Last Update 8/08/2001
|The Case for term Limits
Members of Congress have given themselves million dollar pensions --Patricia Schroeder got a whopping $4.1 Million when she left Congress last year. They drained the Social Security Trust fund, the fund that pays Social Security benefits, to fund their generous pensions and other welfare programs. They cut Social Security and Medicare, then raised their own salaries by $38,000 a year. They continue their taxpayer rip-off schemes, without the slightest worry of losing their jobs.
WHY? Because members of Congress view their job as guaranteed for life. The average re-election rate for incumbent Congressmen over the last decade has been almost 98%.
WHY? Because it is almost impossible for a challenger to come anywhere near matching an incumbent's campaign war chest. During this election cycle, members of Congress will spend more than $90,000,000 of taxpayer money on mailings crafted to get themselves elected.
Incumbents will get more than 100 million dollars from Special Interest political action committees " (challengers will get less than $20 million). This sheer weight of dollars almost guarantees reelection.
Every year, each member receives around $1 million to
spend on free mail, staff salaries and travel expenses. If you were elected
to Congress for life --and for all practical purposes, that is the kind of
tenure that most
Give yourself a million-dollar pension plan.
The respected National Taxpayers Union (NTU) keeps track of all spending votes by members of Congress. According to NTU, House members who've been in office more than 8 years voted for an average of 55% more spending than members with less than eight years in Congress.
Senators who've been in office more than 6 years have voted for 8 1/2 times more spending than Senators who've been in office fewer than 6 years. The longer they are in Washington, the more beholden members of Congress are to the Special Interest --and the less attention they pay to taxpayers.
And their National Deficit spending and raids on the Social Security Trust Fund pays for their perks.
Until caught red handed, this included their taxpayer
funded House of Representatives private bank,
If you were to write checks deliberately against insufficient funds, you'd probably be in jail. Your bank certainly would not continue to cash your checks. There is a free lunch (and a free dinner and a free breakfast, too) for members of Congress. The Congress has set up 14 restaurants to serve 435 U.S. Representatives and 100 Senators, plus their staffs.
Their eateries range from simple cafeterias to palatial dining rooms, with crystal chandeliers. The cost for a filet mignon, served by black-tie waiters: about 30% of the price charged at downtown Washington D.C. restaurants; but payment is optional for these arrogant Congressmen.
Congress Spends More Than $2,000,000,000 Each Year On Itself Before It Spends A Penny On The Country
Almost anything you can imagine--from silk neck ties to Polaroid cameras can be supplied free to members of Congress.
In the basements of the House and Senate office buildings are located stationary stores where members of Congress and their staffs can buy " office supplies," like Polaroid Spectra cameras, crystal candlestick holders, silk ties--and much, much more. The items are sold at half price, and can be bought with cash, or charged to the member's office expense account. Guess what? No one checks to make sure the item is being used for "legitimate official" purposes.
But free leather wallets or even crystal candlestick holders are small subsidies compared to the $200 billion bailout of Savings & Loans paid for by us taxpayers; or the millions of dollars paid to members of Congress, like former Senator Alan Cranston in exchange for special favors for Washington's Special Interests. The Savings & Loan scandal is perhaps the most visible example of congressional taxpayer rip-offs.
Charles Keating, President of the now defunct Lincoln S & L, paid Cranston $1 million in "campaign contributions". In exchange, Cranston and other senators intervened on Keating's behalf with Federal regulators who were seeking to close Lincoln S&L. The Senate Ethics Committee reprimanded Senator Cranston for "Improper and Repugnant" conduct. Big deal! The Senator said he did nothing worse than many of his colleagues in Congress have done. Here's what he told his fellow Senators:
Here but for the grace of God stand you. I could site example after example of comparable conduct to demonstrate that I violated no norms of conduct. The only difference between me and other senators was that they covered their tracks.
Tragically, the Senator is right on that one. Congress is riddled with corruption, and contempt for the average American!
These few examples of the abuse of power illustrate a system, which simply must be changed. It's a system that isolates elected politicians from the everyday problems of working folks in this country. This system of "election for life" must be replaced.
Term Limitation: Limit the number of terms members of Congress can serve; Return them back to their communities to live under the laws that they enacted.
Term limitation would. Make members of Congress live by the same rules that the President and most of our nation's governors must live within. The President IS now limited to serving two terms of4 years each. Forty-one governors are limited to serving no more than two terms.
Under the new rules, members of the U.S. House of Representative would be limited to 6 years (three terms of 2 years each). Senators would be limited to 12 years (two 6-year terms).
Three 2-year terms for the House and two 6-year terms for the Senate will dramatically transform Congress into a true citizen legislature --which is precisely what the Founding Fathers had in mind. U.S. Term Limit's nearly one-half million supporters put a tremendous amount of effort into passing term limits in 23 states. We were close to victory in many more. But on a 5 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court threw out the votes of 25 million citizens, who had voted to limit congressional terms.
Now we could wait until the Supreme Court changes, and hope the next new member will vote in favor of the average American, instead of the Special Interests. But I'm not holding my breath --and that's why we are moving on. But our victory plan can not succeed without your help.
Our Victory Plan
1. Request that Congress limit its own terms. This isn't going to happen. These representatives of the People are not too excited about having to look for a job in the private sector --most prefer what they hope will be a job for life; or we can
2. Force Congress to limit its terms through grassroots citizen action. Our plan is simple, but it is also bold. It's called a Self-Limit strategy. Before each election, we force politicians to go on record:
Each is asked to PLEDGE in writing to serve no more than three House terms or two Senate terms. And if they refuse to make the Pledge, they must run as typical politicians.
We already have 59 members who have signed the Pledge --and we've only just begun!
When a member of Congress abides by the Pledge, then that seat will become a term limit seat. If they break their Pledge, then the words ((Broke Term Limit Pledge" will be plastered on billboards in every city and town in their district. And saturation television will mean they can kiss winning an election goodbye.
The key to our victory strategy is the enclosed Official Petition. There's nothing that gets the attention of Congress better than big numbers. And that's where you come in.
I need to deliver copies of at least 10,000 petitions to each candidate running for the House of Representatives and an average of 80,000 petitions to candidates running for the U.S. Senate. Can you imagine a politician who would refuse to sign the Term Limit Pledge, when faced with such grassroots demand for Term Limitation from the voters?
Politicians are already running scared. And when we get through with them, they'll be trembling, especially if they fail to sign the Term Limit Pledge --or even worse, break their pledge. With your help, we'll make term limit the central issue Year 2000 elections. But this will cost money, plenty of it. It will cost $3,750,000 to get term limit kits, like this one, to another 15,000,000 voters. Television ads cost thousands of dollars a spot --but it will be television that will make these politicians feel the heat.
And woe unto those Representatives who give their word and pledge their sacred honor to step down after six years -and then renege on their promise. One Term Limiter is publicly waffling, and I'm sure there will be others. Rep. George Nethercutt from Washington State was elected in 1994 as a Self-Limiter. But now he's telling the voters, "only fools and dead people never change their minds" If Nethercutt becomes a turncoat, he must be exposed. The same goes for anybody else who dares betray the trust of the voters. That's why on January 25, 1999, U.S. Term Limits announced plans for a $20,000,000 voter education campaign for the 2000 election cycle.
Term Limitation will give American citizens a chance to clean house.
With your help, we will make Term Limitation a reality. We can then send these elected for life Congressmen back home to see what it's like to work for a living.
But we are up against a powerful group of Special Interests. So I hope I can count on you for additional support as well.
Membership in U. S. Term Limits costs only $15.
Paul Jacob President