They don’t generally work long hours, long work-weeks, nor do they avoid occasional long breaks. So what do legislators do, and what is that good for?
Although popularized by Mark Twain, the quote: no man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session, is actually originally from Judge Gideon J Tucker.
Here you will find even less flattering quotes, apparently by Twain himself:
I think I can say, and say with pride that we have some legislatures that bring higher prices than any in the world.
…it’s so hard to find men of a so high type of morals that they’ll stay bought.
So, what does a legislature actually do? Well, they talk a lot, in an artificial conversation (at least in Canada) with Mister Speaker. They have bizarre rules of conduct. They have debates, and rules for forcing debate closure.
In the middle of all this muddle they pass laws.
In America, laws can have ‘earmarks’. The famous 2008 bailout bill was full of these.
In Canada, we have ‘omnibus bills’. For example, the ‘fair elections act’ actually disenfranchises many Canadians. You can read this here.
This post is categorized as a ‘dumb question:’ What is the purpose of a legislature? It is to use power and wealth to give more power and wealth to those who already have it.
From time to time, it can be focused on getting its members re-elected.
Now for the real dumb question: is that too cynical? Will we do anything about it?