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Term limits for public office or Rotation in Office is an obligation that must be implemented based on the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution for the best intertest of America specialy on the Federal Level because many states and municipalities already have the term limits to run for office.
My proposal for Federal Term limits:
1- SENATE -----> Limited 3 Terms, Each 4years = 12years max.
2- CONGRESS----> Limited 4 Terms, Each 3years = 12years max.
3- PRESIDENT----> Limited 1 Term = 6years because on the actual 2 terms each 4years, president is wasting 2 years on election, it is better to actualizate it to 6years.
4- VICE PRESIDENT----> Limited 2 Terms, Each 6years.
5- SUPREME COURT----> Limited 1 Term = 12years and they must be independents.
Term limits for Federal ,State & Municipal Office------->>>Eleminates special interests groups/lobbyists + Increases Performance/Result + Actualize Efforts + Balance the powers + Meritocracy vs Seniority + High quality of legislation.
Overall, I agree on term limits. We have had term limits within Florida for Governor and State Legislature for a while and it works fairly well.
The overall term limits for each office need to consider several important factors including but not limited to retirement vesting, purpose of position, committee structure,majority/minority leadership post and independence from party pressures.
Under today's federal retirement rules (which includes elected/appointed folk) five years service are necessary for vesting. The two-versus-six year dfferential between representative-senator terms was to provide overlap and "corporate memory" within the legislature rather than losing it all in each election.
With term limits, seniority goes out the window regarding most Congressional leadership posts, and would require internal-Congress elections to various leadership posts. Such elections would inevitably follow party lines, so majority-party control of Congressional Houses would still remain.
The "corporate memory" factor is one reason why Senatorial elections are staggered with one-third of the Senate seats up-for-grabs every two years.
Supreme Court - This is a tough one for many reasons. The US Constitution does not provide for a minimum-maximum number of justices wthin the Supreme Court, and Congress dertermines how many justices there will be. It started at six, went as high as ten, and in 1869 became nine. Theoretically, Congress can change the number at any time, and nothing currently stops a situation where when the President and the majority in both Congressional Houses are of the same party to raise the number of justices and appoint/confirm a bunch in a hurry. Also, the "lifetime tenure" is not addressed in the Constitution.
Based on the above, and how it has worked in Florida, I suggest the following terms be considered via a Constitutional Amendment::
President - leave as-is at two four-year terms maximum. It has worked and the Amendment putting it into effect is not that old, qnd allow for some governmental overlap.
Vice President - same logic as above.
Senate - one six-year term only. The length of term, combined with the staggered Senatorial election process, allows for keeipng "corporate memory" without creating "professional senators. Since each state's senators do not appear on the same ballot, the state's interests are always safe.
Representative - three two-year terms maximum. There is no reason that a representative's total time in office should be longer than a senator's total time.
Additional Congreseional Restriction - a minimum of two years separation-of-Congressional-service must occur before a person who has been a senator or representative can serve in the other Congressional House. As an example, a one-term senator must be out-of-office for at least two years before s/he can be sworn in as a representative.
Supreme Court - A total number of eleven (thus adding two) justices, each appointed/confirmed for a twenty-year term or to age 75 years (whichever comes first). The determination of who serves as Chief Justice shall be determined solely by the sitting justices via an internal-Court election every four years. The Chief Justice shall be paid an annual salary equal to the President, and the remaining justices shall be paid an annual salary equal to the Vice President. ((This helps keep the Court independent from downstream personal political pressure)).
The hardest part of this is getting sufficient citizen demand and initiatives for an Amendment which effectively stifles "Congressional political offceholder" as a lifetime career path. It's a safe bet to say that the current herd of congresscritters will fight such initiatives from ever gaining ballot access.
I'm about to leave for the Grand Canyon in a few minutes, but just to put in my two cents:
It seems to me that term limits are not in the spirit of meritocracy. Sure, it would remove underperformers quite systematically, but it would remove quality congressmen in the same fashion. Say, for example, the Honorable Rep. Smith serves out his three two-year terms, then is ineligible for re-election. He is then succeeded by a representative that is, by comparison, HORRIBLE. This way, his district has just lost the better congressman and there was nothing they could do about it.
Again, just seems to me that we, who claim to support a meritocracy, would support a code that destroys a merit-based (though perverted quite a bit) system.
The problem is not one of merit, but of transferred loyalty.
When I lived/worked in DC I got to see face-to-face the change in idealistic and truly representative congressfolk into party-dependent careerists whose homes changed from wherever to the DC region. Their lives were centered in DC society, the kids went to school in the DC region and became socially wired there, and "home" after the second or third rep's term (and the second senatorial term) was DC. The the state/district was the campaign ground and no longer home.
Add to this party-dependency. While the new congrrssperson may have had high ideals and planned to "vote his/her conscience" and not the party line, that gets changed when the party makes it clear that party re-election campaign funds are based on how well the congressperson adheres to party direction, and that "failure to comply" results in support for a different candidate in the next primary. With the family/social pressure to remain in the new "home'" which can only occur with reelection, compliance to party demands happens.Add to it all is the patronage-riddled seniority system which provdes everything from select committee assignments/chairmanships, preferred office locations, preferred parking, and a whole host of other perquisites, reelection becomes narcotic.
As far as having a "good" congressperson, it is highly unlikely that in any state there are only two folk who are competent to be senator, and that in any district there is only one person qualified to be representative, and that such a situation reigns supreme for 10-15-20-30-40 years. The entire idea of a citizen-government is for rotation of the representatives, otherwise a pseudo-fiefdom ruled by a pseudo-prince or pseudo-duke occurs which is perennially protected by the pseudo-royal "House of Democrat" or "House of Republican." All one has to do is look at how the Senate has become a pseudo House of Lords with almost all Senators attaining double-digit decade+ seniority. Perhaps the best example of the attitude is when Candidate Brown in Massachusetts, when asked by a news anchor why Brown thought he should have the late Ted Kennedy's seat in the Senate, responded' "it isn't Ted Kennedy's seat - it's the people's seat!"
So, the concept of forcing seat-rotation has a lot of merit. If the incumbent did a superior job, great! Who is to say that the next office-holder won't do an even better job? What is for sure is that seat-rotation is a buffer to party-dependency and "DC homesteading" as occurring today. The Congressional districts and States should not be vote-farmed as political fiefdoms by the party-predestined pseudo-royalty to provide decades-long power.
FDR tried to become an elected pseudo-king, and only his death stopped it from happening because of the extent of party power back then. After his death, both parties realized the potential danger if either got that much power again, and the result was consensus-driven suport and ratification of the Twenty-Second Amendment. If it makes sense to term-limit the Presidency to keep the position from pseudo-royal holder-longevity, doesn't it also make sense for other offices as well?
One way to combat the issue that James brings up is for the citizen-rep to name an apprentice within the office who is likely to run when the term limit kicks in. This is what we bantered about in NY. NY MWP will self impose term limits, as passage of such a bill is unlikely in the state of disfunction, which is NY.
I like Steve's addition of a restriction; we saw how CA pols used term limits to play musical chairs to some extent, defeating the purpose.
BTW, along with term limits, any drafted legislation ought read that no permanent pension contributions be made for ANY national or state elected office, other than President. Providing long term benefits for a postion that is, at best, medium term is illogical. Some postions, like C-in-C are unique however.
The 535 chosen ones will have to fund a 401K like the rest of us.
BTW, there are a few lengthy discussions of term limits somewhere here, and they are part of our MWP plank.
Quote: "Term limits for U.S. Congress, two consecutive terms for U.S. Senate (12 years consecutive total). Five consecutive terms for U.S. House (10 consecutive year’s total.) Whig Leadership Example - MWP citizen- representatives will self-maintain term limits. MWP encourages our future citizen-representatives to have named an apprentice as future candidate in their second term to aid in continuity and shorten the learning curve for first term leaders."
Personally, I like the idea of random selection from a pool of qualified candidates.
The only probem is determining who's qualified.
Limiting how long people can serve would actually increase the power of special interests. Representatives and their staff are largely dependent on industry lobbyists to get information and analysis, can you imagine how much more this would be if the Hill was constantly inexperienced in professional policy-making? Like any other job you get better at it the longer you do it.
If you want to make professional policy-making independent from Big Business influence, you have to break the addiction to campaign finance cash. From the day a member of congress is elected they have to raise several thousand dollars a week to simply remain in office (and get better at professional policy-making).
It doesn't matter how many years you have on the Hill, running for office is expensive and often the only source of real money is corporate interests. Those special interests will fund the campaigns of first timers and old timers alike. Limiting the years they can serve doesn't do anything to limit the need for cash its source.
The only real way to limit special interest influence is to make campaigning cheap for people to run, or outright restrict the size of donations. The Supreme Court won't let restrictions happen (correctly in my opinion), so you must find a way to make it cheap for incumbents to run (so they aren't dependent on corporate money to get re-elected) and cheap for challengers to get in the race (so an everyman-type candidate can be heard).
1-Any Member who only serve one term, have all the time to develop significant experience, no other profession requires two years of on-the-job training! Hendrik Hertzberg said in -Twelve Is Enough-, while depriving Congress of experienced legislative ---->”would be a real cost... it would be a cost worth paying to be rid of the much larger number of timeservers who have learned nothing from longevity in office except cynicism, complacency, and a sense of diminished possibilities."
2-Campaign finance reforms are needed to eliminate tremendous incumbent advantages in congressional elections. limit on the amount congressional candidates can spend for both for challengers and incumbents was presented before BUT The problem was and still the Supreme Court who declare that spending limits are an unconstitutional limit on First Amendment freedoms! This is why I proposed the term limits also for the supreme court candidates and they must be independents. It is all turn back to term limits.
Don't know how the "independent" tag for SCOTUS justices could be enforced, let alone truly identifying someone as one. Right now, all anyone legally has to do at any time is to simply change voter registration to "independent." In the end, it really doesn't matter, as the concern is the person's ability to follow the law, not create it.
Personally, I think the biggest problem with the fed IS the professional legislator. Why is there such a quest to write more federal laws? All that is accomplished is more debt, more spending and greater consolidation of power within the DC beltway. In fact, a moritorium on the creation of any new federal laws for a couple years may be to everyone's benefit. The fed already has so many laws on the books now that it cannot enforce most of them due to cost-of-enforcement, and more pork-barrel programs are put into law each year despite the fact the the treasury is broke. It's like legislators find themselves in the same "publish or perish" sitiation as college professors to make themselves look like they are actually working.
I always get a kick out of folk who condemn lawyers with one breath, but then want more laws written with the next breath. In the end, the only ones who have any idea what laws are on the books are the lawyers, and the lawyers have to specialize because the "law" is so immense that only legal specialists can make any sense of it.
Term limits may bring "amateurs" constantly to the Hill, but have the "professionals" done that well? Despite a >90% incumbent reelection rate, the Congressional approval rate is <20%, the federal power has grown just as much as the debt has. If that is "good government," then the MWP, Tea Party, Green Party and all the rest of the upstart parties wouldn't exist. Ironically, the ones probably who would win with term limits would be the professional staffers, as their "corporate knowledge" would be quite marketable.
How do we balance term limits with the reality that, some have much more than a finite number of years worth of good that they can do for the public? This is a need, because we must not let there be stagnation in the governmental "mind", nor a situation where an individual, or specific interests become more influential than the people as a whole, or the will of a mass of people, becoming more important the that of the mass's.
The concept of Term limits on our government is giving more opportunities to the people to get involved in public office without worrying about which special interest group or lobbyist you have to be part of.------>> The Object = Target is balancing the powers between People and Special interests groups and lobbyists
HOW ? ---------->>is by Term limits / Rotation in Office.
Well said, Naoufal.
As far as the term-limited person goes, there are a myriad of ways the person can remain useful. There is always another public office, whether elected or appointed. Also, the number of non-governmental organizations which acquire most of their talent from the former'public officeholder ranks is quite large. Proof of this is what happens when the long-term federal officeholder loses his/her job - they almost always remain in the DC area at some lobbyist firm, think tank or as a Schedule C federal appointee.
Agan, that "skilled federal officeholder" quickly loses touch with his/her constituents due to the many years spent living full-tme in the DC area and assimilating into that society. The goal in a democratic republic is to have representatives who are truly members of the local society they represent, rather than part-time "campaign snowbirds" who are only in town long enough for a photo-op.
Hay! The kid from New Yawk over hear dont mean to pick on good ol Eddie Burke, but this:
"Representatives and their staff are largely dependent on industry lobbyists to get information and analysis, can you imagine how much more this would be if the Hill was constantly inexperienced in professional policy-making? Like any other job you get better at it the longer you do it."
This isnt like any other job, to be sure. So the last line may be based on a very spurious assumption.
More poignantly however, the first sentence is an absolute truth AND describes one of the institutional barriers to good public policy we face today.
Eddie, how do you propose to "unass that thang"?
And Eddie, not-for nothing but the policy outputs have been WORSE than "inexperienced" in many cases. How much worse could they be - seriously?
Can you see how the permanence of their positions, and subsequent reelections, are being held like a slave by the special interests and the power of the Almighty Dollar. If they know they can only be one or two terms can you see how that might give them BETTER vision over the horizon? It might also effect the complexity of laws in a positive way, possibly fostering more collaboration as everyones' time will eventually run out and reelections are not nearly as critical? Questions, not answers I pose here.
Not saying that MWP has all the answers, but there a reason why we wove this multifaceted "Candidate Code" here in New York addressing ethics, learning curves, lobbyists, and money. All while self-imposing term limits until We The People were properly illuminated to the truth.
Simply put, any term limit policy must recognize rational actors acting rationally. Not altruisitcally, but rationally. Can you begin to see how term limits may shift the rational pursuit from fostering life long careers and amassing personal wealth to more higher level thoughts like service or the desire to leave a positive mark in their "short terms"?
Does this make any sense Mr. Burke?
The answer, as is reality, is not one dimensional. Often, it can be more difficult to "see" the other components needed to make term limits viable and have the desired effect. But let there be no doubt in anyone's military mind, we wont change the ethos amongst the "ruling elites" until we limit terms - period.
But you darn well know today's "rational actors" will NOT be the ones to cut their own cords.Someone has to cut the cords for them. Mr. Houjami, and MWP, see that very clearly.
And here we must "Lead by Example".
I just want to add that Term limits for state officials have existed since colonial times, and at present, 36 states have term limits of various types for their governments level. So if the majority at states levels already have it, Why at the federal level is been stopped for many decades , the answer is simple----->>> Special interest groups and lobbyists influence.