any surprise that McConnell has served 32 years.

Those career politicians currently serving will start the clock at their next election, so one can see why this will have a difficult time garnering mass support and clearing Congress. As with most efforts to limit the power in D.C., I am sure we will watch this die a quite death.

I totally get both sides of the term limit argument. On one hand, people say that we already have term limits through the election process, that limits will simply perpetuate endless lame-duck sessions, and that payments covering the rotation of people once they are out will cost taxpayers even more money, with all those extra bodies on the payroll. On the other hand, people say that we cannot allow for a career mentality of those who are serving themselves, instead of serving their constituents, and that the lack of term limits has caused the mess in D.C. that most everyone agrees must be overhauled.

I support term limits for three reasons. First, the argument for the election process as a limiting factor is predicated on an educated voting population. Sadly, we have an incredibly stupid voting population that does not research their candidates, and decades of data analysis and precedence to prove this case. Historically there have been hundreds of politicians serving 30+ years, some as many as 59 years. Even 20 years is unacceptable. Yet, time and again, people vote for candidates simply because they heard the name before, and any person who has worked on a campaign and greeted at the polls has witnessed this in action. 

Next, our founding fathers never anticipated the legislative branch to be compelling or lucrative enough to serve as a career. These seats were supposed to be filled with the people's people. The servant mindset was overthrown as they voted themselves pay increases and found great pleasure in cronyism. Once in, they enjoy a very lucrative stint. The argument that taxpayers will foot a larger bill for an increased rotating cast of characters is unfounded, considering the premise that using the election process to successfully term out politicians will net the exact same result. The high cost comes from politicians setting their own salaries, not the length of their terms. Still, through history we have seen successful use of term limits for the executive branch, and there is nothing to suggest it will not be successful for the legislative or even judicial branches.

Finally, we must make holding office an inconvenience to the point that those who run, really want to do it for more than the money and notoriety, and there is plenty of that. There will be plenty of time for a politician's effect with 12 total years in the Senate and six total years in the House. Beyond that, who needs them?

We must put an end to the petrified wood, and the agents creating the scenario which has permanently taking over the forest. Even fires serve their purpose in the regeneration of a forest.