Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Super Duper Joint Committee

This being the first posting following the successful passage of the debt ceiling "compromise", I think we should take a moment to ponder one of the most curious components of the deal: the joint Congressional Super Committee, tasked with achieving more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction.

The idea is that without any substantial deficit reduction by the established deadline, automatic cuts will be made to Medicare providers and the Pentagon, thereby inducing the defense and medical industry to lobby in favor of a balanced deficit reduction approach.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not opposed to the logic here.  Personally, I'm in favor of acknowledging the fact that interest groups and industry have taken over the government, as opposed to pretending that the people, as voters, have the ultimate say in Washington.  It all gets back to the question, can we use the tools of neoliberalism to influence policy in a socially-constructive direction?

I don't know the answer to the question, but I certainly think it's the best way forward in a time of partisan gridlock and manufactured crisis.  Make sure the major stakeholders have some skin in the game then let them loose on Capitol Hill.

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