by Patrick Appel
Larry Bartels did a great paper once (PDF) about how in US political culture, the answer to every government reform problem is always that things need to be “more democratic” and this often proceeds without any real effort to think about what you’re trying to achieve. There’s obviously a sense in which subjecting more and more officials to popular election is “more democratic” but if you think that what’s good about democracy is that it creates accountability you’ll see that asking people to vote for Commissioner of the General Land Office is undermining accountability.
Ryan Sager adds his voice to the chorus:
Corruption is endemic to government. At a low level, it’s a cost of doing business. But if you want to reduce it even further, you’re going to need to go back to a system where fewer elected officials do a lot more appointing. That way, one man or woman is accountable when things go wrong. When everyone’s elected, no one’s accountable.