Letter: Michigan does not need extended term limits

Nor should government service result in a lifetime gravy train of taxpayer-funded benefits

Re James David Dickson's July 17 column, "How Michigan can have term limits and lifetime service":

Dickson wants to establish term limits, by lengthening House and Senate terms? He sounds like a politician, and I mean that derisively.

There are as many ‘oldies’ as ‘newbies’ who are led around by lobbyists, and he should know this. He expects us to believe it’s just the wide-eyed uninitiated that can’t stand up to the pressure of powerful lobbyists wielding money and favors? We have a Congress that sits and rules like lifetime monarchs for a lifetime, beholden not to our Constitution or the will of the people, but to some lobby or pet project. Or by creating administrative positions that pass policy the public never voted on, to ensure their agenda is carried out, all on the taxpayers' backs.

But Dickson's answer is give them more time and plus let them run again after a wholesome, cleansing term off. Two years off before you can latch back on to the soft teat of the govt or lobbies. One term off at your cabin on the lake will make you see how it really is for the constituency?  That’s laughable. Won't they be incentivized to curry favor to sustain them while they’re out of office? Or to secure support for their inevitable campaign again? 

As far as I’m concerned, every lawmaker should already be filing financial disclosure on their income, assets, liabilities, gifts from lobbyists, positions held in certain organizations and agreements on future employment. We should see any conflicts of interest immediately.

Our legislators are among the top-paid in the nation — 4th from the top.  Why? How is Michigan any better than 25 years ago? The state is aging, can’t attract young talent, and can’t get business here. Our education is near the bottom and truly lamentable, and our power grid is at risk.

Dickson writes that “Michigan needs active-minded citizenship. Picking new leaders helps.” Really? Picking new leaders helps? Picking new leaders is essential to stop the development of the ruling elite.

Stop lowering the bar. “We don’t have time to hunt up their record” is as bad as lawmakers saying, “I didn’t have time to read the law before I pass it.” (Which should be illegal, by the way.) Why can’t we look up their record? Of course we can!  

Here’s what I and most Michigan residents want to see: When a lawmaker is done, working a job that pays average, they're done. We thank them for their service as they return fully to private life.

No lobbying, no running again, just spread your passion and vision grassroots style. Limit the lobby power and money, and craft and pass genuine finance reform.  Enact the laws that are already on the books.  Eliminate the endless red tape and special interest laws.  Get that done. Let the lawmakers do what they always promise us, to work for our good, to vote on and pass or kill bills.

I’m mad.  So is everyone I know.  Giving lawmakers even more time is like Gretchen Whitmer giving the schools even more money.

 We want to see a return on our investment.  Policies like this are what drive people out of our state, but Dickson wants to extend the terms. What a horrifying prospect.

Julie Huff, Ira Township

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.