Last year’s election was rife was polarization. With bitter fights in states such as Texas, where incumbent Ted Cruz narrowly defeated challenger Beto O’Rourke, the country’s politicians seemed more divided than ever. Many Democrats ran on an anti-Trump line, whereas many Republicans did the opposite. But one thing about the election season was eerily unified: most of the Senate took money from Lockheed Martin and other military industrial complex companies. Continue reading “Have Your Senators Taken Money from Lockheed Martin?”
Josh Hughes | United States
Of the incumbents that ran for the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms, 91% won. To put that into perspective, that number is actually lower than in recent elections. While not every representative that ran was a lifetime politician, too many are. The Senate is not much better, with 84% of running incumbents winning another term. This number is more representative of recent trends. Clearly, the 2018 midterm elections proved that Congressional term limits are essential in America.
Why Are Term Limits an Issue?
There are dozens of senators and representatives who have served at least 20 years in Congress. The longest-serving member of the Senate is currently Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont who has been in office since 1975. Don Young from Alaska assumed office in 1973 and is the most tenured member of the House.
Plenty of fine congressmen have served these long terms. However, there are still issues with the idea of lifetime politicians. In a democratic republic like the U.S., the only way for the government to be for the people is for it to be of the people. This does not mean bureaucrats and Washington cronies, but rather sensible, everyday Americans. Someone who has been in office nearly a half-century is unlikely to still know the rapidly-changing interests of the country.
An incumbent is far more likely to be elected than a challenger. This prevents new members and ideas from entering the political realm at the federal level. It only serves to disadvantage the country. A fresh group every few years with new takes and policies would be more beneficial; the same ideas do not work in vastly different cultures and climates.
How to Create Term Limits
What Congress would willingly limit its own power? The reality is, this one probably will not. However, under Article V of the Constitution, the states can add an amendment to the document. A 2/3 vote from the states is needed to propose the amendment and hold a convention, and a 3/4 vote is needed from state legislatures to ratify the amendment.
Grassroots campaigns such as the “U.S. Term Limits” movement are operating to raise support for this issue. This campaign has garnered millions of signatures via its petition and even has support from members of Congress.
A Fair Amendment
A proper term limits amendment should limit congressmen to 12 years in office. This could occur entirely as a senator or representative, or as some combination of the two. Those already over 12 years would be ineligible to run again, once their term is over. Twelve years gives each congressman enough time to be influential without falling out of touch from American interests. This ensures that nearly every decade will have a new set of congressmen, ensuring fresh faces and ideas.
Many people already back the idea of congressional term limits. In fact, 15 states already have laws in place that limit the terms for state legislatures. It is not an impossible task to apply the same thinking to the federal level. While this may not seem like something that will happen soon, the movement is constantly gaining support and momentum, and it would not be surprising to see important changes in the near future.
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By John Keller | United States
In the current day, a critical midterm election is rapidly approaching. With this, a segment of the Democratic Party is claiming that only they care about the nation’s youth. This segment of the party is campaigning with their alleged care for the youth. But their promises of free college, free healthcare, and more only prove how little they really care.
Promises of billions, even trillions, in new spending for the youth beg a simple question. Just where will all of this money come from? Currently, the United States Treasury is bankrupt, with a debt of over $21 trillion. “Free” education and healthcare is only remotely possible in a stable economy, and holding a debt greater than our GDP is a guarantee at an economy that is too weak and too unstable for such programs.
Furthermore, the money for “free” programs must come from somewhere, meaning it comes from government revenue. Ultimately, this is a fancy term for the taxpayer’s back pocket. Currently, the United States has some of the highest tax rates in the world when factoring in city, county, state, and federal taxes.
In order for the Democratic Party’s “free” programs to work, the current entitlements, such as Medicare and Medicaid, require major revisions. As they hurtle towards bankruptcy, there is not much more room to tax people to fund them. In order to avoid this, it is necessary for the government to look at its wasted spending. Several members of Congress, such as Senator Rand Paul, have spoken out against it. In order to improve the United States Treasury and make any of the Democratic Party’s policies attainable, ending waste is a must.
However, the Democratic Party has no plan to lower the debt or rework spending in order to make their promises possible. Thus, any tangible Blue Wave will only put America’s treasury deeper in the red. A bigger debt with consistent votes for more spending simply pushes the issues down the road. This, of course, deepens the severity of issues that America’s youth must tackle. As taxes increase and services decay, America’s youth will take on the responsibility of this nation’s debt. But the cycle can end, in fact quite simply, by stopping this fall’s Blue Wave.
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By Indri Schaelicke | United States
The California Energy Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday, May 9th to mandate that all new homes built must have solar power. Those responsible for creation of the policy are hoping that the move will help reduce carbon emissions by switching to a cleaner source of energy. However, they have overlooked several important issues with their solution.
To start, there is no need for increased electricity production in California. The Golden State already produces more solar power than they actually need. To deal with the excess, they have had to export their electricity to neighboring states, as well as prevent energy from solar farms from coming into California. This mandate will only add to the ongoing problem, as large amounts of electricity already flood the market.
Beside the excess amount of electricity California produces, the state is also facing low rates of home ownership. California currently has the third-worst state home ownership rate for millennials, and as the price of houses climbs higher as a result of this policy, that rate will surely continue to drop. Mandating that houses must have solar panels is estimated to raise the price of a new house by about $9,500. Elevated prices will only make it more difficult for first time home buyers to enter into the market, at a time when California is already in the middle of a homelessness crisis. California has the second-most-expensive homes in the nation after Hawaii, and it is dangerous to produce legislation that will raise these prices further.
Furthermore, the cost of living in California, which is exorbitantly high already, will only continue to rise. The figure below shows how California has the second highest cost of living for 2017, behind only Hawaii.
Many people will not be able to afford living in California, causing millions to go into debt or even become homeless. People facing financial difficulty are unable to spend and invest in economies as well as those that are more wealthy. Thus, if fewer people are able to spend large amounts of their income, the economy will not be able to grow well. This could threaten California’s years of strong economic growth.
It is also concerning to see that this policy was created and implemented by a group of unelected politicians – effectively an oligarchy. If the populace does not like the decision, there is little to no way that voters can remove the bureaucrats from office. The creation of this policy is a prime example of how the government seeks to gain control over every aspect of individuals’ lives, by any means necessary. The founding fathers never intended for unelected officials to be able to legislate and create policy that would impact our lives and ability to succeed. The idea of a representative democracy is that we the people are able to elect those we feel will make decisions that we support, and when they cease to do so, remove them from office. It is not possible for the populace to remove a bureaucrat from office.
Therefore, Californians must decry this policy and create a backlash severe enough to convince the Commission to reverse this decision. Otherwise, we can expect considerable hits to the California economy. Scarier still, the state will move towards a reality where bureaucrats commonly make these decisions without accountability.
By Colin Louis | United States
Paul Ryan recently announced that he would not seek re-election for Congress, leaving the speakership open. Should the Republicans keep the House we need a more conservative speaker (who won’t pass a $1.3 trillion Omnibus.) So here are three true conservatives that would make for excellent replacements to Speaker Ryan.
3. Mark Meadows
Mark Meadows, Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus has proven himself a defender of liberty in the House. The Freedom Caucus lead the fight against “ObamaCare Light” in 2017. Meadows was instrumental in preventing conservatives from passing Paul Ryan’s failure at healthcare reform. Meadows also strongly opposed the Omnibus budget deal. Meadows is a strong and capable leader in the House Freedom Caucus and would make a terrific candidate for Speaker. Unfortunately, Meadows has expressed that he has no interest in the speakership. On the other hand, neither did Paul Ryan.
2. Justin Amash
More notably in the liberty movement is Justin Amash. Amash has been consistent as a fighter for liberty in the House. Amash voted against the disasters omnibus. Long has he been a warrior among young libertarians. He’s strongly opposed the two-party system and the Federal Reserve. Amash is a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus and speaker at the Young Americans for Liberty.
1. Thomas Massie
Perhaps the best Representative on this list is Thomas Massie. A Kentucky congressman, Massie has worked closely with perhaps the most famous liberty warrior, Rand Paul. Massie fought hard against the disaster of the American Healthcare Act and the Omnibus. As speaker Massie would be the best candidate for liberty and conservatism.