Mandatory Retirement Age

There are times when it serves the interest of the population as a whole to have a mandatory retirement age in place. Some of the professions below are about mental acuity, some are about physical stamina. One thing they all share is that they serve the public at large.

  • Federal firefighters have a Mandatory retirement at age 57
  • Commercial pilots have a mandatory retirement age of 65.
  • Air Traffic Controllers have a mandatory retirement age of 65.
  • Foreign Service Officers have a mandatory retirement age of 65.
  • National Park Rangers have a mandatory retirement age of 57
  • Federal law enforcement officers have a mandatory retirement age of 57
  • United Nations employees have a mandatory retirement age of 65.

Judges in Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maryland, and Oregon have a mandatory retirement age of 70.

I kinda think that members of our legislature fall into these same categories. It’s time to put mandatory retirement in place for members of congress. If not for mental acuity, which I think is a definite factor with them, or physical endurance but just to make the population of those bodies more like the public that they represent.

When those in congress are much older than those they represent it cannot be helped that they see things differently than those who have a larger portion of their lives ahead of them.

When our country was founded 236 years ago public service was meant to be something that was done for a time, but then you returned to your lifetime job. It was a public service, not an occupation. That is a primary reason why presidents can only serve two terms. Why shouldn’t the same thing be applied to the other three branches of government?

Speaking of the judicial branch, I think a lifetime appointment, if it ever has made sense, should be a thing of the past and that certainly includes the Supreme Court. There have been too many times in our nation’s history where, due to court stuffing, that terrible precedent has been made by the highest court in the land. The examples could fill a couple of posts, but I will not go there now.

When we finally have a Congress who is looking out for our future as a country, radical things need to happen. Let alone fixing all the damage done during this president’s term, it’s time to change some fundamental rules for our government so that we can survive and maybe even flourish into the 21st century.

Closing this post out by undoing the first part seems appropriate here. Let’s not call this action mandatory retirement. For too many of us that means you then go off into years of non-productivity. Beside the fact that I totally disagree with that idea, it is not what I am proposing. Let’s turn it into a positive. Instead, let’s call it

Your Public Service Opportunity Has Been Fulfilled

Thank You For Your Service

I kinda like the sound of that…

5 thoughts on “Mandatory Retirement Age

  1. I agree with your idea if done carefully with an eye toward managing any unintended consequences.
    And there is a difference between term limits and mandatory retirement age. Using the idea that government service was originally intended to be “temporary” by using the 2 term rule for president does do completely wash as the term limits were only added in the 1950’s with the 22nd amendment. FDR was elected for 4 terms. Prior to then there we no term limits. I think possibly the idea of the “gentleman politician” who just serves temporarily might be largely a myth vs what was actually intended. Maybe that is what was envisioned vs what was designed.


    1. Thanks for the thoughts Bob. Yeah, there is a difference, but I kinda think we should attack this problem from both angles. Whichever one sticks is OK with me. 🙂

      You are certainly right that it took FDR’s final term to be able to do presidential term limits. Many years ago I read a very enlightening book about his final year in office and it was scary. But maybe not as scary as the guy there right now.


  2. We would lose Justice Ginsburg (26 yrs)- eloquent and bold. Justice Breyer (25 yrs) as well. Justice Roberts is only 64.Most of the other Justices are younger then him. It is a double edged sword. I’d love to see that only the party who nominated the Justice get to nominate the one who replaces them (since the placement has become so political).

    I do think that we, as a people, would be better off with 2 term Senators and five term House of Rep. It would take a Constitutional Amendment–because they would never “do it” to themselves. Ms Pelosi turns 80 in about nine months (30 yrs) and Mr Schumer (38 yrs). The split of years is pretty even, with 16 serving before 1990! One fourth of the house is in their first term.
    Many of the Republicans agreed to term limits about six years ago–and are now retiring. I think it is refreshing to get some new ideas churning.


    1. Thanks, Jan for the addition to the list and the previous comment. Your term limit suggestions sound right on target to me. We definitely need new ideas churning inside the beltway, especially in the Senate and pointedly to the leader there who has stifled so much that will eventually, if it hasn’t already caused long-term harm to our existence.


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