It’s Time for Congressional Term Limits

By F. J. Tamel


Term Limits for Presidents

After FDR was elected to a forth term, Congress, fearful of another Roosevelt-like dynasty, passed the 22nd amendment which limits the Executive to two terms. Section one of this amendment reads:


No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

People who fear Obama’s plans for America need only wait for four to eight years and he’ll be gone. Besides, the Constitution places strict limits on the Executive’s powers. No President can function effectively without the consent of Congress. The executive branch can’t levy taxes, can’t pass a budget, can’t go to war, and can’t even select Federal judges or members of its own cabinet without congressional approval. Every one of our nation’s laws must be written, debated and approved by Congress. That’s why the term limits amendment didn’t go far enough. Term limits should be imposed on all our elected officials.


Term Limits for Congressmen

A popular folk song written by Tom Paxton during the 60’s contains these words, “I learned our government must be strong. It's always right and never wrong. Our leaders are the finest men. And we elect them again and again…” Too many of our congressmen and senators have held their offices for decades. They spend much of their time in office developing relationships with bag people for special interest groups that fund their campaigns and assure their reelection, rather than doing what is right for the country.

The recent trillion dollar “stimulus package” was passed by Congress without a single member of congress even reading the bill. Our representatives have a habit of debating laws and passing them in the dead of night without consulting their constituents. Congressmen take advantage of every available perk, but see nothing wrong with wielding excessive taxation like a weapon to punish behavior of which they disapprove.

Is any American really okay with using the tax code as a means to control Americans’ decision making? Rising gas taxes force Americans to drive smaller cars even though the majority would rather drive SUVs. Sky-rocketing tobacco taxes force people to stop smoking, yet no one in congress has a plan to replace the revenue that is lost as more and more people quit the tobacco habit. Legislation that would allow us to drill for oil, utilize clean coal technology, and tap our vast resources of natural gas, which could finally end our dependence on foreign oil never sees the light of day while congress worships at the altar of the environmentalism's false gods.

Rather than benefit Americans, each time a law or regulation is written, a measure of freedom is lost. Lawmakers consistently commit political malpractice, doing untold harm to our freedoms through the passing of unnecessary laws or ill-conceived regulations and by increasing wasteful spending. Thus they squander our hard-earned dollars, and pile debt upon our future generations that they’ll never be able to repay. Yet, without imposed term limits they remain embedded in congress, like so many ticks in hound’s ears, reelected to term after term to do untold harm to our way of life.

The best way to uproot career politicians, many of whom have spent little or no time in the private sector, is to force them to leave Washington. Our founders never intended for “politician” to become a profession. They supposed that patriotic Americans would leave their farms and their businesses to serve the public for a season and then to return to their private lives.

It’s time to heed the intent of our founders and force our politicians to return to the real world. We don’t have to rush the Capitol with torches and pitchforks in hand to accomplish it; we only need to impose on Congress the same limits that Congress imposed upon the executive branch: Two terms and out. Rather than sucking up to their money sources, our legislators can then begin to provide legislation that benefits the people.

Some Americans are concerned that, with term limits, good politicians will be replaced at the same rate as dishonest or inept ones. I agree. They will. That’s the beauty of term limits. The good ones will be sent packing before the corrupting influences of Washington can take their toll.


"The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."

-- Margaret Thatcher


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