Author Topic: Term Limiting  (Read 584 times)

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Offline EC

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Term Limiting
« on: July 18, 2014, 02:34:48 AM »
Nope - not going there. Way smarter people have discussed the pros and cons of term limits since the first elected politician rose out of the primordial swamp, blinked, and dove back in to avoid the disinfecting sun.

Instead we are talking about term limiting. The tendency of politicians to think in specific blocks of time, rather than in terms of what is actually beneficial to the country as a whole. For a congresscritter it basically breaks down to one year pandering to the base. One year spent thinking about the long term implications. One year pandering to the base. The final year is spent begging for money, kissing reluctant babies (or babes, in some cases) and pretending to listen to the voters.

It makes for people focused on short term goals. Nothing wrong with short term, but a country is multi-generational. Doing what is best for the country is not always going to show immediate results. That means not always immediate money in pocket, votes at the polling booth, and bribes from lobbyists.

Take, for example, the Highways fund. In theory, 10 cents on the dollar (roughly) for gas goes into that fund, to pay for maintenance and upgrades to the interstate system. Totally sensible, right? It's self maintaining, self perpetuating, and the more wear and tear on the freeways, the more money rolls into the fund. Any sensible political system would probably adopt the same model.

Roads are not glamorous. You need them to get from A to B, but you don't really notice them. The only time you care about them at all is when a pothole destroys a tire or a Governor shuts a bridge for political gain. That pool of cash is swayable votes. You can use it to do some politically happy project, knowing full well that people are going to bitch about the state of the roads quietly. It's short term. It benefits the politician. It may even (briefly) benefit the electorate. But in the long term it's a mugs game.

So - what do you do?

I would suggest a three pronged approach.

Firstly - a law in the House has to be explicitly funded and no pork permitted. No additions, no riders, no advantageous stuffing of funds. Want to write a law that says Wisconsin cheese has to be used on every US based aircraft? Go for it. Explain how it is going to be paid for (I'd suggest a surcharge on Brie imports - that stuff is foul) and that is it. No folding in money for an arts foundation into the same bill. A million here and a million thee soon adds up.

Secondly - Put Senators back where they belong. Serving at the pleasure of and for the benefit of their respective states. A Senator should come out, guns blazing to protect his state - that is a given. His state, not his own ass. It should be easier to remove a useless senator than it is to pluck an errant eyelash.

Finally - A minimum of 60 days between a bill being introduced and it being voted on. An average person can polish off a 600 page book in an night. Congresscritters are much slower, but 60 days should give them enough time to read the Cliff Noes version.
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