Please Not Another Commission

by Mike on December 30, 2009

in Economy,Politics

Barack Obama is preparing to portray himself as deficit hawk in 2010 despite spending us into the ground in 2009.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the Administration has floated the idea of a bipartisan commission to make recommendations concerning deficit reduction.  Although such an idea is appealing on the surface, the Journal argues, and I agree, that the Republican Party should steer clear of any commission and just do its job.

The Journal is concerned about a Commission because it thinks that a commission will inevitably lead to a number of tax increases, thereby reducing the pressure on Congress to cut spending as they should.  Such concerns are well placed.  Obviously, the Democrats on the commission will argue for massive tax increases while the spineless Republicans will call for slower growth in spending.  Both sides will make concessions during negotiations and when the final report is issued, it will contain slightly less massive tax increases with minimal caps on the growth of spending.  Substantively, the Commission is a bad idea.

But the idea of a deficit reduction commission is also misguided because of the effect it has on political accountability.  The only reason Congress ever establishes a bipartisan commission is to avoid the necessity of making difficult decisions.  In this case, a bipartisan commission will do nothing but provide cover to liberal Democrats who raise a slew of taxes despite promising tax cuts for ninety percent of Americans and to Republicans who are too afraid to confine government to its proper role.  The debate over the levels of taxation and the amounts spent on public services is at the forefront of almost every election.  Bipartisan ducking for cover will in effect deprive the American people of their voice.

What’s even more frustrating is that the Republicans fears are completely overblown.  Current opinion polls are clear when it comes to where Americans stand on the issues of taxes and the role of government.  That’s why Ben Nelson is fighting for his political life.

Hat tip:  Viking Pundit

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