Arthur Saginian | Congress Is Just Too Old

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Nancy Pelosi is finally giving up her position of leadership at the age of 82. Two other House members giving up their leadership posts are Jim Clyburn at 82 and Steny Hoyer at 83.

There are currently 11 representatives and five senators over the age of 80. There are also 65 representatives and 21 senators over the age of 70.

The average age of someone in Congress is over 60 years old.

The average age of today’s American citizen is a mere 37.6 years. How can people like those mentioned above possibly represent and understand the needs of those at least one full generation younger than them? I mean, it’s really unbelievable when you stop to think about it.

Our senators and representatives are mostly attorneys, they’re mostly old, and they’re mostly career politicians (they even get pensions). Somehow I cannot get myself to accept that this is a good thing… for anyone but those in Congress.

I can see “elder statesmen” playing the role of analyst or advisor to those who would more truly “resemble” the population, but after retirement at say, 65. There have been several attempts to impose term limits on Congress, but every one of them has been struck down as being unconstitutional (the Constitution does not allow for it). A Constitutional amendment would solve that problem, but good luck with that.

But why is it that even the president is limited to two terms while Congress is not limited at all? The answer lies in the framing of the Constitution. The Founding Fathers considered — and rejected — the idea of term limits for Congress. A majority of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 felt that the longer they served, the more experienced, knowledgeable, and thus, effective members of Congress would become. Frequent elections would be a better guard against corruption than term limits.

Boy, were they wrong.

Arthur Saginian
Santa Clarita

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