John Celentano: Term limits can fix problem with Congress
To the editor:
In reference to “The column that wouldn’t die” (Feb. 18, a reprint of a 1984 essay by Charley Reese of the Orlando Sentinel): One part of a solution to our current (or is it perpetual?) political, economic and even environmental problems may be to enact term limits for every member of the U.S. Congress.
Most polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of Americans favor term limits for Congress. The main argument against it, advanced by the politicians themselves, is that the government needs experienced people running it, not new people constantly learning their way around. This concern would be mitigated by staggered elections for the senators and representatives from each state. There would always be a senior member with more experience in office who could help the junior member.
With a two-term limit, and given the historical trend that most incumbents win re-election, the first term provides ample time for on-the-job training. In a related observation, one could argue that the time and effort spent by the “Occupy” or “We are the 99 percent” movements have not been very effective given that no real change came out of the protests.
Perhaps it was because there was no cohesive national organization or unifying goal set. If these movements had embraced a pledge to enact term limits for all members of Congress, similar to the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” that Grover Norquist asks Republicans abide by, perhaps they would have accomplished substantial results.
Until Congress becomes more concerned with fixing the problems it has created, rather than getting re-elected, there will be no change. And until the voting public understands that Congress cannot fix itself and demands congressional term limits, there will be no change.
Or, more likely, there will be no change in a positive direction.