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Free Liberal: Coordinating towards higher values

Free Liberal

Coordinating towards higher values

What If They Weren't There?

by Paul Jacob

The first line of the New York Times article says: "Nine months after Congressional leaders vowed to respond to several bribery scandals with comprehensive reforms, their pledges have come to next to nothing." It seems lawmakers are still "clinging to their pet projects."

Under much pressure, the U.S. House passed a new rule that requires individual lawmakers to stick their names on some of the projects they try to sneak into spending bills. I've talked about this measure before. But, I'm told, the vast majority of earmarks would be unaffected by the requirement. And unless renewed, the rule would expire at the end of the current session.

Oh really.

A thought flashed into mind as soon as I read this: What if congressmen were term-limited?

Sure, we'd lose centuries, perhaps millennia, of "experience." Especially experience evading reasonable constraints on political power. Experience getting away with boondoggles and corruption. Experience lounging in the same seat of power for years and even decades. How very sad. For career politicians.

But asking long-entrenched power brokers to reform what long-entrenched power brokers do to cling to power is a dicey proposition at best. As we keep discovering.

Sometimes these guys make a few gestures in the right direction. But it's like pulling teeth. With us voters playing dentist. We'd have a better chance if the old snags got cleaned out every once in a while. By term limits.

Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" is published by Americans for Limited Government. Their website can be visited at

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