Are Term Limits Such a Great Idea for Congress?

Most Americans are frustrated with the U.S. Congress — an attitude reflected in its abysmally low approval ratings that typically hover around 20% as reported by Gallup. Occasionally the ratings spike upward such as occurred after the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City, but otherwise they remain mired alongside the approval ratings given to murderous dictators and personal injury lawyers.

Many people have called for the imposition of term limits so that members would have to leave after serving a specified number of terms (e.g., six two-year terms for House members and two six-year terms for Senate members). Many believe that such limits would infuse the Congress with new blood and make it more reflective of the wishes of the electorate.

This sentiment is also fueled by angry voters who believe that the nation is run by inept or indifferent politicians who seem unconcerned about the nation’s future. This “throw all the rascals out” mentality is understandable but it is not a panacea; if implemented, it might backfire and leave the Congress even more dysfunctional than it is at the current time.

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