There’s something about democracy that makes the heart glad.
Of course, it’s a little more happiness-making if you have real elections, and not just legislators-for-life. That’s why I like term limits. And that’s why it tickles me no end when the critics make claims about term limits that are the opposite of the truth. I guess they have to pretend to like something that at bottom they really don’t like that much at all.
Anyway . . . one thing the critics like to say is that under term limits, all the power to do anything in a legislature will quickly drift away. To the governor or the lobbyists or the regulators or the staffers anybody but the legislative newcomers who got the opportunity to serve because of term limits and who actually have the political authority to introduce legislation and vote on it.
Actually, under term limits the new guys hop off the bench a lot faster than they used to. And far from being ineffectual clowns, they are often quite the contenders.
Certainly that’s true in Ohio, one of the 50 or so states of the union suffering a few budget problems right now. The governor there, Bob Taft, wants to deal with the shortfall by cutting some government spending and also by raising some taxes.
Many legislators in Columbus’s term-limited chambers feel that these approaches would cancel each other out. So the new guys have been flexing their muscles, opposing tax hikes.
They don’t want to follow the governor’s playbook. Maybe they’ll win, maybe they’ll lose. But obviously they’re more than puppets, eh guv’nor?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.