Posted on | November 16, 2011 | 62 Comments
This is either a result of (a) incomplete analysis, or (b) a cheap populist appeal:
“Any congressman or senator that uses their insider knowledge to profit in the stock market ought to be sent to jail—period,” said Mr. Perry, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
This sounds swell, but is going to hit a major brain freeze right around Article 1, Section 5:
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.
What I think would be effective, if I may utter the dread words “Constitutional Amendment” is along the lines of:
Every Congress, in the 18th month thereof, shall require a confidence vote by at least two thirds of the legislatures of the States. Failure to meet this confidence threshold shall result in no member of that Congress being allowed to retain their seat after that seat is next up for election.
I call this the “Kill Switch” Amendment. It’s not an individual term limit, but rather a global one. Chemotherapy, sadly, wipes out a few good cells with the bad. But don’t let your love of good tissue trick you into tolerating cancer. The Paul Ryans and Allen Wests are going to get themselves re-elected. If the Congress fails its confidence vote, they can either run for a Senate seat, state office, or just take a two-year sabbatical.
Example reasons for amputating a Congress en masse could include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to balance the budget.
- Failure to limit the federal government to the enumerated powers of the Constitution
- Failure to check the Executive branch.
- Failure to do more than insult the notion adhering to ethics.
- Failure to read legislation prior to voting on it.
- Failure to adhere to the Oath of Office.
I’m not going to say I had Princess Pelosi in mind when I wrote that list.
The argument that “government is too complex; we need to retain experience” is mostly specious. When someone says it’s too complex, the follow-up question is why we haver permitted the cancer of complexity to overtake matters. For example, in doing the homework for the simple act of retaining a nanny for The World’s Youngest Blogger, I have two words for the IRS, the second of which is “you”. The only reason that Doing The Right Thing with respect to taxation resembles a course in Differential Equations is that we have allowed to many “experts” to obfuscate matters.
The notion of a Kill Switch has the virtue of brutal simplicity. Possibly there would be a way to rig the idea; but would you vote for somebody willing to change their name legally just to get into office?
I predict that, with enough fresh blood and reduced incumbency, the Congress could move closer to serving the people, and resemble less an obnoxious aristocracy. You see that in the relatively less corrupt military; when the people are shifted around often enough, the focus moves more to accomplishing the mission. Sure, people end up making themselves look good, but that remains more a by-product of getting things done. Arguably, there is some loss to the size of mission scope brought on by lack of experience. However, I’m contending here that less scope is better. Or did you think ObamaCare was a keen idea?
Now, the idea of judicial term limits may be worth exploring. And one can admire the way Rick is willing to stir the pot, as with telling the truth about Socialist Security. Meanwhile, Governor Perry, can you please quit with the emotionally nifty appeals that are not going to mean much in the real world?
Update: linked at Dustbury.