TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Implement term limits so that (any) new legislation has a chance.

I received a 'canned' email from Senator Blumenthal detailing his disappointment that recent Gun Control legislation did not pass. In his email Senator Blumenthal vowed "to push legislation to make our streets and schools safer". I wrote back: "It won't really matter how much you 'push for legislation'. How Congressmen/women get compensated affects which laws pass and which don't. Would you support term limits? 3 terms is too many (proposed by Senator David Vitter (R-LA). I don't want to see anyone in office for 3 terms. 2 years max, then get a REAL job like the rest of us. If you only had two years in Congress, you would submit and or pass legislation more honestly since the longevity of your career would not depend on it."

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Apr 21 2013: Ok, fair enough. I'll try to explain... Let's say you are 'Senator EL' and your constituents are asking you to support XYZ Legislation. Meanwhile Big Company ABC says to you, "We will contribute significantly to your next campaign" if you DO NOT support XYZ Legislation. Maybe you personally see both sides, for and against, XYZ Legislation. If you wanted to run for office again, aligning yourself with the interests of Company ABC would really help your career. Therein lies the conflict. Campaign funding is like legalized bribery. Companies can 'buy' politicians through that legal channel. However, if you were only allowed to be in office for ONE term, i.e. there was no next campaign then you would not have the same incentive to support Company ABC. I realize that this does not completely stop a politician from being 'bought'. You could accept money even if there were no future campaign. That however would be pure (illegal) bribery. If there were Term Limits, the extent of unjust, self-serving political careers would be limited. It would be more like jury duty to some extent. Jurors have no incentive to be persuaded financial, so their view is not likely tainted. Of course there is a different 'qualification' process to assemble a jury vs. elected official. I'm just saying that limiting terms could help toward effecting legislation honestly. There is another potential upside to Term Limits and it has nothing to do with money or being bought: just the idea of getting re-elected persuades politicians to vote or act in a way that preserves job security. Think of all the money and benefits politicians award themselves...for as long as they can. Maybe I seem to hear about more politicians abusing the system than I hear of politicians who have done any terrific 'public service'.
    • thumb
      Apr 22 2013: May I quote you?. . . "I realize that this does not completely stop a politician from being 'bought'. You could accept money even if there were no future campaign. That however would be pure (illegal) bribery." This is a fallacy. Selling political influence is wrong in and of itself. Which term a person is in make no difference in the fact that it is a great miscarriage of trust for an elected official to legislate in favor of ANYONE other than the citizens who elected them to office. All bribery is illegal. We do not strictly enforce existing laws against influence peddling. Imposing more new laws in the form of term limits will not reduce the incidents of graft and corruption in politics. Thank you for a vigorous, relevant debate! Where is our common ground?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.