Monday, July 30, 2007

Like fixing the robbers tea 

I thought the line went that nobody is safe when the legislature is in session. So why in the world would the Duluth News Tribune think it's a good idea for the legislature to ALWAYS be in session?
�The biggest problem of not having a full-time Legislature is that the Legislature doesn�t end up running as much of the state government as it should. The governor gets more power if the Legislature is not in session,� Massachusetts state Rep. Byron Rushing told the News Tribune editorial page staff Friday of checks and balances provided by his state�s full-time Legislature.
You think car registration is bad now, wait until the Legislature is in session year-round! For Minnesota, particularly for the party that couldn't finish its work, giving them another six months seems like rewarding poor performance.

Now, however, let me put on my economics hat...

Most of the research I've seen on legislature size and expenditures is positive. Time is an input; legislation is an output. (See Crain, 1979.) Is an increase in the amount of legislation produced a good or bad thing for a state or country? That's a very good question -- I know most of the research on rule of law and economic growth, but if we looked at two countries where the "rule of law" was equivalent, would the one with more laws grow faster or slower than the one with less? I tend to think the one with more laws grows slower, because I think each law has to increase the amount of inefficiency in the economic system. What are the counterarguments?

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