Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Change Congress

Every time politicians say they are going to get the money out of elections, they end up doing the opposite. This election cycle, for example started a year in advance of normal. Think that doesn't cost money? I guarantee you this will be the most expensive election in history, and it has all been done with many small contribution, plus of course the candidates' ability to spend their own money.

Their efforts so far have in fact made it even harder for an ordinary person to run for public office.

This issue is the poster child for the law of unintended consequences. It makes the point that there are many things for which the best thing government to do is nothing.

I never cease to be amazed when supporters of Open Source, Open Standards and the relative anarchy that such regimes allow turn to the government sector and want to do just the opposite: centralize everything.

I have little doubt that they will eventually succeed as well. They (government) will have absolute central control over every aspect of our lives, but because of the involvement of people like Lessig, we will think of it as a Libertarian utopia. You'll be free to do whatever you want, as long as you agree to only want to do specified things.

A better approach, at all levels of government remains term limits. Of course even those Republicans who ran on such a promise back in the 90s have had second thoughts after feeding at the trough for a while.

Term limits would do the trick just nicely, and people who were good at governance could still make a career out of politics by running for different offices. They'd have enough time to make things better at each stage, and not so much time as to become part of the problem themselves.

Of course the real elephant in the room would be "term limits" for government employees. They swap government contractors out from time to time for this very reason (or at least they are encouraged to do so).

Limiting the amount of time that someone could hold a cushy job in government might avoid a few problems like these.

Another related article on subject.

And thanks to Valleywag for getting me started (I revised and extended my remarks for this post).

No comments:

Post a Comment