18.3 C
New York
Thursday, December 8, 2022

Latest Posts

Make ‘the swamp’ drain itself | Columnists

Instead of waiting for our elected officials to finally ‘drain the swamp’ of political insiders in the U.S. Senate and House, we should insist the swamp drain itself.

Term limits would do just that.

At Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln spoke of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the benefits of those last two clauses.

Too many of our elected officials become all about getting re-elected. Beating an incumbent is tough. And the longer they serve? The more difficult it becomes to defeat them.

And the stink of the swamp grows.

Serving in D.C. too long causes our reps to lose sight of the public they represent, they become detached from the reality of everyday life. It’s the lives of everyday people they need to be fighting for in our nation’s capital.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has been in the U.S. Senate for 41 years. Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vermont, decided not run for re-election after serving 47 years.

Four decades is a long time removed from punching a clock and having to put food on the table and a roof over their families’ heads.

We’ve become “a government of the people, by the government and for themselves.”

Serving becomes a full-time gig for some of our elected representatives. And at $174,000 per year, it’s a really nice gig.

Term limits would fix that.

People would go to Washington, bring in new ideas, and before those ideas get really, really stale, they’d be out.

New blood would come in, blood fresh from the pool of real Americans, living real lives.

We would no longer have political dynasties that exist solely to perpetuate themselves. As British politician Lord Acton so eloquently wrote in the 19th century, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Term limits would bring a more fair distribution of power, too.

A freshman senator has little clout compared to someone like Grassley. The same is true in the House.

Why run if you can’t really make a difference?

But if there were term limits, important committee assignments would be distributed more on merit and less on longevity (since longevity would be capped). Less power, less corruption, a less-stinky swamp.

Throwing a number out there, what if congressmen were limited to three, four-year terms (doubling up on the length they would serve would give them more of a chance to be productive).

Senators, under the Getts Proposal, would also be limited to two, six-year terms.

What kind of impact would that have? As of Jan. 3, 2021, a government website said, 40 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives had served more than 12 years The Getts Proposal would affect less than 10% of those currently serving.

The impact would be larger in the U.S. Senate, where 39 of the 100 elected members have more than a dozen years holding that office.

Under terms of the Getts Proposal, only one of a state’s two senators could come from the ranks of Congress. Let’s get more business people overseeing the people’s business, and fewer career politicians.

Let’s get back to having citizen legislators. Our Founding Fathers weren’t career politicians.

George Washington couldn’t wait to get back to his home.

Let’s be more like Washington and Lincoln, less like Grassley and Leahy.

Source link

Latest Posts

Don't Miss

news digest

Get updates on todays breaking news and special announcements.