US Congressional term limits

Recently on Facebook, I wrote:

Actually, I am opposed to a balanced budget amendment. Simply, I call it a “tax-hike amendment;” better by far to pass a “flat tax amendment:” if the “proles” want a 50% tax rate on the rich (I do not think the U.S. has many proles, nor do I think they want a rate this high), let them pay it, too. Under this amendment, any deviation from the flat tax would last 2 years and require a 3/5 majority in Congress to pass.

The idea is to make tax laws written for special interests more expensive. Only the broadest exemptions will be allowed (e.g., personal and dependent exemptions, &c.).

But someone asked about term limits. Will we weaken the Legislature against the bureaucracy if they are too low? Yes, but I have no idea how low that effect would begin. (Perhaps low term limits would simplify procedural rules, or not.)

That being said, I think 30 years is a good start on eliminating the Robt Byrds. Go to the Wikipedia page on the U.S. Senate members: click the small graphic under the column header “First took office.” We would eliminate 9 Senators: Inouye (D-HA), Leahy (D-VT), Lugar (R-IN), Hatch (R-UT), Levin (D-MI) (a sacrifice I will gladly make), Cochran (R-MS), Baucus (D-MT), Grassley (R-IA), Bingaman (D-MN). 5 Dems, 4 Repubs: 9% is not bad. We could also allow a Senator to serve less than half an extra term if raised to office in a special election.

The House should be lower, but how much? Let's try 28 as a start. Let's look at the House membership lost: Dingell (D-MI), Conyers (D-MI), Young (R-FL), Rangel (D-NY), Young (R-AK), Stark (D-CA), Miller (D-CA), Waxman (D-CA), Markey (D-MA), Killdee (D-MI), Dicks (D-WA), Rahall (D-WV), Lewis (R-CA), Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Petri (R-WI), Smith (R-NJ), Dreier (R-CA), Rogers (R-KY), Hoyer (D-MA), Frank (D-MA) (YES!), Hall (R-TX), Wolf (R-VA), Berman (D-CA), Burton (R-IN), Levin (D-MI), Ackerman (D-NY), Towns (D-NY), Kaptur (D-OH).

17 Dems, 11 Repubs. 6.43% of the total. Sadly, Frank would still have been around to cover Fannie and Freddie and get a job at the former for his then current butt-buddy. (I'm bisexual, I can say it.) So this amendment, as I noted, will not guarantee good government: we're basically eliminating deadwood.

Boehner is serving his 10th term and Pelosi was well under 28 years when she served. McConnell (who opposed McCain-Feingold) is fresh on his 5th term. McConnell could be replaced by Shelby, McCain, Hutchison, Kyl, Inhofe; all have 15+ years in the Senate right now, and more would accumulate that experience in the next 4+ years. Going back to the Nixon era, all Senate Majority Leaders were serving under 30 years during their leadership tenure, so leadership would not be affected.