We need politics to become a part-time job. Career politicians are destroying this country. The more time people spend in Washington the more detached they become from the rest of the country. They live in a world where they are wined and dined and promised lucrative jobs should they ever get tired of their power trip (or have it cut short by voters who have gotten wise to their game). The full-time job of career politicians is to stay in power and if possible, expand their power. Any actions they take that might resemble actually representing those who voted them into office is merely self-preservation or coincidence.
My plan would start with paying Congressmen and Senators part-time salaries and eliminating any pensions or medical plans. They would meet via teleconferencing using timeframes agreed upon by committee members. They would spend one week per quarter in Washington to debate and vote on legislation (committees dealing with classified information would meet behind closed doors during this time). Their entire time there would be spent either on the floor in Congress or in a Congressional dormitory where they would spend their off hours (no visitors allowed). They would no longer have offices at the Capitol. All time would be spent focused on taking care of the people’s business with no time made available for meeting with lobbyists. They would of course also meet during times of a national emergency.
I know that lobbyists could still get at politicians by meeting them back in their home districts. But this set-up would make access more inconvenient for lobbyists and more convenient for voters to meet with their representative as opposed to the current system which is the exact opposite. There would also need to be stringent enforcement of ethics laws to prevent these new part-time politicians from supplementing their part-time incomes with gifts or promises of future gifts from lobbyists.
If it sounds like I’m turning elected office into a thankless occupation, that’s kind of what I’m shooting for. My goal is a system where people are no longer thrusting themselves upon the electorate with hopes of fame and fortune and are instead encouraged and persuaded by their fellow citizens to step up and take their turn of service for a short time.
The act of running this country is not as complicated as career politicians would have you believe. Career politicians have made it more complicated than it needs to be with their mountains of absurd laws and regulations. Normal people serving as true representatives who are eager to get back home to earn their living at their chosen occupations would cut to the chase and do what needs to be done and only what needs to be done. There would be no incentive for them to create or perpetuate problems so as to justify their existence and increase their power (which is the current modus operandi of career politicians).
There are more than enough people in each Congressional district and state from which to draw a continuous rotation of representation. We don’t need people like [mc_name name=’Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000197′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] spending the vast portion of their lives in Congress. There is nothing particularly special about either of them. Other people from their district or state could step in and do a suitable (and probably better) job.
I don’t think we would need term limits under this scenario because extended service in office would not be particularly desirable. We would however need a Constitutional amendment to put these rules in place because Congress would never impose these rules upon themselves.
I know this all has very little chance of ever happening. But it’s something to think about especially as we contemplate a Convention of the States.