Tuesday, February 09, 2010

On a bipartisan deficit commission

Republicans should accept the creation of a deficit commission, even if it's not especially bipartisan.

Lost in the aether of contemporary reporting is a big problem Republicans have with a potential bipartisan deficit commission - that it will be lopsided on a partisan basis.  The idea is that a majority Democrat commission could recommend anything it wanted to, and label the recommendation "bipartisan" by virtue of having come from a bipartisan commission.

While it would be more truly bipartisan to see a 50/50 commission, I think the commission would actually be judged by its work product and not its make-up.  If a party line vote recommends something like massive tax increases and minuscule budget cuts, the committee's recommendation won't matter one iota.  If some consensus is reached, perhaps even unanimity, and the recommendations are fairly aggressive on the expenditure side of the equation, it won't matter if the panel is 6 D's to 3 R's or if it's 50/50.

After they're done trying to get a 50/50 commission (which I'm guessing won't happen), Republicans ought to just accept it for what it is, and focus on who the commissioners are and what the recommendations might be.  If some absurd work product comes out of the commission, we'll be in a good political position regardless of the commission's make-up, and there won't be any political fall-out from ignoring a potentially slanted report.


AlexC said...

Congress is a bi-partisan deficit committee.

Elections have consequences... not only for the losers, but for the people doing the electing.

They got their way.

They can change their mind every "next November"

JoeCollins said...

True enough, but this is supposed to be something akin to BRAC. Some cloistered group prepares a "take it or leave it" recommendation that members of both parties can use as cover for taking a hard vote.

Republicans were calling for this very recently. Some of the GOP sponsors of the commission bill reneged when it actually came up for a vote. This looks very bad in the press.