A New Approach to Term Limits

A recent post on Common Sense Evaluation argued:

Term Limits and stop the “Paid for Life.” They can live on Social Security and Medicare just like the rest of us!

I have no problem footing a sliding rate pension like those in the military, 50% at 20 years sliding to 75% at 30 years, but 100%? NO WAY. Furthermore, there should be ZERO “pension” for either members of Congress or Supreme Court Justices beginning before 20 solid years.

As for the President, if they make it to 4 years, they should receive a 25% base pay pension, and if they make it to 8 years, it should be 50% base pay pension.

If that’s not enough for a politician, then perhaps they should aspire to another career, one not purporting itself to be of “public service.”

As for Senators and Representatives, we do require SOME continuity in Congress, so term limits for everyone, whether 4, 6, 8, or even 12 years would quite literally give our country a lobotomy.

That’s not good.

So, how about this:

Only half those reaching 12 years, as determined by public draw (think Powerball) will be allowed to continue, provided they continue to be elected by those they represent. Those meeting both conditions become eligible for a 50% pension.

Similarly, only half those reaching 24 years, as determined by public draw, will be allowed to continue, provided they continue to be elected by those they represent. Those meeting both conditions become eligible for a 75% pension. Even then, however, as are nearly everyone in the military, they’re capped at 30 years of total Civilian Federal Service or age 65, the same age at which Congress grounds airline pilots. Hey: If you’re too old to safely fly an airplane, you’re too old to safely run a country. Same goes for Presidents and Supreme Court Justices.

This approach solves a number of problem:

It weeds out perhaps 90% by their 24th year, effectively ending the “Congress for Life” treadmill.

Less than half (perhaps only a third?) would make it to their 13th year, as some of those selected to continue won’t be reelected.

Given the above, roughly 70% of the members of Congress would be in their first 12 years, only 23% in their second 12 years, and only 7% would be beyond their 24-year point.

I can live with that!

This will also significantly lower the median Congressional age, closer to that of the people whom Congress represents.

Public Draw:

With Powerball-like balls, a number equal to all members of Congress coming up on their 12-year point, both Senators and Representatives alike, but half bearing a “Yes” and half bearing a “No.” If there are an odd number of members approaching their 12-year point, include one more “No” ball than “Yes” balls, in the spirit of term limits!

Repeat the process for those coming up on their 24-year points.

No, you cannot lump them all in together, as that could produce a Congress without any senior members. Again, we do require some continuity!

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