Pass the Pork!

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One of the supposed “downsides” to term limits for members of Congress has always been that the never-ending supply of “newbie” representatives on the Hill would get eaten alive by their more-experienced lobbyist counterparts. Indeed, some folks have claimed this has happened here in California, where various special interest groups—businesses, primarily, but let’s not forget the ever-present correctional officers union—supposedly know the terrain in Sacramento better than the term-limited elected officials do, and rarely fail to get their way.

That line of reasoning seems dubious, though. Wouldn’t special interests prefer to have stable and predictable pathways of access? If you’re a lobbyist or other interest group, isn’t it better to have a longtime ally installed in the Speaker of the House slot, say, than constantly have to worm your way into the hearts of incoming freshmen, most of whom have hardly learned how to get you things? And doesn’t the fact that “special interests” of all stripes raised millions of dollars in 1990 to block the term limit initiative in California suggest that they’ve always known this? Yeah, probably.

Anyway, one clear upside to term limits for members of Congress is that, while it wouldn’t lead to fiscal responsibility—it sure hasn’t in California—at the very least, the constant rotation of representatives would ensure that the billions of dollars in pork each year gets spread around the country more evenly. Frankly, if Republicans don’t care about pork-barrel spending, than neither should we—surely it must create jobs somewhere, right? good ol’ Keynesian spending? Still, when a lifelong House member, Don Young (R-AK), can haul down nearly $1 billion in highway spending for his little wasteland of state, well, then it’s time to start sharing the wealth. (Yes, yes, just kidding about the “wasteland” bit. I heart Alaska.)

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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