With mid-term elections still more than eight months off, this column might be premature.
Then again, I’m already hearing political ads on the radio, so maybe my timing isn’t so bad — especially since I hope to start a grass-roots movement.
They say if you want your grass to develop strong roots, spring is the time to prepare the ground. So I’m officially breaking out the aerator. I’ll leave the fertilizer to the candidates.
One ad I keep hearing touts all the things Congressman So-and-so has done for his constituents — all the “bacon” he’s brought home. That’s exactly why we hate every member of Congress … except “our guy.” Look at all the stuff he (or she) has gotten for us!
And therein lies the inherent flaw in our system: People may get elected based on ideology, but they get re-elected based on how much taxpayer money they’ve managed to funnel to the people who elected them.
And how do they manage that? By voting for pork-barrel projects in districts represented by colleagues, who then return the favor. And on and on it goes, in a never-ending death-spiral of spending increases and tax hikes.
That’s true, by the way, for virtually every member of Congress, regardless of party affiliation. If anything, Republicans are more culpable than Democrats.
Democrats get elected by promising to raise taxes and increase spending, then raise taxes and increase spending. Republicans get elected by promising to cut taxes and reduce spending — and then raise taxes and increase spending.
The only solution is strict term limits — say, a maximum of four terms in the House or two in the Senate, or two in the House followed by one in the Senate. That’s 12 years, at most — enough time for representatives to get something done without mutating into career politicians, while still having to face re-election just often enough to be held accountable.
Personally, I would favor allowing candidates to serve one additional term beyond the specified limit, provided they agree that, once their final term ends, they will be taken out and shot. We could set aside one day a year just for that purpose, which I predict would quickly become a national holiday.
Of course, members of Congress aren’t going to vote anytime soon to cut short their lucrative political careers, so we’ll have to take matters into our own hands.
Specifically, we should refuse to vote for a) any incumbent who will not sign a pledge making the next term his or her last, or b) any new candidate who will not sign a pledge agreeing to abide by the limits specified above.
Want to join the movement? Share this column on Facebook. Tweet it out. E-mail the link to everyone you know.
That’s the only way we’re ever going to take our country back from career politicians who view our tax money as their personal vote-buying slush-fund.
Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and the author of Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility, available at Books for Less and on Amazon. E-mail Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @FamilyManRob.