Home » Opinions

Better politicians, not term limits solution to Congress

Submitted by Brian Gregory on March 2, 2016 – 4:40 pmNo Comment

Federal politicians are the easiest punching bag in America. Everyone wants to bash them for their lackluster effort when it comes to affecting the lives of their constituents. People are quick to say that the “Founding Fathers” did not mean for congressmen and now because of societal growth congresswomen to make serving in Congress a lifelong job. It was supposed to be something like serving in the military. You would serve for a couple of terms and then you would eventually leave. Today it is know the politically contrarian thing to say that members of Congress are serving too long and that we need a constitutional amendment that would create term limits. It is about protecting the freedom and the rights of the American electorate. However, the question becomes are term limits actually necessary.
In a study sponsored by Congress done by Matthew Eric Glassman and Amber Hope Wilhelm, they looked at congressional service in both the House and Senate. What he found was for the 114th Congress that convened on Jan. 6, members of the House served an average 8.8 years in the House and in the Senate members served an average of 9.7 years. This means that our Representatives serve nearly 4.5 terms and Senators serve 1.5 terms. Does this really sound like they are serving a really long time. If you break it down even further 58% of House members have served between 0-8 years in the house. Only 22% of House members served more than 16 years. In the Senate results are similar 54% have served between 0-8 years, and only 22% of Senators have served longer than 16 years.
This idea that placing term limits on our Senators and Representatives will make American Democracy better is a foolish idea. If you really want to make American democracy better then you need to elect better politicians. In the House, the average amount of terms served is four and for Senators the average is two terms. While we still will have lions of Congress like Ted Kennedy, Joe Barton, Thad Cochran, etc. those types of individuals are few and far between. We need to stop overreacting and elect better officials because that will change American Democracy more than any amount of term limits can.

Comments are closed.