The Real Cure for What Ails Washington, D.C.

by Richard H. Frank

Watching the 111th Congress conduct their Lame Duck Session is like watching the writers for “Saturday Night Live” prepare one of their satire scripts.  It would truly be funny to watch if the situation in America were not so serious.  The goings on in the House of Representatives and the Senate have nothing to do with finding solutions to today’s pressing economic problems but have everything to do with the politics of being re-elected in 2012.

The message sent by the electorate in the 2010 mid-term elections that Americans want smaller government, reduced spending and less interference in our lives seems to have been totally disregarded by the 111th Congress.  Instead of working toward an orderly transition to the new 112th Congress in January, the old guard is once again intent on jamming each and every piece of liberal legislation down the throats of their constituents.

Suddenly, President Obama has changed the very language he has used to describe the impact of his policies upon our economy.  The Bush tax rates set to expire in January that he referred to as  ” payments to the rich” are now being called a”stimulus to the economy.”  Additionally, he is taking credit for any extension of these rates as his “tax cuts.”  The reality of the situation is that there are no tax cuts, only retention of the status quo.

The realization that letting the Bush tax rates expire would prove devastating to whatever recovery we may have experienced is the light bulb that just went on in his head.  As for stopping uncontrolled spending that only adds to the deficit, our President and Congress seem to think continuing to extend unemployment compensation is a fair tradeoff for extending the Bush tax rates for all Americans.

Five days after receiving the recommendation from the “Obama Debt Commission” every action our President and Congress is taking runs contrary to the recommendations contained in the report.

All of these actions by the President and Congress just go to prove that pandering to the special interests, party politics and getting re-elected, take precedent over solving this nation’s problems.

The only hope for the future of our children and grandchildren in American is to change the manner in which Washington does business.  The only means to change the way business is done is to change those that purport to represent us.

Our Founding Fathers never envisioned a professional politician that would make a career out of representing “We the People.”  Service to them was an honor not to be abused or taken for granted as a profession.  Yet today, the House of Representatives and the Senate are filled with people who believe they have earned, and are entitled to, their position by virtue of seniority without regard to their accomplishments at representing their constituents.  Power has gone to their heads and thus they fall prey to corruption by special interests. Unfortunately, this is the nature of man and some are more susceptible to being corrupted than are others.

Our Constitution sets forth the requirements and qualifications for individuals to serve in the Congress but places no limits upon the number of terms they may be elected to serve.  In a perfect world, this would not pose any problems; however, we do not live in a perfect world.  The quest to acquire power and retain it leads men to self-service as opposed to service of the electorate.

The Constitution has been amended such that a President may serve not more than two terms in that office.  A new Amendment limiting the service of members of the House of Representatives to six terms (12 years) and members of the Senate to two terms (12 years) would go a long way toward curing the quest for power in Washington.  New blood in the form of representatives elected by the people, having a defined timeframe to work for the people, may tend to discharge their duties in the honorable way envisioned by our Founding Fathers.

The old guard in Congress argues that we currently have term limits imposed by the voters in each and every election.  Unfortunately, the average voter pays little attention to the accomplishments of his or her Congressman and only votes upon name or party recognition.  Term limits will help reduce the influence of party and name forcing the electorate to become more familiar with the candidate and what values he brings to the office he is seeking to occupy.

Fresh blood, fresh ideas and the passion for service above power are the fruits derived from term limits over time.

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