Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Foes of term limits love to repeat their favorite mantra, “We already have term limits — they’re called elections.”

This clichéd counsel urges us to ignore how term limits and other checks on government power can . . . well, check government power. Many incumbents prefer to remain effectively unchallenged when it comes to retaining, using, and abusing their power. And the advantages of incumbency can render election campaigns uncompetitive and even meaningless.Ricardo Martinelli

Political monopoly’s dangers, studiously ignored by many domestic critics of term limits, are often vividly illustrated by the latest news from abroad. Take Panama. Advocates of limited government at first applauded the election there of a successful businessman, Ricardo Martinelli, as president. Three years on, though, he’s looking like a standard-issue power-grabber.

In the Wall Street Journal, Mary O’Grady details how Martinelli is seeking to expand his power. A court-packing scheme is one of his gambits. Critics also see egregious cronyism in his political appointments. And, yes, Martinelli wants the power to immediately run again for office when his current term expires — even though Panama’s constitution prohibits consecutive presidential terms.

The Supreme Court would have to give the nod to any evading of the term limit. Hence the president’s desire to add a few buddies to the current nine-member bench.

Such is the pattern in Central America, Africa, Asia, everywhere.

Assaults on term limits tend to be part and parcel of assaults on rights and liberties. No coincidence.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor

9 Comments

  1. David says:

    Gee Paul, you failed to mention New York City.

  2. Jay says:

    RE: New York City,

    In ” CRAINS BUSINESS REVIEW”, a few issues back, there was anpion piece about the New York City (Council) term limits.

    The City OUTLAWS contributions from corproations (including LLC’s; partnerships, etc)

  3. Jay says:

    CONTINUED

    BUT ALLWOS CONTRIBUTIONS FROM LABOR UNIONS.

    The rersult- a City Council dominated by labor and its lackeys; and lacking common sense.

    If anyone wants, post and I will find the article and psot the relevant date and page.

  4. Jay says:

    sorry for spelling errors

  5. Wayne L says:

    Thank you for the comments today on term limits. You first came to my attention through your work in this field and that was my motivation to follow you the past several years. Yes, term limits and wanting to make sure that only those legally entitled to vote are granted that privilege, are the code words that causes the left to flinch. They just want to continue to stack the deck for their candidates as their electorate are too lazy and intellectually challenged to make an enlightened choice. We live in a time where the masses are just now waking up to find pensions for government workers that so far beyond the pale of reality. It is resulting in cities like Stockton CA declaring bankruptcy! Why did that happen – – because the very clever unions were negotiating with boards and commission that were not equipped or informed (or were complicit) to make sound economic judgement. Citizen must become engaged with their local government as these tragedies cannot continue – – or the entire economic structure of our country may well collapse! Term limits goes a long way to bringing fresh eyes and ears to the governing table and prevent these disasters! Thank you and keep up the good work Paul.

  6. Paul Jacob says:

    Jay — Thanks for your posts. Please give us the 411 on that article.

  7. Pat says:

    At the risk of sounding simplistic, we the voters are responsible for whom we vote into power. If the people of Panama oppose what their current president is doing, they have it within their power to vote for someone else. If the advantages of incumbency render campaigns uncompetitive then that is a poor reflection on we the people.
    It can even be argued that term limits have an adverse impact. Remember the president’s words to the Russian president: that he would have a freer hand to act (even against the best interests of the USA) when he no longer had to face voters.

  8. Jay says:

    ARTICLE–WELL, OP ED

    CRAIN’S NEW YORK BUSINESS

    MAY 28, 2012

    PAGE 11

    AUTHOR: MS. ALAIR TOWNSEND.

    TO: MR. JACOB

    IF YOU SEND ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS PRIVATELY–I WILL TRY AND SCAN AND EMAIL YOU THE ARTICLE IF YOU CANNOT GET IT ON THE WEB.

    WEBSITE: http://WWW.CRAINSNEWYORK.COM

    Jay

  9. MoreFreedom says:

    A downside of term limits, is the rep might do whatever he wants his last term since he can’t run again. But they might do something good for freedom as opposed to it (often resulting in lining their pockets).

    But, put yourself in the position of a rent-seeker. Wouldn’t you prefer that your campaign cash only be invested in those who win their elections? In such a case, high incumbent re-election rates make rent-seeking more profitable.

    Thus, term limits that increase turnover in Congress makes rent-seeker’s investments in politicians less likely to pay off.

    Term limits reduce the value of rent seekers paying government to steal for them, so we’ll get less of it. That alone makes it a good thing.

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