Originally found on RANGEfire!.
Legislators for life: Congress was never meant to be a career
© Washington Times
The Founding Fathers viewed public service as a patriotic duty. They wanted citizens to serve for a limited time and then return to the shop or farm to live under the laws they helped to enact.
Take George Washington, who won a revolution but refused a crown. Today, we have legislators for life, tenured royalty who will never willingly surrender the crown.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died on Sept. 29 at age 90, served in the Senate for three decades. She held public office continuously since she was first elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969, the days of bell-bottoms and love beads.
The senator had been increasingly feeble, confused and using a wheelchair. Toward the end, an aide had to prompt her on how to vote. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, age 81, froze twice before cameras this summer. Paleontologists would make great lobbyists.
Sen. Charles Grassley, who turned 90 last month, was reelected to his eighth term in 2022. The Iowa Republican began his political career as a member of his state’s House of Representatives in 1959, when Dwight Eisenhower was president.
President Biden started in politics in 1970, when he was elected to the New Castle, Delaware, County Council at the tender age of 28. That was the beginning of his climb up the political ladder — a lifetime devoted to pursuing power, which he now grasps with shaking hands.
Most members of Congress are lifers. They started as city council members or state legislators, then became House members before joining the most powerful deliberative body in the world.
Most never gambled with their life savings to start a business, met a payroll, and provided goods or services to satisfy consumers.
Members of the House and Senate are paid $193,000 a year, more than 90% of Americans make. When the first Congress convened in 1789, members received a per diem of $6.
The pursuit of power and wealth go hand in hand.
In late September, Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, was indicted on bribery charges. Prosecutors charge that since 2018, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from interests aligned with Egypt.
When the FBI executed a search warrant in June, they found $480,000 in cash and gold bars in his home and a Mercedes-Benz in the garage. Money was stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing.
The senator claims that the loot was withdrawn from his own bank accounts. Since his family fled Castro, Mr. Menendez, who was born in the U.S., says he needed liquid assets in case Cuba’s communist regime invaded Bergen County, New Jersey.
Mark Twain once remarked, “There is no distinctively American criminal class — except Congress.”
According to the nonprofit Open Secrets, when Rep. Nancy Pelosi became House speaker in 2007, she and her husband, investor Paul Pelosi, had a net worth of $41 million. By 2020, that had grown to $115 million.
As part of the impeachment inquiry, the House Oversight Committee obtained bank records showing members of the Biden family got millions of dollars from Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh oligarchs while Mr. Biden was vice president as part of various influence-peddling schemes.
The president has implausible deniability. He swears all of those phone calls while Hunter was present (“How’s the weather in Burisma?”) and business lunches (“Pass the consulting fees!”) — not to mention trips on Air Force Two — are completely innocent.
And Rep. Jamaal Bowman, New York Democrat, mistook a fire alarm for a doorknob.
According to the latest Gallup Poll, only 8% of the public trusts Congress, which makes President Biden — with an approval rating of 39% — Mr. Popularity.
Challengers have the cards stacked against them. In every election cycle, just 15% of House races are rated competitive. In 2022, not a single incumbent senator was defeated.
Incumbents have huge advantages in name recognition and fundraising. Representatives have gerrymandered districts.
Thus, while 82% of voters favor term limits, nothing changes.
The nation sinks further and further into debt, the alien influx grows, prices rise, and cities descend into chaos.
I have my own reform proposal.
In the next election, on the ballot next to a candidate’s name and party affiliation, why not list their age, net worth and the number of years they’ve been in office?