Sunday, October 08, 2023

Term Limits

Agree with Bouie one everything here. The Dems should follow the Republicans and term limit *committee chairs*, but term limiting congressional terms has all kind of bad consequences.
Which leads us to our third point: Term limits reduce congressional capacity and destroy any incentive that might exist for a lawmaker to develop policy or procedural expertise. It’s easy to forget at a moment when some of our most prominent lawmakers are little more than influencers, but legislating is real work that demands actual expertise. Any elected official who hopes to do anything serious must build relationships with other members, as well as learn the ins and outs of writing laws. This takes time, the same way that expertise in any profession takes time.

To deprive a legislature of expertise and knowledge is to create a vacuum that will be filled, since the legislature still needs to legislate. In states where term limits exist, the executive bureaucracy tends to wield greater influence over policy than the public’s elected representatives. So do lobbyists and interest groups, who simply have more time to build their own expertise. They, rather than lawmakers, become the stewards of institutional knowledge.
I'll add another thing he probably chose out of politeness to leave out - term limited lawmakers have one eye on their next career from the moment they get into office. The balance between "pleasing voters" and "pleasing the people who might hire you" gets worse every day until their time is up.

There's this idealistic view of the "normal guy" lawmaker who leaves his/her career briefly as, say, a teacher or a auto dealership owner, and then returns "home" after doing "public service." Life and jobs don't work that way. Well, maybe the auto dealership can, but the teaching career doesn't.