By Chris Barts
In the American system, the government has no rights. The government has powers, and powers must be checked. A strong, functional government is a powerful tool society uses to enforce the laws that defend the individual citizen. Like any powerful tool, it must have safety features built in or else it becomes a hazard. The Constitution is just such a safety feature. Term limits are another. Congressional term limits are a safety feature that needs to be created.
Without term limits on Congress, incumbents can stay in office so long they no longer know what their constituents care about or want done. Voters deserve to have good choices when election time comes. Having on the ticket someone who's been in office for thirty years thwarts the will of the people by denying them a true option when it comes to getting the person of their choice in office.
If congressmen were held to the same standards as the President when it comes to how long they get in office, the people would have an election where average people get elected, not career politicians.
It is career politicians term limits that are aimed to curb. If a congressman knows he's not going to be able to hold onto his position for a long time, he's more likely to vote the way he thinks is right, and not the way that will increase his comfort level while he's in office, but may be to the detriment of the will of the people.
For example, according to an NTUF (National Taxpayer's Union Foundation) study, "the 64 members from Congress' Freshman (first-term congressman) class of 1994, who did not voluntarily pledge to cap their service, proposed an average of $6.8 billion in annual spending increases during the 104th Congress. By the 105th Congress, however, the typical non-limiter's agenda had quadrupled to $29.1 billion." That equals a lot more tax money that they said we'd have to pay. The same study goes on to say, "the five members first elected in 1994 who did promise to limit their tenure in office ended their first term in Congress with an agenda that would, if enacted in its entirety, cut spending by $17.3 billion annually. At the end of the 105th Congress, the average agenda of these would-be cutters remained intact, as $17.3 billion per year." So those who limit their time in office vote how they know is right, not what might help them. That saves us, the taxpayers, money, and it helps democracy.
Citizen Legislatures, those who get into office to reform the system and further the cause of democracy, help us all. They realize the importance of restricting government. They know how strong a tool a functioning system is, and they want to fix our system to make it work even better. They aren't in it to get rich off our labor and tax dollars. They're in it to make sure we can pass on a good country with a good government. Implementing term limits for Congress is a very good idea. Its time has come, and it's indeed past due.
Let's help democracy.