Why America's politicians need longer terms

Democracy is an amazing tool for countries to increase their prosperity and political power. But it does have one drawback, and that is time. This is particularly evident in the United States. In American politics, new presidents are assumed to be at their most powerful during their first 100 days in office. They get 100 days, from the moment of their inauguration, to actually implement policy, and then everyone starts campaigning again. With four years per term, that works out to 7 percent of the time being devoted to actual government.

I should remind everyone here that the 100 days tradition originates in Napoleon’s attempted restoration of his own empire, quashed at Waterloo. It is not a good practice. Napoleon accomplished little but self-destruction and the destruction of many lives in the process. Presidents should not boast about their 100 days.

A lot of things require a long time horizon that just isn’t available, thanks to term limits. Is it any wonder why politicians have meager incentive to engage in strategies and projects that will only pay off decades hence?

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