A Limit Term Solution That Will Pass
By: Christopher M. Barra
By: Christopher M. Barra, M. S.
Human nature dictates that we all act in our own individual self-interest. To expect Unites States Congressmen and Senators to act any differently is not logical. To believe they will place our happiness and freedom above their own is simply contrary to human nature. I place my happiness and prosperity before others without shame. I Admit it.
The problem we face as citizens is that the personal self-interest of legislators is all too often diametrically opposed to our own. Like our own, their interest is in maintaining power, position and social standing; therefore, we should expect that they would act in ways that will best enable them to succeed.
In order for them achieve their goals, they must directly interfere with our ability to accomplish ours. Bringing home the pork, buying votes, wealth redistribution and government programs encourages voters to support them, resulting in re-election, and maintaining power. Simple. Logical. â€“ but it interferes with our personal ambitions because it takes our money to achieve their goals. We have to limit this access to our funds. But how? They would never support term limits on themselves; â€“ or would they if the right proposal were to be suggested?
The argument opposed to term limits goes something like this, â€œWe already have them. All voters have to do is vote us outâ€. Well, with Congressmen serving for decades at a time, and Senators finally being ousted when they are closer to 100 than retirement age only following felony convictions, we all know that the power of incumbency is a nearly insurmountable obstacle for a challenger. They stay as long as they can because they enjoy the job and power. Who wouldnâ€™t? Most of us are not strong enough to resist the temptations of those lofty positions and would also do what we could to stay there. Human nature is what it is.
We have to use this natural human instinct of self-interest to our advantage. This may seem distasteful at first, but consider the following:
Term limits for only for new, incoming Congressmen and Senators. (President and Vice President are already limited). Yes, those in office now absolutely are the problem; but they donâ€™t know we know it. They are not public servants, they are our rulers. Grandfather the old vermin because we know we canâ€™t win that fight. Lets focus on winning the war; this battle is already lost.
Hereâ€™s why we might be able to win with this approach:
Those in office now would actually gain even more power because the new guys would only be â€œTempsâ€ – as originally intended by our constitution. The old guard would have seniority for chairmanships, influence and power brokering. Since they could be ousted only by vote, they would become stronger and stronger (just like now), but even more so because they would encounter less competition from those coming in. This advantage would be obvious to them. They would likely support increasing their own power this way because they could continually to be re-elected and gain more and more power, which is in accord with their own personal self-interested goal.
Our advantage as citizens is that the newly acquired power the old guard may wield would be temporary to the individual, not the body politic. Once they are gone there would be no up-and-coming lifelong politician to whom to hand the baton of everlasting influence and control.
Sidebar: Many constituents believe there is a real problem in congress, but not their congressman. These people might oppose strictly enforced limits on all, because they would apply to their own Congressman, who is not the problem in their eyes because he brings home the bacon to their own district. This proposal, with the â€œgrand-fatheringâ€ clause would even gain these idiots support because they can continue to vote for their own parasite â€“ until he loses an election.
Without the resulting benefits of re-election, legislators would know that they would have to pay their share of the cost too. Under the current unlimited system, they either bring home the pork, or risk the wrath of slighted voters and the support of miffed colleagues. Term-limited legislators wouldnâ€™t engage in these shenanigans at all because it would no longer be in their personal self-interest to do so. In fact, not only would it not directly benefit them any more, it would hurt them as much as does us. They would truly be one of us again.
We can count on people to act selfishly; it is human nature. Letâ€™s use it, and win with it.
The simple proposal: One six year term in congress, two six year terms for Senate. President and VP already limited so no change there. Current Senators and Congressmen are grand-fathered with no limits as they are now. Theoretically, one could still enjoy a 34 year career in national politics without being appointed to cabinet posts or other positions: 6 years in the Congress, 12 in the Senate, and 16 more as VP and President = 34 years. Thatâ€™s enough.
Term-limited elected officials would instinctively be less corrupt. This proposal is not about eliminating the overbearing, power hungry, corrupt, ruling class elitists, we canâ€™t; it is about never allowing them to be replaced. Since we can logically expect each of us, including new congressmen to act in his or her own self-interest, we can now expect that Congressional goals will be similar to our own.
In the absence of a lifetime ruling position, self-interest would suggest that a Congressman or Senator would now support fiscally responsible national legislation because they would soon have to live, work and raise families under their own laws, and would want to pay less for government when forced to return to the private sector. Government would naturally become smaller, more frugal, and who knows, maybe even the Fair Tax could be resurrected.
Think about it. Grandfather the current parasites. Yes they will temporarily have more power until they retire, which is why they will support it. Sometimes we have to take a step backwards to take a giant step forward. The host body may initially suffer some hemorrhaging, but like an old fashioned blood-letting, it will be gradually cleansed and purified.
The alternative term limits is to surrender our children and grandchildren to omnipotent rulers.