Legislating Is Hard

The Onion is on point, as usual:

Relatedly, Matthew Yglesias points out the dysfunction that comes with having an explicitly "populist" legislature, as is the case in Arizona, where lawmakers are limited by low-pay, small staffs, and term restrictions:

[T]his is something to keep in mind in the federal context when you hear about how this or that area of policy should be left up to the states. However unimpressed you may be by the wisdom of the United States Congress, it’s very difficult for me to think up complicated issues where pushing the issue down to under-resourced state legislators is likely to radically improve policymaking.

This gets to one of my (admittedly many) hobbyhorses: Legislating is much, much harder than we tend to give credit for. This makes life easier for anti-establishment candidates -- "I'll bring my business sense to Washington!" -- but a bit more difficult for the actual business of governing, as House Republicans are currently discovering. If I could establish social norms by fiat, we'd live in a world where lawmakers were very well-compensated, and lawmaking was respected as valuable skill, rather than a dirty necessity.

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