Thursday, January 22, 2009

Residency Requirements are Political Protectionism

In the funniest blog post of the day, Munger announces his withdraw from consideration for the New York senate seat, and along the way says the following:
Finally, there have been some allegations (and that's ALL they are) that it was at long last explained to me that, in order to be a Senator from NY, I would actually have to LIVE in NY. For those allegators, I have some names: Bobby Kennedy. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Not exactly New Yorkers. Please, the residency requirement is obviously a joke. The good people of the great state of New York are gracious enough to pimp their seats (if you will) to pretty much any Democratic hack who shows up at the door, and smart enough to realize that no one actually born in NY is bright enough to be senator. So those allegators can just shut up.
Correct, so should states have residency requirements in the first place? Are they not a barrier to trade? Should voters not be permitted to search for candidates whose views might better fit their own preferences, even if they not happen to be residents of the state? Should West Virginians be denied access to policy makers outside the state? And why should Ohio voters in Cincinnati be denied the chance to vote for governor, a resident of Newport, Kentucky who might "feel their pain" better than a resident of Cleveland?

I am just being a pain in the ass here for the fun of it.


Matt E. Ryan said...

Though it does make you wonder why there are requirements to be a resident in the first place. Is it an implicit admission that representatives have ulterior motives in serving? Namely, representatives are going to pursue whatever interests them-- perhaps we can mitigate the spillovers to other states if we require that the representative be from the state. That way, odds are, his other interests are at least within our borders.

If Congressmen served in the 1950s model of politics, it wouldn't matter where they were from-- they'd serve their constituents true to their word.

Jason D. Oberle said...

If there are barriers they are very small!
Let's assume that a community is proactive in its enactment of local regulation and further that the community vision includes some particular goals. Further, let's rely upon the theory that taxes are capitalized in property values which are based upon local decision making and that may also people vote with their feet. If we fully comprehend these theories and fully assume these assumptions then we can say without doubt that each state, region, or local municipal has no residency requirement, although each jurisdiction does have a voter registration requirement. I validate this argument with the comments of Munger. Using New York as an example; the state of New York has some type of election laws with very basic requirements allowing the individuals of the state to vote in an election for representation at all levels. Therefore, the minimum threshold for a representative to qualify to serve a particular community, region, or state then becomes the same as the requirement to vote. Further, every day at each level of government there is competition for the best candidates to serve the interest of said jurisdictions population and because of the aforementioned there is no barrier, or at a maximum a very minimalistic barrier, present to the electorate in order to solicit, or find, or recruit candidates for public office at any level.