Free State Project Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Down

Author Topic: Term limits: good or bad  (Read 14757 times)

Sebastian

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 535
  • Elderado
Term limits: good or bad
« on: July 07, 2003, 01:58:09 pm »

Term limits: good or bad?
Logged
Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for yourself.

EMOR

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 351
  • I'm a llama!
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2003, 02:05:28 pm »

I am for term limits. I think it gives a better representation of the population than a lone long term politician.
Logged
WY>SD>AK>VT>ND>DE>MT>ID>NH>ME

Dawn

  • FSP Participant
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 318
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2003, 02:10:22 pm »

If the playing field were level (which it most certainly isn't!), term limits are bad, IMO. Let the voters decide who will represent them. Currently the barriers to the ballot for minor parties and independents severely restrict the variety of challengers on the ballot. So many incumbents run unopposed, unfortunately, at least partly due to restrictive ballot access statutes.
Logged

Zack Bass

  • Guest
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2003, 02:13:15 pm »


Term limits: good or bad?


Bad.  Evil.  Limits the rights and influence of the electorate.

In a libertarian State, no public office would have enough power to really matter who gets elected, but still.

Of course, if we're selecting a State to take over, we'd be served well by a State that already has a Term Limit Law.  Use it to our advantage, then repeal it.

Logged

Sebastian

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 535
  • Elderado
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2003, 02:18:14 pm »

Quote
we'd be served well by a State that already has a Term Limit Law.  Use it to our advantage, then repeal it.
Will it be harder to overcome the absence of term limits or to repeal existing term limits?
Logged
Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for yourself.

freedomroad

  • Guest

LP-sponsored term limits initiative wins easily in Palm Beach, Florida
http://www.lp.org/lpnews/0212/palmbeach.html

A Libertarian sponsored term-limits measure in Palm Beach, Florida was overwhelmingly approved by voters -- proving that "Libertarians can win" when they pick the right issues.

The initiative, which caps county commissioners at eight years in office, won by a landslide margin of 70% to 30% on November 5. County commissioners are elected to four-year terms.

The vote makes the initiative "probably the most successful LP electoral effort in state history," said local LP activist Phil Blumel.

"When you choose your battles wisely, Libertarians can win," he said. "This victory, much like the near victory with the anti-income tax initiative in Massachusetts, shows that the referendum process is an effective way for Libertarians to affect public policy."

Florida LP State Chair Frank Longo agreed that the prudent selection of the term-limits issue was key to the measure's success.

"I think voters are very tuned-in to this issue," he said. "The public has traditionally reacted well to these types of ‘good government' initiatives. We're all very excited."

The victory marked the end to an effort that was launched 22 months ago, when Libertarian activists Blumel, Rick Shepherd, and Karl Dickey first agreed to organize the initiative campaign.

After submitting 55,000 signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot, the campaign attracted more than 200 volunteers and contributors, and raised over $60,000.

Despite an attempt by the city attorney to strike the initiative from the ballot -- and vigorous opposition from the dominant local Democratic Party -- the initiative passed with flying colors, said Blumel.

"Term limits are a winner with voters, so once the ballot hurdles and legal challenges were won, the campaign was home free," he said.

What's next on the agenda for the Palm Beach LP?

"A rest!" said Blumel. "But only a short one. Several local LPers are already planning campaigns for 2004 based on what they learned this year."

Palm Beach County is located about 30 miles north of Ft. Lauderdale. It has about 700,000 registered voters and a population of just over 1 million.

To help retire the initiative campaign's $7,000 debt, send a check payable to PBC Term Limits Committee to: PBC Term Limits Committee, c/o George Blumel, 316 N. Country Club Drive, Atlantis, FL 33462.

Logged

freedomroad

  • Guest
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2003, 02:22:02 pm »

With a View Towards Liberty: Editorials with a libertarian viewpoint
Editorials are the views of the author only, and do not necessarily represent the views of the members of the Jefferson Area Libertarians, or its executive officers.

Keep Virginia Term Limits
http://www.jalibertarians.org/main/editorials/200212010.html
Dec. 1, 2002
by Arin Sime


This being the first editorial to appear on the Jefferson Area Libertarians website, it is fitting that I start off by quoting Thomas Jefferson:

"Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct."

Jefferson was well aware of the dangers of elected officials maintaining their power for too long. The founding fathers saw a citizen government not only as essential to the continuance of liberty in America, they saw it as a civic duty. Not a career path to enrich yourself with, but as a duty, even a sacrifice, that most citizens make at some point in their lives. Career politicians, who can make a living off of taxpayer's money, and then vote themselves great pension plans, never have to return to the private sector to make money. But a citizen politician does. The more frequently politicians are rotated in and out of office, the less incentive they have to vote for excessive raises, retirement plans, and other perks at the taxpayers expense. And the less time they have to push through legislation favoring their pet lobbyists.

Apparently Jefferson's influence still reigns in the Old Dominion, since Virginia is the only state in the union currently which doesn't allow its governors to run for consecutive terms of office. It does allow for governors to serve non-consecutive terms, but only two in the history of the state have done so (Patrick Henry and Mills Godwin).

Our current governor Mark Warner would change that however. The Washington Post reports that he is planning a campaign to get the state constitution changed, even though it wouldn't allow him to seek a second term before leaving office in 2006. Doing so would require a majority vote in two sessions of the Virginia Senate and House, and then a public referendum is held. In anticipation of a possible referendum in a couple years, libertarians should begin to make the case now that this is a bad idea.

As evidence, we need to look no further than the comments of some of the politicians on both sides of this issue.

The Washington Post quoted Richard Sharp, chairman of Richmond's CarMax group, as saying "It's time. By the time you have governor's hitting their best stride, they're in a lame duck situation." And how exactly would Richard Sharp define "hitting their best stride"? Rest assured, he means it takes governors more than four years to pass the legislation that benefits his company the most.

Current lawmakers also complained over the lack of "progress" easily gained in the current system. Take this comment from a Republican Senator, Charles Hawkins:

"It takes the governor at least a year to get his people in place. He doesn't even get his hands on the budget until the second and third years, and then he's out. I think people are becoming more and more aware that one-term governors are fine, but they really don't have a chance to finish out what they were elected to do."

Seems a strange comment coming from a Republican doesn't it? First off, aren't they supposed to be the party of smaller government, not incumbency protection? And secondly, his party's most recent governor, Gilmore, had no problem pushing through a major reform in Virginia government in only four years when he eliminated the car tax.

It seems to me that the more hurdles we put before our legislators, the better. They aren't in it to make our lives better, they are in it to increase their power and secure their jobs. Wouldn't you love to get your boss to guarantee you a job for the next eight years? Even a guarantee of a job for four years is more security than most of us have in the private sector. Which brings me to the next quote from Sharp:

"Compare it to a business. If you had to change CEOs every four years, it would be impossible."

Well, since I haven't heard anyone else take up Sharp's challenge, I will.

How many CEO's have guaranteed job security? For even four years, much less eight? Very few indeed. And yet most companies seem to survive just fine, in fact, much more efficiently than the Virginia government, which is $6 billion in the hole right now.

A company executive I know has told me that they "come into work each day expecting to be fired." Not because they are doing a poor job, but because they know that their decisions will make or break their organizations, and they will be held accountable for those decisions. That is a major motivating factor, and is part of the reason companies don't treat $6 billion as casually as our legislators do.

And yet, politicians are rarely held accountable. Incumbency re-election rates are astronomically high. In the 2002 election, U.S. House members were re-elected 98% of the time, and U.S. Senators were re-elected 85% of the time. And this was one of the most historic elections ever supposedly, with a major shift of power occurring!

So it is simply ludicrous to believe that adding a second term to the Virginia governor will increase "accountability", as former state attorney general Richard Cullen told the Post.

The Winchester Star has the best quote from a state politician on this issue. State Senator H. Russell Potts Jr., of Winchester, says that he opposes adding another term because "I like the current system. I believe it's served Virginia well." As the Winchester Star noted, "Potts is currently running for a fourth term in the Senate, despite having imposed a three-term limit on himself when first elected." If a man with his lack of honesty doesn't support this measure, then imagine how power-hungry the ones who do support it must be.

Supporters of additional terms point out Virginia's uniqueness on this issue. Personally, I think that's a great thing. Not all states should have the exact same laws, it's part of the beauty of a republic such as ours. Rather than follow other states and make it easier for career politicians, Virginia should continue to remain a leader of liberty in the United States. Just as it was in Jefferson's time.
Logged

freedomroad

  • Guest
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2003, 02:24:15 pm »

The Jeffersonian Perspective
Commentary on Today's Social and Political Issues
Based on the Writings of Thomas Jefferson


 
Term Limits & Citizen Legislators


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Was Congress and the Office of President intended to be in the hands of professional politicians, or did the Founding Fathers mean for private citizens to become involved in politics, to hold office for a few terms, and then to return to private life?

Clearly, Jefferson considered the ultimate source of governmental power to rest in the people themselves.

"[If the] representative houses [are dissolved,]... the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, [return] to the people at large for their exercise." --Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776.
The people perform whatever functions of government they are competent to perform and delegate to persons of their choice those functions for which they are not competent.

"We think experience has proved it safer for the mass of individuals composing the society to reserve to themselves personally the exercise of all rightful powers to which they are competent and to delegate those to which they are not competent to deputies named and removable for unfaithful conduct by themselves immediately." --Thomas Jefferson to P. Dupont, 1816.
The government of the United States, then, is essentially a people's government. It was to be run by people who were from their number and closely associated with their interests.

"All [reforms] can be... [achieved] peaceably by the people confining their choice of Representatives and Senators to persons attached to republican government and the principles of 1776; not office-hunters, but farmers whose interests are entirely agricultural. Such men are the true representatives of the great American interest and are alone to be relied on for expressing the proper American sentiments." --Thomas Jefferson to A. Campbell, 1797.



see more of article:
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/7970/jefpco33.htm
Logged

freedomroad

  • Guest
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2003, 02:27:05 pm »

Why do we need term limits?

This is done by the LP and Citizens for Term Limits

Do We Have Our Best and Our Brightest
Governing Us in Washington?

Shouldn't We Have?
by Rense Johnson, Chairman, Citizens for Term Limits

Not to beat up on poor Congressman Gary Condit, who likes to play the same games former president Bill Clinton likes to play but is not as adept at them — yet while he is twisting in the wind it may be as good a time as any for us to publish a study we have had in our files for two years but never used — until now. It may help explain why so few members of Congress have thus far been publicly critical of him.

What follows was originally published by Capitol Hill Blue, an internet periodical which keeps up with the Washington scene and Congress in particular. The Libertarian Party picked up on this almost exactly two years ago and published it on its own web page with some pithy comments, most of which are too good to miss, but also a few which I have edited out because I am not willing to tar all of Congress with the same brush. We have some outstanding statesmen without whom things would be much worse. We just don't have nearly enough of them.

WASHINGTON, DC -- A new investigation reveals an astonishingly large number of wife-beaters, drunks, shoplifters, check-bouncers, business failures, and drug abusers in the U.S. House and Senate -- which ought to make Americans think carefully before turning to Washington, DC for moral leadership, the Libertarian Party said today.

"Mark Twain once said Congress may be America's only 'distinct criminal class' -- and this new study suggests he was correct," said Steve Dasbach, the party's national director. "If even half these charges are true, expecting Congress to serve as a moral role model is like asking Bill Clinton to serve as a poster boy for monogamy." According to an investigation by Capitol Hill Blue, an online publication that covers federal politics, a remarkable number of U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators may have spent . . . time in a jail cell . . . After researching public records, newspaper articles, civil court transcripts, and criminal records, Capitol Hill Blue discovered that:

* 29 members of Congress have been accused of spousal abuse.

* 7 have been arrested for fraud.

* 19 have been accused of writing bad checks.

* 117 have bankrupted at least two businesses.

* 3 have been arrested for assault.

* 71 have credit reports so bad they can't qualify for a credit card.

* 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges.

* 8 have been arrested for shoplifting.

* 21 are current defendants in lawsuits.

* 84 were stopped for drunk driving in 1998 alone, but released after they claimed Congressional immunity.

Capitol Hill Blue did not list the names of all the individual members of Congress accused of the various crimes, but did note that some were "serial offenders" with extensive track records of fraud or violence. For example, reported Capitol Hill Blue, Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) has a "long, consistent record of deceit," including tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills, allegations of bribery, and numerous lawsuits against her. And Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) faces charges that he beat his wife, has a history of barroom brawls while mayor of Alexandria, and has publicly stated that he likes "to hit people."

"With a rap sheet like that, you have to wonder why Americans expect Congress to solve the problem of crime -- since Congress seems to be causing so much crime," said Dasbach. "In fact, if this study is correct, the best way to cut crime may be to lock up [some members of] Congress and throw away the key."

And given the obvious economic incompetence of so many Senators and Representatives, you have to wonder why voters trust them with the federal budget, he said. "Here are politicians [some of whom] routinely bankrupt businesses, write bad checks, engage in fraudulent practices, and have bad credit," said Dasbach. "That could explain why the country is more than $5 trillion in debt, why federal programs are so wasteful, and why taxes are always going up. Are these really the kind of economically illiterate people we want to trust with our money?"

If nothing else, said Dasbach, the Capitol Hill Blue investigation may help puncture the myth that Senators and Representatives are somehow superior to ordinary Americans, or better equipped to solve the nation's problems. "By its very nature, [the kind of politics we have now] tends to attract . . . people who crave power, who want to control the lives of other people, and who think they are above the law," he noted. "This study makes that point clear -- and illustrates that when it comes to politicians, the only thing worse than their voting records are their criminal records."

And for reasons I know not, Capitol Hill Blue omitted that poster boy for moral rectitude, Teddy Kennedy, the Senator from Chappaquiddick, who left Mary Jo Kopechne drowning one night in the car he had driven off the Chappaquiddick bridge as he extricated himself and swam home, waiting until the next morning to report the event. How many years would ordinary folks get for a caper like that?

Gary Condit is not as isolated a case as some might have thought.

* * * * * *
If you too want to see our best and our brightest in Washington and the return to the kind of government the Framers of the Constitution envisioned, then please click on the Term Limits Now link nearby so you can send your message to your own lawmakers.

Logged

Sebastian

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 535
  • Elderado
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2003, 02:29:13 pm »

Quote
Jefferson was well aware of the dangers of elected officials maintaining their power for too long.
Are term limits part of the Constitution?
(Republicans instituted the two term limit for US presidents with the 22nd Amendment, after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s four term presidency 1933-1945)

Logged
Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for yourself.

freedomroad

  • Guest
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2003, 02:29:38 pm »

From the LP of WI
http://www.lpwi.org/issues.html

Term Limits :

We advocate limits on the time any elected official may serve in office.
Logged

Sebastian

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 535
  • Elderado
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2003, 02:34:50 pm »

Quote
This is done by the LP and Citizens for Term Limits
This is very poorly done by the LP and Citizens for Term Limits.
Quote
A new investigation reveals an astonishingly large number of wife-beaters, drunks, shoplifters, check-bouncers, business failures, and drug abusers in the U.S. House and Senate
What does this have to do with term limits?
Quote
"Here are politicians [some of whom] routinely bankrupt businesses, write bad checks, engage in fraudulent practices, and have bad credit,"
What does this have to do with term limits?
Quote
"By its very nature, [the kind of politics we have now] tends to attract . . . people who crave power, who want to control the lives of other people, and who think they are above the law,"
Finally something that slightly has to do with term limits. Still, it should be up to the people to get rid of bad politicians, not the system. What if a politician is NOT evil, greedy and corrupt and doing an outstanding job? Imagine that politician being forced out because of term limits and an evil, greedy, corrupt politician taking his place.
Logged
Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for yourself.

Sebastian

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 535
  • Elderado
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2003, 02:38:43 pm »

FREEDOMROAD:

What are the arguments for (or against) term limits though? The fact that a state LP is in favor (or not) of term limits doesn't convince me. Even the LP isn't always right. :)
Logged
Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for yourself.

freedomroad

  • Guest
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2003, 02:38:57 pm »

What does Harry Browne thing?

"Supports term limits on House (6 yrs) & Senate (12 yrs)
Browne supports amending the US Constitution to limit the number of terms US Senators and Representatives can serve in Congress. Browne suggests a 6-year limit for the House, and a 12-year limit for the Senate. Browne says term limit legislation should be retroactive (thus affecting current office holders). "

http://www.issues2000.org/Harry_Browne_Government_Reform.htm
Logged

freedomroad

  • Guest
Re:Term limits: good or bad
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2003, 02:43:22 pm »

From Lewrockwell.com
http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block17.html

Famous libertarian author Walter Black writes,



The Evil of Term Limits
by Walter Block

If I hear just one more time, from a supposed libertarian, about the greatness of term limits, I think I’m going to be sick.

Yes, yes, I know all the arguments. Kick the bums out. Promote political competition. Incumbency confers Soviet style (99%) voting majorities. This way, at least we’ll get new thieves.

There is only one problem with this scenario: it runs dab smack into an important insight of Hans Hoppe’s new book, Democracy, the God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order. (My extended review of this book will appear in a forthcoming issue of The American Journal of Economics and Sociology; here, I shall comment, only, on the insights we can glean from the publication regarding term limits.)

The main message of this brilliant economist-philosopher is, of course, that the only justified political economic system is what he calls "natural order," or what is commonly characterized in libertarian circles as anarcho-capitalism, or free-market anarchism. And his contribution to this line of reasoning is superb. However, a secondary message emanating from this book is that, given, arguendo, that we must have a government, monarchism has several strong, indeed, overwhelming advantages over democracy. (Take that, pinko liberal democrats, neo-conservatives, and all other denizens of the political-economic swamp.)

And why is this you may ask (if you’ve been Rip Van Winkling it for the past several months)? Simple: a monarch in effect "owns" the kingdom over which he is in charge. As such, he can afford to take a long run view of it, and, also, can maximize his "take" by pursuing policies that prove to be of benefit to the economy, or at least do not harm it too quickly. "Why kill the goose that lays the golden eggs," might well be his motto. As king, he will likely be around in the long run, by which time, to mix metaphors, he will be able to reap what he had previously sown. If he has any desires to benefit his progeny, he would prefer to hand over to them a functioning enterprise, rather than one that has been looted for short-term benefit.

In contrast, the democratically elected head thug (sorry, I meant president) has a very different time perspective. Not for him the pursuit of policies that will bear fruit in the long run. He will not be around then to benefit from them. He has only eight years, at most. Nor can he hand over to his children the keys to the treasury. No, in order to maximize his revenues, he has to grab what he can, now, and the devil take the future. His motto might be "make hay while the sun shines," or "let’s kill the golden goose, now."

What has all this to do with our subject under discussion? Term limits are to ordinary democracy without them what the latter is to monarchy. An alternative way of putting this is that the system furthest removed from monarchy is democracy with term limits. Democracy with no term limits at all occupies a position in between these other two. The ordinary politician (with no term limit) need not take an extremely short run perspective. He knows, if he can avoid being caught in bed with a dead boy, or, if he is a Republican, with a live girl (the rules are slightly different for Democrats, given the hypocrisy of the feminist movement), he’ll be in office for a nice long while. The advantages of incumbency and all that. Why, several thieves (sorry, I meant congressmen) have been in office for decades. "In the long run they are all dead," true, but if the long run takes dozens of years, the incentive to loot and run is somewhat attenuated.

However, once introduce term limits, and all bets are off. Now, the focus is on making off with as much of the silverware as possible, in the short term specified by the term limit. Take term limits to their logical extension in order to see them for what they are: suppose the term limit were exceedingly short; not eight years, or even eight months. Suppose it was eight weeks, or, even better yet, only eight days. Can you imagine the feeding frenzy such a system would give rise to! Why, there wouldn’t even be the pretence of "public good," "making the world safe for democracy," "a chicken in every pot" or any of that other politician babble. It would be a pure race to accumulate riches, with very little pretense.

One implication of this insight: the longer the term limit in term limits, the better. A term limit of hours, days or months would be an absolute disaster. Many years is better, and decades even more so. A lifetime term limit would not be so bad, as far as these things go. Then, when we arrive at the "term limit" which affords the ability to bequeath to one’s children the crown, e.g., full monarchy, we arrive at the other end of the spectrum. The point is, given any government at all, the closer to monarchy the better. The problem with term limits is that they move us in the wrong direction. If anything, we ought to be expanding present terms of office.

Although this can only be speculative, the reason many people, even libertarians, have been fooled by the siren song of term limits is that they are still in thrall to the idea that mainstream politicians (I make an exception for Ron Paul and a handful of other libertarian office holders) are legitimate. If these politicos were seen in a true light, the last thing we would want to do is leash an unending stream of them upon us, with little or no incentive to rein in their natural tendencies to pillage. If have them we must, then let us wish them the longest possible terms of office.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Up
 

anything