One Term Amendment Needed to Flush Out the Abuse of Power

How to fix the current mess we’re in and help get the politicians to act on behalf of the voters rather than help those who finance their campaigns:

 

To fix Congress, write your STATE legislators and ask them to call for a Constitutional Convention to pass this one-term amendment.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the US Constitution

“No person elected to or holding the office of President, Senator, or Representative shall be elected to that office for a subsequent term.”

Article V of the Constitution states “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;”

Problem

Confidence in Congress is at an all time low. Congress and the President are unable to enact crucial legislation or fill key appointments. Expenses exceed revenues making the US debt-to-GDP the highest in the world, except for Greece and Italy. Our inefficient health care system is the world’s most expensive. Our education system produces too few skilled people, and skilled jobs are moving overseas. Military forces reductions threaten our security. The future of the US republic itself is at risk.

Causes

Our elected representatives spend 30-70% of their time raising money for re-election, rather than addressing the issues of government.

Money donated by wealthy interests corrupts our elected officials, who introduce special laws favoring their donors. Our thousands of tax loopholes are not mistakes, but purposefully written laws to benefit such special interests.

Congress’s seniority system places all power in the hands of committee chairmen and the majority leaders of the House and Senate, who control all legislation. Newly elected members cast votes as directed by this party hierarchy, in exchange for earmarks that benefit their constituents, who then re-elect their benefactors. Thus the House and Senate are not democracies, but oligarchies. There is no equal representation. Unless the members follow the instructions of the oligarchs, they are not re-elected.

Summarizing, our elected representatives, seeking re-election, must (1) accede to special interests to obtain campaign financing, and (2) accede to their party oligarchy to obtain local pork-barrel legislation to please local voters.

Solution and benefits

Prohibit office holders from running for re-election. Then Congressmen, Senators, and Presidents will spend full time attending to the affairs of the country. They will have the independence to be able to provide creative leadership, not worrying about re-election, not spending time fund-raising, and not risking serving special interests.

Criticisms and responses

Election reform can better reduce the power of special interests. Election reform laws have been passed, and they are always circumvented. Even if election reform were successful, the seniority system would continue to deny equal representation.

We need to be able to re-elect the best, proven leaders. The US has many capable candidates for every office. Nearly all Senators aspire to be President. Representatives aspire to be Senators. Every two years approximately 33 Senators will complete 6-year terms and 435 Representatives will complete 2-year terms. 7382 experienced state legislators may seek Congressional seats.

The stability of the seniority system will be lost. Good! The procedural rules in both the House and Senate will be totally rewritten. So-called stability enables oligarch power; it lets 41 Senators stop any legislation and lets a single Senator stop any judicial appointment.

Congressmen can hardly learn their jobs in a single term. Much of learning today’s job is coping with the rules of the arcane, unfair seniority system. Our elected leaders will not be professional politicians.

A runaway constitutional convention may propose many  amendments that endanger the constitution and the republic. Change is essential if the US republic is to survive. The limits to runaway change are that three quarters of the states or the Convention must approve any proposed amendments.

Congress, not the States, should propose amendments, as in past history. Congress will not vote to limit its own powers. With Congress now so ineffective, the States can and must use to their right to amend the Constitution and fix Congress.

Action

Write your STATE legislators and ask them to call a Constitutional Convention to enact this one-term amendment, and please forward this email to your friends.

More bipartisan analyses

Larry Lessig, Republic Lost, http://www.amazon.com/Republic-Lost-Money-Corrupts-Congress/dp/0446576433

Jeffrey Sachs, The Price of Civilization, http://www.amazon.com/Price-Civilization-Reawakening-American-Prosperity/dp/140006841X/ref=sr_1_1

Comeback America Initiative, http://www.tcaii.org/

Third Way, http://thirdway.org/

Breakthrough Institute, http://thebreakthrough.org/

 

Thank you

Write your STATE legislators and ask them to call a Constitutional Convention to enact this one-term amendment, and please forward this email to your friends.

 

6 Comments

  • Kim L Johnson
    January 6, 2012 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rick,
    Kutsch, Jim Kennedy, I and many others firmly believe why most of our legislators are working for their *own* benefit and *not* for the good of the whole or of Society at large!

    Is your good post inspired in part by Robert Hargraves’ emaling?

    • January 6, 2012 - 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Robert started it. Short of a revolution it’s a temporary solution. If we can paint a picture of all current politicians as puppets for the corporations and inspired by greed and by campaign support and enough people do likewise we might have a chance.

    • F. R. Eggers
      July 6, 2012 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

      It may be that the constitutional amendment would not be required to solve the problems it is intended to solve. If the support for the amendment becomes sufficiently strong, that fact may help to solve the problem even if the amendment never occurs.

  • January 7, 2012 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Confidence in government at all levels (legislative, executive, and the courts)are at local minima. We need to find the inflection point and the reversal of trend in the function of public confidence in their government process.
    I sympathize with the prevailing sentiment which would advocate limiting politicians to a single term. Sadly, I would not agree that this measure would in fact tend to make government more efficient or effective. You need effective leadership in Congress to get results, and to limit all Congressmen to a single term and put all Senators and Representatives on equal freshman status would undercut Congressional performance and reduce the productivity of the Congress. Leadership, persistence, and continuity of effort is needed to do great things in government. There is a learning curve for everyone on the Hill; it just takes a bit of time to learn the ropes and the craft of wise legislating.

    • January 8, 2012 - 1:19 am | Permalink

      What Robert Hargraves could have articulated better is that an emergency temporary measure is needed.
      I think personally that a referendum would work better. I don’t know if U.S. politics allows that.

  • February 18, 2012 - 4:09 pm | Permalink

    In addition to the problems Robert pointed out, perhaps the biggest flaw is the professional bureacracy that actually controlls all the information. These people are all overpaid compared to the private sector and need to be limited to no more than 10 years of service. All elected offices need to be publicaaly financed and any contributions to them in money or goods and services deemed to be bribary. Then all lobbying activities need to have full disclosure with internet postings.

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