The post Omnibus Spending Bill fallout has the left and the right both justified and united in their anger at Congress. This righteous anger has again created new calls for term limits. While I am sympathetic to the call, I also have to oppose such calls. I’ll try my best to explain why term limits are not a fix and will only make the problem worse and I will offer two options that will actually change things and go a long way to restoring the true idea of governance that was and is still unique to the US.
Term limits at first glance do seem like a good idea. Congress critters get elected to office and save for them retiring or dying, they are near impossible to defeat in an election. The natural choice, it would seem, would be to place restrictions on how many terms they can serve. After a few terms the old critter leaves and a new critter is elected.
The problem. In the critters last term, it becomes a lame duck term. The critter has nothing to lose and nothing to gain. Essentially, the critter can unleash all kinds of hell on the people without any possibility of recourse. Now magnify that by 435 other House critters and 100 Senate critters and the problem becomes that much clearer, term limits are not the answer.
So what is? In order to answer that we have to trace back and determine about when the problem began. How do we determine that? We have to look for fundamental changes that deviate from the original government.
There have been plenty of shifts in the government since 1787, however there really has been only three major shifts that fundamentally changed government. The first was post Civil War and the rejection of the Compact Theory of government by the North. I won’t go into that here as that is for another time. However the second major change and arguably the most damaging one came on April 8th, 1913 with the ratification of the 17th Amendment.
“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.”
As is plain for the world to see, this caused the Senate who was supposed to represent the interest of the State governments, shift to “the People”. It caused a major imbalance and as far as I can tell, is the moment when the Federal government began consolidating power. With no one to assert States rights, the government who is in control of the money supply was free to expand budgets and print money and right up to WWII they did manage to control that. However during and post WWII, the Federal Government began to subvert the States openly.
The third fundamental shift happened in 1929 the Permanent Apportionment Act. That is the Act that as the name suggests, limited the House to 435 members. Again this is a fundamental change. This Act changed the apportionment so that as of this day, we have 435 people proposing laws and spending for 400+ MMM people.
The original apportionment was 1 critter for every 30K people. Assuming we have 400K people in the country we should have a House that is about 13,333 members, which would give the people accurate and very close to the people, representation. Are you beginning to see the problem and the solution yet?
What I propose as a solution is in no particular order:
1) A repeal of the 17th Amendment and
2) A repeal of the 1929 Permanent Apportionment Act
For balance and all interest to be represented, it is imperative that these two things happen and happen soon. If they do not, this country will slide further and eventually (maybe this decade) fall apart at the seams.