Point/Counterpoint: Congressional term limits

By Cody Laplante & Danny Cozzi

Cody Laplante

“In free governments, the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns.” But this phrase of Benjamin Franklin’s has lost its meaning in government.

It is true that we still determine the jobs of our leaders. Nonetheless, Capitol Hill has become flooded with men in suits that have more money and more job security than most Americans.

With salaries above the middle class and pensions of equal amount, it seems out of place to call the members of Congress servants.

Let’s face it, they are the elite.

To keep the fundamental principles of our system alive, I believe that term limits, like those imposed on the president, are necessary in the federal Legislature.

There are simply too many “career politicians” running our country. In fact, 84 percent of U.S. senators and 85 percent of House representatives were reelected in the 2010 election; in the 2004 election, 96 percent of senators and 98 percent of representatives won back their jobs. This is not the exception, this is the norm.

This means the same people are making the same types of laws, unchanging with each election.

With a recession on our hands, do we really need the same people to be passing the same laws? No.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing something multiple times and expecting the same result.

Well, then, welcome to the country of insanity. In a time of injury we re-elect the same lawmakers and wonder why our wounds have not healed.

Danny Cozzi

On the surface, term limits for Congress seem like a great idea.

Mark Twain once said, “Politicians are like diapers; they need to be changed often and for the same reason.”

While I tend to agree with this sentiment, especially considering how long some politicians have been in office, I don’t believe forcing them out by way of regulations is the way to go. If anything, I place the responsibility on us, the voters.

Every two years we have the option to re-elect or boot our current officials. The trend that I notice every election is that the reason the same people are elected time and time again is because their names are familiar to uninformed voters. I believe if people actually paid attention to what our government does while they’re in office there would be a natural and conscious cycle of ousting politicians and bringing in new ones to hopefully do the job better.

It seems to me that people want term limits to fix, or at least limit, the problems caused by politicians. I don’t believe we can repair the damage the government does simply by limiting individual terms. For example, the president has a limit of two four-year terms, and yet there are always controversies coming directly from the White House’s affairs.

Term limits don’t stop corruption and power-grabbing. The only way we are going to fix issues with our elected congressmen and congresswomen is to pay attention to their actions for their entire terms, not just election week.