Friday, February 9, 2018

Term Limits

Last night when I wasn’t sleeping, I concluded that I support term limits for elected offices.

The limits I would set are longish compared to those preferred by many advocates, something like 12–16 years for the House and 18 years for the Senate. Eight years for governors, though I’d consider 12 years there as well.

It’s a hard choice for me, because I value the expertise accumulated by long-time elected officials, and I know it will have unintended consequences (more power vested in staff, more revolving-door lobbyists, at a minimum).

But the current system ossifies government. The power of incumbency is just too strong, both on its own and as a result of how the human minds of voters work. Voting out an incumbent plays strongly into loss aversion (seniority! committee chair!).

That's my thought for the day. As I said, it was the result of insomnia, so I need to work on it more.

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