Backtracking, But Keeping That High Ground For Future Use
July 31, 2011 3 Comments
One aspect of the Boehner bill the House passed that I will be happy to criticize is the apparent late inclusion of a provision forcing a balanced budget amendment within such-and-such time, or else (something happens, I didn’t read far enough to learn what).
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say I think a ‘balanced budget amendment’ (which I think generally (R)s tend to favor more than (D)s? is that right?) is an inherently stupid idea. Not because the idea of balancing the budget is stupid, mind you. But because even if we had a ‘balanced budget amendment’, DC would inevitably just use accounting gimmicks to get around it (the same way that if you link capital requirements to AAA-ratings then Wall Street will gin up stuff like “CDOs” to synthesize phony AAA securities).
This seems likely to create a government more fiscally irresponsible than the present situation, because Congress would still do whatever it wanted, but its trickery would be harder to identify/explain, and meanwhile you’d have this illusion of automated-budget-balancing so the political will for the public to pay attention to fiscal problems would be dissipated (‘didn’t we solve that back with the Balanced Budget Amendment? i don’t wanna pay attention to this anymore’).
In fact, I’ve almost convinced myself that loading this bill with a provision requiring a balanced-budget-amendment was so dumb and counterproductive that the Senate was perfectly reasonable in voting it down, that I was wrong to criticize them for it, and indeed that Xamuel was right to raise the possibility of the onerously unacceptable provision.
To get even more high-ground-esque here, a lot of the news I’ve reading late yesterday and early today coming out of the negotiations makes it sound like a perfectly reasonable compromise provision that should be amenable to both (D)s and (R)s is on its way, and if the result is anything like what’s being described, (R)s in both houses should sign onto it, and if they don’t I’ll criticize them.
How ya like them high-ground apples, BITCHES!!
Um. Yeah. Anyway, the one face-saving aspect of this post is that (I’m pretty sure) the (D)s will go on to do something stupid in their own right, at which time I can unload on them both-barrels using this valuable High Ground™ I’ve just banked in this here post. In fact, the opportunity may come as early as this afternoon. Stay tuned!
UPDATE: I’ve been reading some lefty commentary on BBA (read: Yglesias). It’s made me realize the reason I don’t favor a BBA has nothing to do with theirs. Lefties nowadays seem to actually believe their own Keynesian gobbledygook that ‘in a downturn’, the government ‘needs to step in’ and spend a lot of money. They oppose BBA because they believe/assume/pretend to believe that a BBA would prevent the government from doing this. I oppose a BBA because, essentially, I don’t believe a BBA would prevent the government from doing this.