Term limits for bureaucrats? What kinda garbage is that!?!
When we speak of term limits, we always think of politicians who are elected to office: governors, representatives, State constitutional officers, and of course, Massa of these un-tied States. When we think of terms of office or duty, we might think of military personnel and terms of enlistment, a practice dating back at least to the Roman Republic.
When it comes to bureaucrats? Indefinite periods of appointment or employment. Political appointees (heads of State or federal agencies, for example) are thought of as serving at will (of the politicians appointing them) and therefore limited to the length of the political regime or even official’s term.
But for the sake of ending the corruption of the spoils system which developed from the War of Independence for a century, the “civil service” system was created. (Much like Frankenstein created his monster.) States and local governments followed that lead. Today, the wrongly-named civil servants above all have security of employment. They have so much security that they literally cannot be fired except under the most dire of conditions. Even axe murders require considerable effort to terminate them. (“Well it really was in the line of duty and the inspector was facing a very high level of resistance and perhaps he went a bit too far. But the guy had refused to mow his lawn on time all summer, your honor. See that photo of the tape measure? The grass is 6.8 inches tall and the code specifies 6.0 inches.”)
Sorry for the aside!
The problem is, that entrenched bureaucrats create an entrenched bureaucracy. A powerful and highly-influential bureaucracy that is able to dominate its erstwhile masters: the public and their representatives. People rise slowly through the ranks accumulating knowledge, experience, and power, and in particular expertise in gaming the system and manipulating others.
And that, we have seen, is a major problem today in the Fifty States – at all levels of government. Like politicians, many bureaucrats desire power and wealth – more than their security and their generous pay. And even fame and prestige. Consider Faucet (Fauci). He has it all: security, power, wealth (including the highest pay of any US government employee ever), and fame and prestige.
So what if? What if civil service workers were given specific terms – not just probationary periods at the start of their employment? And they were limited to two or three terms? What impacts would that have?
Would we see less power, less control, exercised by them? Would we see less influence? Less going beyond the written decisions of their political masters? Less abuse, of riding roughshod over American businesses and people? Lower level governments?
Or would we see lower levels of efficiency, competence, work actually getting done? (I know, bureaucratic efficiency is generally considered ultra-low. But it does (sadly) have room to get more inefficient.)
It might be possible that bureaucratic power would grow, because of the need to ensure operations continue even with much higher turnover. It might offer opportunities for organized cabels to manipulate the hiring system and the workers.
Or it could not just reduce the power of an entrenched bureaucracy, but actually improve the ability of government to do the things (like serve the needs of the public) that it theoretically exists to carry out.
Limiting a person’s service as a “civil servant” to no more than, say two periods of four years each (theoretically 8 years of a 40-year productive life) might make for some interesting things like improvements in our daily lives.
Think it is worth a try? Let us know!