Some states are getting as bad as Congress in their cost and ineffectiveness. The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives writes of Pennsylvania's legislature: "With a price tag that's grown to $300 million, Pennsylvania's 253-member General Assembly is the most expensive (and second largest) state legislature in the country. It's also among the four 'most professionalized' in the nation with staff totaling nearly 3,000. For perspective, the legislatures of Illinois and Ohio -- the states closest in population to Pennsylvania -- have 1,023 and 465 staff, respectively."
Only 16 percent of Pennsylvania voters think the state legislature is doing a "good" job. Congressional job approval is also pathetically low.
Would congressional term limits work? They seem to in states that have tried them, opening opportunities to people, including women, who might not otherwise have been able to challenge entrenched and well-funded incumbents. Opinion is clearly on the side of abbreviated terms. In September, a Fox News poll found that 78 percent of voters favored term limits for Congress.
Former Missouri Republican Senator John Danforth has said, "I have never seen more senators express discontent with their jobs. I think the major cause is that, deep down in our hearts, we have been accomplices to doing something terrible and unforgivable to this wonderful country ... we know that we have bankrupted America and that we have given our children a legacy of bankruptcy. ... We have defrauded our country to get ourselves elected." (Read more at http://actnowus.org/citizen .)
That's because too many have stayed too long at the fair. Limiting their terms would be good for them, good for the rest of us, and the best thing to do for America.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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