Maximum age limit necessary for politicians


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The average age for politicians is consistently getting older, and is now starting to cause a wide array of issues for the American people. As a result, the U.S. government should establish maximum age limits for politicians which will help solve issues such as careerism in politics.

Sayan Sonnad-Joshi

“You know, if I were just 80 years old, if I were 15 years younger, I don’t believe I could undertake the duties I experienced when I was president,” former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said in a 2019 interview with the Carter Center. During the interview, Carter spoke about the mental strains of being a politician, specifically president, especially at older ages, saying, “I don’t think I could undertake those duties if I was 80.”

Carter’s interview highlights a growing problem in the United States, yet one that has flown under the radar, which is a growing average age for politicians, combined with the perils of this trend. Politicians are the ones running this country and making decisions everyday for the American people, yet as these individuals get older, they are no longer able to serve the best interests of the country as they once were, and in some cases, may actually hinder the country’s progress. As a result, just as there are minimum age limits for politicians to run for office, there should also be maximum age limits, as well, which would help solve this issue and would be in the best interest of the American people.

Currently, politicians in the U.S. Government are older than ever. The last two presidents, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, were elected at the ages of 70 and 77 respectively, while the average ages in the 117th Congress are 58.4 years for the House of Representatives, and 64.3 years for the U.S. Senate. On top of this, these politicians are serving for longer than ever as well, with the average length of service for representatives being 8.9 years, and 11 years for senators.

A study by the British Medical Association finds that minor cognitive decline begins at age 45, but really starts to ramp up at 70, after which the decline is major, year after year. The findings reveal that over the 10-year study period, there was a 3.6% decline in mental reasoning in men aged 45-49 and a 15% decline in those aged 65-70. There was also a similar decline in the individuals’ decision-making abilities. This demonstrates the need for maximum age limits for politicians. 

Americans are currently relying mostly on people who are past the average retirement age of 67 in America to continue working and run this country. This is the most important job in the U.S., as these are the people making decisions which affect our daily lives. As a result, it is fundamental that these individuals are able, and mentally capable, to handle these jobs, but they become less able to do so as they reach older ages. A maximum age limit would make sure this does not happen, and that the people representing the citizens in the government are best able to keep up with the will of the people.

Furthermore, as politicians get older, they also become more out-of-touch with the American people. The U.S. Census Bureau, in its end-of-year 2022 report, found that the average age in the U.S. is 38.8 years old, which is almost 20 years younger than the average age in the House of Representatives, and over 25 years younger than the average age in the Senate. This shows how politicians in the U.S. are almost a full generation older than the average person, and on average, are likely to have different fundamental beliefs. Different generations are born with different beliefs depending on the political and social landscape at the time they were born, and this changes from generation to generation. Establishing a maximum age limit for politicians would solve this issue. On average, politicians would be younger and in the same generation as most Americans, and as a result, would be more in touch with the American people, which is extremely important to help move society forward.

Additionally, establishing a maximum age limit for politicians would help stop careerism in the government, which is defined as when politicians stay in a position for decades, and use the position to advance their own interests, financial and otherwise. If there was a maximum age limit, politicians would know that they only had a certain, limited time in office, and as a result, would act more quickly to get legislation passed that would help the American people instead of sitting in the office for decades, and advancing their own interests instead. Careerism in politics is one of the worst things in a democratically governed country, and the only way to stop this would be through establishing an essential maximum age limit for politicians.

Politicians are becoming older with every passing year, and this is starting to cause a whole host of issues that need to be resolved before it is too late. All of these are problems that already need to be resolved, and the easiest and most efficient way of doing so would be to establish a maximum age limit, which is necessary for future generations.