Senator Ted Cruz, capitalizing on a subject that is near and dear to America's growing populist movement and one that also has some adherents in the mainstream conservative movement, has introduced in Congress an amendment to the Constitution that imposes term limits on members of the House and Senate.The amendment limits service to three two-year terms in the House and two six-year terms in the Senate. My compliments to Senator Cruz for refamiliarizing the American people with a proper method of amending the Constitution (see Article V), but as bad as Congress is, things would be measurably worse if this amendment were to become law. Here's why:
1. Like any other job, being a competent legislator takes time. After a certain amount of time, one begins to acquire expertise. Once attained, that expertise is applied to law-making. Under the Cruz amendment, members of our legislative branch would not be in Congress long-enough to attain this experitise and put it to work. Power would move naturally then from the legislators to unelected bureaucrats in the administrative state. Additionally, if you think there is a "swamp" now, just wait until the day when the only folks with policy expertise are lowly paid staffers and highly paid lobbyists. And if you think there is a revolving door now.....
2. While we may detest Congress, we love our own Reps and Senators. Why should Americans be denied the services of those deemed best qualified to represent a given polity simply because those outside that polity don't like them? I don't care for Chuck Schumer. Not one bit. But the voters he represents returned him to office in 2010 with 66.4% of the vote. Clearly someone likes him.
Here's a pretty good piece on the subject from The Heritage Foundation from 2009. I think it holds up well.