Term Limits

813 Words 4 Pages
On the surface, term limits seem like a great idea. Proponents for them argue legislators would be less focused on reelection and more focused on passing laws. However, a rational choice theorist would actually argue against term limits. Jonathon Rauch would argue that term limits would work against the public good by creating a collective action dilemma within Congress. Without term limits, legislators’ main motivator is reelection, but to be reelected they have to please their constituents. Taking away the motivation to be reelected would also take away the motivation for legislators to please constituents or even do a good job in Congress. In addition, term limits would hurt both congressional responsiveness and responsibility. As it stands …show more content…
Jonathan Rauch says Congress faces dilemmas like this all the time. He would argue term limits would only create another such dilemma by taking away legislators’ accountability. Right now, legislators think of themselves as the chosen representative for their state or district and they hope to stay that representative for as long as possible. In effect, they do things that keep them in that position, including serving constituents and passing laws. With term limits, a representative would not think of themselves as the one representative, but one in a string of many representatives, since the people would have to elect a new person every 8 or 12 years. As a result, members of Congress will feel less responsible and accountable. They could easily think, “I could put all this time and energy into creating laws and serving my district, or I could just let the next person do it since I’ll be gone in a few years anyway.” If one congressperson does this, then they didn’t have to exert any effort, but Congress did its job of passing laws, so overall Congress still looks pretty good (at least for Congress). However, if every member does this, then Congress becomes a group of lazy people who are not doing their jobs and who only became congressmen for the prestige and power. This would make Congress even more ineffective than it is

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