Don’t we already have Term Limits?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
posted by elizabeth @ 4:04 PM

“They’re baaaaaaack.”  No, I am not talking about Poltergeist IV.  I am talking about term limits.  It looks like the push for term limits is politically fashionable again.  New organizations are popping up and legislation to limit terms in office are being proposed across the country.  We even have a movement right here in the good ole’ state of Texas, which I thought was supposed to be the land of limited government and freedom.  The Texas Senate passed legislation that would allow voters to decide if term limits should be imposed on statewide officeholders.  Judges and US Senators were not included

.For the sake of time, let’s ignore studies which show that term limits empower legislative staff and government bureaucrats.  Let’s ignore the tried and true requirement in business that experience is vitally important to lead any successful organization.  But, let’s not ignore the fact that we have term limits already.  Yes, it is called the ballot box.  And it works in Texas.

In the Texas House of Representatives almost 40% of the members are in their first or second term.  In the Texas Senate close to 50% of the members have only served since 2006 and half of those have only served since 2011.  With respect to our Congressional Delegation 55% have only served since 2003 and almost half of those are brand new to the body.

I often hear that the people who make the laws need to live by the laws and be part time legislators.  Well, in Texas our legislators do just
that.  Recall, the Texas Legislature meets every other year for 140 days.  If you do the math on that it means our state legislators are back home being citizens of Texas most of the time.

Some will lead you to believe that term limits will reduce the influence of special interests.  Before I address this, I want to briefly ask which special interests the critics don’t like and want to eliminate.  You have special interests for your doctors, teachers, preachers, animal lovers, clothing manufactures and more.  Oh, yes and you have special interest groups for those big corporations like oil & gas companies that provide thousands of jobs and low cost fuel.  There are special interests for all of us, representing all of our needs and desires.  But I digress.  My point is that term limits usually give special interest groups more power.  There is evidence that the elected officials who are term limited tend to depend more on special interests for their information.

Speaking of information, many Americans say they don’t have enough information or that it takes too much time to know the issues. This is probably the worst excuse I have ever heard in my life, especially since we have the internet which gives us a plethora of information right at our fingertips.  I am amazed that people will sit for hours to watch a NASCAR race or March Madness, but won’t spend 20 or 30 minute beefing up on the issues and the candidates.   Furthermore, we hear people complain about how much time it takes to vote.  They don’t like the long lines and more.  Voting is very easy.  If you don’t want to stand in line on voting day, vote early or vote by mail.  Really, no time to read up on the issues and vote?  Pathetic excuses.

Is it not ironic that we are going to the voters to ask them to vote on whether we have to vote on limiting our elected leader’s time in office? What I find the most ironic though, is that Republicans and conservatives, those who champion smaller government and laissez faire approach
to all things in life, would want term limits that will give more power to government.  I understand the frustrations people have with their leaders.  But we are not forced to keep re-electing people.  If you are not happy spend your time and energy getting your candidate elected.

— Andrew Biar

 

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