GRAND BARGAINS ARE DEAD – THIS IS HOW WE GET THINGS DONE THESE DAYS

GRAND BARGAINS ARE DEAD – THIS IS HOW WE GET THINGS DONE THESE DAYS

Matt HealeyThursday,21 February 2013

The Snap:

The sequester is approaching and as was the case with the fiscal cliff, there is a lot of talk about “how come they can not just get a deal done.” Apparently we are just going to “kick the can down the road” again. This is despite the generally accepted wisdom that the people want a “Grand bargain“.

The Download:

These comments and arguments have two distinct features. The first is that they are completely fiction. This applies more to the kick the can and that the people want a grand bargain. The people do not want a grand bargain if it involves any degree of compromise. They want the other side to accept their position in its entirety. They would then compromise by allowing the other side to vote for their bill. So what they want is less of a grand bargain and more of a grand “do it my way.” We are also not just kicking the can down the road. That implies that we are not making any progress. We are making progress. Incremental progress, but progress none the less. There will be government cuts on March 1. The final outcome will likely not please everyone, but something will be done and progress will be made. It is important to keep in mind that aircraft carriers don’t turn on a dime.

The second feature of these arguments is they imply that nothing will get done and we are stuck in an intractable situation. That is not the case. Incremental progress is being made. It is slower than in the past, but that is mainly due to the fact that technology has gotten better and that has improved communications. This means that more people have more access to more information. While the depth, breadth and accuracy of this information may be questionable, there is more of it available. This leads to a messy, complicated process of moving forward because the feedback from voter or donor to candidate or legislator is faster and often harsher. In the past the candidate or legislator had to worry about a few journalists who would filter messages. That is not the case now, as the candidate or legislator now needs to worry about journalists, bloggers, talk radio hosts, Twitter followers, people with Facebook pages, etc. Let’s face it, we have moved to a much more direct form of legislating. This will lengthen the process of reaching any type of agreement. We need to accept this and stop worrying that we are making important choices on the eve of a deadline. This is how things will go for the foreseeable future. If we want more progress then we should have more deadlines, not fewer. Besides, that will give Adrienne more opportunities to create drinking games.

Hat Tips:

But I Am Doing My Job, Adrienne, Image Credit:

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Trackbacks

  1. […] The sequester is coming. Despite my position on grand bargains being dead and that incremental steps are actual progress, the public still is looking for some type of deal. […]

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