Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

“As long as unions and business buy our politicians and take every advantage for themselves . . .” writes Ron Kaye at Fox and Hounds Daily, “California will keep declining.”

Mr. Kaye notes a rare agreement between business and union lobbies, which have united “to pour millions into a ballot measure next June to sell us on the idea that giving legislators 14 years in the house of their choice is better than making them serve eight years in the Senate and six in the Assembly.”

Kaye has the figure wrong: It’s twelve years in either body. Though billed as a tightened term limit, down from the 14 years now theoretically possible (by switching houses) to the proposed dozen, few politicians are able to manage such switches, so in actuality the limit would be weakened, from a tight six or eight to twelve.

This, Kaye argues, would make it easier for special interests to buy instead of rent politicians. The measure is “just another political charade.”

But I think Kaye errs by going on to say that today’s leadership failure “can’t be fixed by law.”

California suffers from a political infrastructure problem far worse than any other state: too small a ratio between politicians and citizens, insulating representatives in huge districts.

While no fix is guaranteed, the state could use more representatives, not fewer.

And that’s a constitutional fix. Added to existing term limits, it might help nudge California government out of its current (and disastrous) rut.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Drik says:

    “however small the Republic may be, the Representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few; and that however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude.”_Madison

    Anytime you have a large enough group acting as a pure democracy towards a single goal, the confusion of the multitude comes into play. Almost never is this being perpetuated for the benefit of the multitude, even if that is the stated goal or it at least starts out that way.

    Nature abhors a vaccum and the vaccum of confusion is an opportunity for the manipulative to push their own agenda.

  2. Paul Jacob says:

    Drik — There is an optimum point at which there are just the right number of reps. My argument is that we are horribly on the low side of that number. Dangerously on that side — particularly in California. The population size of CA House districts are roughly half a million folks, only slightly smaller than congressional districts. CA State Senate districts are twice as large, a million people. That is a different kind of representation than enjoyed by New Hampshire residents, who are 3,000 to every state rep.

    I think citizens will be better able to limit the power and abuse of power by governments in smaller districts where citizens become bigger and more important in the eyes of their representatives.

    Adding more reps doesn’t change the fact that the legislature is controlled by the state constitution and (even more easily) by the people. Nothing about increasing the number of legislators, or reducing the population size of their districts, changes that republican framework; this is no about some sort of “pure democracy.”

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