One-term limit for all in office?
The Way I See It
by DON WEST
Ok, I’ll admit that I am one of many who have said that our elected in Washington are accomplishing nothing. I have said that they are too focused on their own agendas to stop and look for a solution somewhere in the middle. Be they left-wing or right-wing, conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, their main concern is not what is best for this country, but instead they are focused on how to get re-elected.
I had a nice visit with Charlie Williams, one of my most astute critics. I have to admit, he has corrected my thinking on more than one occasion. However, he has done little to curtail my alligator mouth. As a businessman, I consider Charlie to be quite well read, current and studious of the politics, locally, statewide, and nationally. Most of the time, we vehemently disagree, as is the case with most conservative vs. liberal pundits.
We discussed at length the state of our nation, healthcare, taxes, government intrusion in the private sector, and other topics of interest. We agreed to disagree on some points that we will never come to terms with. However, Charlie brought up a subject that we do agree upon.
Our election system in this country sucks. Though term limits have served us well at times, we have also forced some very good people from office. They served us well and may have chosen to continue service but our frustration with others who haven’t served well and seemed to just be feeding at the trough caused us to force them from office through term-limit legislation. Unfortunately, we, at times, have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. In addition, the economics of running for office and getting elected is preposterous and the results are that those with the most money many times are the ones elected. Wealth or wealthy backers do not necessarily make one qualified for office. Money simply buys notoriety.
Charlie’s suggestion is similar to term limits, but he proposes one term for all elected. Of course the terms would have to be staggered so that we are not faced with mass exodus following each election. However, we should decide and force our legislators and congress to pass laws that would limit them to one term. Term length could be negotiated – four years, six years, eight years, 10 years – but whatever is decided there would only be one term. Upon completion of the term, you are out. No benefits to follow, no healthcare, no Secret Service or security, no transportation or any other benefits to follow when they leave. Get a job, buy your own insurance, and forget retirement. We might agree on a 401K while you are in office, but you will contribute to it and when your term is up, you will have to roll that 401K into some private retirement fund. We are not going to take care of your needs after you have left the job.
A single term in office will do one very important thing: We will know that whomever is elected will be in office to serve the voters, not to seek re-election. There will be no “golden parachute” upon exit, so those seeking election will do so because they want to serve the people and make our cities, states, and nation a better place to live, work, and retire.
One-term limits won’t be the solution to all that ails us, but it will eliminate the need to screen out those who are only seeking the “gravy train” that political office has become. Secondly, the good old boy network will police itself because the elected will owe few favors to supporters and will make appointments to those who are truly interested in serving the people, not appointments to repay political favors and garner votes for the next election.
Good idea, Charlie. Let’s make it happen.
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