Grand Bargain Is Impossible, Dangerous
Matthew Yglesias on the inanity of the fiscal cliff talks
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Nov 29, 2012 11:49 AM CST
Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson are two of Washington's most prominent grand bargain fans.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(Newser) – Back during the Bush years, the faction in Congress advocating a "grand bargain" on America's long-term budget deficit was "an amusing curiosity," writes Matthew Yglesias over at Slate. But with the fiscal cliff looming, "they've become actively dangerous." The only way to avoid the cliff—which, essentially, is a massive short-term deficit reduction—is with a long-term deal, and that's not a coincidence. These guys don't want a bargain because they want to avoid the cliff. "They deliberately created the fiscal cliff" to force a grand bargain.

There's just one problem. "The grand bargain is impossible," Yglesias asserts. Why? Because Congress simply can't tie the hands of future congresses, nor should it. "The only grand bargain that would work would be an abolition of democracy," because how the government should spend and raise money is the essence of politics. Congress should focus on today's problems—which deficit reduction won't fix. Instead, we're headed for a fiscal cliff that "will probably be avoided," Iglesias concludes, and "all for an essentially worthless promise to reduce deficits in the future." Click for Yglesias' full column.

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
Nov 29, 2012 6:57 PM CST
I get a kick out of lawmakers when they want to pass 'forever laws'. No law can be forever. And we know the Repubs would love to pass forever laws right and left if they could.
Nov 29, 2012 6:47 PM CST
Now Obama not only wants big tax increases, he wants a new stimulus. The man is certifiable. Maybe there is a planet on which you can continue to spend 40% more than you take in, but it won't work on this one.
Nov 29, 2012 6:05 PM CST
"They deliberately created the fiscal cliff" to force a grand bargain." in other words, just business-as-usual