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Sat Feb 2, 2013, 02:49 AM

 

Term Limits Now

Term limits, no lifetime healthcare, working 5 day weeks and pay reductions to 40 grand a year max!! Most of them don't deserve to be treated any different than those of us they look down upon.

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Term Limits Now (Original post)
lotsofsnowplease Feb 2013 OP
David in Canada Feb 2013 #1
lotsofsnowplease Feb 2013 #4
DevinCurtis Mar 2013 #5
cyberswede Mar 2013 #6
Sherman A1 Feb 2013 #2
ProgressiveProfessor Feb 2013 #3

Response to lotsofsnowplease (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 03:40 AM

1. Horrible Idea

Term limits is a horrible idea. Besides taking away the rights of citizens to return members of Congress that they like, it would also amplify the gridlock as institutional memory will fade. Also, in state legislatures with term limits, respect for customs and institutions are diminished and the balance of power is further skewed towards staff and lobbyists.

If term limits were implemented, once they finally take effect (remember that when term limits are passed, the clock starts at the next election. All members elected at the first election after ratification would start at Term 1 for the purposes of the limit), years of institutional memory would be lost. Old timers that can recall long ago parallels with current legislation and warn of its dangers will be gone. Camaraderie and relationships are often necessary to forge compromises. Is it any wonder how much the comity of the Senate that allowed bills to get voted on without a myriad of filibusters has dissipated since senators like Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy, Claiborne Pell and Ernest Hollings as well as Republicans like Mark Hatfield, John Danforth and even Bob Dole have left the scene? It is because they were able to relate to them as human beings rather than some ambiguous 'other' to be destroyed in a zero-sum game.

As it is, most of Congress (60%+) took office in 2005 or later and would still be eligible to serve even if term limits were currently in effect. Nigh all of the teabaggers are in their first and second terms in the House or are first term senators and would still be where they are today even with the most stringent term limits proposed. It is mostly newer members of the House and Senate who are causing the mayhem and confusion in the process.

Another point. Even if every teabagger were to be term limited, who do you think the voters of their constituency would vote for? For example, the electors of Texas' 1st District aren't going to be electing a Dennis Kucinich or Alan Grayson if Louie Gohmert were to be precluded from the ballot.

States that have strict term limits like Michigan have no institutional memory and with it, respect for the institutions and customs themselves fall to the wayside. Staff members are, more or less, effectively the boss of the elected members and members tend to turn to organizations like ALEC to find bills to push through. It is not a coincidence that libertarian-types and the Koch Brothers love themselves some term limits.

In regards to your other points:

I think all Americans should have a comprehensive health care system like we enjoy and cherish here in Canada. I also believe that elected officials should have equal access to it as any other citizen would enjoy.

As for working 5 day weeks, most politicians do. However, due to the insane system of campaign finance (the real culprit behind the gridlock), one or two of them are spent dialing for dollars. In actual functional democracies, members spend their time meeting with constituents and addressing their concerns. If anything, time spent in committee or on the House floor is among the easiest part of their duties!

As for pay reductions, severe reduction in the rate of pay would make it impossible for an elected official to not be corrupt. While $40,000 is a decent income, one most remember that the average American does not require two places to live and does not need to fly to and fro in order to work every week either. If they can't make ends meet, they'll be more tempted to take bribes or vote for legislation in return for a high paying job once the aforementioned term limits came into effect. Can you imagine what effect having a bunch of naive but well-intentioned amateurs in Congress with incredible low pay would have on legislation? The Koch Brothers and Jack Abramoff's in this world would have a field day! If you thought the costs of congressional pay is excessive now, imagine what it would be when it was severely cut! What ever saving earned would be lost (and then some) due to the special giveaways given away.

Also, at very low pay, you'd likely attract a lower calibre of candidates. The ambitious ones would just go into lobbying and decent candidates would just pursue other interests. You'd be left with millionaires, the unemployable, grifters and those who live a monastic lifestyle. Forget about having working mothers ever running for Congress ever again too.

Term limits as a solution is clear, simple ... and wrong. It would be far better to address campaign financing, reduce the election period to a period of several months instead of the perpetual elections Americans currently suffer from and require broadcast networks to allow each candidate a minimum quota of airtime to state their case and require equal coverage of candidates in news stories.

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Response to David in Canada (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 07:11 PM

4. More words than needed in your winded essay

 

While rationalizing and justifying your support for the way it is set up. Many other legal walls would be put up to prevent scum of the earth like the Koch's from implimenting under the table cash for favors. Get bozo's like them out of the elections pictures, let regular people in (they are smart ya know, it takes more than a degree to be someone, life experience is worth more than a degree and trusted more as well. Lower the money threshold!!
You speak quite well and you speak like you are a politician.
From Canada? What state do you represent...

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Response to David in Canada (Reply #1)


Response to DevinCurtis (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 12:44 AM

6. Could you please not use the word "crone?"

...it makes you look like you don't actually know the meaning of the word.

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Response to lotsofsnowplease (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 04:43 AM

2. You have them already

It's called the election cycle. It can be tough to defeat an incumbent, but it can and will again be done.

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Response to lotsofsnowplease (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:11 AM

3. Look at the results of term limits in California

Which are mixed at best.

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