At the root of the problem is a predilection for short-termism that has become embedded in the political and business culture of modern democracies. By design, Western politicians have relatively short political horizons; they are often in office for terms of less than five years. So they find their duties regularly interrupted by elections that distract from the job of addressing long-term policy challenges. As a result, politicians are naturally and rationally drawn to focus their efforts on seducing their electorates with short-term sweeteners — including economic policies designed to quickly produce favorable monthly inflation, unemployment, and GDP numbers.
Voters generally favor policies that enhance their own well-being with little consideration for that of future generations or for long-term outcomes. Politicians are rewarded for pandering to voters’ immediate demands and desires, to the detriment of growth over the long term. Because democratic systems encourage such short-termism, it will be difficult to solve many of the seemingly intractable structural problems slowing global growth without an overhaul of democracy.
(Via Foreign Policy)
Regardless where you fall on the political spectrum and/or are a foreign observer of the U.S. democratic circus, this is a thought provoking read.
Who is playing the “long game” anymore? And if they are, can they? I’m no fan of term limits – I think they are “managing to the edge”, meaning dealing with elements outside of the norm, and hurt the “long game” view. But I see value in certain limits.
Curtailing the election cycle, and the periods in which politicians and PACs and such can collect finds and spend them, should also be part of the mix. I REALLY like the idea of PACs & SuperPACs & committees & the candidates only being allowed to solicit campaign funds for 45 days before the campaign of 90 days (or some well defined term) before the election. For the House of Representatives, and any other body that is similarly short termed, I would make it 30 days for fund raising and 30 days for campaigning.
I also think the U.S. Election Day should be a national holiday with mandatory voting.
Your mileage may vary.