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Time limits on legislation?
Posted: 12 May 2013 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]
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This is just a bit of a random thought, but I generally trust folks here to give me good constructive criticism:

I do have a libertarian streak, that I do generally favor more local control instead of federal control over programs that affect local people. Things like education. Health care. Et cetera. But it’s a pattern worldwide that governments will tend to grow over time, seemingly out of control of any legislative bodies. What would happen if Congress were unable to pass legislation that provides funding for something which is enacted indefinitely, that there is a mandatory time limit on such legislation? Congress would be forced to either pass each part of government it provides funding for, or watch it expire. The point is not to severely limit government specifically, but to control growth, so that the federal government can only grow at a rate that Congress has control over. This would be a variable, not a constant, as Congress gets more or less efficient. But when government services become too complicated, Congress would be forced through limited time and resources to pass legislation to only deal with what they consider to be most important and let the rest fall to the wayside. This does happen from time to time, but as the system currently works, there is so much which is enacted indefinitely that there’s no way Congress can keep up with it all.

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Posted: 12 May 2013 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The solution you suggest could have some positive effects, but right now, I fear the Tea Party influence in our government that, these days, seems to be to simply insure that government does not work at all.  Your solution could give them another weapon. 

I would propose limiting the terms of all congressman to two six year terms.  At least in their second term they could then be involved in actually doing something productive, rather than simply perpetually being involved in running for their next term.

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Posted: 12 May 2013 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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TimB - 12 May 2013 09:45 AM

Your solution could give them another weapon. 

Isn’t there right now another thread about criticism of the concept that anything Hitler says must be evil?

I don’t care what the Tea Partiers think. I care about what would work.

TimB - 12 May 2013 09:45 AM

I would propose limiting the terms of all congressman to two six year terms.  At least in their second term they could then be involved in actually doing something productive, rather than simply perpetually being involved in running for their next term.

I don’t think this would make a difference. When Congressmen get overwhelmed with sifting through government, lobbyists become the primary decision makers.

[ Edited: 12 May 2013 10:07 AM by TromboneAndrew ]
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Posted: 12 May 2013 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I don’t care what Tea Partiers think, but I care about the infouence they have, which right now is helping serve to make Congress not function at all.

As far as the influence of Lobbyists, Congressmen would not be beholden to doing their will, during their final term, if there were term limits.

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Posted: 12 May 2013 01:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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TimB - 12 May 2013 12:18 PM

As far as the influence of Lobbyists, Congressmen would not be beholden to doing their will, during their final term, if there were term limits.

It’s not just that, but their ability to supply information which a Congressman doesn’t have the time or resources to verify.

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Posted: 12 May 2013 06:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The solution you suggest could have some positive effects, but right now, I fear the Tea Party influence in our government that, these days, seems to be to simply insure that government does not work at all.  Your solution could give them another weapon. 

I would propose limiting the terms of all congressman to two six year terms.  At least in their second term they could then be involved in actually doing something productive, rather than simply perpetually being involved in running for their next term.

Hey Tim, glad you’re back! As to term limitations, it would of course require a constitutional amendment as the original article allows for unlimited terms. And getting an amendment past the congress would be damned near impossible not to mention the hue and cry from their constituents who have a stake in furthering their careers, you know pork barrel politics and all. That’s specifically why the long timers have weathered many a storm and stayed at their posts for so long; they appease the folks back home,e.g. Mitch McConnell, Strom Thurmond who turned 100 in the Senate, And Robert Byrd to name a few. if you could cobble together the tea baggers, libertarians, liberal dems. And independents to force a vote via a state referendum it might pass but good luck with that. We’re just too fragmented to force any legislation through without the massive support of one of the partys. Maybe the NRA could whip up sentiment; they sure as hell have enough clout to block anti gun legislation at will.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 13 May 2013 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 12 May 2013 09:19 AM

This is just a bit of a random thought, but I generally trust folks here to give me good constructive criticism:

I do have a libertarian streak, that I do generally favor more local control instead of federal control over programs that affect local people. Things like education. Health care. Et cetera. But it’s a pattern worldwide that governments will tend to grow over time, seemingly out of control of any legislative bodies. What would happen if Congress were unable to pass legislation that provides funding for something which is enacted indefinitely, that there is a mandatory time limit on such legislation? Congress would be forced to either pass each part of government it provides funding for, or watch it expire. The point is not to severely limit government specifically, but to control growth, so that the federal government can only grow at a rate that Congress has control over. This would be a variable, not a constant, as Congress gets more or less efficient. But when government services become too complicated, Congress would be forced through limited time and resources to pass legislation to only deal with what they consider to be most important and let the rest fall to the wayside. This does happen from time to time, but as the system currently works, there is so much which is enacted indefinitely that there’s no way Congress can keep up with it all.

You want MORE local gov’t!?!  The problem in my area is too much local gov’t.  To many Chiefs, not enough Indians.  The towns and villages, school districts, etc. were all created in horse and buggy days, before telephones, etc.  and because of all the interest groups involved we can’t consolidate with out major battles.  I.e.  In the town I grew up in it took ten years and four separate referendums to merge the village and town police.  It could only be done after the Village police Chief retired!  The combined man power of the two Police Depts. is approximately 70.  The same town had its own water dept.  At the time it went bankrupt and was taken over by the county water dept. it had nearly twice as many employees as the county dept. which served about 70 times as many people.  Oh Yeah every employee of the town water dept. was or was related to a town or village official.  When the county stepped in they finally replaced the broken down water lines which all these people merely ran around “repairing” when they weren’t sitting in bars or the fire houses drinking.

[ Edited: 13 May 2013 01:32 PM by garythehuman ]
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Posted: 13 May 2013 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 12 May 2013 01:57 PM
TimB - 12 May 2013 12:18 PM

As far as the influence of Lobbyists, Congressmen would not be beholden to doing their will, during their final term, if there were term limits.

It’s not just that, but their ability to supply information which a Congressman doesn’t have the time or resources to verify.

True, lobbyists have undue influence.  Time limits on legislation won’t help that.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 13 May 2013 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 12 May 2013 06:10 PM

The solution you suggest could have some positive effects, but right now, I fear the Tea Party influence in our government that, these days, seems to be to simply insure that government does not work at all.  Your solution could give them another weapon. 

I would propose limiting the terms of all congressman to two six year terms.  At least in their second term they could then be involved in actually doing something productive, rather than simply perpetually being involved in running for their next term.

Hey Tim, glad you’re back! As to term limitations, it would of course require a constitutional amendment as the original article allows for unlimited terms. And getting an amendment past the congress would be damned near impossible not to mention the hue and cry from their constituents who have a stake in furthering their careers, you know pork barrel politics and all. That’s specifically why the long timers have weathered many a storm and stayed at their posts for so long; they appease the folks back home,e.g. Mitch McConnell, Strom Thurmond who turned 100 in the Senate, And Robert Byrd to name a few. if you could cobble together the tea baggers, libertarians, liberal dems. And independents to force a vote via a state referendum it might pass but good luck with that. We’re just too fragmented to force any legislation through without the massive support of one of the partys. Maybe the NRA could whip up sentiment; they sure as hell have enough clout to block anti gun legislation at will.


Cap’t Jack

Hi, Cap’t.  True, it is not a solution that will ever likely be employed.

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Posted: 13 May 2013 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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TimB - 13 May 2013 02:21 PM

True, lobbyists have undue influence.  Time limits on legislation won’t help that.

I was thinking more indirectly, that if Congressmen were able to better control what they’re responsible for, they would also be better able to understand what they’re responsible for.

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Posted: 13 May 2013 09:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 13 May 2013 09:00 PM
TimB - 13 May 2013 02:21 PM

True, lobbyists have undue influence.  Time limits on legislation won’t help that.

I was thinking more indirectly, that if Congressmen were able to better control what they’re responsible for, they would also be better able to understand what they’re responsible for.

Maybe so, to the extent that Congressmen are rational, competent, clear thinking statesmen, unencumbered by dogmatic thinking or greed, who put the interests of the public ahead of their own.

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Posted: 14 May 2013 08:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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garythehuman - 13 May 2013 01:23 PM
TromboneAndrew - 12 May 2013 09:19 AM

This is just a bit of a random thought, but I generally trust folks here to give me good constructive criticism:

I do have a libertarian streak, that I do generally favor more local control instead of federal control over programs that affect local people. Things like education. Health care. Et cetera. But it’s a pattern worldwide that governments will tend to grow over time, seemingly out of control of any legislative bodies. What would happen if Congress were unable to pass legislation that provides funding for something which is enacted indefinitely, that there is a mandatory time limit on such legislation? Congress would be forced to either pass each part of government it provides funding for, or watch it expire. The point is not to severely limit government specifically, but to control growth, so that the federal government can only grow at a rate that Congress has control over. This would be a variable, not a constant, as Congress gets more or less efficient. But when government services become too complicated, Congress would be forced through limited time and resources to pass legislation to only deal with what they consider to be most important and let the rest fall to the wayside. This does happen from time to time, but as the system currently works, there is so much which is enacted indefinitely that there’s no way Congress can keep up with it all.

You want MORE local gov’t!?!  The problem in my area is too much local gov’t.  To many Chiefs, not enough Indians.  The towns and villages, school districts, etc. were all created in horse and buggy days, before telephones, etc.  and because of all the interest groups involved we can’t consolidate with out major battles.  I.e.  In the town I grew up in it took ten years and four separate referendums to merge the village and town police.  It could only be done after the Village police Chief retired!  The combined man power of the two Police Depts. is approximately 70.  The same town had its own water dept.  At the time it went bankrupt and was taken over by the county water dept. it had nearly twice as many employees as the county dept. which served about 70 times as many people.  Oh Yeah every employee of the town water dept. was or was related to a town or village official.  When the county stepped in they finally replaced the broken down water lines which all these people merely ran around “repairing” when they weren’t sitting in bars or the fire houses drinking.

I agree. Too much power no matter where it is located can lead to problems.  But if we take the OP’s idea to its logical conclusion, states would have to give up all Federal education and infrastructure funding, such as highway funds, mortgages, through FHA, the VA and Fannie Mae, student loans through Sallie Mae, and many other Federal programs millions of people depend on. We should never forget the law of unintended consequences.

Lois

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Posted: 14 May 2013 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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You want MORE local gov’t!?!  The problem in my area is too much local gov’t.  To many Chiefs, not enough Indians.  The towns and villages, school districts, etc. were all created in horse and buggy days, before telephones, etc.  and because of all the interest groups involved we can’t consolidate with out major battles.  I.e.  In the town I grew up in it took ten years and four separate referendums to merge the village and town police.  It could only be done after the Village police Chief retired!  The combined man power of the two Police Depts. is approximately 70.  The same town had its own water dept.  At the time it went bankrupt and was taken over by the county water dept. it had nearly twice as many employees as the county dept. which served about 70 times as many people.  Oh Yeah every employee of the town water dept. was or was related to a town or village official.  When the county stepped in they finally replaced the broken down water lines which all these people merely ran around “repairing” when they weren’t sitting in bars or the fire houses drinking.


Exactly the same here only worse,  which is why I still live in a village. This area is a patchwork of small communities including exempted villages which are completely autonomous so none of them wants to consolidate. There are even areas in between the villages that are county controlled. And because our population is under 5,000, we don’t qualify for additional state funding for public employees. Our police department consists of one full time and four part time cops with three used cars. The State even cut funds for the county and the mayor laid off half of the county force. Some protection, huh? And with the depressed economy the folks here won’t pass another tax levy in my lifetime.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 14 May 2013 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Lois - 14 May 2013 08:18 AM

I agree. Too much power no matter where it is located can lead to problems.  But if we take the OP’s idea to its logical conclusion, states would have to give up all Federal education and infrastructure funding, such as highway funds, mortgages, through FHA, the VA and Fannie Mae, student loans through Sallie Mae, and many other Federal programs millions of people depend on. We should never forget the law of unintended consequences.

Lois

Um, what? I don’t follow. Why would congressmen not renew important government programs that they have control over and understand? Are you saying that no one in Washington D.C. actually knows anything about (for example) highway funding?

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Posted: 14 May 2013 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 14 May 2013 09:19 AM
Lois - 14 May 2013 08:18 AM

I agree. Too much power no matter where it is located can lead to problems.  But if we take the OP’s idea to its logical conclusion, states would have to give up all Federal education and infrastructure funding, such as highway funds, mortgages, through FHA, the VA and Fannie Mae, student loans through Sallie Mae, and many other Federal programs millions of people depend on. We should never forget the law of unintended consequences.

Lois

Um, what? I don’t follow. Why would congressmen not renew important government programs that they have control over and understand? Are you saying that no one in Washington D.C. actually knows anything about (for example) highway funding?

Well, if you look at what is going on now, with the sequester, programs like Head Start and many others programs that effect the poor or lower socio-economic working class have lost funding.  Congress is not about to do anything to re-fund those programs.  However they did, quickly re-fund a program that effects the financially well off and themselves when they took care of the air traffic problem.

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Posted: 14 May 2013 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 14 May 2013 09:19 AM
Lois - 14 May 2013 08:18 AM

I agree. Too much power no matter where it is located can lead to problems.  But if we take the OP’s idea to its logical conclusion, states would have to give up all Federal education and infrastructure funding, such as highway funds, mortgages, through FHA, the VA and Fannie Mae, student loans through Sallie Mae, and many other Federal programs millions of people depend on. We should never forget the law of unintended consequences.

Lois

Um, what? I don’t follow. Why would congressmen not renew important government programs that they have control over and understand? Are you saying that no one in Washington D.C. actually knows anything about (for example) highway funding?

Controlling Congress is a fine idea if you can figure out a way to do it.  Just remember that changing the power of Congress would require the consent of Congress itself and possibly a change in the Constitution.  When has any body agreed to lessening its power?

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