(Law firms are the only group that the poll identifies as more unpopular than Congress. vintage welcome hope you brought vodka and catnip doormat Louis Harris and Associates, “Confidence in Institutions” poll, .) By substantial majorities,
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Such an argument ignores the tremendous institutional changes that congressional term limits would trigger. Instead of confining important committee chairmanships and other positions vintage welcome hope you brought vodka and catnip doormat of power to incumbents who have spent decades in office, term limits would shut down the seniority system. Important legislative positions would be assigned by merit and willingness to shoulder responsibilities. The infusion of new perspectives would cause legislative positions to rotate so frequently that it would be difficult for any one legislator to hold onto power long enough to abuse it. Furthermore, the central qualification by which candidates for Congress are judged would shift in a healthy direction, toward being a voice for sound federal policy and away from being a siphon from the federal treasury.
In short, the best way to reinvigorate government is to bring in legislators with fresh outlooks, new ideas, and better incentives. Term limits are the only realistic way to change the culture of legislative careerism in Congress — a culture that undermines the public interest. That year, fourteen more states passed term limit referenda the same day they helped elect a new President. In each of these fourteen states, term limits received more votes than did Bill Clinton; when added together, term limits received more votes in fourteen states than Ross Perot did nationwide. The appeal of limiting the terms of elected officials is also evident in the passage of term limits laws for hundreds of cities and counties across the country, including Los Angeles and New York City. When Americans are polled about their respect for the people in charge of their major institutions, Congress consistently comes out next to the bottom.