Political Time Horizons

Source: David Friedman’s Substack
by David Friedman

“A common argument in favor of government actions is that they are necessary to make us take account of long run consequences. As best I can tell, this is precisely backwards. … Politicians have insecure property rights in their political assets, a reasons for them to heavily discount long term consequences of their decisions. If Biden does something politically costly that produces desirable results twenty years from now he will probably not be the one who will get the credit. One way of interpreting Obama’s repeated claim that anyone who liked his insurance could keep it, a claim he surely knew the voters would eventually discover was false, is that he steeply discounted a political cost that would only come due after his final election.” (05/15/23)